How To Get Fit In January (and Beyond)

If you’re using the incentive of the new year to set some fresh health and fitness goals, more power to you. However, we’re not going to tell you to start eating 800 calories a day, or to wreck yourself in the gym seven days a week.

If improved fitness is top of your wish list in 2023, you need a more long-term approach than relying on a temporary boost of motivation.

So while this guide will help you get fit in January, there’s not much point in getting everything right for four weeks, only to fall off the wagon when February comes around.

Instead, this is about forming the healthy habits needed to set you up for life, not just the month.

How to get fit in January

close up of man with barbell on back performing squat

Strength training tips

Most strength training programs focus primarily on the big, compound lifts – which recruit maximum muscle and yield optimal results across the board. However, strength comes in many forms, and weights are not the only solution. You only need to look at a gymnast, for example, to know bodyweight training can build both muscle and seriously strong physiques. Ultimately, the best type of strength training for you depends on a number of factors – chief among them, basic enjoyment…

  1. How to burn body fat with strength training
    If you want to change your spare tire this January, there’s a better method than endless cardio.
  2. 22 ways to boost your strength
    From core control to progressive overload, this is your guide to getting stronger in 2023.
  3. How to get stronger without lifting heavy weights
    Getting stronger relies on a fundamental principle: progressive overload. Here’s how to achieve it without a gym-full of weights at your disposal.
  4. Weights vs. bodyweight: which is better?
    We asked two identical twins with similar fitness backgrounds to take on separate strength programs: one with weights, one using just bodyweight. Here’s what they discovered.
  5. Strength tips from record-breaking powerlifter John Haack
    Improve your bench, squat and deadlift strength with the help of a man who knows a lot about shifting tin.

STRENGTH TRAINING EQUIPMENT

  • Best dumbbells for home workouts
    There are several important reasons dumbbells are an ever-present in commercial and home gyms around the world: they’re massively versatile, easily scalable, and relatively cheap – at least for the light to medium weights, and especially compared to big-budget items like squat racks and treadmills. Which is why you’ll find no shortage of dumbbell-related content on our site.
  • Best resistance bands
    Bands are often dismissed as nothing more than warm-up accessories but, when you know how to use them, can be a highly effective – and portable – strength training tool. They’re also incredibly versatile and wallet-friendly.

man in gym performing exercise with medicine ball

Fat loss tips

While consistent strength training will go a long way to burning body fat, most people – unless blessed with rapid metabolisms – will also need to do some extracurricular work to hit their targets. A decade ago, that would mean high-intensity exercise (HIIT) and very little else, but these days there’s more of an awareness that HIIT – though time-efficient and the right approach for some – is not the only way to banish the beer belly…

  1. How to burn body fat
    Quick-fire nuggets of wisdom to set you on your way – without the need for ultra-restrictive diets.
  2. 16 ways to speed up your metabolism
    Accelerate fat loss with these expert- and science-backed methods for revving up your metabolic rate.
  3. Weight loss vs. fat loss
    Crucially, these are not the same thing. Here’s why the distinction matters.
  4. How to track calories
    It’s not suitable for everyone, but if you’re trying to get into a calorie deficit, here’s the straightforward method you need.
  5. How to get a six-pack
    Everyone has a solid set of abs – some are just less visible than others. We asked five fitness models for their best abs-revealing advice.

FITNESS PRODUCTS FOR FAT LOSS

Two women and two men on rowing machines in the gym

Cardio tips

Most men who exercise regularly fall into one of two camps: muscle chasers, and endurance enthusiasts. The former enjoys strength training in pursuit of a certain body type; the latter want to be as aerobically fit as possible. The reality, though, is that to reach your true fitness potential – in or out of the gym – you need a healthy balance of both. If strength training is your primary pursuit, both performance and aesthetics will be hugely improved by having a better engine. And making cardio integral to your routine will also set you up for a longer, healthier life…

  1. 5 ways to learn to love cardio
    If thoughts of long runs or sweaty spin classes have you running to the comfort of the weight room, here are some ways to make cardiovascular exercise more enjoyable.
  2. Cardio can change your cells to help you live longer
    And here’s why, beyond aesthetics or fitness, regular cardio can be life-changing.
  3. 5 steps to improve your running technique
    Running is so popular largely because it’s so accessible: slip on a pair of trainers and you’re good to go. At least, that’s the theory, but if you want to go further or faster, you need to focus on your form.
  4. How to use a treadmill effectively
    But if you prefer treadmill sessions, here’s how to make sure you’re maximizing your indoor running time.
  5. How to improve cycling fitness
    If cycling’s more your bag, get better at it with the help of elite coach Alan Milway.

