How to start getting in shape
No matter who you are and what goals you might have in life, there is one thing you undoubtedly want - to be in good shape.
There’s nothing bad about it. In fact, it’s admirable.
Wanting something is the first step.
But, the problem is - how does one start getting in shape?
There’s so much information out there, and it’s very easy for a beginner to become overwhelmed by it and do nothing.
In this article, we will go over absolutely everything you need to know about getting in shape and how to get started on your journey.
I know, this doesn’t sound glamorous and fun, but it’s the cornerstone of lasting results.
You see, many people want quick results and that’s understandable. But quick results are also quick to lose. People will make drastic life changes in a short period, and stick with them because motivation is sky-high.
But, here’s the problem:
Sure, motivation can help for a while, and you can stick to an absurdly difficult training plan and an overly-restrictive diet. But after a bit of time, once your motivation fades and you start to feel hungry and tired, you will most likely give up and go back to your old habits.
This is why it’s important to start small. Whether your goal is to improve your way of eating, start hitting the gym, or take up another positive habit. You need to ease into it.
If you’ve never had the habit of training consistently, don’t immediately jump to five or six workouts per week. Start with two and build up from there. On that note, don’t dedicate yourself to two hours of working out. Start with something as little as 25-30 minutes.
If your diet is mostly made of fast foods, don’t suddenly restrict yourself to salads, lean meats, and apples. Sure, that’s going to bring you some quick results, but you will go crazy soon enough and erase all that progress in a few days of binge eating.
Start with one healthy meal each day. Tell yourself that one of your meals is going to be healthy today, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sure, it seems simple enough, and it is. The goal isn’t to overwhelm yourself. It’s to dedicate yourself to something so easy that you can’t say no.
Over time, as you firmly establish the habit of having one healthy meal, add a second one. Before you know it, the majority of your diet will be so-called ‘healthy,’ and you won’t even think about it.
But that’s not just for building good habits; it also applies to breaking bad ones. For example, if you currently smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and you want to stop, don’t quick cold turkey. Instead, dedicate yourself to smoking one or two cigarettes less every week. Before you know it, you will be down to half a pack, then a quarter, and eventually you can quit.
Do things you can sustain.
Know That Motivation is Fleeting
As we briefly discussed above, motivation rarely lasts long. No matter who you are or how stubborn you think you are, you won’t always feel motivated.
There will be times when you won’t feel like showing up to the gym or eating healthy. But, here’s the thing:
Everyone can do the work when they feel like it, but it takes discipline to work at it when you feel lazy or unmotivated. This is why starting with small habits is so important. Once you establish them, you won’t have to debate yourself on whether to train today or eat a healthy dinner. You’ll do it. It will have become second nature for you.
At Fitlov, we completely understand that solely relying on motivation is a fool’s errand. That is why we help our clients establish positive habits by first giving them a good start - through our 4-question quiz that helps them establish a starting point and begin working on your fitness transformation.
Take Note of Your Progress
It’s easy to fixate on the road ahead - on the work you need to do to get where you want to be. And, to be sure, that’s important. You need to keep a perspective on the road ahead. But it’s also important to give yourself credit for your progress so far.
You see, most people get discouraged precisely because all they see is the enormous mountain up ahead.
If you want to get in good shape, you need to take a look back occasionally and appreciate your progress. Sure, you might not be where you want to be, but nothing is stopping you from being proud of what you’ve done.
You might not have reached your goal of bench pressing 315 pounds, but remember that you started with 45 pounds and you’re now working with 135. You might not have gotten a six pack, but remember that you’ve lost twenty pounds and you’re closer than you were six months ago.
Now, for you to note the progress you’ve made, you need to track it first. This means that you need to track your training and your body changes.
Track your workouts through a smartphone app or with a good old journal. Take note of what you’re doing - weight on the bar, repetitions, sets, rest periods, training days, and more.
Also, if your goal is weight loss, track your progress there. Take a few measurements every week - in the morning on an empty stomach. Also, take measurements of various body parts - your waist, hips, thighs, arms, chest, and shoulders. Finally, you can also take progress pictures occasionally.
If you ever get discouraged, you can look back at where you were a few months ago, see the progress you’ve made, and remind yourself to keep pushing.
Scale Up Gradually
In the first point of this article, we discussed the importance of starting small. But, you will eventually need to scale your efforts up. Starting small is important for establishing positive habits, but small efforts can’t carry you to your end goal.
Because of that, once you get some momentum going, you need to increase the effort.
Once you establish the habit of hitting the gym twice per week, add a third workout. If your current workouts are 30 minutes each, make them 40 minutes long. Once you establish the habit of eating one healthy meal every day, add a second one. Once you firmly go from 20 cigarettes a day to 15, gradually scale down to 10.
It’s about gradual change. Bring up positive habits and crush down negative ones, bit by bit. Sure, you could instantly go from 0 to 100, but without the pre-established habits, it’s only a matter of time until you lose interest and quit.
But Remember That Slip-Ups Happen
Everything we covered today sounds good on paper, and it works. But don’t fool yourself that you’ll be perfect every day.
We are human and we slip-up sometimes. It could be due to unexpected life changes or emergencies, it could be due to extra stress at work or school, and it could even be about lack of motivation. Doing what’s right isn’t always easy, and everyone struggles sometimes.
At such a moment, it’s important to remind yourself that it’s not the end of the world. One bad day of eating or one poor workout can’t erase your progress. In the grand scheme of things, what you do most of the time matter a lot more than what you do some of the time.
Keep your head up and get back to it without dwelling on the slip-up.
Now It’s Your Turn
We hope that you got a lot of value from this article and you now have the tools you need to start making the first steps to a better, fitter, and healthier you.
And if you’re looking for a private fitness trainer in Dubai, one who can help you internalize all of these lessons, then Fitlov is for you. You can take our 4-question quiz and get yourself well on your way to fit life, starting today.