It’s January! No parking spots at your local gym. Every treadmill is occupied. Walking through the free weight area runs you the risk of being dumbbell-flied in the side of the head from multiple directions. It’s resolution time. By the end of the month, however, Mr. Dumbbell Flies will have ample room for his wingspan because, well, New Years’ resolutions and their gym flocks rarely stick. Want to be one of the few left standing at the end of the month?

Avoid overly enthusiastic goals. If the only way you recall breaking a sweat in the last few months was halfway through your stats exam three weeks ago, then please take note. That next-day muscle soreness from your first few workouts can be a good motivator, but going too hard will give you next-WEEK soreness which can act as a de-motivator instead. A workout session every other day is a good guideline, giving your body a recovery day in between. From there, you can increase the frequency, length and intensity of your workouts. If you miss a workout, don’t be discouraged; take it as a rest day and press on!

Don’t let yourself be deterred by a lack of visible results. It takes time to figure out what works and doesn’t work for a person’s body, so tweaking your workout is part of the game. Less or more cardio, heavier or different lifting strategies, louder or quieter Lady Gaga volumes – you get the idea.

Lastly, never forget the importance of clean eating to go along with your workout plan. Again, reasonable goals; none of this “chocolate, pizza, chips, fast food – never again!” If by “never again” you mean “maybe tomorrow,” then okay. But if you mean “never again” in the literal sense… see the paragraph above on overly enthusiastic goals.

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