4 Tips: A beginners guide to being successful in a fitness regimen
#1. Set goals.
- Realistic goals. (I want to lose five pounds this month.)
- Short-term goals. (I want to go to the gym 3-4x this week.)
- Long term goals. (I want to lose 45 pounds this year. I want to be able to squat 165 next year.)
- Meet your short term goals (crush them), and adjust as necessary for meeting long term goals. (If you have weekend workouts in your plan but realistically never make it because of work or other obligations- pick a day during the week you know you can go instead, or incorporate a realistic, life-benefiting activity you can exercise during on the weekend. Run with your dog for 15 minutes instead of walking. Add some random sprints, pushups, squats, or other bodyweight exercises into your day while doing yard work.) These are your goals, and if you’re saying you’re going to do things when you cannot, you’re only lying to yourself. Be realistic and true to yourself or you will never get anywhere. We all have off days, hell- we all have off weeks. But this is a battle between you and yourself, so don’t cheat yourself by planning on exercising on a day when you know you aren’t going to be able to.
#2. Figure out how you are going to reach those goals.
- Diet is a huge factor. You may see a little improvement in your body, health, and physical ability by just going to the gym- but you will not make long term or drastic improvement without seriously changing your outlook on food and nutrition.
- Make a plan for each week. Take it a few days at a time. Have some healthy food options in your fridge for meals and snacks. Know when you are going to go to the gym- and don’t skip it if you know you have time scheduled for it!
#3. Go into the gym with a plan.
When you walk in without an idea, and wander around for an hour, not truly exerting and exercising any muscle group to a sufficient extent, you’re not gonna get anywhere.
- Make sure your gym plan coincides with your goals. Do you need to lose weight? Or are you trying to build more muscle? Or both?
- What’s your warm up? Are you just doing 5-10 minutes to break a light sweat before heavy weights? Or are you doing 20-30 minutes of cardio (preferably in high and low intensity intervals) with the intention of burning fat and losing more weight?
- Know which muscle group you want to work out.
- Have a list of exercises in mind for the muscle group(s) you are working- and have alternates in case there’s something preventing you from doing what you had planned. (Make a note in your phone, with lists of different exercises for different body parts.)
#4. Don’t ever fall off your plan for longer than necessary.
- It happens. People fall off their diets. People skip the gym for a few days. We get sick. We have family in town who loves to cook unhealthy comfort food. We go on vacation. We get injured. We get dumped. But you know what successful people do that others don’t? They get back on their plan.
- If you cheat your diet at a family function one night, make a conscious effort to be stronger the next day. Use it as motivation! Think about all the extra energy inside your body from eating that surplus of carbs or fat or whatever.
It’s energy, use it! Burn it!
- If you are messing up on your diet for a few days- don’t use it as an excuse to not go to the gym as well! You can still workout. Balance out a little of the negative.
- It’s never too late to start over. I’ve fallen off my diet for months at a time before, but I get back on it eventually. And even though its like starting from square one after that, you get back in the groove of things within a week. Your body wants to be healthy. Don’t cheat it.
Life is a game. You make the rules, you control your life, you control your mind– even when it’s saying you cannot do something. Tell yourself you can. Believe in yourself even when others don’t. Otherwise, you’ll never get anywhere. You can be whatever you want to be, whoever you want to be, but you might as well enjoy the journey and start loving yourself and your life now, or you won’t be happy when you reach the top anyways (I know from experience).