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It’s another New Year, the time when more people join a gym than any other. So how can you set realistic goals for weight loss, detox and overall fitness? Rude Health Magazine asks the experts for their top advice

‘Keep a monthly progress pic’
Tom Dalton from TD Fitness

Like the way you eat – Even if you’re trying to lose fat, you still need to eat a moderate number of calories. Going too low isn’t sustainable, because you’ll be ‘hangry’, which can lead to bingeing later. Also, low-energy levels can heighten cravings and make it impossible to exercise.

Like your workouts – Find a way to exercise that makes you feel excited, energised and confident, something that challenges you and makes you want to keep doing it. Hate running? Skip it. Feel self-conscious in a huge gym? Work out at home. To beat boredom, mix up your workouts everyday by branching out to try a new workout.

Have check-ins – Self-monitoring is an important strategy because it provides feedback that allows you to modify your behaviour accordingly. No need to step on the scale every week. You can take a monthly progress pic, keep a weight-loss journal to track your workouts and how you feel, or assess how your clothes fit.

Sleep – Sleep in particular is a great habit that impacts everything else in your day-to-day life. You also want to find healthy ways to relax each day, find joy, and take some down time.

‘Set long-term goals’
Alan Williams of Alan Williams Coaching

Set goals beyond the wedding that is coming up in two weeks or the holiday at the end of the month. To create long term change, think long term.

Be very clear about what you want to achieve. If you can’t define it, you won’t create it. Rather than saying “I want to lose weight”, try writing down your goal in terms of specific numbers eg “I’m going to lose 10lbs by 31st January”. Having clear, measurable goals greatly increases your chances of success. Once you’ve reached that goal, you can reassess and set a new goal.

Set training goals. Basing everything on body composition can be a pretty miserable journey, especially if you’re the type of person who allows those numbers to impact on your mood. I always encourage my clients to set training goals too. When you see yourself becoming fitter, healthier and stronger it’s massively rewarding. That’s when you’ll begin to enjoy the journey, and you’ll want more. The body composition will look after itself if you’re training well and eating good food.

Figure out your why. Ask yourself why you really want to achieve that goal? Why is it important to you? What difference would it make to your life if you were to achieve it? If you can’t think of a reason, or it’s to impress somebody else, or it’s because everybody else is doing it, you probably won’t last too long. However, if you’ve got a strong why, such as getting fit enough to play with your kids without being out of breath, that will keep you going when the novelty wears off and things start to become difficult.

What are your non negotiables? Having goals is amazing but they’ll only become reality if you back them up with hard work. I use what I call the non negotiables strategy. What are the non negotiable things that have to happen every day for you to achieve that goal? Make a list of them, and make them part of your daily life.

Alan Williams’ new book Unlocking My Mind; 50 keys to self empowerment is out now. See News.

‘Get out of your seat’
Grainne O’Driscoll runs Grá For Fitness offering public, private and corporate Pilates, yoga and fitness classes.

Daily detox – Start the day with a large glass of warm water with lemon juice. Drink two litres of water every day. Switch to green or herbal tea, it is less dehydrating.

Exercise smart – Don’t spend hundreds on a gym membership – many people join in January in a post-Christmas panic and have stopped going within a few weeks. Try to find an exercise that is sustainable – are you likely to still do it on a rainy day?

Get out of your seat – Sitting for too many hours a day has serious health consequences including reduced metabolic rate and increased blood sugar levels. Invest in a fitness tracker to see how much exercise you are actually getting. If you are deskbound, take a walk at lunchtime, walk or cycle to work.

Aching joints? Go for low-impact workouts such as walking or cycling.

Workout at home – put together a play list then turn off all screens. Do 20 minutes of exercises. Put a list of exercises up on the fridge and tick it off as you do it. invite a friend around to exercise with you.

Diet smart – Look at how much and what kind of food you need based on your exercise regime. You will need less carbohydrates if you are doing low impact exercises such as swimming or cycling rather than running. Go for good fats – avodacos, olive oil, nuts and seeds and fish.

Healthy snacks – Keep them in the drawer. Good snacks include nuts and seeds, and oat cakes.

‘Bin the scales’
Dave Preston, Trainer at Clayton Hotel Belfast’s fitness centre

Fit fitness into your life, not your life into fitness. You have 168hrs in a week you can fit four hours of exercise into that!

Bin the scales. If you’re obsessed with the scales and weighing yourself several times a day, don’t! Your weight will be up and down all day when you eat and drink.

Aim to lose no more than one pound (1lb) a week. If you are going to weigh yourself only aim to lose a pound a week – anything more will most likely just be water weight. Weigh yourself at the same time every day, as soon as you wake up.

Water is one of the best detoxes about, just drink plenty to keep your system clean, and it’s free – don’t waste your money on fancy products. Drink at least two litres of water daily.

Look after your body – don’t ignore pain. If your body’s in pain, chill out, take a rest day let it recover. Also try getting monthly sports massages.

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