Here Are Some New Year's Resolutions That Worked

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A soldier drinks water before taking the Army physical fitness test.
U.S. Army Pfc. Robert Nelson drinks water before taking the Army physical fitness test at the 2017 Army Materiel Command's Best Warrior competition July 16, 2017, at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. (Sgt. 1st Class Teddy Wade/U.S. Army photo)

Here is one of many emails from people who stuck with my "45-Day Beginner Program" (PDF) and have built a habit of fitness and motivation to carry to the next level. Give yourself a few weeks, and you, too, can feel like this gentleman:

I just completed Day 35 of the 45-Day Beginner Plan, ... and all I can say is WOW! The plan has made a huge improvement in my everyday life. I feel better, stronger, have more energy, and my kids notice as well ... they say, "Daddy it looks like your 'bulk' is going down ..." ... that's what they called my rather large middle. I haven't really been watching my weight that close, but I would say I have lost somewhere between 12 and 15 lbs. ... I think the most important thing is to feel better and look better. ... and I know the weight is coming off as well. ... Thanks so much!

This week is not about tooting my own horn, but I'm hoping to help readers realize that if you follow a plan (any plan) of walking more, stretchingdrinking more water and watching what you eat (limiting excess sugar/fat calories), you can be well on your way to improving your energy level and getting in shape.

Other fitness success stories: 

Quit drinking soda

My own father, not a particularly fit person, quit drinking sodas and switched to water instead. Over the course of 2006, he lost 25 pounds by only adding water and subtracting sodas. Now he feels better and has added a fitness component to his life -- walking and stretching 20 minutes a day. I know 2007 will be a better year for him.

Water retention

A gentleman, who weighed more than 320 pounds and could not wear his watch, rings or shoes that he wore the year before, loses 20 pounds of retained water in one week. He did not sweat it off in a sauna, which is dangerous (see the "Weight Loss Myths" article); he actually added water to his current diet (which was dehydrating him).

He started drinking water throughout the day - up to 3-4 quarts of water and basically urinated all of the retained water and toxins from his body. In one week, he could wear his watch, ring and shoes.

After consulting a doctor after this weight loss, he had a clean bill of health, and the reason for his water retention was a high-sodium/low-water diet. His body went into camel mode, stored water and quit metabolizing fat at a normal rate. Now he is on a path of basic fitness, losing about two pounds a week. Want to lose weight? Just add water.

Swim workout progress

On another level of fitness, a young aspiring SEAL purchased the Combat Swimmer Stroke DVD in January and dropped his effort in swimming the 500-yard swim for the Navy SEAL entrance exam by 50% (went from 12 to six strokes per 25 yards) and decreased his time from 10:30 to 8:30.

Subsequently, since he was not as tired after the swim, his scores on the remaining exercises of the BUD/S physical screening test (PST) improved as well (1.5-mile run, pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups). See the "Combat Swimmer Stroke" article for more information.

If you have fallen off the wagon from your January 2007 resolutions, it's time to get back up and try again. Click the 45-Day Plan above and get the free starter plan, or go to the Military.com eBook Fitness Store and find a level of fitness suitable to you and your goals -- whether that goal is to ace the Army PFT or go Special Operations in the Navy.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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