Here’s what will determine how your physical presence will change as another year unfolds

The two paths to fitness in 2022 couldn’t differ more. There’s the familiar sun-drenched path that’s littered with the footprints of heavy traffic, while the dimly lit unfamiliar path is overgrown with weeds from lack of use.

You and you alone will choose your path. Think of it as the amalgamation of the dozens, hundreds or even thousands of micro-decisions you make every hour, day, week, month and year. One trajectory propels you closer to your goals, and the other distances you from what you desire. It’s that simple.

Obstacles will arise on both paths. You’ll sail through some days and struggle through others. Some people on the path may seem to have an innate advantage, while the rest of us labor for every hint of progress. 

But there’s plenty to consider when it comes to planning for fitness in 2022. How do you want your physique to look? How will you train? An upper/lower alternating program that works the upper body one day and lower body the next?
Or a bro split that trains each muscle once a week?

What’s the nutritional strategy? Something quantitative like macros based on protein and carbs, or something qualitative like clean eating based on unprocessed foods? You call the shots.

A lot of micro-decisions will occur along the way, but let’s look at the big picture. Two characteristics far outweigh your training strategy and nutritional choices: consistency and stamina.

Think of the path to fitness as the amalgamation of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of micro-decisions. 

Consistency and stamina will make all the difference. Train heavy or train light, you either keep showing up or you don’t. Whether you count calories or cut carbs, you either keep working or you stop. Until you go all-in on consistency and stamina, nothing else really matters.

“OK, Jim, fine,” you may be thinking, “I’m interested, but this is all fluff and flowery stuff. Give me something practical that I can use today.”

Here you go: Train when you feel like it and train when you don’t. Eat broccoli when you’re digging it and eat it when you’re not. Do that over and over, again and again, for as long as it takes. This is the open secret. When you consistently show up and refuse to give up, it’s difficult not to change your physique radically.

So, as 2022 begins, you can fool yourself into thinking that the well-worn familiar path represents the only way forward. But that’s as false as the belief that consistency and stamina are special skills reserved for the elite. 

The choices are yours. 

Jim Schultz, Ph.D., a derivatives trader, fitness expert, owner of and the daily host of From Theory to Practice on the tastytrade network, was named North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation’s 2017 Novice Bodybuilding Champion. @jschultzf3