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New Year New You

New Year New You

Many of us start every New Year with the best of intentions, but sadly, even the best-laid plans come unstuck all too early. Well, we're here to fix that for you this year with our simple guide to getting things done. Follow our top ten rules and you'll be making beneficial lifestyle changes and achieving your training goals while all around you friends and relatives are giving up on their desires for a 'better them' and falling back into bad habits. It really is that simple, honestly!

Benchmark.

You're not going to become Froomie or Alastair Brownlee overnight but if you spend a little time to record your current performance limits then you'll have a solid base for setting some realistic targets for your future performance. It depends on what you're looking to improve, but a useful baseline can be gauged from the following measurements to assess your overall fitness; body weight, BMI, resting heart rate and VO2 Max. Once you know these you can work at setting times for those events and distances that are part of your performance goals whether they are cycling, triathlon or related to other sports. Remember that changes in your performance might not be down to changes in fitness alone, technique and equipment can both play a huge part. So consider that when you're thinking about your gains but also when it comes time to think about extracting maximum gains from your gear.

Consult your GP before engaging in any serious training. Maybe make that appointment for that cholesterol test you've been putting off for ages. You'll be amazed the difference 12 months of structured training can make to your fitness and lifestyle.

For a laboratory free VO2 Max test head over to VO2 Max Calculator

Think small.

Don't set yourself unreasonable targets. Set reasonable and measurable goals that are easy to achieve. If you want to lose weight, don't set yourself a goal based on achieving a weight loss over the next year, cut it down to 12 weight loss goals, one for each of the next twelve months. Smaller numbers are easier to achieve, and psychologically speaking an early success will help you to carry the change through for the rest of the year.

Keep a log of your progress.

Elite athletes keep training diaries for one good reason- because they work. We can benefit from the same attention to detail that comes from this approach. Keeping a log of your progress will help you to identify what works for you and what doesn't. You'll be able to more easily identify the trends that have lead to successful outcomes and it will help you to discard the approaches that haven't been successful in achieving your goals.

Break your largest goals down into bite-sized chunks.

No matter how big a task might seem, or how far off a goal may be, if you break it down into bite-sized chunks you can tackle anything. Regardless of whether you want to take part in your first triathlon or your first 24-hour mountain bike marathon, the same approach will help you through. Write down what you want to achieve, break that goal down into component parts. Pick a reasonable timeframe to achieve each goal and have at it.

Make time for change at the start and end of each day.

If you want to make a change in your life then you need to be able to integrate it into your schedule to make it work for you. For a lot of people, especially those with office jobs there's just not the time during the day to do anything. You can't fit meaningful exercise in during the lunch break that you don't have so it's probably best to look at fitting in the new you and how you'll achieve that at the start or the end of the day. Research shows that exercise early in the morning, before breakfast, has a greater effect on metabolism than the same exercise activity later during the day. Of course, if you can exercise before going to bed at night and make sure you don't eat after this exercise then it's even better at helping you to stay in shape and lose weight.

If you're really committed try to top and tail the day with the exercise. Don't overdo it though as too much exercise late at night can impact your sleep.

Mix it up

Doing the same exercise day in, day out is the quickest way to boredom and loss of form. Mix it up on a weekly basis and you'll make greater gains and maintain them for longer. If structured training is a new thing for you then try mixing in different training types on a regular basis. The basis of most training is good old fashioned mileage, but the boredom factor can quickly set in if you don't have the mindset to deal with the repetition. Interval training lets you mix in specific exercise types and recovery periods to maximise your gains. There's a huge amount of information out there regarding methodologies and result. Try adding one or two different sessions in each week to spice up your schedule. Interval Training

Rest up.

Listen to your body, it knows when you have done too much. If you feel the fatigue is piling on, if you feel run down, if you can't shake a cold that you've had for weeks or even if you simply stop making gains against your benchmarks then it's probably time for a break. A couple of days off won't hurt you just keep an eye on the calorie intake and don't fall back into bad habits.

Eat well.

Junk in, junk out is the time honoured phrase. Different diets work for different people, keeping it balanced and managing your calorie intake is key. Not all calories are made equal; research shows that calories from sugary foods have much more impact on metabolism that calories from meat or vegetable protein so balance your diet accordingly. Stick to none sugary treats when you've earned them rather than sweet stuff.

Keep yourself hydrated and make sure you take in the right balance of carbs and proteins after exercise to help refuel your muscles. You might find that it's easier to do this with a specific 'sports nutrition' product than it is with a carefully balanced meal straight after exercise. Find out what works for you.

A problem shared is a problem halved.

If you can find someone to train with you'll find your goals are more achievable. You don't need to have the same targets, you don't even need to be doing the same exercises all the time; but having someone who you can share the experience with, someone to talk through the lows and the highs of progress with will help you to achieve more and better stick to your plan. You don't even need to be in the same place as them for this to work; apps like Strava have opened up a whole world of training opportunities. You can pit yourself against riders and runners on other continents and take on shared challenges that fit in with your training goals.

Join the Planet X Strava group and let us see what you've got.

Celebrate it!

Remember you're not doing all this work just for the sake of it; you do have an end goal to reach. When you reach your goal it's time to celebrate it. Whether it's just a physical target for yourself or the completion of a sporting event or a new PB you are looking to set, you should embrace your achievement and celebrate it.

We're big fans of rewarding goal achievement, it's proven to work in all walks of life. So if you've set yourself a new 25mile TT goal maybe it's time to get yourself that new shiny set of Deep Section Carbon Aero wheels, or maybe it's time to get that fitted wetsuit you've been after because you've smashed your 2k open water target. Whatever it is, treat yourself, remember the feeling of success and bottle it up- because you're going to need that to motivate yourself once again the next time around.

22 December 2016

New Year New You