January is almost over. So how are you doing with those lofty goals? Odds are you are aiming for one of the big three – lose weight, get stronger, eat healthier. Or perhaps this is the year you strive for the trifecta.
Hitting the gym and getting moving is the first step.
But getting back into the swing of things after the holidays can be tough. However, if you don’t act now, in a blink, May will be here and your window of opportunity to get into shape will have evaporated.
So how do you get going? It all starts with mindset.
If you are truly committed to doing something – losing weight, getting stronger, or eating healthier – you will ultimately need to find the time to make it happen. No excuses.
Of course work and family obligations will consume a chunk of the 168 hours a week we all have. But it’s up to you to find five or six hours a week for fitness. If you do, it will put you on the path toward success, however you define it.
So whether you need a boost or not, here are a few tips to get you going sooner than later. Time is ticking.
Mix It Up
Don’t just go to the gym and jump on a treadmill. Today’s gyms and fitness centers offer a variety of programs, such as classes. Go to different gyms and trial a few classes such as boxing, strength training, kettlebells, bootcamps, etc. Most classes are trainer-led, meaning you just have to show up. No thinking is involved; just doing.
Mixing it up makes training fun and there is also a social element, providing opportunities to connect with people.
Whether you took a few weeks off or are just getting started after a multi-year hiatus, start small. Commit to two days a week. Do this for a month, get into a rhythm, and then add from there. After two months, the spring weather will make it even easier to integrate other activities. Before you know it, an average week will include at least four trips to the gym, plus running, biking, etc.
Regardless of your fitness goals, strength training is the basis for everything. Building muscle will make you stronger, faster, and leaner. The misnomer for those wanting to lose weight is they need to do cardio, however strength training burns more calories not only during the workout, but for many hours thereafter. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) or “afterburn.”
Women often subscribe to the misnomer that strength training will make them bulky; this is simply not true. Strength training will help you tone and shape your muscles, while burning fat.
Understand the Macros
Nutrition is a huge part of fitness. You cannot “out-hustle” a bad diet. Whatever your nutrition is influenced by – paleo, pescatore, vegan, organic, Twinkies, etc. – the key must be the composition of your calories, also known as macros. When was the last time you actually identified how much protein, carbohydrates and fat is in your caloric intake? There are so many elements of nutrition. Success comes to those that eat relatively clean, and track their macros. This will put you in the best position to fuel your body before and after your training sessions.
In addition to nutrition, water is essential for fat burning and other metabolic functions. Be sure to drink at least a half-gallon of water each day. Think of it as the 8x8 rule – you need to get in eight 8-ounce glasses.
So there you have it. It’s never too late to get started. Make today count. Visualize your goals and take that first step.