Get in shape and stay in shape with these tips from the pros.
You’ve done the first step by getting off the couch. You’ve even done the second step of finding a personal trainer or a friend to work with. It’s the third step that gets people—actually getting to the gym to exercise and stick with it.
Sure, you’ll commit for a few weeks. Then when your muscles are sore, you just want to sleep in, and exercise is the last thing you feel like doing. This is when you have a decision to make. Will you quit again or will you tough it out, knowing the reward waiting for you is worth the effort?
You want exercise to work this time. It has for millions of others and you want to share their success stories. To see the weight not just come off but stay off, here are a few tidbits of advice.
But first, you have to read this awesome quote to get your head in the game.
“If you think of exercise as a 60-minute commitment three times a week at the gym, you’re missing the point completely. If you think that going on a diet has something to do with nutrition, you don’t see the forest through the trees. It is a lifestyle. I know it sounds cliché, but you have to find things you love to do.” – Brett Hoebel
Hire a pro – you’re on the right track. Working with a personal trainer increases the odds of weight loss and improved fitness. A trainer works with you to develop a workout that’s not only effective but that’s catered to your fitness level and current state of health. It’s a lot harder hitting snooze when you know your trainer’s waiting for you at the gym.
Consistency is key – you may be 100 lbs. overweight, but what matters is that you’re at the gym moving your body. Exercise is an important part of lasting weight loss, but it’s not going to become habit overnight. You’ve got to make it a regular part of your everyday lifestyle. Just like brushing your teeth, exercise is what you have to do day in and day out. A few months of consistent workouts is generally what it takes to make exercise a habit. Don’t over-think it and don’t feel that you have to have the perfect program…just get moving.
Set goals – visualize the end result and then make a plan to get there. Your plan, however, should be realistic, simple, measurable, and clearly defined. Break your goal down into doable portions. Rather than thinking of losing 50 lbs., aim to lose 10 in three months. Instead of signing up for a 5km, make it your goal to walk 30 minutes five days a week for a month. Talk with your trainer if you’ve not already set goals. Because if you don’t set goals, you won’t reach them either!
Do what you enjoy – everything you do in life is done with the goal of happiness. Exercise is no exception. You’ll be more likely to stick with a workout you enjoy. It may take trial and error to figure it out, but experiment with different workouts until you find one that fits your personality, interests, and schedule. If you love running – go run. If you love lifting weights – go lift weights. If you love swimming -go swim. You get the idea.
Get more bang for your buck – long, tedious workouts aren’t just boring and exhausting, but they also can be counterproductive in your weight loss efforts by making you hungrier and draining your energy. Aim for shorter, more effective workouts like HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to burn calories and weight training to increase muscle mass.
Find your time – are you a morning person? Then fitting in a workout first thing may work for you. But if getting out of bed is already a struggle, don’t expect an early morning workout to last long. Find the time of day you feel most awake and energized and plan to exercise then. You’ll be more likely to stick with it and will be better prepared to push yourself when your trainer is encouraging you to get one more rep.
Be patient – you may follow your trainer’s advice, be consistent, and enjoy your interval training workouts in the morning, but you aren’t seeing the results you needed to reach your goal. Now what? Don’t give up. Keep on keepin’ on, because sometimes it just takes time. You’ll make mistakes and have hard days, but you’ll also have victories. Keep your head up and get back in the gym tomorrow.
Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.