Ready for a better start to your New Year? Awaken the force within you by embracing these simple training principles that pave the way for success.

You’ve undoubtedly been exposed to the mass marketing for the new Star Wars movie The Force Awakens. And most likely you've even seen it a time or two.

As new beginnings were revealed in the movie, you too may be in a positon to start a new beginning. The New Year is in full swing and you might make a few resolutions, keep some, drop some, and possibly renew a few here and there. When it comes to your training and wanting to improve your physique, it can get a bit confusing at times.

Do you keep doing what you were doing in 2015? Do you start over from scratch? Or do you adopt an advanced routine from someone else in hopes of finally getting the body you want?

Let's wipe the slate clean and get back to basics to finally awaken the new you. Start from the ground up and finally get you on the right track to your best physique yet.

Related: Kick-Start Your Fat Loss with this Brutal 21-Day Workout!

Start of the New Year Guidelines

First, let’s get some simple principles down. These should provide the foundation for any and all programs you decide to undertake, physical or mental. They are universal and can be applied to almost anything in life.

1. Start Simple

The most successful plans are usually the most basic. Confusing methods that seem too involved and frustrating to follow don’t last long. Simple to follow plans and instructions with clear goals are always the best way to go. Avoid confusion which will only cause stress in the long run. Keep your goals, plans, and practices simple and easy to follow. That way you will have the best chance for success.

New Years Training Principles: Start simple

2. Give Time for Practice

Jumping into something headfirst is admirable and motivating. Giving everything you’ve got straight out of the gate is something many believe is required to be successful. Most of the time starting a new training program this way will quickly lead to burnout and eventually failure. Give yourself time for practice. Don’t take every single set and rep to absolute muscular failure. Your momentum and discipline will slowly build into substantial habits which will carry you through thick and thin.

3. Progress Gradually

It’s tempting to haphazardly race to the finish line. When you are making great progress, you want that momentum to continue at light speed. But for lasting success – the type of success that becomes ingrained in your life, you should take small steps forward. You will better navigate your journey and create a more solid foundation.

4. Stay the Course

With everything at our fingertips, we’ve lost touch with how it really feels to devote time and patience to a task and/or goal; especially when that goal requires long-term commitment. Anything worth having requires hard work and plenty of time. You must have patience and give any new program at least 6 weeks to take effect. Then and only then will you know if what you are doing is working or not.

5. Don't Get Sidetracked

Your journey will include plenty of weak moments and distractions. You will see many new programs, plans and promises along the way beckoning you to quit what you are doing and shift gears. Don’t. Also, keep your training consistent. Sporadic workouts will give you subpar results. Important things will come up – deal with them the best you can, but don’t succumb to worthless endeavors like laziness, useless use of technology, and other modern distractions.

Related: Is Analysis Paralysis Sabotaging your Results?

Basic Training Principles

New Years Training Principles: Learn the basics

Let’s go over a few basic training principles. These are just a starting point to get you moving in the right direction, so feel free to adjust things slightly as you see fit.

  1. Use mainly multi-joint, compound lifts such as bench presses, shoulder presses, dips and squats.
  2. Perform moderate reps of 8 to 12 reps but feel free to get in a few sets of 6 or 15 or even 20 every so often.
  3. Keep sets moderate to around 12 total for larger body parts such as chest, back and legs and 9 or so total for arms, shoulders and calves.
  4. Use moderate amounts of weight so you can perform within your rep range with textbook form.
  5. Start training 4 days per week with no more than two consecutive training days in a row.
  6. Pay close attention to rest periods which should fall from 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Warm-ups prior to training and stretching and mobility after training should be practiced on each training day.
  8. Cardio of your choice (interval or steady state) can be performed after training and/or on off days.

New Year, New You Training Program

Looking for a program that you can finally stick to? Here's a sample upper/lower body split. Perform each training day twice per week (e.g. Mon, Tue, Thurs, Fri).

Day 1 and Day 3: Upper Body
Exercise Warm Ups Work Sets Rest (in sec)
Incline Barbell Bench Press 2x12 3x8-12 90
Flat Barbell Bench Press - 3x8-12 90
Medium-Grip Pull-Up or Lat Pulldown 2x12 3x8-12 (AMRAP for Pull Ups) 90
Barbell Row or T-Bar Row - 3x8-12 90
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 1x12 3x8-12 60
Standing Barbell or Dumbbell Curl 1x12 3x8-12 60
Parallel Bar Dip or Close-Grip Bench Press 1x12 3x8-12 60
Lying or Hanging Leg Raise - 3x10-15 30

After the workout, immediately do 14 minutes of interval training. Using any form of cardio, complete a two minute warmup and then do 4 rounds of 1 minute high intensity to 2 minutes low intensity. Or, do 20 minutes steady state cardio.

Day 2 and Day 4: Lower Body
Exercise Warm Ups Work Sets Rest (in sec)
Barbell Back Squat 2x12 3x8-12 90
Leg Press/Sled - 3x8-12 90
Barbell or Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift 1x12 3x8-12 90
Forward Lunge or Lying Leg Curl - 3x8-12 60
Standing or Seated Calf Raise 1x12 3x8-12 60
Floor Crunch or Incline Sit Up   3x8-12 60

After the workout, immediately do 14 minutes of interval training. Using any form of cardio, complete a two minute warmup and then do 4 rounds of 1 minute high intensity to 2 minutes low intensity. Or, do 20 minutes steady state cardio.

Posted on: Tue, 01/12/2016 - 19:10

The warm-up component of each exercise should be done with what kind of weights? Lower than you're used to or high than you're used to?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 01/14/2016 - 10:01

Hi Chris. You can keep it simple and just use about 50% of your working weight. Also, warm-ups can be personal - meaning that you may need more or less depending on your own body preferences.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/12/2016 - 09:43

If you start this program I'd love for you to let me know how you do.