If you are overweight, tired, sick or just plain lazy – getting in shape can seem near impossible. But this isn’t the case. Getting in shape is like almost anything else in life – it takes practice and time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done anything athletic before – it can be learned. There are a plethora of reasons why you will want to get in shape, and avoiding disease is just one of them. Read on to find out how to accomplish this elusive goal.
1. Find A Partner
This will be tough for those solo adventurers to deal with, but study after study has shown this method to be very effective. One of the best ways to keep yourself going and to hold yourself accountable is to find a partner. Not only will you have someone to help you stay on track, but you’ll be able to have someone to wake you up at 6AM, when it’s freezing cold outside, and the last thing you feel like doing is running on a treadmill. Even an hour earlier jump in the morning with some endorphin-releasing exercise can make all the difference when it comes to staying on track. Skip the post-work beer, and instead spend it exercising with your new fitness partner. You won’t regret it.
2. Join A Group Exercise Class
This advice goes all the way back to the 1980s. Coinciding with our previous tip, getting someone else involved in your own fitness can be a winning solution. Not only will group fitness classes provide the actual workouts, you will gain new friends, and other potential fitness partners. You will also likely be more motivated, since you may see someone who is in even worse shape than yourself. It is easy to feel bad about yourself when you spend a lot of time alone and are constantly comparing yourself to fitness models and television ads. But those aren’t real people. Their only job is to look good. You must remember that. When you go to a group exercise class, you will see people who have jobs, maybe struggling like you are, to stay in shape at the same time as raising a family. This can sometimes be all the motivation you need to keep showing up.
3. Pay A Gym Fee
I know, I know. I realize that this one may not make sense initially, but if you pay an outrageous, overpriced gym fee, you may actually be much more likely to, you know…use it. Obviously do not make any poor decisions financially, but if you are seriously unmotivated, this one step can end up having more of an effect than you may realize. Think of other goals you’ve set for yourself in life. Wasn’t money a motivating factor? It is why you go to work every day, isn’t it? I’m not sure why this advice is not more prominent in advice columns, but it pays some serious dividends. On top of the motivation, a high gym fee usually comes with a very well-equipped gym – so take full advantage of that.
4. Read A Fitness Book
By simply thinking about fitness more and by reading an inspiring story you are much more likely to want to get in shape yourself. The same principle seen here is why it is best to not obsess about calories, dream about food, or make too big of a deal about weight loss. What we read and think about can have a huge psychological impact, and positive, fitness-based stories are your best bet here. If you’re not much of a reader, you can watch inspiring fitness movies, like “Rocky”. I’m going to guess that you have some bad habits you’d like to get rid of. Replace them with some positive reading, and you’ll be well on your way to being in better shape.
5. Join An Online Community
The earlier principle of involving others in your own fitness applies here as well. Online communities not only allow you to find answers to just about ANY fitness question, they provide continued motivation, and a valuable link to others who are going through similar journeys. Online communities allow you to ask questions you may not be comfortable asking in person, and they also tap into much greater resources than those simply provided by your local gym. The relative anonymity of the internet provides a way to get started while being able to somewhat hide your embarrassment. When it comes to women, embarrassment is often a reason cited, as to why they don’t start exercising. If you think an online community even remotely sounds like a good fit, join one today! They’re free!
6. Start Walking
Possibly the easiest thing you can do, is to just start walking on a regular basis. There are very few groups of people who can’t even manage this simple task, and if you can’t, I hope you have a very good reason. If possible, go outside to do your walk – research has shown that walking in nature is a huge stress reliever. Surprisingly, some studies show that walking is even better than running, which is not what the average person has been lead to believe.
7. Start Running
If you are a little more advanced, you may want to start by running. Even a light jog every day can do wonders for your aerobic health. It doesn’t take much effort, and jogging is beneficial in a multitude of ways. The simple act of running regularly can help strengthen muscles, improve cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, and help to build stronger bones. It is a habit that many people find addictive – in a good way.
08. Throw Away Your Television
Television can be a wondrous thing. There are lots of culturally relevant shows and films. However, it can also be a valuable time-suck, and this, unfortunately, is how most people use it. Get rid of TV – even for just one month – and see what happens. I guarantee you will be more motivated, more rested and healthier. In fact, too much television watching has been linked to early death – and no, I’m not kidding. Why risk it? Get up and get moving instead.
09. Find A Reason
Sometimes fitness doesn’t happen because we haven’t made it a priority. Find your own motivation for getting in shape. Whether it’s avoiding a heart attack, getting a six pack, or simply losing weight, stick with that reason and keep it in your mind. Writing it out and keeping it in a prominent place may be all you need to stay on track. External reasons will help get you started but for the long haul, health benefits usually work best. This can be something personal, like not wanting to end up like a relative who died of health issues. Or it can be something generic, like always wanting to be a certain pant size. Just because others may have a similar goal, does not discount the importance of having goals.
10. Hire A Personal Trainer
Okay, I may be slightly biased on this one since I am a personal trainer. That being said, I have seen a large number of people find success through this method when they have otherwise failed. Honestly, these people are usually a little lonely to begin with and instead of channeling this into getting into shape, they channel it into hours behind the television. The other type that tends to do well with personal training are those stress addicts/workaholics. They view personal training time as relaxation and it also gives them someone to vent to about all the stress in their life. All that stress can lead to poor dietary habits and lack of exercise, if one isn’t careful. This is not to say that personal training is only successful for these two types of people – quite the opposite, in fact.
The Bottom Line
Just as important as the above ways to get in shape, there are equally important things you need to avoid. Do not starve yourself, do not obsess about the exact minutes you ran, pounds you need to lose, or calories you need to count. This will only lead to heartbreak.
When you restrict your calories too much, you seriously wreck your glucose and insulin levels. This will severely screw up your metabolism and that is not something you want to play with. Your ability to exercise will also be impaired if you don’t eat enough calories. And more seriously, in the long term, not eating enough calories helps you to binge later, and in return, develop an unhealthy relationship with food. This means long term failure even if you see short term weight loss.
How did I do? Are you motivated to lose weight now? Let me know in the comments!