First of all, before you embark on any health or fitness regimen, you need to figure out your goals, what you want to achieve. It’s no use thinking about your health and saying “I want to lose weight” or “I want to feel great in a bikini” or “I want to attract the ladies with my impeccable abs as I stroll down the beach nonchalantly”. First of all, how much weight do you want to lose? What do you need to do to enable you to feel great in a bikini or walk around showing off those abs? Have you ever even run before?!
Ah, goals. That old chestnut. But with the right attitude and the following steps you’re going to be nailing all of them in due course. So…let’s get started!
- Stay positive. Getting fit and healthy isn’t a five minute, overnight solution – it’s a continuous and long process. If you put weight on or lost muscle tone, it took time. It’s going to take time to lose the weight or gain the muscle back again. You have to keep positive and take the bad days in your stride. Remember that everyday is a learning experience for you and it’s the same for your body. Don’t let one bad event or meal derail you. That way your goals won’t get derailed as well.
- Pick realistic SMART goals. Have you heard of SMART goals? “I want to lose weight” isn’t a SMART goal. “I want to lose 5kg in the next 2 months by cutting down on processed foods and walking to work” is a SMART goal. When you’re writing down your health and fitness goals make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have a Timeline (or SMART!). That way you’re more likely to achieve them over vague, unrealistic, open-ended goals.
- Keep it healthy for you. If you’ve never worked out with weights before, take it slow. Try for only two sessions a week (or even one, depending on how you pull up afterwards). Don’t go vegan straightaway if you want to cut down on meat. Instead try a Meatless Monday approach and go from there. If you’re hitting the gym for two hours sessions everyday, look at what you’re eating. What you’re putting in your body might be ruining all of your hard work if you’re not consuming enough calories or protein. It’s so easy to give up when you hit a stumbling block so make sure you don’t hit them by keeping your journey healthy!
- Make sure you enjoy it. Sure, a spin class might burn 500 calories but if you hate every second of it, you’re probably not going to go back next week, are you? Be picky and find a gym routine or classes that you enjoy and look forward to completing. Maybe you love the awed looks you get when you tell your girlfriends you do barre classes or the hot guys in the Crossfit room or the intense workout you get when you do weights (my favourite). Whatever you choose to do, make sure you love it and you’ll keep going back.
- Build it into your life and forget using willpower. Decide that you’re one of those people who always take the stairs or the type of person who never goes back for seconds of dessert. Just make that firm decision in your mind and you’ll never need to use willpower again! There are different schools of thought on willpower – some researchers think it’s like a muscle that gets stronger with use and others think it’s a finite resource that’s non-existent by the end of the day. Instead of relying on willpower, just make decisions and build those healthy decisions into your life. Taking stairs all the time and never going back for seconds will have an undeniable effect on your waistline.
- Take it outside! Don’t restrict your fitness goals to the gym by any means. Get outside and enjoy the outdoors – it’s the perfect way to mix up your exercise routine. Going for a run outside or taking a hike in the sun is a great way to keep you motivated and it stops you getting bored of the same old gym routine!