How long has it been since you last saw any significant improvements in your physique? If you’ve been training for more than a couple of years, your progress may be very slow or may even have ground to a halt.
Many bodybuilders get stuck in progress ruts, and what better time to get things back on track than the start of a new year.
15 New Year’s Resolutions for Bodybuilders
— Fitness Volt (@fitness_volt) January 1, 2022
Change how you look, feel, and perform with these bodybuilding New Year’s Resolutions! You don’t need to do them all, but making a few of the following changes will have a significant impact on your bodybuilding progress.
1. Meet your protein needs every day
Protein is the foundation of the bodybuilding diet. Your body uses protein and the amino acids it contains for muscle repair and growth. If you don’t consume enough protein, your progress will be far slower than it should be and could even be non-existent.
Commit to consuming at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight or use our online protein calculator to determine your precise protein needs. Then make sure you hit that target every day of the week.
If you can’t get enough protein from whole foods, such as eggs, meat, fish, etc., supplement your diet with a high-quality protein powder.
2. Eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruit every day
As well as protein, your body needs vitamins, minerals, and fiber to function correctly. Your primary source of these nutrients is plant foods, i.e., vegetables and fruits.
Make sure you get enough micronutrients by eating five portions of vegetables and fruit every day.
That doesn’t mean five portions of vegetables AND fruit, although that’s a good goal if you are very committed to healthy eating. Instead, we suggest eating five portions of vegetables and/or fruits per day, e.g.,
- 1 banana at breakfast
- 1 apple at lunch
- 1 serving each of broccoli, carrots, and sweet potato at dinner
Consider this your minimum plant food intake, and anything above and beyond five portions per day is a healthful bonus.
3. Start tracking your food intake
If you are struggling to lose fat or gain muscle, your diet is probably the problem. Adjusting your macro and calorie intake will ensure that you’re consuming enough food to fuel muscle growth, but not so many calories that you’ll gain fat.
The only way to manage your food intake is to measure it – and that means tracking your meals.
You won’t need to do this indefinitely, but tracking your food intake for a month or two will reveal if your diet matches your training goal.
If you are working out regularly and still not making progress, tracking your food intake will probably reveal why.
Related: How many calories to eat per day?
4. Stick to a sensible supplement regimen
A lot of bodybuilders use supplements, but many fail to get the results they deserve because every time they hear of a new product, they use it for a month and then move on to the next miracle powder or pill. This is nothing more than a waste of money.
So, stop jumping on every supplement bandwagon that comes along and stick to a sensible, sustainable supplement regimen.
Pick 3-5 tried and tested products and commit to using them all year. That way, you’ll get more from your products, the effects of which are often cumulative.
Proven bodybuilding supplements include:
Of course, you could also choose to do 2022 without supplements, and that can work too.
5. Drink more water
It’s very easy to take drinking water for granted. Thirst is your body’s primary indicator of hydration. Still, if you drink a lot of soda, juice, coffee, etc., you may never feel thirsty despite failing to consume much or even any plain water.
Drinking water is good for every aspect of your health, including digestive health, brain function, joint health, skin health, appetite control, and fat burning.
Make 2022 the year you drink more water than soda and coffee. Your body will thank you for it!
6. Learn to write your own bodybuilding programs
A lot of bodybuilders make up their workouts on the spot. They go to the gym with the vague idea that it’s chest day or arm day and then do whatever exercises they feel like. This is NOT a good way to train.
You’ll get much better results if you follow a pre-planned program. We’ve got lots of workouts for you to try, but you’ll get better results if you learn to write your own programs.
Writing your own bodybuilding programs means you can adapt your workouts according to your strengths and weaknesses, the time you have available for training, and the equipment at your gym.
It’s like getting a suit made – yes, you can buy “off the peg,” but you’ll look so much better in something that’s made to measure!
Writing a good workout program can take a few attempts, but that’s all part of the learning process. Your efforts will be rewarded, though, as you take control of your bodybuilding progress.
7. Change your workout every three months
If you want to change your body, you need to challenge it. Doing the same workout over and over again, even a well-designed one, will eventually lead to a progress rut. Many bodybuilders are guilty of doing the same program long past its “best by” date, and their progress grinds to a halt as a result.
Avoid progress plateaus by changing your workout every three months or sooner if your gains are slow or non-existent.
Use different exercises, set/rep schemes, intensity levels, and training systems to maximize your progress, and don’t forget to include some deloads, too. However, resist the temptation to change your program too often, such as every 3-4 weeks. That’s as counterproductive as never changing your workout.
8. Set some goals
Every bodybuilder’s main goal is to get bigger. However, getting bigger is a pretty vague concept. After all, eating a lot of junk food will make your waist grow, but that’s not exactly a sign of bodybuilding success, right?!
Instead, create and start working toward some more specific bodybuilding-related goals.
- A specific upper arm or chest measurement
- A bodyweight goal
- A body fat goal
- A bench press, squat, or deadlift personal record
- A bodybuilding competition
Working toward a goal gives your training and diet more purpose, discourages unplanned breaks, and will help fuel your motivation.
