Over the many years that I have been coaching I have always heard the same question being asked. "What is the best exercise for this?", "what is the best exercise for that?", "what is the best diet?" - of course people want to be following the most effective training and nutritional programme. People want results as quickly as possible. Obviously the rate of which people gain results will be very subjective. It'll be dependent on such things like age, gender, training age, experience in the gym, life style...the list goes on.
However, the very best programme (both training and nutrition) is a programme that you can adhere to. There is not point having a well thought out programme if there is not intention of actually executing that programme. Of course there will be more than likely a sacrifise to be made, whether it be time, money or effort but the intent has to be there. As long as the programme adheres to research based principles (training principles such as periodisation and exercise execution and nutritional principles such as energy balance) and you can adhere to the programme, then you are on for success.
Here are a few ways that can help you adhere to your health and fitness journey.
1) Hire a coach. Having a coach will keep you motivation, accountable and (as long as they're a good coach) will ensure that you are on an effective programme. Whether you have Personal Training, Group Training or Online Coaching, having someone there to keep you on track can be extrememly useful and will guarantee you the results you want.
2) Follow a programme. Obviously this is made a lot easier and made more effective with the assistance of a professional. Following an effective programme will ensure you improve in and out of the gym. You shall see changes in your performance and physique that you would not see otherwise. Make sure your programme (both training and nutritional) is evidence based and effectively executed.
3) Have a specific goal. Knowing exactly what you are working towards will help keep you motivated. Just turning up at the gym and wondering around doing this and that is not only going to not help you, but it'll feel pointless and you will more than likely quit. This is the same for your nutition. If you understand why you are doing what you are doing you will be far more likely to adhere to it.
3) Enjoy your lifestyle. Enjoying your training and nutrition is extremely important on the road to success. Make sure your goal and training is something that you wake up and look forward to working towards. Don't get me wrong, there has to be an aspect of sacrifice in your life and some days will be harder than other days - but if you hate your training and hate your diet you're not likely to stick to it.
4) Worry about the basics. There is a lot of talk in the fitness world about very complicated things, and there is conflicting information everywhere. It is very easy to get swept up in the complicated stuff and forget all about the basic principles.
When it comes to training - basic programming is more effective 9 times out of 10. You do not need to do a 3 way super set with crazy exercises or rest pause drop set every exercise to stimulate muscle growth. With nutrition - if you understand energy balance and macro-nutrient intake then you'll be absolutely fine. Companies and some coaches want to make it sound complicated so you have to buy their products.
5) Prepare your foods. Stop relying on take aways and get out the tupperware. Buy food in bulk and prepare it the night before (or whenever is convenient). This will ensure you are controlling your nutrient intake and it will probably save you some money.
6) Plan your training like any other event in your life. And don't cancel it...obviously.
I hope this helps, if you have any further questions then please let me know!