By Craig Ballantyne. Already putting off your New Year's resolution to get fit until 2014? If you've already fallen off the fitness-wagon, these tips are for you. After all, winter will soon be over (honestly!) and you'll be ready to hit the beach. And you want to be ready for that, don't you? Here are my 5 simple steps to help you lose fat and get lean.
1. Find a source of social support. It can be a friend, spouse, or co-worker, but research from Stanford University shows the ideal social support is a professional that you feel obligated to report to on a consistent basis.
2. Eat 6 small, balanced snacks and meals per day, rather than 2 or 3 large meals.
3. Commit to eating whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources, rather than processed foods like muffins, fast food, and sugary snacks. Use fitday.com to monitor your food intake.
4. If you want to lose fat, start by reducing your calorie intake by 200 calories per day. One easy way to do this is to replace sweetened beverages with water or Green Tea.
5. To get lean, you'll need to include some form of strength training and cardiovascular training. If you haven't worked out in years, start conservatively and get professional advice on how to structure your workouts in the safest, and most efficient and effective manner possible.
The good news is that you don't have to spend hour after hour in the gym to get great results. A good program should have you in and out of the gym (shower included) in only an hour. Pretty small investment for such a great return, isn't it?
Craig Ballantyne trains athletes and executives in Toronto, and writes for Men's Fitness magazine.