- Exercise & Fitness
How to Stick to And Achieve Your Fitness Goals
At the top of any list of goals for the year is get in shape. Most people find out this is much easier said then done, especially once the busy days start coming. School, work, family events, and fun activities get in the way of slugging it in the gym or following along to some workout video you found.
Many people don't realize 'getting fit' can be so easy to fit into your day. You don't have to go to the gym for an hour every day, or attend that yoga class from 6pm to 8pm.
Something important to remember though is fitness is not just something to do for summer and then slack off all year long. If you are truly wanting to be fit and healthy, it needs to become your lifestyle. Every thing you do, say, eat, and think should be about being better inside and out.
Make S.M.A.R.T Fitness Goals
S.M.A.R.T stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic,Timely. Making a SMART goal is key to making and achieving any goal, fitness or not.
A specific goal is one that answers the questions Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
- For example: Who could be you. What could be slim down and tone. Where could be at home, in the gym, or through daily activities. When could be three days a week. Why could be for the summer.
A measurable goal is one that you can track the progress of and know when you have obtained said goal. Ask yourself: How will you know you've obtained your fitness goal?
An attainable goal is one that you are actually able to achieve. It should make you grow, be something you are passionate about, and have the ability to actually do.
Feel free to make big goals, just be sure you are actually able to grow to meet them, or you will become discouraged.
A timely goal is one that is set on a timetable. If you just say "one day", what are the actual chances you will get up off the couch and do something today? If you say a date or occasion, you are much more likely to get up and do it!
Once you make you S.M.A.R.T fitness goal, make sure you write it down! Tell your friends or family so that they will keep you accountable while to strive to achieve your goal!
Find A Program That You Enjoy
Not everyone can spend three hours in a gym five times a week. It can be inconvenient, boring, or embarrassing. I personally love going to the gym, but I can't always get to one easily.
Working out at home, like many things done at home, can be incredibly hard due to distractions. Most days your bed or the television look much more welcoming than shrugging on your sweats and trying to follow fitness videos.
It has been difficult for me to find something that was interesting, fit my level of fitness, and was free to do anytime wanted. I tried the gym, various fitness apps on my phone, even making up my own fitness routines to do with my sister to music. Nothing ever stuck with me.
Then I discovered Ideal Shape Up. Their 12-week program is amazing! It's easy to follow along, fits in the fitness level of beginners, intermediate, and even athletic peoples. It's only once per day, about fifteen minutes with a seven minute warm up and cool down. It fit my preferences perfectly!
I have also done Zumba, which is incredibly fun to try. You sweat a LOT as well.
Take the time to do some research. You just might find there is a program for you out there!
Here's The Program I'm On
Have A Friend Join You
If there's one thing everyone knows, it's the more the merrier! When you have someone to hold you accountable, you are more likely to get it done instead of slacking off. Also having that friend to commiserate with while struggling through those tough workouts, someone to laugh with while trying to do complex workouts, it makes everything seem less like work and more like you guys hanging out together.
Plus, you can make them buy you some food afterwards!
Remember It Takes Time, Effort, And Patience
People are always looking for that "quick fix" that can get them six pack abs in a week. Some believe that doing a grueling three hour cardio session one day will give them that slim body they've been dreaming of for ages.
Companies all over the world, and the internet, promise to help you achieve your dream body in a short amount of time without you having to change your diet or activity level. You can chow down on your super sized Burger King Whopper meal on your couch, take a magic pill, and achieve those sculpted abs you've been wanting to show off at the beach.
Sadly, it doesn't work that way. Like any respectable and well done project, your body takes time and effort to mold into the shape you want. Not all bodies are alike either. You have to learn what your body needs in order to reach whatever goal you've made for yourself.
As long as you put the time and work into it, with a little bit of patience with yourself and some self discipline, you can get those abs or toned arms you've been dreaming of. Just remember there is no such thing as a "quick fix" to anything worth getting.
One of the worst things you can do to yourself, and your body, is take away everything you enjoy and replace it with those nasty shakes that are supposed to help you drop weight fast. Not only is this incredibly bad for you, eventually you are going to get sick of passing that doughnut shop every day on the way to work and will buy half a dozen just to satisfy your cravings.
