Realistic Changes Are Better Than Resolutions
Tis the season to be spending too much time shopping and eating fast food rather than taking care of yourself and your health. It's okay, you think, the next 30 days or so will be meaningless when I set my 2018 New Years Resolutions and completely change my life and start working out 6 days a week, eating zero carbs, achieving my black belt in BJJ and writing that great American novel I've been planning to write for a while now. Can I do all of those things I plan to do? Absolutely. But is it likely that someone will change their workout schedule to include 6 days of working out per week, if they're not even training right now? Is it likely that this same person will do it on a zero carb diet? Most likely not.
Studies claim that nearly half of the population will make some sort of New Year's Resolution in a matter of a few weeks. After nearly 10 straight weeks of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas holiday overeating and not exercising, it only makes sense to purge yourself and set some goals for 2018. Those same studies also show that most likely less than 10% of us will stick with our resolutions and make progress towards better health and fitness. One out of 10 people. Those odds are definitely not in our favor. They're not quite Power Ball odds, but they're getting close. By the time that big shiny ball drops in Time Square early on New Years morning, many people are already second guessing or rethinking the grand resolutions they just proposed on social media an hour or so before.
So does this mean that you shouldn't make New Years Resolutions, or set goals? Not at all, but it does mean perhaps you should take a look at your resolutions and goals and create a plan that is achieveable. If you set a goal to lose 100 lbs at the start of the year, you may find the task too daunting and become frustrated when your progress is slow. Instead, it may be helpful to think in terms of shorter, more achieveable goals that will allow you to slowly and incrementally build on one success after another until eventually you will have reached your goal.
Let's take a look at some simple and extremely impactful changes that can get you moving in a more positive direction in terms of your health and fitness. The smaller and less obtrusive the change or tweak to your lifestyle, the easier it will be to implement. Imagine trying to go from the couch to a BJJ competition class or CrossFit routine immediately. Making this kind of unrealistic leap will lead to nothing but frustration, soreness and possibly injury.
Drink Lots of Water
According to Tom DeBlass, competitive BJJ black belt and former UFC fighter, increasing one's water intake is the first piece of advice he will give anyone. Not only is this easy to implement, but it will also immediately begin making you feel better. Studies show that human beings are typically chronically dehydrated and by adding more water to your daily routine, you will function better, be less irritable and better able to handle the stresses of the day.
From a dietary perspective, the increased water intake will flush your system of toxins, keep you feeling full and make sure that your metabolism is firing on all cylinders. DeBlass has reported that students who have made no other changes in your diet or exercise routines, have lost up to 10 lbs in as little as 2 weeks by increasing their water intake level to at least one gallon per day.
Drinking more water is something that is very easily implemented into our routine. Replace the high-calorie or sugared drinks you are drinking with more water. You will feel better and your scale will show it.
Add 15 Minutes of Extra Physical Activity to Your Day
If you train BJJ already, ideally you are making it to class 3-4 times a week which makes you decently active. If you are not training BJJ, there's no time like the present to start. Find an academy and get a jump on the New Year's practitioners and get your jiu jitsu on. If you're an avid jiu jitsu player, one of the best and easiest things you can add to your day is an additional 15 (or more) minutes of physical activity. It can range from a short circuit of bodyweight style calisthenics to some weight training. These workouts can literally come in almost any form. The key is short, intense bursts of activity.
These workouts will help build strength and also develop muscle during these long winter months when our physical activity tends to be the lowest. The key is not to spend too much time in the gym, because on one hand it is not necessary to get results, and secondly, a smaller period of time is easier to manage every day and not become too cumbersome and hard to stick with.
Give Fasting a Try
One of the simplest and most impactful nutritional approaches you can implement starting tomorrow is what is known as intermittent fasting. Nutritional experts have long said that many of the unhealthiness of our current culture leads back to the fact that we are constantly eating with convenient and less than healthy choices at our fingertips everywhere we go.
Proponents of intermittent fasting believe that giving your body a break from eating and digesting food can be extremely healthy and lead to a state of rejuvenation for our overfed bodies. During a typical day of intermittent fasting, a feeding window of approximately 8-10 hours is paired with a non-feeding window of 14-16 hours. So looking at a typical day, I may not eat until 11am or 12pm and by 7pm, I will complete my eating phase and not eat again until 11am or 12pm again. During this period of fasting, my body has a chance to fully digest and utilize the food that I've taken in, my blood chemical levels (like insulin) are able to be stabilized, and I am more likely to burn fat for energy when I'm not eating, amongst other positive benefits.
Having goals is a great thing. New Years Resolutions are good things are paper. It is good to have a goal and to strive for something that challenges us and makes us better. But the reality is, with less than 10% of us finding any success, we've got to rethink these resolutions. I can make a resolution to lose 50 lbs in 2018, but I've got to implement some realistic changes that are manageable and sustainable if I am going to be successful.
So why wait for January 1st. Start today, or tomorrow at the latest. There is literally no time like the present to make some simple changes that will lead to a healthier happier version of yourself at the end of 2018. If you do nothing else, but add more water, more activity and some intermittent fasting into your schedule, you will see results and the positive feeling you will be rewarded with will pay dividends in all areas of your life.
You are literally minutes away from embarking on the best level of fitness you've had in years. With Ethan Benda's "Diamond Protocol" program you will get 4 volumes available here in On Demand format with accompanying E-Book. You will immediately have at your fingertips all of the knowledge he uses to keep himself in the best shape of his life in his mid-40's.
In this series, you will get a play by play plan that will get you into great fighting shape in about 3 months. Ethan Benda has you covered from a nutritional and a exercise perspective.
A great additional resource to complement the Ethan Benda series, would be Tom DeBlass' "12 Weeks to Ripped" package available here. As a former UFC and Bellator athlete and a current ADCC competitor, Tom knows a little bit about nutrition. In this set, he will give you all of the hard-earned wisdom that he uses to stay in top competitive shape at an age when many competitors are hanging up their hats!