It’s the first day of the second month of the year and you’ve decided that being healthier and sporting a new streamlined body is what you want more than anything this year. You’ve researched and found all that’s new in fitness equipment, classes, and workout DVDs. You went and bought a new pair of gym shoes and a pair of sweats to match. But its February and you still haven’t managed to get moving. So in today’s post I want to talk about getting started.
Step One: Create a Game Plan
First, you must decide what exactly needs to change. General wishes like wanting to lose some weight or be healthier need to be transformed into specific goals. If you determine that you need to lose 30 lbs in order to reach your ideal healthy weight you now have a goal that puts the end results in view. Once you have your big picture in view its time to break it down into smaller goals.
What are the little things you can do every day to get to your final destination?
Step Two: Determine What to do First
Let’s look at the goal of loosing 30 lbs as a story with a beginning, middle, and end. In the beginning you weigh in and take your measurements. You begin a food journal to track your meals to get an idea of how well you currently eat. You can jump right into some type of regular exercise. But I would say your first course of action should be cleaning up your diet by adding the fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy needed to meet your nutritional needs. Visit www.choosemyplate.gov and use their fitness tools and customize a meal plan. Research shows that just changing your diet will cause you to shed twice as many pounds as just exercising and continuing to eat an unhealthy diet. So when it comes to losing weight I always recommend that you start with what’s in your refrigerator.
What are the little things you can add or remove from your diet?
Step Three: Chose a Few Modes of Exercise
We’re all busy and no one has time to exercise. But if you are serious about making it happen this year you will have to make time to exercise daily. Exercise does not have to be boring. Variety is indeed the spice of life when it comes to finding a reason to keep going. Find out what you really like doing and then do it everyday. So if you like walking, walk 30 minutes everyday. If you want to build lean muscle then lift weights three times a week. If you also want to lose weight then add cardio two times a week. Rest is an important element in recovery from the stress of exercise on the body so rest at lest one to two days. Using the above example of walking, weight lifting and cardio you could work hard during the work week and take the weekends off to enjoy leisurely activities with family and friends.
How much time and energy are you willing to invest in yourself everyday?
Step Four: Determine Whose on Your Team
Motivation can either be intrinsic (self-motivation) or extrinsic (external motivation). Most people thrive on a combination of the two but will lean toward one more than the other. Especially during times when its easier to turn over and go back to sleep, you need to make sure that you have someone in your life that can convince you get up and hit the trail or go to the gym. If your spouse or best friend is not on board then go out and recruit some other people to be on your team. The reason that group fitness is so popular is because the members of the group draw strength and encouragement from one another. If you don’t enjoy the group dynamic you may consider hiring a personal trainer to be on your team. Visit www.acefit.com to find work out plans, and search the directory to find a personal trainer near you.
Whose on your team?
The Little Things You Can Do Today
1. Figure out what you should and should not be eating
2. Discover your holy trinity of activities
3. Begin recruiting your team mates
Until next week,
Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, PT