Achieve your optimum health and fitness for a lifetime!


By John Litteral 12-26-22

New Year’s is coming upon us very quickly and the gyms are going to be extra crowded for a couple of months with new members and present members all with a New Year’s Resolution goal to lose weight and get in shape. It is the most common theme every year to see many new faces that sign up at the gym, who start off exercising but fall off the path within a month or two. It can be annoying for consistent members who find it hard to find equipment to use during this time because of the crowd of new members taking up space and using the machines. After training for over 2 decades, I have seen this play out many times where January 1st comes, and the gym is packed for a period of time and then the new members fade off and quit their new exercise routines. What can people do to stay on course to fulfill their New Year’s Resolution goals and to not have another failed attempt to stay the course?


In order to be successful this year to lose weight and get in shape, people must make a plan. Almost every time that I see people fail in their fitness goals it is because they do not plan effectively.

  1. Plan to devote a minimal amount of time to your training routine.
  2. Plan your exercise routine before you start.
  3. Plan your diet.

The FIRST PLAN OF ACTION is to decide how much time you are going to devote to your training routine. Decide what your minimum amount of time you will train each week. For best results we all should train no less than 3 days a week for 30-60 minutes per training session. Don’t come out of the gate too hard. One of the most common mistakes people make is going too hard too soon. More is not always better. People make themselves miserable and they get burned out and quit because they are starting too intensely. I recommend setting your goal to train a certain number of days and gradually increase the intensity each time you train. You should leave the gym feeling good, not wiped out.

The SECOND PLAN OF ACTION is to plan your exercise routine. I recommend making resistance training the center of your training routine. Lifting weights is the ultimate way to build muscle, speed up your metabolism, and slow down aging. It is important to make sure that you train all your body parts such as legs, chest, shoulders, back, and arms. I have written articles on how to develop a training split that will allow you to train all body parts each week. Cardio training can be useful, but it should not be the center of your training. I have also written about that as well HERE. Use the articles on this website to learn about how to develop a training routine. Just going to the gym and randomly doing exercises will have very limited results and temporary progress. But having a plan that is designed with a TRAINING SPLIT will maximize your results.

The THIRD PLAN OF ACTION is to have a diet plan. Ultimately the key to losing body fat is to take in less calories than your body uses (calories deficiency). But this can be a complicated conversation if we allow it to be, but I want to make this article as simple as possible. Tracking and counting calories is a very effective way to lose weight. I recommend everyone to do it for about 2 months at some point in order to learn and become aware of food portions and nutrition. Counting and tracking calories is a wonderful learning experience. But without getting too far into that conversation I do want to offer some simple and effective diet tips.

  1. Get plenty of protein. Meat, eggs, milk, etc. Make sure you eat plenty of protein per meal. Eating your protein first during your meal will help you to satisfy your hunger and to not overeat. High protein foods are very filling. Protein is the key to building muscle.
  2. Avoid highly processed foods. Whole foods and single ingredient foods are typically much healthier and more nutritious than processed foods. Cutting out highly processed foods will almost always result in a decrease in your daily calories because they are designed and engineered to be highly palatable, which leads to eating more than you need. Avoid foods with added sugar.
  3. Replace pop and other unnecessary calorie drinks with water. Drink lots of water.      

I recommend having meals already prepared ahead of time so that you make sure that you’re getting proper nutrition. Having meals already prepared also helps you to avoid coming home hungry and eating things that you should not eat because the junk is quick and easy to prepare. Having good healthy meals already prepared makes a big difference. I always make sure that I have a crockpot of healthy food in the fridge as well as other things like already cooked eggs. Packing your meals when you are away from home is very effective.

The most challenging part of getting in shape is not necessarily the time at the gym, but rather the time away from the gym. Getting proper nutrition and rest is the hardest part because it requires many more hours of discipline. Getting 8 hours of sleep a day is probably the most important factor of all. It has one of the greatest impacts on hormone levels. So much can be said for the importance of sleep.

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