1) Working out doesn’t have to be a bad experience
Everyone immediately correlates exercise to being chained to a treadmill for long periods of time. This is the wrong mentality: with all the different types of exercises and free online fitness information available, exercise can be more of a game or hobby than a painful commitment. Jazzercize, zumba, yoga, free running, parkour, ultimate frisbee, aqua cycling, and tabata are some of the new fitness trends that have become large in the fitness environment. These are just some of the new things that have come out, but we can’t forget finding enjoyment in simple things like hiking, bicycling, swimming, and (for some people), running. My overall point is that you should find something you enjoy if you want to have a long term plan that will provide you with various physical and mental benefits.
2) Learn some nutrition basics
Some of the major downfalls people experience when trying to lose weight are nutrition based. You need to feed your body in relation to your exercise levels; using only nutrition to control your weight gives only short term results, and as soon as you go off the diet the weight often comes right back. In order to keep weight off in the long term, it’s important to establish a healthy diet as well as healthy exercise habits. Make sure to stay hydrated!
3) Create a schedule and STICK TO IT
Most people who are starting an exercise program or are planning a workout regimen somehow decide that, even without a schedule, they will actually work out regularly. Unfortunately, most of us have lives that tend to interfere with our workout schedules, and many people instantly sacrifice the workout to do something else. By creating a strict schedule you will not only be able to keep you workouts organized, but your body will adapt to the schedule in unique ways. Also, after establishing a schedule, you might feel guilty when you skip a planned workout. Once the schedule starts to get neglected, it is usually all downhill from there.
4) Set a tangible goal
If your goal is just to “get in shape,” you will have no way to track it or ever know you’ve succeeded in reaching your goal. It’s important to have a specific goal or goals in mind; generalized goals can be ambiguous and lead to demotivation. Your goal can be anything from having a goal of doing a pull-up by a certain date to running a marathon or losing a specific amount of weight.
5) Track your progress
Seeing progress towards your goal will help motivate you when you are doubting yourself. When you can look back and see that you have made progress over time, it’ll be easier to stay on track.
6) Find people that you can work out with
If you have a schedule, it is easy to collaborate with friends to exercise. If you have a gym membership, another benefit of sticking to a schedule is that you might get to know others that work out on a similar schedule or attend the same fitness classes you do.
7) Don’t be afraid to talk about it
Often times people are afraid to admit they go to a gym or are self-conscious when speaking about weight loss. Even if you are upset about your weight, remember that at least you are taking action to improvement.
8) Hydration is key
Water allows your body to function at its best and also aids in cleansing your body of toxins. With all the diuretics we are exposed to on a daily basis (like caffeine, alcohol, and various medications), the average person rarely consumes enough water.
9) Focus on what you are working on
Many people try to distract themselves from workouts by listening to music, reading books, or watching TV while working out so that it is less of a chore. Personally, I feel it’s important to focus on the workout–this will help you improve yourself exponentially. When I work out I pay very close attention to what exercises activate specific muscle groups and how they all feel.
10) Trust yourself and your plan
When people get frustrated they often question if what they are doing is working. This is when you need to recommit and believe in everything you are doing. Many times, people will start a weight loss program and gain a small amount of weight at the outset. Often, people will take this to mean that working out isn’t “working,” so they give up almost immediately. However, it’s important to remember that muscle weighs more than fat, and before you lose fat, you might gain muscle mass.