Last updated on Jun 18th, 2020 at 06:22 am

The beginning of the year creates a swell of excitement and enthusiasm as gym cards are dusted off. A few weeks later and the gym car park is deserted! 

It all seems so simple – eat well, workout, stop smoking, avoid alcohol and get sufficient rest. Yet, we find it difficult to maintain healthy resolutions. 

Where does it all go wrong? 

â??The common mistake that people make is that they rush into changing their lifestyles without first planning, considering their needs and setting realistic goals,â? says Gareth Powell, National Training Manager at Ultimate Sports Nutrition (USN).

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

â??Living a healthy lifestyle requires making smaller, more manageable changes in the early stages, and then gradually introducing positive habits to continually achieve better results. This will help you to slowly ease into a wholesome, holistic approach, avoiding the drastic lifestyle alterations that are just not maintainable in the long run.â? 

Plan your goals 

Friday, 15 February is National Healthy Lifestyles Day and itâ??s the perfect excuse to get back on track with your healthy resolutions! 

We all have the ultimate goal in mind, but no idea on how to actually achieve it. Try to plan your approach in three phases of four weeks each as this allows you to set goals within each phase. 

  • Phase 1: Aim to eat three well-balanced meals per day and attend the gym three times per week in the first four weeks.

  • Phase 2: In the second four-week phase, exercise with four cardio sessions and four resistance sessions weekly. Eat five to six smaller snack sized meals daily and use supplementation to your advantage. 

  • Phase 3: In the third four-week phase, undertake to do five cardio and five resistance sessions, with one outdoor fitness class over weekends, while remaining consistent with your dietary approach. 

Speak to the professionals for advice and guidance and be prepared to make changes as you progress. 

â??Itâ??s also a good idea to be accountable to someone, whether it is a family member, personal trainer or a training partner. You will then be motivated to deliver weekly progress, knowing that every dietary and training choice that you make has the potential to influence your result,â? advises Powell.

Training and eating correctly

Ask experts to create a goal-specific eating plan, or use an existing programme that has already yielded positive results.  

â??It can be difficult to maintain the ideal diet throughout your training programme but taking advantage of snack replacement shakes and protein powders if you are too busy to prepare healthy food can ensure you donâ??t deviate from your plan.â? 

â??Changing your lifestyle requires a lot of commitment, discipline and a positive attitude. However, by doing the right research and planning ahead, it is possible for people to make positive and lasting changes to their lifestyles,â? concludes Powell.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.