The Fit Life in Words
Tips on Nutrition, Workouts, and more. Because you can always improve.
Here's a cold, hard fact: More than 68% of adults in the US are overweight, according to the National Institutes of Health. What does that mean? It means that about 68% of us haven't made enough of an effort to take care of our health. As the obesity rate increases, so does the rate of heart disease, cancer, and things alike. Direct correlation? I'll let you decide. Weight-loss pills fly off the shelves every day. Why? Because most of us are looking for a quick fix! There is no shortcut to any place worth going. The answer to getting anywhere worthwhile is simple. It's been the same for centuries and it'll be the same for centuries to come. Are you ready for the answer? It's hard work. Surprised? I didn't think so. Outside of the fact that you need to take care of your health to live a great life, summer is right around the corner. How's that for a little short-term motivation? Here are 5 things that you MUST do if you're serious about getting fit and not being a part of some terrible statistic.
1. Have a "why" that is bigger than any excuse.
It's not good enough to just say, "I'm going to lose weight". It's not even good enough to say, "I'm going to lose 15 pounds by working out 5 days a week for an hour on each day". You'll be motivated in the beginning and excited to go to the gym or whatever it is you decide to do. But once you get that "beginner's soreness", the excuses start rolling in. You start thinking of reasons you should take the day off. One day off turns into two days off. Two days off turns into a week off and then you're so demotivated that you give up altogether. WHY are you getting fit? Make your "why" big enough that it scares you. For me, I remind myself that 1/3 of people in the US will die from heart disease and another 1/3 will die from cancer. Studies show a correlation with lack of exercise and healthy eating. Does that "why" sound too extreme for you? Then make yours something else. But it has to be big enough that it trumps any excuse that will ever run through your mind.
2. Meal prep.
Throughout the week, most of us get a little overwhelmed with things related to work, the kids, workouts, etc. Let's face it. It takes time to prep healthy meals. It's more convenient to go to a drive-thru or heat up a frozen dinner than it is to cut up vegetables and grill chicken. Sundays seem to be the best day for meal prep for the week. Get yourself some tupperware containers and ziplocs and get at it! Basic rules: include protein, veggies, and complex carbs in your main meals; make your snacks things like fruit and nuts. Portion control is PARAMOUNT. Meal prepping will avoid overeating and take the mental game out of it.
3. Plan workouts 1 week at a time.
Don't plan your workout the day prior. If you're feeling sore or tired, you're going to want to plan an easy workout for the following day. And if you think you're going to just go with the flow once you get to the gym, your one-hour workout is going to turn into a 90-minute workout and probably won't be very productive. I recommend weekly planning because it's a good amount of time to be able to look back, see what your times/weights/etc were, and plan to slightly progress in those categories the following week. Progress over perfection. Keep at this routine and you'll be shocked once you get to week 5 and you look back at the stats you had in week 1.
4. Get an accountability partner who's in the shape you want to be in.
Do you think it'd be wise to ask someone who's been divorced 5 times for marriage advice? I really hope you said "no". So, why would you make your workout accountability partner someone who's as out of shape as you are and in the same boat? They're not going to be strong for you when you're complaining you're sore. They'll probably complain about how sore they are too and then you'll talk each other out of working out. If you're serious about your goals, find someone who has what you want. Ask someone who's in the shape you want to be in if they'll hold you accountable. Give them a copy of your weekly workout at the beginning of each week so they can shoot you a text each day asking if you followed through. Most of us would rather suck it up and go to the gym rather than have to look like a coward.
5. When you feel like you can't go anymore, keep going.
Think about it. If you stop every time you feel like you can't go anymore, you'll never improve. Your body responds by saying, "Stop now! You're tired and in pain. This is as far as you've ever gone and I'm afraid to push any harder!". Fight against the voice inside your head. When you're gasping for air, run one more mile, swim one more lap, do one more squat. It'll feel terrible the first time you push yourself past your mental limits, but the next time around will be easier. And each time after that will be even easier. Every expert was once a novice. No one is born a champion.