Christmas flew by and even with the strongest will and active lifestyle it is really difficult to have kept trim over the festive period. Unfortunately for us even small amounts of excess body weight, or fat mass that is not functional mass, can adversely affect our sports performance.
In my case I was surrounded by my family's home made mince pies, christmas cake, not to mention the christmas turkey and all the trimmings, and I certainly ate my share, so I along with so many others feel a little sluggish now.
So what now? We all know new years resolutions are a bit fickle, an after thought that may well be meaningful and with good intention but how many of us stick to them? At new years we are bombarded with advertising from health and fitness.
'New year New you' sounds great but with the fat-loss industry thriving on failur and the next big thing it is frustrating to see so many new years resulutions fail - especially if witght loss is one of them.
What would losing a few kg of body fat mean to the average age-group triathlete, club runner or cyclist? Well quite a lot actually, especially if you live in a hilly area or intend to race on hilly terrain. I really notice improvements in my running and cycling ability as I shift the excess body-fat.
Now don't get me wrong, some fat is essential for our health, but too much becomes a hindrance. In terms of having to fight against gravity and aerodynamics, especially on a triathlon or tt bike where you have to get low into a tuck. If you have too much tummy fat you'll not be able to get low, and if you can, your frontal area will be larger than optimal. When wind resistance accounts for 80% of the cyclists drag, and our body position is a major portion of that, surely it makes sense to spend some time getting lean (in a helathy way).
On a side note I often see people spending hundreds, even thousands of pounds on the latest gear and gadgets. Areo helmets, compression garments, aero wheels... However the best investment you could make is to get the best body composition possible before investing in fancy gear.
So in this blog I wnated to suggest 3 ways to give your new years resolutions a chance, be it weight loss or otherwise:
1. DEFINE SUCCESS
Without knowing what success is it is very difficult to achieve it. A vague new years resolution such as 'lose weight' or 'get fit' is a start but what exactly would be successful for you in 2012? Define success so that you know what you are aiming for.
2. SMART TARGETS
Defining success brings me to the setting of SMART targets or goals. This may seem a little ott, I mean seriously, how many people actually set SAMRT targets? Well about as many as actually stick to their plan and achieve their new years resolutions! So yes it may feel a little ott but taking the time to sit down, put pen to paper and set yourself Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound targets really will help. A weight loss such as lose 2% of body fat by March 1st 2012, or reduce waist circumference by 2" by 15th Feb 2012, or a sports goal such as average 17mph on a 50mile sportiv by May, or Complete my first Ironman triathlon in 13h by Sept 2012. These are all SMART and more likely to bear fruit.
3. MAKE IT INSPIRING AND REWARD SUCCESS
Make your SMART targets inspiring, and if its a big ask then set mini 'bite size' targets - remember achievable! Make your targets inportant and exciting for you and don't be afraid to reward success. You do deserve rewards, and if your sport is your hobby then go and get that shiny bit of kit, because even if it doesn't make you faster it will make you happy, motivated by the success you've achieved and ready for more.