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Your Playbook For The New Year
We're Not Making Resolutions, We're Making Solutions
New Years is minutes away. I delayed this post on purpose to drop right before the New Year. A lot of people are going to say “this is the year I finally get fit” or “This is the year I lose 50lbs and get in shape”. Great goals, but goals without a system and plan are largely just going to remain that: goals.
I debated making this post for just paying subscribers because of the wealth of information in here, but I think it’s important that everyone has a level playing field and has a real plan to make their health better.
For the post on New Year’s Day, which is going to lay out a 30 day challenge for you (like 75 Hard, but different) upgrade to a paid subscription (you won’t want to miss this one):
Take Complete and Total Control Of Your Health in 2022!
If you look back at one of my most popular posts: “So... You Got Fat... What Now?”, you will see how this post is going to play out. I am going to give you actionable steps to take everyday so you can create a system—not goals—to actually make this your healthiest year yet.
Why Goals Don’t Work
Before I break everything down for you, I want to answer a question you might have: “Why are you saying goals don’t work”, and this comes down to a few psychological factors:
When we have a goal we are constantly chasing something, and psychologically feel like we are always behind and not “good enough”.
Many people make goals which they might very well reach, but without a system, might not be able to identify what made them successful and how to replicate this in the future.
Instead of these goals we want systems. A system is simple things we do everyday that will lead us to our ideal state. We know if we do XYZ everyday overtime it will take us from point A to Point B.
This also allows us to identify sticking points and create something that is more of a lifestyle rather than a goal—which the framing of something as a goal can lead to us subconsciously believing it is a temporary action that will cease when we finally reach said goal.
An example of this is:
Goal - I am going to lose 50lbs by the end of 2022.
System - Everyday I will walk 10,000 steps, eat at a 500 calorie deficit, hit the gym 4 times a week, and do cardio on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
So what I’m giving you today is a system, something we can follow, adjust as needed, and ultimately adopt as a lifelong habit.
Your 2022 Fitness System
Bloodwork - Week 1 of New Year and Week 26
The first thing we should do is go get bloodwork done. Recently there was a story of a 44 year old man, pretty jacked, ate a clean diet, and had a 95% blockage of his arteries.
If he had gotten regular blood work, he would have been able to see that his lipids were off and his RBC was off, then could have taken the steps to prevent this.
(Nothing against this guy, I sincerely hope he makes a quick and speedy recovery and lives a long, happy life. Just a good example).
By scheduling blood work our first week of the New Year, we can see exactly what story our health is telling from the inside—the most important part.
This gives us a benchmark and identifies any issues we may have so we can take the proper steps to fix them whether it be supplements, lifestyle changes, etc.
This is so important it’s the first thing I listed, and obviously 99.99% of you follow me on Twitter, so you see me harp about the importance of this all the time.
For the blood work itself we want to test for the following at a minimum:
Complete Blood Count / CBC (includes Differential and Platelets): WBC, RBC, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, Platelet Count, MPV and Differential (Absolute and Percent - Neutrophils, Lymphocytes, Monocytes, Eosinophils, and Basophils)
Comprehensive Metabolic Profile ( includes eGFR ): Albumin, Albumin/Globulin Ratio (calculated), Alkaline Phosphatase, ALT, AST, BUN/Creatinine Ratio (calculated), Calcium, Carbon Dioxide, Chloride, Creatinine with GFR Estimated, Globulin (calculated), Glucose, Potassium, Sodium, Total Bilirubin, Total Protein, Urea Nitrogen
Estradiol, Ultrasensitive, LC/MS/MS
Insulin-Like Growth Factor I (IGF-I, LC/MS)
Lipid Profile: Cholesterol, total; high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol; low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (calculated); triglycerides; Non-HDL Cholesterol (calculated)
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)
Testosterone, Free and Total, LC/MS/MS: This testosterone test will also provide Total Testosterone results when the value is >1500 but <10,000.
Thyroid Profile w/ TSH: T3 Uptake; T4 (Thyroxine), Total; Free T4 Index (T7); Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
This is exactly (I copy/pasted from the site) the test I recommend. You can purchase your labs HERE. This test is $180, so a total of $360 a year to ensure you’re completely healthy, and not going to get an unpleasant surprise.
Another great method, that is much more expensive depending on the plan is InsideTracker. They will analyze your bloodwork and actually put together a plan and suggest supplements (and even foods) that are going to benefit you the most. Plans are from $200-$600.
I cannot place more emphasis on how important this is—it can save your life.
Having a regular, daily schedule can set you up for immense success with your fitness (and life) progress. This can help us normalize things like sleep, eating, staying consistent with our training, and other facets of our fitness.
This is especially important with our sleep. By going to bed and waking up at as close to the same time every day/night you will greatly increase the quality of your sleep and your energy throughout the day.
The easiest way to ensure you stick to your fitness plan is working with your schedule, not against it.
Meaning if you have a crazy, hectic schedule: going to the gym first thing in the morning might be best for you. If you have trouble cooking meals, have a day or two a week you meal prep and figure out an eating schedule that works best for you. If you hate the mornings, push your lifts to the evening, etc.
The easier we can make this on ourselves the more successful we will be.
