Many people set various resolutions for the new year, such as quitting smoking, adopting a healthier diet, or engaging in more sports. However, often these aspirations end up being abandoned, and old habits persist. But no more. Here are 5 tips to help make exercising an indispensable part of the daily routine in 2024.
1. Setting a Specific Goal
Saying, “I want to do more sports,” sounds good but is quite vague. Many fail because they sign up for a gym without a clear idea of what they want to achieve. It’s essential to consider whether the goal is to build endurance, muscles, or both, and whether it’s about losing or gaining weight, strength training, or achieving a toned body. A specific goal allows for year-end evaluation and should be quantifiable, such as committing to exercising three times a week or achieving a particular weight in bench pressing.
2. The Right Workout Plan
The training plan should align with the set goal. Generic online training plans cater to a broad audience and are often unhelpful and expensive. Beginners can benefit from having a personal plan created by a gym trainer that is tailored to their goals and physical conditions. Initially, a full-body workout up to three times a week is advisable, especially for those with minimal prior exercise experience. As the body adjusts to the new load after a few weeks, one can increase the frequency and intensity, possibly with four training days a week, including two upper and two lower body workouts.
3. Nutrition is the Key to Success
Nutrition is at least as important as training. Those who get both right from the start will see quicker results and be more motivated to stick with it. “Unfortunately, many people don’t know exactly how nutrition works and eat based on feelings and habits. It’s actually not that complicated,” says Tom Wichmann. He works as a trainer in a Kiel fitness studio and regularly provides members with tips on nutrition and recovery. “First, you need to determine your calorie baseline, and there are calculators on the internet for that,” says Wichmann. Caloric needs depend on factors like age, gender, and daily activity level. “Once you know your daily baseline, you can add or subtract 300-500 calories from that number. If you give the body more calories than it needs, you gain weight; if you give it less, you lose weight,” explains Wichmann. The information about the calorie content of foods is usually found on the back of the packaging. In the beginning, it can be helpful to use tracking apps like ‘MyFitnessPal’ or ‘Yazio’ to get a sense of calorie quantities.
4. Sustainability Over Quick Fixes
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your body won’t be either. “Most people give up after a few weeks because they don’t see any changes,” reports Wichmann. In his opinion, many expect too significant results in too short a time. “The key, however, lies in continuity. It’s not about losing or gaining 50kg in four weeks but implementing exercising and healthy eating as sustainable habits in one’s daily life.” According to Wichmann, those who achieve this can be a different person after just six months, both physically and mentally. The most challenging part is the first two months. “Once you’ve pushed through that, it usually becomes easy to go to the gym because it has become a routine.”
5. Avoiding Incorrect Role Models
Especially young people spend a lot of time on social media. Here, one inevitably tends to compare oneself with others. However, this is a significant mistake, which Tom Wichmann is familiar with from his daily work in the gym. “People see images of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Markus Rühl on Instagram and believe they could look exactly like them,” Wichmann observes. He considers it wrong and dangerous to compare oneself with individuals in this category. “It’s simply pointless, as success also depends on genetic factors.” He tries to convey to beginners that such comparisons create unrealistic expectations that quickly lead to a loss of motivation. To stay committed, Wichmann advises comparing progress only with oneself, emphasizing that not everyone can become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, but everyone can make the best of their own capabilities.