“A new year, a new you” – That tag line, or something similar has to be one of the biggest sells in the health and fitness industry. As we rapidly approach 2012, we’re bombarded with ads and commercials promising to help transform us into the “new you”. These used to, and still do to some extent, irritate the hell out of me. There are no magic pills or powders that make you change. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there aren’t some very useful programs, and supplements out there, but to be honest with you, you can’t expect the calendar to flip over to 2012, pop a few pills and magically be a new person. You’ve got to have the drive, the will to succeed and the motivation to push and meet goals. Speaking of Goals – I think they’re often too aggressive for the New Year (related to health/fitness). It’s great to dream big and have a ton of ambition, but to really be successful; you’re going to be better off having some intermediate goals. Keep your BIG goals set, but set some realistic ones to meet along the way. You’ll feel better when you can knock off these smaller goals en-route to your big goal. Let’s say you want to lose 100lbs in 2012 (which by the way is completely do-able). You don’t want to just say, I am going to lose 100lbs in the next 12 months and forget about it. That would be setting yourself up for failure. I would suggest that you set your overall goal for 2012 at 100lbs to lose, but break it down into 12 month mini-goals. You’ll need to lose about 8.3lbs per month. Weekly goals would be too much to manage, but monthly is reasonable and gives you the chance to work hard for a few weeks, check in, and get back to working hard! To lose almost 8.5lbs per month, you’ll want to drop on average of just over 2lbs per week. To drop weight, you need to operate in a caloric deficit – meaning burn more calories than you take in. To read up on calorie needs, check out my post from October 6th - Everyday Athletes: Caloric Intake –Part 2 of 4. With your calorie and workout plan set, it’s time to get to work. For those that are obese, or very overweight, you’ll see that weight starts to drop fairly quickly in the beginning – often 4-6lbs or more per week for a few weeks. A lot of this is water weight, and sodium flushing out of your system, but rest assured, you’re body is getting into fat burning mode and you’re kicking butt on getting started. I suggest weighing in ONCE per week – NO MORE. Make sure to weigh in at the same time, on the same day each week – preferably first thing in the morning before you start eating/drinking. Another plus of setting these mini-monthly goals is that you can easily adjust course of things aren’t going as planned. If you see that you’re falling short on your weigh-ins for a month, you can easily tweak your routine to maybe include more cardio time, or shorter rest periods between sets. Whatever the goal is that you set, don’t be fooled into gimmicky ads, bogus programs promising results from just a shake-a-day! Only you, hard work and the right supplements for your goals can make a difference in how you feel and look. If you’re embarking on a health/fitness journey in 2012, we’d love to hear about it. Comment below and let us know your plans, or if you have any questions – we’re happy to help answer them! From 9-5, Lonnie sits in front of a computer. Outside of being an IT Geek, he’s an athlete who’s familiar with the cycle of being fit-fat-fit that so many of us struggle with. Down from his highest weight of 300lbs in June 2009, he’s made the permanent lifestyle change to remain Big. Strong. Fit. Healthy. When not spending time with his wife, son and daughter, he’s at the gym keeping off the fat and adding quality lean mass.