If you don’t have a gym membership, get one. If you don’t have a workout program, I have about 10 on this substack. Do whatever you need to get into the gym and start the year off with a bang.
If you don’t have a gym, don’t make any excuses—bodyweight exercises can absolutely build muscle and get you in shape (I also have a Bodyweight Program).
The best way to ensure this becomes a habit is simple: put your shoes on, get in the car, and don’t even think about it. If you show up you’ve already won half the battle. You’ll notice that even the days you don’t want to go, you end up having some of your best workouts those days.
For no reason other than injury or extreme circumstances should you skip the gym. You’re going to be sore—this is normal—but don’t skip a workout because you’re sore.
After 12-16 weeks you are going to see serious changes in the gym—you will more than likely at this point be “addicted” to the gym—it will be both a habit and you’ll be enjoying the process immensely.
Eliminate all processed food, buy a food scale, and download an app to track your calories.
If you can figure out your daily caloric needs and figure out how much to eat to track your goals, you will be successful.
This is all extremely simple and I’ll lay out the exact steps to take:
Use an app/website/whatever and calculate your estimated Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)—I use the one on my website or this one.
Decide on your goal—whether you want to lose fat or build muscle—and set your target calories for the day. The general rule of thumb is 500 calorie deficit if you want to lose fat (subtract 500 from TDEE) or add 300-500 calories to your TDEE for a caloric surplus if you want to build muscle.
Buy a food scale—any of them work and are cheap at your local grocery store. I’d post the one I use but substack doesn’t allow Amazon links—any of them work.
Figure out a way to structure your meals in a way that fit your caloric needs—I have multiple posts on the Substack in the archives on how to do this.
Finally, use the mirror and other cues like the scale to gauge progress and make slight changes so that you are on the right path for your goal of weight loss or muscle gain.
If you can simply follow this and make sure you’re eating good, clean, whole foods you will no doubt improve both your health and fitness substantially.
Almost as important as going to the gym and eating proper is keeping your daily activity high.
Tracking steps is an easy way to do this and most of us have a smartphone that automatically track this. We can also do things like stand up when we are working.
It has been found that walking at least 7000 steps a day can reduce our chance of premature death substantially. This is one of the fastest and most actionable ways we can lose weight and improve our health.
This also ties into our TDEE—the more active we are, the more Non-Exercise Energy Expenditure (NEAT) we have, and the more we can eat and still lose weight.
Most people get around 2000-4000 steps a day, so taking this number from 2500 to 10,000 is 4 times more steps—this is significantly more calories burned.
Your goal should be 10,000 steps a day, and don’t let the number scare you, this is very easy and you can easily “accidentally” surpass this number by just being more cognizant of moving more.
Take your dogs for walks (it’s good for both of you), take short walks after you eat, instead of listening to podcasts or talking on the phone at your desk, walk instead (it increases your brain power).
You should plan on getting no less than 7 hours (6 on extreme circumstances) every night. If you can get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, you will not only feel 100x better, but you will build more muscle, lose more fat, and also increase your longevity.
Build a good sleep routine. Limit your blue light, have set bedtimes and wake up times, limit your afternoon caffeine intake, and try your hardest to make this a habit.
Don’t sit there and scroll social media or watch television all night—get to sleep and you will reap immense rewards.
Master your sleep and you will master your life. This year, do not skimp out on sleep—it will make you more productive and immensely more successful in the gym.
Weightlifting does not count as cardio—anyone who says otherwise is selling you misleading information. You don’t need to go overboard, but 3x a week for 20 minutes will yield you immense benefits for your heart and total health.
If you are following the Upper/Lower or Full-Body Program, do the cardio on your rest days—even if you’re sore because it’s beneficial to your recovery.
I also suggest adding 1 day of HIIT a week—we need to be training everything, and the human body was made for sprinting/cycling/rowing, etc. at high heart rates.
If you can do 1 HIIT session and 2 LISS sessions a week, you will be doing more than enough for optimal heart and mitochondrial health.
Putting It All Together
Resolutions get a lot of hate—I don’t get it because this can be an excellent starting point to get the ball rolling. No one looking to improve their life should get any hate.
This is the short list of the systems to put into place to ensure 2022 is the best year of your life in terms of health and fitness:
Get your bloodwork done this week, and 6 months from now.
Set up some type of daily routine that will help facilitate adherence to your fitness goals of the year.
Get on a weightlifting program and follow it—don’t skip sessions, and don’t switch up your program to the “new shiny object”.
Clean up your diet and actually start tracking what you’re eating. Eat towards your body composition goal and follow the numbers.
Get 10,000 Steps a Day.
Sleep 7-8 hours every night and have some type of routine to ensure your success.
Get at least 3 days of cardio in a week. Do it all, HIIT and LISS.
I can guarantee you, if you can follow this system, you will absolutely transform your life in 2022.
Tomorrow, I will be posting a very specific protocol, breaking each one of these into more specific parts. A system that we can follow to the T for the most optimal results, and ensure we create a lifelong habit. Like literally verbatim, like if you can follow it even 80%, you’ll get crazy results, that serious.
You owe it to yourself to get into the best shape of your life this year—don’t let you and your family down.
Happy New Year,
This is not Legal, Medical, or Financial advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting any workout program, diet plan, or supplement protocol. These are opinions from a Cartoon Ox.