It’s January 17th which means Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day is officially upon us. An annual event where people acknowledge their New Year’s Resolutions were completely unrealistic and unreasonable so they abandon them in a blaze of glory with their heads found in the chocolate biscuit tin (or pizza box). But if you’re one of the many who find their enthusiasm is fading, never fear! Salvation is at hand in the form of this article that details 4 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions…
#1. Use the Power of the “Rest Day”
Once January 1st rolled around too many people vowed they would visit the gym every single day. But understand willpower will only get you so far. That’s because even with the very best intentions in the world — coupled with unbridled passion and a protein shaker full of zeal — you are only human. Therefore you must obey the laws of biology that govern us all. This includes taking care of your immune system — your body’s defence against infection and disease — which ultimately prevents you from ‘burning out’.
See, it’s widely accepted in sports science that light exercise can stimulate the immune system. In fact, research published by the International Society of Sports Nutrition states, “Moderate exercise is associated with a reduced incidence of infection.” In simple terms what this means is that scheduled date with the squat rack and treadmill helps more than just your waistline and quads. If training at the right intensity it can keep you healthy too.
But before you crank the treadmill up to level 15 and pile the plates onto the squat rack it would be wise to familiarise yourself with the words of wisdom published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. This is because sports scientists claim all-out, balls-to-the-wall type training can cause a “temporary depression” of our immune systems. An idea echoed by the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Loughborough University who found, “Although elite athletes are not clinically immune deficient, it is possible that the combined effects of small changes in several immune parameters may compromise resistance to common minor illnesses.” (Again) put simply what this means is you can be really, really physically fit but should you train too hard you could be KO’d and put out of action by a common cold.
Which is why you should resist the urge to storm the gym every day. It could be destined to fail. Instead embrace your rest days. You cannot ‘out train’ a suppressed immune system. Eventually, no matter how hard you try, your body will give up on you should you attempt this ill-fated and extreme New Year’s resolution.
#2. Dry January
Grab a beer and relax. This is a controversial entry I know, but do hear me out. Granted any national initiative that increases donations to a charity is a good thing. It’s admirable, should be encourage and I salute anyone who takes part. But why are we vilifying all alcohol? If it’s for health reasons researchers from the University of Illinois discovered the natural compound known as resveratrol found in red wine could have numerous health benefits. Therefore a ban on a fine bottle of Merlot seems a tad harsh. If it’s out of fear you’ll gain unwanted fat overnight, again, scientists in Japan from Kyushu University believe, “alcohol improves insulin sensitivity” which means our bodies become better at storing and using carbohydrates and sugars following a cheeky gin.
Basically I’m going to say the idea of “Dry January” seems a bit extreme. What’s worse is it perpetuates this denial/binge cycle. An approach that will no doubt lead to an alcohol-fuelled February as people already begin to plan their first colossal night out to celebrate 31 alcohol-free days. The whole concept isn’t healthy. Instead to quote Benjamin Franklin, “Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
#3. Restrictive Diets
Further to point number two, abandon restrictive diets. We humans were never meant to eat through rules, regulations and checklists, their too oppressive. The Public Library of Science teaches us this, in an article entitled, “Metabolic and Behavioural Compensations in Response to Caloric Restriction” they discovered calorie restriction dramatically reduced total “daily energy expenditure.” What this means is if you drastically reduce your food intake your body will automatically reduce the rate at which it moves and burns calories. You basically move less and slow down and the body shuts down from the reduced calorie intake.
It’s all related to a primitive mechanism that’s innate within all of us that kicks in when we think a famine is coming. An idea supported by the Division of General Medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University who noted a, “Depression of the resting metabolic rate after massive weight loss.” Meaning not only do you move less, but your metabolism slows down too in response to severe calorie restriction. Instead take note of the research published in the Journal of Public Health Reviews who believe, “health communities should work to empower individuals with knowledge needed to reconcile weight control.” Read and learn about nutrition, don’t just follow checklists. But above all else, understand it’s not the quantity of food you eat, it’s the quality.
#4. Download Your FREE Six-Pack Guide
Download your (free) 10-page Ab Guide and train smarter not harder. This is because gyms the world over are filled with men and women performing thousands of crunches in the vain hope they will craft themselves a six-pack. It won’t! Crunches are the most overrated exercise in strength and conditioning. This is a huge statement I know, but a recent study conducted at the Department of Kinesiology at The Pennsylvania State University, USA, served to challenge the crunches dominance as the best six-pack exercise. They set out to determine which training techniques activated the core muscles the best? Larger, ‘compound’ movements like the plank or smaller ‘isolation’ movements like the standard crunch.
The results laid the foundation for this 10-Page Ab Guide you’ll come to see. So don’t embark on a six-pack quest that’s doomed to fail. Instead grab your copy and learn:
- 10 Exercises to Increase Core Activation 27%
- 3 Reasons People Can't Get a Visible Six-Pack
- 4 Principles Every Core Conditioning Routine