BLOG OF THE WEEK!
If you’re new to a healthy lifestyle or eager to get back on the path to health and fitness after some time away, you’re not alone. A 2018 study found that only about 23% of American adults meet the CDC-recommended guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity. More than 70% of American adults are overweight or obese. And while we all know that healthy diets and exercise are crucial to building stronger bodies, it’s easier said than done.
Starting a new fitness routine can feel overwhelming. It requires time, effort, and hours of research. How can women start their fitness journey? We’re giving you tips and resources to point you down the path to success.
Find Your “Why”
Before you can commit to a change, you have to figure out why you want to make a change. Do you want to improve your overall health? Are you trying to keep up with your kids or a partner? Do you want to improve your self-confidence?
Understanding your reason behind this life change will help keep you focused and motivated, even when the fitness road gets rough.
The single most important key to a successful fitness journey is your mindset. If you aren’t fully committed to making changes - to your diet, fitness routine, habits, and emotional and mental health - you are far less likely to reach your goals.
Identify Your Goals
Once your mind is in the right place, it’s time to set some concrete goals. Get out your notebook, whiteboard, or phone and put your objectives in writing.
The more specific your goal, the more likely you are to work towards that objective. For instance, “get healthy” is an admirable goal, but it’s not tangible or measurable. Therefore, you won’t have the satisfaction of reaching that goal. However, “gain 5% muscle mass” or “work out 30 minutes a day, five days a week, for the next six weeks” are measurable and specific. You can clearly track progress and see if and when you reach those objectives.
Everyone’s goals are different, but here are some examples:
- Run a 5K within the next 90 days.
- Hold a plank for 60 seconds.
- Increase deadlift to XXX pounds.
- Lose ten total inches off stomach, waist, and thighs.
- Work out for 30 minutes, five days a week for the next six weeks.
- Lower cholesterol by 10 points.
Depending on your current health and fitness abilities and your lifestyle, your goals might be as simple as going for a walk three times a week. But setting those goals will help you stay motivated and will give you something to work towards.
All too often, women decide they will make a life change, and then they throw themselves into a new diet and a new workout routine all at once. These dramatic changes might work for some, but too often, trying to change everything all at once only ends in disaster.
Start by making small changes. Even one step in the right direction is better than no steps at all. Simple changes - like intentionally adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet each day, or going for a 15-minute walk, are enough to change your daily habits. Over time, these small changes can build into a healthier lifestyle - and one that you can maintain for years to come.
Make It Fun
Find a workout you love doing. If you hate running, ride a bike instead. If aerobics classes aren’t your jam, try lifting weights or doing an at-home HIIT class.
There are endless options for exercise. Don’t limit yourself to something you don’t enjoy. Find an activity that makes you feel energized, and then stick to it.
You Can’t Outrun Your Fork
In the end, you can work out all day long, but if you’re still eating sugary, processed foods, you’re not going to see results. The real work happens in the kitchen. Start by adding more lean protein to your diet, cut out the sugar, and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
Every body type is different, so choose a nutrition program that works best for you. It may take some time and planning to learn healthier eating habits, but your fork is mightier than the sword on your fitness journey.
“One of the top reasons people site for abandoning a fitness goal is lack of support,” says mega-trainer Jillian Michaels. Find your tribe, and cling to them for support. Ask your best friend to hold you accountable to your workouts, have a partner start eating clean alongside you, or join a gym or online fitness program.
You are much more likely to keep on track if you hold yourself accountable to others.
It’s All About Balance
Remember that your fitness journey is just that - a journey. It’s not a destination. Your fitness journey will evolve over time. Be kind to yourself as you go through the process, understanding that it won’t always be perfect, and it won’t always be easy.
But even a few steps in the right direction can dramatically improve your life and your health.