Alas! It’s that time of the year again when people start making New Year resolutions and swear to themselves that this is the year where they lose weight, get fit and carve a body that turns heads. Wondering how to finally get in shape and stay in shape? Then follow these 7 steps to get in shape in 2024!
It’s a noble ambition… and in fact, weight loss is the number #1 New Year resolution all around the world – followed closely by ‘saving more money’.
This explains why gyms around the world are packed in January… but by late-February, these same gyms look so desolate you almost expect to see “going out of business” signs on the doors.
Most people who promise to exercise more and get in shape on New Year’s Day quit by the third week of January. This scene plays out EVERY year without fail.
So, what happened?
Where did all the motivation go?
Why did they quit on their weight loss / fitness journey?
The answer is quite simple. They tried to do too much too soon, and often do the wrong things. They expected fast results and when the results were slow to come, they lost motivation and got discouraged… and quit.
In this article, we’ll show you 7 steps to get in shape in 2024. Follow these steps that will give you faster results so that you stay motivated. Let’s begin!
- Cut out the white foods
This one step will have a PROFOUND impact on your weight loss. It’s also the most difficult step of the lot – and something which you’ll need to approach gradually.
White foods refer to white flour foods such as pastries, doughnuts, pasta, bread, etc. It also refers to white rice, sugar, white potatoes and so on.
These foods tend to be starchy and/or elevate your blood sugar levels which will lead to fat storage.
Keep a food journal to track your meals and slowly eliminate these foods until you’re barely consuming them. You’ll be amazed at how fast your weight drops when your insulin levels are stable.
- Clean up your diet
Besides cutting out the white foods, you’ll also want to clean up your diet. In this case, it’ll mean cutting out processed foods, hydrogenated vegetable oils and so on. Generally, once you cut out the white foods, you’ll also be eliminating most unhealthy processed foods.
90% of your success with weight loss comes down to your diet. It goes without saying that you should be at a caloric deficit of about 400-500 calories daily.
You can check your calorie numbers here: https://www.freedieting.com/calorie-calculator
- Watch your blood sugar levels
It’s imperative that you understand that not all calories are made equal. For example, a slice of chicken breast may be around 280 calories whereas a packet of M&Ms has about 240 calories.
Now on paper, it may seem that the M&Ms have fewer calories… but that doesn’t take into account the impact the food has on your blood sugar levels.
The key to losing weight fast is to ensure that your blood sugar levels are stable. Avoid foods that will spike your insulin levels.
Insulin sensitivity must be improved for you to arrest fast weight gain. The best way to do that is to avoid white foods, and if possible, adopting an intermittent fasting protocol where you have a 6- or 8-hour eating window.
If you can maintain your blood sugar level and eliminate white foods, you’ll lose weight faster than you ever thought possible. This is what you need to FOCUS on.
- Walk 5X a week
The best time to walk will be in the morning, on an empty stomach. Your glycogen levels will be low and your body will tap into its fat stores for fuel.
Ideally, you’ll want to brisk walk for around 45 to 60 minutes. You should elevate your heart rate, but the pace you walk at should still allow you to hold a conversation while walking.
In this way, you’ll be burning fat throughout the activity. Walking is low impact and since it’s not taxing on your body, you’ll not have sugar/carb cravings.
One mistake many beginners make is to train hard at the gym only for them to feel very hungry later because their blood sugar levels are low or depleted – and they end up overeating.
This slows down their progress or even sabotages their efforts because you cannot out-exercise a bad diet or a caloric surplus.
You’re better off taking things slower and less intense but making more progress over time. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.
- Mix in some resistance training and cardio
Adding some resistance training 2 or 3 times a week in your training regimen will help to preserve your lean muscle mass. It’ll also boost your metabolism so that you burn more calories while at rest.
As for cardio, since you’re already walking 5X a week, you’re getting sufficient cardio… BUT… if you could do one high intensity cardio session (HIIT) for about 10-20 minutes a day, it’d benefit you greatly.
It could be running, cycling, boxing, or any activity that has you panting for breath. This will elevate your heart rate and put you in fat burning mode for hours.
There’s a point to note here: If you’re obese or have led a sedentary life for years, engaging in high intensity training can be torturous – and is best avoided.
Allow yourself to lose several pounds with the earlier tips and when you’re lighter and able to move more easily, you can try HIIT. You must take a strategic approach here.
- Sleep 7-8 hours
Getting sufficient sleep is a must. While some people may claim that they can get by with 4-6 hours of sleep a night, most people need about 7-8 hours.
When you’re sleeping, you’re in a fasted state. Your body will be resting and repairing itself while burning calories too. You need time to recover so that you have the energy for the next day’s diet and workout.
- Think lifestyle, NOT weight loss
Very often, when people make a New Year’s Day resolution to get fit or lose weight, they look at it as a one-off event – a goal or target that they need to hit.
Because of this mindset, they’re often in a race against time. They exercise too much or cut their calories too drastically. They want to achieve their goal fast – and this approach works against them.
Firstly, it’s extremely difficult to overhaul your diet overnight. Secondly, reducing your calories drastically will cause severe food cravings and food is all you’ll think about.
Thirdly, if you train too hard at the gym to see fast result, you’ll wear yourself out too soon. Workouts will become something you dread because you’re training to the point of exhaustion.
This approach is the WRONG approach.
Instead, you need to view your fitness as a lifestyle. That means, eating clean and exercising is something that once you begin doing is going to be with you until your golden years. These are lifetime habits.
When you adopt this long-term mindset, you’ll realize that time is not your enemy. It’s your ally. One of the cornerstones of successful weight loss and physical transformation is TIME.
You need time… not speed. There are no fast results here. The slow and steady approach will ensure that you progressively march towards your goal without losing steam or quitting within a month.
So, in 2024, however unfit or overweight you may be, promise yourself that you’ll adopt the slower approach and make it last until 2025. In 6 months, you’ll be amazed at how much weight you’ve lost and how much better you feel.
From month 6 to 12, you’ll be motivated to push yourself just that little bit harder. You’ll run faster, lift more weight, eat cleaner and by 2025, you’ll be a brand new you.
Then you’ll realize that you won’t need a weight loss resolution for the next year because fitness and clean eating is your lifestyle. That’s how it’s done… and now you can do it too.
“It’s not just about losing the weight. It’s about losing the lifestyle and mindset that got you there.” – Steve Maraboli