Health Scene: New Year’s Resolutions

by Arthur Vandelay on January 7, 2015

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This article originally ran in the 2015 January/February issue of Scene Magazine

Aaron Williamson is a health advisor and fitness trainer to the film industry. He has helped craft the physical transformations of Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained, Zac Efron in Neighbors and Josh Brolin in Oldboy. He recently finished molding Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke into legendary action heroine Sarah Connor for Terminator: Genisys. Find out more at aaronwilliamson.net

According to a recent study, the number one new year’s resolution is two words: lose weight. Any yet only 8% of those resolutions are kept. What do you think most people who fail to meet their resolutions are doing wrong?
Everyone has the thought of going into the new year that they are going to get healthy, start eating better, or another similar resolution. Where they fall short is this: they have this idea in their head but there’s no blueprint. Once the new year rolls around and it’s time to achieve this goal, or resolution, there’s nothing to follow. If you go into the gym without a blueprint, especially if you are someone who is not familiar with the equipment and don’t know about nutrition, you kind of fumble around because you are trying to figure out what to do “on the go.” The best thing you can do is to put that plan on paper. There, you can begin to plan out how to make this goal a reality. Simply going into the gym with only an idea in your head is really setting yourself up for failure. I see it time and time again: people go to the store, go to the gym or go to the kitchen trying to get in shape and they just don’t know what to do. It’s because they haven’t thought the plan through. Make a plan, follow the plan and just stick with it. That’s the key to achieving your resolution or goal.

They go in with a goal but with no road map to get there.
Right. They go in with a head full of steam and no plan. The expectation is to have these amazing, dramatic results in such a short period of time. It’s just unrealistic. That’s where people get set up for failure. They don’t understand there’s a process to it. It’s not about just going to the gym for two or three weeks and then you are going to see these dramatic changes.

It also seems like many people make their resolutions too complicated. They are trying to accomplish major paradigm shifts. And yet most experts say you should keep your goal simple. What is a simple nutrition goal you can set?
Let’s break it down like this. Say you eat four meals a day (which is ideal for the normal person). That’s twenty-eight meals per week. That gives you twenty-eight chances to be successful in a week. If you fall short during a few meals, you are still on the right track. That’s nothing major and you won’t break your resolution. And remember, when you are starting a new nutrition plan at the beginning of the year, you don’t want to start off at 100 miles per hour like you are competing in a bodybuilding competition. You’ll burn yourself out. Just take it week-by-week, subtracting one thing from your diet each week, whether it’s sodas or a candy bar, or something you know is not healthy. Take one thing out and replace it with a piece of fruit or a vegetable, or something healthy. Those little things will help you make huge changes over time and you’ll feel better.

AWS-1What’s a simple training goal for the new year?
Exercise with other people. Whether it’s with a partner or in a group. There will be days where it’s going to be hard to find time to train, especially if you work long hours or have kids. If you have someone that’s there to help you to fit in that thirty minutes or an hour of exercise, that’s going to get you through those tough times. Going into the gym by yourself when you are tired, hungry or aggravated will make it a lot harder to push through what you need to do. If you have someone else there, you’ll be able to feed off each other’s motivation and energy. You are also making it more enjoyable, especially if you are a competitive person.

What if you lose sight of your goal?
First, you have to look at how you lost sight of it. Did you really give yourself enough time to accomplish the goal? Are you confused over the goal? Keep in mind that you have an entire year to accomplish this resolution. New year’s resolutions aren’t just about January and February. It’s a lifestyle change. There aren’t any quick fixes. So just step back and regroup. Maybe talk to a nutritionist or talk to a trainer, someone who can help you get your head back to where it needs to be. And just start again. There’s nothing wrong with it. It happens to the best of us. It’s happened to me before. Life happens. It throws you off and you just have to jump back in it. This is your life, and there are reasons you’ve decided to make these resolutions. And remind yourself: don’t ever give up because you may never know who is looking up to you. You never know who you are motivating.

You are really dispelling the myth that you must have a “perfect path” to reach your goal.
You can make mistakes and still reach your goal. Exactly. Don’t think you can compress a year’s worth of work into only one or two months. Keep a log. Keep a journal. Whatever is going to keep you on point and help you to compare your progress. Set mini-goals and when you reach those mini-goals, reflect on it. Give yourself a pat on the back for doing what you set out to do that week.

Don’t be afraid to indulge a little. That’s where a lot of people go wrong. They think they have to cut everything out. So many times they are so motivated at the beginning, only to get burnt out. If you have a craving, satisfy it. Eat a piece of chocolate. If you want to have a burger one night out with your friends, do it. You can still enjoy life and you don’t have to eat tuna with mustard and broccoli every day.

What else should we keep in mind going into the New Year with a more health-conscious mindset?
I’m kind of a big food sensitivity guy. With so many processed foods going around these days, people have developed more food sensitivities. When you are eating a meal that you think is healthy and light, but it leaves you feeling bloated for hours, there’s probably some type of sensitivity. Maybe brown rice or chicken or some fruit you’re eating doesn’t agree with your body. If you can figure out what that is, and swap it with something else, it will make a huge difference in the way you feel, your energy level and the way you look. Pay attention to what you’re eating & the way it makes you feel.

For more health and fitness tips, read the Health Scene online at health.sceneent.com and visit Aaron’s personal website at www.aaronwilliamson.net.


Fitness Myths: Busted 

“New Year’s Resolutions don’t work and there’s no benefit to making them.” 

They are beneficial but they only work if you do. If you don’t do the work, they don’t work. Dedicate yourself to what you want to achieve. Make that plan. Write it down. Follow it. Set those mini-goals. You will succeed. There are so many distractions in life. And if you don’t keep those goals you’ve created in mind, there’s always going to be an excuse for everything. What’s important is this: write that goal down and put it on your fridge. Put it on your bathroom mirror so that it becomes engrained in your mind. If you are thinking about it constantly, when something pops up, you won’t get deterred from what you have set out to achieve.

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