When it comes to achieving your fitness and/or weight loss goals, diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. Unless you are genetically gifted, if you don’t incorporate both you’re likely to see only marginal results, but with so much advice out there it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are a few simple rules you can follow every day to help you get on the right path; that is the purpose of this article. It’s important to note when you first get started it’s ok to call them tips or tricks or whatever you want, eventually they need to become a way of life.
To get started, identify what your goals are.
1. Set Realistic Goals.
If you’ve never laced up a pair of running shoes in your life, you aren’t going to be running a marathon in a week. Possibly not even a month. That being said, don’t sell yourself short. If you are highly motivated and setup the right game plan you can achieve amazing results.
Do you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or run a marathon? It can be anything that’s been in the back of your mind recently or something that’s been bugging you for years. Whatever it is, write it down and look at it. Make sure instead of saying I want to run a marathon, say something like I want to be a marathon runner. This puts you in the mindset that it’s not just a one-off thing you do but a way of life.
Then ask yourself has anyone ever done this before? I’m fairly certain you can answer “yes.” Then ask yourself “what is stopping me from doing this myself?” You might say “well, I’m not good at running.” or “I’m not strong enough.” Then I want you to think about this, anyone that ever did anything amazing was a human being just like you and me. They had a brain and a consciousness just like you and me. So, why are you selling yourself short?
What set them apart was they let their goals consumed them. It became their life. Lacing up those running shoes was possibly the most important thing they ever did. Some might say it even gave them purpose.
Is it always easy for them? HA, not likely! You will have hardships, you will step on toes, and you will have to keep it in the back of your mind at all times. If you let something consume you and you constantly tweak and progress, you will move towards achieving your goals. Running a marathon is only an example. This can be applied to anything!
A little motivational quote:
Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
-Richard L. Evans
What’s great about achieving your fitness and weight loss goals is it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Simply incorporating a few things in your life will make all the difference. Once you have your goals let’s take a look at a few things you can start doing today that will help.
2. Do something every day to progress towards your goal.
Whether you are trying to build muscle or become a marathon runner, It’s important to do something new every day to move closer to your goal. Maybe you’ve just run your personal best on a training day or maybe learned a new breathing technique from a running magazine. To move towards your goals you need to keep pushing into uncharted territory. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you become stagnate. That’s when things become boring and you lose interest.
Sometimes life gets in the way and we suffer setbacks. Just remember it’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up. Everyone suffers setbacks, but it the ones that push through that will achieve greatness. Never give up on yourself, because you are worth it.
3. Get involved in different exercise/diet related hobbies.
This is a great way to move towards your goals. Obviousl,y weight training is a great hobby if you’re trying to build muscle but what about getting a personal trainer certification? It may not be as hard as you think. Just look for reputable companies such as ACE, NASM, ISSA, ACSM, or NSCA. There are literally 1000’s of options when it comes to personal trainers so do your research first.
When it comes to hobbies just be creative. You could get into mountain biking if you’re trying to lose weight, join a running club, or get into Powerlifting to build muscle. Some options for improving your diet could be vegan cooking classes, juicing, or join a health-food club. The number of options is only limited by your imagination.
4. Eat more fruits and veggies
It doesn’t matter what your goals are if you’re filling your stomach with junk food you’re not making maximum progress. You need to start eating healthier. One of the best ways to do that is to eat more fruits and veggies. You shouldn’t need to supplement your diet with a multivitamin. Get your vitamins from your diet. It doesn’t matter how you like them (unless they’re deep-fried) load up on them. Eventually, your body will begin to crave them! Plus, the added fiber will benefit you in ways you can’t even imagine.
5. Cut back on foods that are contradictory to your goals.
Added sugars and chemical laden processed foods are not necessary to our diets. If they were you would find them in nature. What’s scary is the lack of long-term research on these foods and what they do to our health. Trying to quit these foods is almost like trying to quit an addiction, but like I said, once it becomes a way of life it’s easy. Shoot for lean unprocessed meats and if possible locally grown organic fruits and veggies. Also, set a goal to eat 80% clean, 15% so-so, and 5% cheat. You don’t have to be perfect to see results, just be better than you are now.
6. Resistance train at least once every three days.
Schedule workouts like they are important meetings (seriously). Resistance training is crucial to maintaining muscle mass as you age. It’s also crucial to keeping you from getting flabby if you are dieting and doing cardio. You may not like to hear it, but if you don’t lift weights while dieting and doing cardio up to 25% of your weight loss could be muscle mass. For more information on this read my Health Benefits of Lifting Weights (Benefit #1).
What’s more, you don’t need a gym membership to do resistance training. There are thousands of YouTube videos that can show you simple body weight exercises you can do at home. You can also get a 3-peice budget home gym that will work every muscle in your body and pull some workouts from here. For more information on a home, gym read my 3-piece Home Budget Gym Post or check out my list of Home Gym Equipment. When training, focus primarily on total-body, or upper/lower-body split routines for the best results.
7. Get into a routine.
A routine takes out the guesswork and helps you clearly define your path. From your workout routine to your daily routine this will help you prepare for your day and ultimately lead to your success. You may not need to go as far as creating a daily itinerary, but it is important to be prepared. Pack your gym bag before you go to bed and take it with you to work, carry a healthy snack, or bike to work every day. It’s all about planning. See it in your head first and then do it. If it doesn’t work tweak it and try again. Whatever you do, don’t give up. The second you give up is the second you fail. Even if you have to step on a few toes, try and try again till you have it down.
Also get on a regular sleep schedule and maintain it. Our bodies don’t care if it’s Friday night or Monday night they want to go to bed around the same time every day and wake up around the same time every day. It’s called the circadian rhythm. By disrupting this rhythm, you throw your hormones and chemical responses off balance. This can inhibit sleep patterns and ultimately affect progress towards your goals.
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