CARDIO EQUIPMENT

Man in gym stretching his lower body with a lateral lunge

Mobility tips

More than your ability to touch your toes, or get into a deep squat, good mobility will improve the execution of every single exercise you do. And by improving technique, you improve muscle activation and ultimately gains in both strength and size. It also helps each joint move actively through full range of motion, which is crucial for keeping injuries at bay and creating a body that will last a lifetime.

  1. Why you need to work on mobility
    Good mobility can improve just about every facet of performance – whether in the gym or on the pitch.
  2. 5 ways to improve mobility and boost your strength
    Simple strategies for becoming more mobile.
  3. Four mobility stretches for men to do daily
    For the fastest and best results, make mobility a daily habit.
  4. Quick mobility routine
    Limber up pre-workout with these dynamic movements.
  5. Post-workout mobility routine
    And cool-down after your session with this routine.

RECOMMENDED STRETCHES

man performing single-arm dumbbell thruster

Workouts and exercises to try this January

Full-body workouts, in particular, are excellent if you only want to work out three days per week. If you make each of those days a solid full-body session, you’re going to be hitting every major muscle group – and triggering a far better fat-loss response than with conventional body-part split training…

  1. Dumbbell-only leg workout
    Build lower-body strength from your own front room – with just one pair of dumbbells.
  2. How to build back muscles
    The essential exercises for sculpting stronger back muscles.
  3. Dumbbell-only workout: try this full-body complex
    This six-move dumbbell-only full-body workout will help you burn body fat and build a lean, muscular physique.
  4. Lower abs workout
    Use specific exercises that flex your torso from the bottom up.
  5. Hit the gym with this 30-minute upper-body workout
    Half an hour is all you need to target every muscle in your upper body.

WORKOUT KIT TO BUY THIS JANUARY

close up of saucepan with steam coming out and man standing behind

January nutrition advice

Regular exercise and training with sufficient intensity is all well and good, but if your nutrition isn’t up to scratch, you won’t be getting the most bang for your buck from those workouts you’ve been slaving over. You know about protein, the importance of fruit and veg, and why too many post-work pints aren’t doing you any favors in the quest to shift belly fat, but there are some other crucial tweaks you could be making…

  1. 55 ways to eat better
    From general health to muscle size and sporting performance, improve across the board with these exercise nutrition tips.
  2. Protein powder recipes
    Pizzas, pancakes and more – all utilizing the power of protein powder.
  3. Benefits of fiber
    Everything you need to know about this essential macronutrient.
  4. 34 chef-approved cooking hacks you need to know
    Food specialists weigh in with their best time-saving, flavor-enhancing tips.
  5. Benefits of tofu
    Ditching the meat for ‘Veganuary’? Here’s why tofu is a gym-goer’s best friend.

NUTRITION PRODUCTS FOR JANUARY

Man with hands on knees in gym looking focused

Manage your mindset

By the time January rolls around – with a groggy head and several pounds to the good – most of us will feel compelled to burn away at least some of the festive excess. But before you jump straight on the treadmill, know that guilt is a weak motivator. If you really want to make 2023 your fittest year yet, you need to tap into other reasons for doing so…

  1. Avoid a January burnout
    The Movement Blueprint‘s Harvey Lawton cautions against going too hard in pursuit of your New Year rebuild.
  2. How to form healthy habits
    Turn temporary good behaviors into permanent healthy habits.
  3. How to push through when exercise gets tough
    The co-authors of Ouch: Why Pain Hurts, and Why it Doesn’t Have Todelve into the science of exercise-related discomfort.
  4. Simple breathing techniques
    Boost your energy and relieve stress with these simple techniques.
  5. 3 ways to practice ‘modern mindfulness’
    If you’re too distracted by modern life to find your head space through traditional meditation, try these accessible alternatives.

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