By Jonathan Aluzas

2011 is almost over. ?Did you reach your health and fitness objectives? ?If so, then congratulations on achieving something that very few others did.

If not, and if you want to get different (better) results, then it’s time to apply a different approach. ?Let me break it down into the simplest of terms: If you followed a plan to get into shape this year and didn’t get the results that you wanted, then your plan doesn’t work. ?You can argue the point all you want, but the proof is in the result (or lack thereof).

Look, don’t panic if you didn’t make the progress you sought. ?You can start a new plan right now, and in one year we’ll be having a different conversation about how you completely changed your fitness life.

If you’re stuck, or if you’re just starting out, here is a basic plan for you to follow:

1. ?Be a part of something

One thing I’ve realized over my twenty years in the fitness business is that unless you are one of an almost non-existent segment of the population, you’re not going to be able to do this alone.? Why? ?Well, because of a whole bunch of reasons.? I’m IN this business, I own a gym, I train really hard, and I HATE to train alone. ?Hate. ?It. ?Consequently, my solo workouts blow.? Studies show that people who partner up, join a group, sign up for personal training or jump into classes get better results, because:

  • It’s important to have oversight and accountability. ?Having appointments with a personal trainer works, in large part, because you have someone to whom you are accountable, and because you LOSE MONEY if you don’t show up!
  • If you join a Zumba class, a kickboxing class, or some other kind of group exercise class, you are challenged to step up your game in order to keep up. ?It’s called positive competition. ?This offsets the lackadaisical approach we all have when we train alone.
  • There is a social dynamic and a beneficial support system.
  • Training alone is boring and it sucks.


2. ?Be on time


Whether you’re showing up for a group fitness class, an agreed-upon hike with a friend or a semi private training session, your success depends upon you being on time. ?First, what exactly is “on time?”
  • Being “on time” doesn’t mean showing up at the exact moment your appointment begins, it means “being in the designated place at the designated time, READY TO GO.”
What does “ready to go” mean?
  • It means you have shown up early and completed any preparatory work that needs to be done in order for you to be fully prepared for the workout that is about to ensue.
Why is this important?
  • Because, in order for your body to get maximum benefit from your training session, it needs to be properly prepared to receive whatever exercise is on the agenda. ?If you are properly prepared, aka “warmed up,” and have raised your core body temperature, done some SMR (Self Myofascial Release) and active stretches, you’re ready to go. ?You don’t see professional athletes show up for a game 5 minutes late, grab a towel and run onto the playing field, do you? ?No. ?They get there early and prepare their bodies for competition. ?Do you think they might know something about proper preparation for exercise? ?Follow their lead. ?Also, arriving early and preparing for your workout allows you to get into the proper frame of mind, to get your head right. ?Rushing in late causes stress and poor mental focus not only to you but to your training partners. (Source:?
  • Being “on time” shows commitment to your objectives. ?Chronic tardiness shows a lack of commitment. ?It also shows a lack of respect for any other people involved in the workout, as your tardiness may interrupt the flow of the workout.
  • If you’re 10 minutes late for every workout, and you’re training two to three times a week, then you’re losing 90 to 130 minutes of exercise every month!! ?If you’re paying for personal training, semi-private training or group exercise classes, you’re losing the equivalent of two or three workouts per month! ?You’ve taken the initiative to get involved in a supervised fitness program; why are you wasting it?


3. Always give your best


Believe it or not, even if you’re working with a personal trainer or a fitness instructor, you can still half-ass it. ?It’s harder to do under scrutiny, but you can do it. ?All that a trainer or instructor can do is provide a framework within which to work. ?The intensity and degree of commitment you bring to that framework is in your hands, not ours! ?”Giving your best” means performing at the best of your ability on that given day. ?Not only will you reap fitness rewards, but you’ll benefit from a feeling of self-satisfaction, as well, as opposed to a feeling of disappointment for not putting your heart into it.
4. ?Journalize your food intake and workouts


First, let’s throw away the word “diet.” ?In truth, “diet” simply describes an overview of your eating habits, but we’ve sullied that term with a bunch of awful and unhealthy eating plans. ?So, let’s replace the word “diet” with “food intake.” Now, why is it important to journalize your food intake?

  • Studies show that people who do are more effective at losing and maintaining weight loss. ?Enough said.
  • There’s a psychological component, too.
  • If you record your daily food intake and exercise, you’ll have a roadmap that clearly illustrates why you’ve gotten the results you’ve gotten.

Don’t get too bogged down in the minutiae, you don’t have to describe the quantity and weight of every ingredient you ate (“Turkey sandwich in a pita, no mayo” will suffice, or “Semi-private training session at Arena Fitness” or “boot camp class” is fine), just be consistent, honest and accurate. ?If you do that for 3 months, then at the end of that time you will have a clear record as to why you did or did not get the results you sought. ?(Didn’t lose weight? ?”Hmmm, I see I ate like crap and only trained twice a week, maybe that’s why.” OR: “Man, I dropped 10 pounds, 5% body fat, trimmed my mile time by 2 minutes and got up to 100 push ups in one set! ?Must be because I ate really clean and did Spartan Training Camp at Arena Fitness 4 times a week!”).

These concepts are basic. ?But they work. ?If you’re not getting what you want, it’s time to get back to the basics, start over, and get committed. ?Do something different this year, follow these concepts, and let’s talk next December. ?I’ll bet the conversation is a much happier one.


Arena Fitness is a personal training and group exercise facility in Encino, California.