It's a brand new year and that means thousands of people are getting gym memberships in an attempt to lead a healthier lifestyle, myself included. There are no short cuts to getting that beach body you want but maybe some tips from a professional can help more people achieve their goals just in time for the summer.

Eric Villarreal, a fitness specialist and personal trainer/strength coach with the Covenant LifeStyle Centre and a Texas Tech alumni, suggests that everyone make time. We seem to be going zero to 100 everyday but it's important that we make time for exercise and make time to meal prep our food so we always know exactly what we are putting in our bodies. Also, planning ahead will simplify our already busy schedules so we spend less time in a drive-thru and more time on our health.

The second piece of advice is to get active. For some of you, like myself, who haven't stepped foot into a gym in years that may sound easier said than done. Eric advises everyone to focus on current level, like for instance beginners should start slow and just move to get their heart rate going. Intermediate athletes should start some light lifting along with cardio so they don't injure themselves which could put your goals on hold. Advanced athletes should also focus on perfecting their techniques along with trying new exercises, mix it up a bit.

Everyone eats and changing your diet can be hard but eliminating just one vice at a time from your diet can benefit you in the long run. Eric suggest people eliminate unnecessary sugars, high caloric foods, and processed foods and instead add more lean meats and vegetables to their diet. Starving yourself is not a viable option either since it will leave you with no energy, it's unhealthy, and can result in low blood sugar which has its own bad symptoms.

Going cold turkey can make this new journey very difficult but we are so accustomed to this fast life with fast food that we haven't noticed we are addicts. Like any addict we do have to ween ourselves off of those things that are bad for our bodies and with time it will become a habit to just not eat those things. So as you suffer from withdrawals from all those bad habits just remember that this is just a memory and you are in the future looking back leading a great life. Rome was not built in day so take this journey slow because you are worth it.

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