9. Do a bulking/cutting cycle
One of the best ways to make a lot of progress in a short time is to do a cycle or two of bulking and cutting. While this is a time-honored approach to bodybuilding, it’s also fallen out of favor because a lot of people fear gaining fat.
However, done right, bulking and cutting is arguably the best way to develop appreciable amounts of muscle and then shed unwanted fat.
If you’ve tried the lean gains approach to body recomposition and found it ineffective, it’s time to go old-school and do a four-month bulk followed by a two-month cut. Six months from now, you could be in the best shape of your life!
10. Walk 10,000 steps per day
Brisk walking is one of the best things you can do for your body. It’s good for your heart, lungs, and circulatory system, enhances recovery between intense bodybuilding workouts, and will make losing body fat much more manageable.
You don’t need to walk all 10,000 steps in one go – although you can if you wish. Instead, accumulate them throughout the day whenever the opportunity arises. Most phones will track your steps, and you can even set reminders to get up and move every couple of hours.
However you do it, walking 10,000 steps a day for one year straight will have a significant impact on how you look and feel.
Related: Calories Burned Walking Calculator
11. Do 100 band pull-aparts a day
Most bodybuilders have overdeveloped anterior deltoids and underdeveloped posterior deltoids. This can lead to poor posture, imbalanced shoulder joints, and shoulder pain. Sitting at a desk all day can compound this problem.
Doing 100 band pull-aparts a day will help undo the damage of prolonged sitting, improve your posture, improve shoulder health and stability, and improve your upper body shape.
Buy a resistance band and keep it nearby so you can do a few sets of 10-20 pull-aparts every day.
This small commitment will have a massive impact on your appearance and performance. (I’ve done two sets of 20 reps while writing this article!)
12. Get eight hours of sleep per night
Sleep is critical for building muscle and losing fat. It’s the most anabolic time of the day and crucial for ensuring you have the energy you need for training.
And yet, despite its obvious importance, many bodybuilders fail to get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night.
In most cases, getting more sleep is a matter of self-discipline. You just need to commit to going to bed earlier! That means turning off the TV, shutting off your phone/tablet, or simply being better organized so you can hit the hay earlier.
A year of better sleep could be precisely what you need to take the brakes off your progress and build more muscle or lose more fat than ever before.
13. Give up those bad habits
New Year is a traditional time for giving up bad habits, such as smoking, drinking, or recreational drug use. As well as being bad for your health, these habits can also undermine your bodybuilding progress.
Bad habits are largely a matter of choice. You can choose not to do them or choose to let those bad habits control you.
As a bodybuilder, you already have stronger than average willpower. You work out when you’re tired, push your body harder than most people are willing to do, and are committed to building bigger, stronger muscles. Giving up your bad habits is just one more part of the bodybuilding process.
Apply the same willpower you use to get you through your workouts to your bad habits – you’ll soon have them beat. And don’t be afraid to ask for help and support if you need it.
14. Get a training partner
While there is nothing wrong with training on your own, a lot of bodybuilders do better when they work out with a training partner.
A training partner can help you reach your goals faster by:
- Providing motivation and encouragement
- Spotting you so you can train harder
- Offering feedback on form
- Making sure you show up to the gym because you know they’re waiting for you
And remember, while a training partner will do this for you, it’s your responsibility to do the same for them – it’s a two-way street!
Either way, if you need support to keep you on track, a training partner can help. However, a bad training partner can be a nightmare and do more harm than good, so be ready to cut them loose if your partner is a hindrance and not a help.
15. Find a new gym
Joining a new gym is one of the best ways to liven up your workouts and rekindle your training motivation. New equipment can add an extra dimension to your workouts, and seeing other people work out can be a source of training information and inspiration. You may even find a new role model or training partner.
Alternatively, 2022 could be the perfect year for setting up your perfect home or garage gym. Training at home means less time spent commuting, no queuing for the equipment you want to use, and 24/7 access. You’ll also have sole control over the music which is good news indeed because most gym instructors have TERRIBLE music taste!
Regardless of whether you find a new gym to train in or build your own, a new training venue could be just what you need to breathe life into your stale workout routine and make this your best year for building muscle.
New Year’s Resolutions are notoriously hard to stick to. In fact, as many as 80-percent of resolutions are broken within six weeks of making them! (1)
The reason for this high failure rate is usually over-commitment. People tend to try and change too much or make changes that are too big to be sustainable. Willpower, the driving force behind change, is a limited commodity and soon runs out.
Make your resolutions easier to stick to by making smaller, less numerous changes. That way, you’ll avoid overloading your willpower muscle.
For example, take just 1-3 things from this list of resolutions for bodybuilders and do them for the next 2-3 months. Then, when those changes have become habits, pick another 1-3 things to work on.
That will be far more sustainable than changing lots of things at once.
Either way, if you want to make 2022 your best year of bodybuilding, it’s time to renew your commitment to building muscle, stop sabotaging your progress with bad habits, and start doing more of the things that will enhance your chances of success.
Happy New Year!
1 – PubMed:A large-scale experiment on New Year’s resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7725288/