We have again gone full circle… a new year has started… what does 2018 hold for you? Is this going to be the year you finally achieve your health, fitness and fat loss goals?

The number one New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight and improve health. However, there is such a high percentage of failure in achieving this simple goal. Most people start strong with conviction and dedication but fall by the wayside, usually within three months. Their motivation gone and their determination destroyed. A lot of the time this happens because they do not see the results they were hoping for or expecting. Exercise regimes must be set up to match the individual’s specific requirements and then evolve as things change.

The majority of failed cases I see are people who don’t adjust their routines regularly enough to stimulate continued improvements. Knowing when to changes things up is an essential element of achieving great results. Here are my top five signs that it’s time to change or that you could be doing more during your workouts:

1 – Your performance is not improving:
Progress is a fundamental component of successful workouts. If you are exercising correctly you should see strength improvements within a two-week period. This means lifting the same weight for more reps, increasing the weight for the same amount of reps, running the same distance at a lower heart rate or achieving faster recovery, travelling further in the same amount of time, etc. If you do not see some form of performance improvement within a two week period it’s a sign to change your plan.

2 – You’re not feeling fatigued or sore:
A little bit of achiness indicates you worked hard enough to damage your system and muscles. This is important, as it will lead them to recover and grow back stronger when fuelled by correct nutrition. While you won’t want to feel sore every day, if you’re never sore post-workout, it could mean you’re not overloading your system enough to stimulate change. If you are no longer sore it is time to change your workout by increasing your training volume or switching up the types of movements you’re doing.

3 – Your body shape doesn’t change at all:
If your workout and nutrition does not create a change in your body’s appearance then it is failing to be effective. Simple. If you body doesn’t change you must change your approach.

4 – You’re tired:
Overtraining this isn’t about muscle soreness it’s more related to overall energy. We have sore muscles all the time but our energy is high. Feeling tired means you need to rest. Exercising causes stress on your central nervous system and it is crucial that you plan enough recovery. You receive the gains from exercise when you recover, not when you exercise. Not obtaining enough recovery means not obtaining results.

5 –You’re bored:
It’s normal to have an off day. Or two. But if your workouts always have you bored to tears you will never be able to stick with it. Exercise should be fun. You need to choose activities that will be effective and also don’t kill your motivation. Once you’re feeling invigorated by your routine, you can start manipulating the variables of your workout — intensity, frequency, load — to continue making progress.

Make 2018 the year you achieve your goals… be smart about how you plan your workouts, so that you get the most out of them and achieve the results you’ve always wanted.

Phil Kelly is a health practitioner and expert in body transformation. His services are available at Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com).