All too often, men choose New Year's resolutions, stay with them for a month, see no results, and end the process. It is the phenomenon behind the "January rush" – and the reason why most gyms are back in their usual amount until mid-March.
But you do not have to be one of the average guys to give up a fitness plan if you've lost your initial momentum. We talked to New York City-based trainer and strength coach Nick Ebner, C.P.T., to tell us how we can stay motivated and achieve results for life. Here are five frequently asked questions with answers from Ebner:
What is the key to staying motivated after the January rush?
Not only do you arrive at the gym and say, "I want to get in shape." No plan usually has no results. Nor should you pin your goals to something that is related to the body, such as "I want six packs" or "I want to burn my love handles."
I suggest achieving one or more performance goals. Make it measurable, eg. For example, "go to the gym three times a week" or "make sure you exercise a total of 1
How long will it take to see the results of an exercise program?
This depends on the person. The three factors that I find play the biggest role in recognizing results. These are the age of the exerciser, the past training / training histories and the consistency. If you are a young former athlete and work out 3-5 times a week, the results may be displayed in 2-4 weeks. If you're younger and a new trainee, the results can often be fast.
However, if you are 45 years old, you have never exercised and you have eaten badly in the last 20 years. Luckily, results are achieved faster with consistency.
How can I easily show that I'm making progress?
If your goals are body composition, have someone do a BioSignature Assessment, which is very accurate 12-point body fat and hormone evaluation every 4-6 weeks. If your goals are performance-based, run a practice journal or program log to see if what you're doing works.
How can I "cheat" my diet and still look better than last year?  Set yourself a realistic goal, how clean you think you can get your diet, and not how much you want to cheat. If you do not see the changes you want after 4-8 weeks, you need to move the ratio to the cleaner side. Make small changes until you see the results you're looking for, and set deadlines to see if what you're doing works. For most people, small changes are better than massive changes.
How can I make a shorter workout more effective?
Frequency, food and sleep! You can train for shorter increments per workout if you appear more often. You can train less and see changes in body composition as you add fuel to your body. Your body also changes when you sleep. So, if you're sleeping less than 7-9 hours a night, you probably will not get optimal results.
Use one or all of these tactics if you do not want to spend so much time in the gym. In half the time, you can get better results.