Crash diets may get you the weight loss you've been hoping for, but at what cost? The second you get off the diet, don't you go right back to your unhealthy snacking and overeating?
The key to a healthy diet is portion control. After all, there is a such thing as too much of a good thing. Eating five small meals a day, loaded with complex carbs and protein, is much better for you than three large meals, no matter how healthy.
The schedule would look something like this:
Meal 1: Breakfast (should be the biggest meal of the day)
Meal 2: mid morning snack (nuts, protein bar, etc.)
Meal 3: lunch
Meal 4: mid afternoon snack
Meal 5: Dinner (should be the smallest meal of the day)
Make sure your dinner isn't full of carbs since you will most likely not be going to workout or be too active at this time of the day. Carbs are your fuel. If you pack on the carbs at dinner, and then sit around after, you may become bloated, gassy, or begin to gain weight.
Also, don't feel like you have to pass on the cake or cookies anytime they are offered to you. It's okay to treat yourself! This way, you eat one or two cookies now instead of the whole box when the cravings strike!
Make Simple Substitutes/Changes
Sometimes you just can not squeeze in a full workout session with the busy weeks you have. This is no reason to skip out on exercise all together! There are things you do in your daily life you can either replace with a healthier way, or tack on a workout to.
Maybe instead of using the elevator every day at work, you start taking the stairs. You could walk or bike to work instead of driving. If you're stuck at the desk for eight hours a day, get up and do some quick workouts to get a break from the screen and the chair. If you find your self standing around for most of your shift, do some quick calf raises or squats when you aren't too busy. If your think, you can squeeze a quick exercise into any job scenario.
Just be sure it's safe to do so.
As for nutrition, prepare a healthy breakfast, lunch, and some healthy snacks the night before. If your friends invite you out, don't feel like you need to turn them down; just try to find the healthiest option at the place you are going to. Bring large bottles of water with you and store them in the break room for later.
If you're in school, doing any of this can be a lot harder. My suggestion is while you're sitting doing school work, quietly kick your legs or maybe try some calf raises if you can. Anything that won't disrupt the class, but makes your heart rate pick up or your muscles ache. Pack your own lunch if possible, and bring snacks! Also, most schools allow you to have water with you in class, so take advantage of this. Make sure you participate in gym class! Break out a sweat, no matter how nasty you may smell later on.
Another option (that most people don't like to hear) is waking up earlier than you normally do for school or work and working out. Whether that's going to your 24-hour gym or going for a run, getting active in the morning not only wakes you up, it pumps serotonin and endorphins into your blood stream, making you feel happier as you go about your day. Plus, exerciseis great for thinking and memory retention.
Just Do It!
I know it can be hard; believe me, being motivated to do my workouts can be extremely hard. Some days you jump out of bed ready to go on a morning jog- other days you roll over and slam the snooze button five times. Each day brings its own challenges.
The only thing you can do on days like that is force yourself to drive out to the gym, or open your laptop; whatever your choice exercise program is.
The days you force yourself to do something you just aren't feeling can be some of the best workouts you'll ever do. You'll definitely thank yourself later in the day, and in life.
As I briefly mentioned in the previous sections, it's best to plan everything ahead. This eliminates you making an excuse not to workout or eat healthy.
If you're planning on going to the gym after work or school, for example, either wear your gym clothes (if appropriate!) or pack them in a gym bag and store it in your car/locker.
Like I said before, pack/prepare your meals and snacks the night before. Put them where you'll remember, or set a reminder on your phone. Don't leave them behind.
When going to workout, write out what you're going to do and how long you will do it for. This eliminates you wasting time thinking about it instead of just getting in there and getting it done.
Make sure your headphones are packed with your clothes, wallet just in case, and that your phone is charged completely. Anything that makes working out impossible basically.
Don't Give Up!
It can be incredibly discouraging when you aren't getting the results you want right away. Just remember: the best projects took time to make. You WILL get there eventually.
Don't let your doubts, or people around you discourage you. Surround yourself with like minded people, plug in the headphones, and grind.
Beating yourself up over no results will get you nowhere, so just keep going! Don't let anyone tell you no!