Make 2018 your year and get into the best shape you’ve ever been. It’s going to take some work, but by following our steps, you should start to see and feel the benefits in no time at all.

Keep up with your cardio

Whether you’re starting an exercise routine for the first time or are returning after a long break, you should start your cardiovascular exercises at 30 minutes before working your way up to longer stretches. In the beginning, keep your focus on moderate-intensity workouts like dancing and water aerobics before you start to increase both the duration of your workouts and the intensity. Some of the best high-intensity workouts include jogging, cycling and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) that helps you to burn more fat. If you can, aim for about 250 minutes of exercise per week.

Invest in your strength training

As we age, we start to naturally lose muscle mass, and this can result in fat gain. To combat this, invest time in strength training. This doesn’t mean that you have to work like a bodybuilder, but you should try to aim for at least three workouts per week that address one of the major muscle groups; chest, back, arms, abs, shoulders, hips and legs. Start with 8 to 12 reps of bodyweight lunges before adding weight to your chest presses, squats and deadlifts. Push yourself but remember to leave 48 hours between workouts for specific muscle groups to allow for the necessary repair and recovery.

Remember: you are what you eat

When you’re trying to get in shape, there’s no avoiding the fact that you’ll need to watch what you eat. To complement your fitness routine, fill your plate with a serving of lean protein, ½ to one cup of whole grains and the rest with a generous amount of veg or fruit. Scale all of your portions up or down to match your recommended calorie intake. There are even a number of companies out there that will deliver healthy food directly to your door such as Diet Delivery by Prestige Boot Camp.

Learn how to stay motivated

Staying motivated is incredibly tough, especially during the colder winter months when you want to skip the gym, stay indoors and eat your favourite comfort foods. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and there are plenty of ways that you can push yourself to stick to your routine. Set realistic goals, schedule regular workout times and don’t be afraid to switch up your exercises every now and again to keep it interested. Another proven way to boost your motivation is by joining a team or finding a workout partner –just make sure you choose one that has the same goals in mind.

Don’t starve yourself of rewards

Part of motivating yourself to exercise is the knowledge that you can reward yourself once you’ve reached a goal. An exercises reward system can be tailored to suit your goals and your lifestyle. For example, you might want to use money as an incentive by placing an amount in a jar. We recommend not using food as a reward, as making certain things completely off-limits might want you to binge them even more. Further down the line, you can reward yourself with something bigger like a weekend getaway.