What is your fitness success story? How many have you heard? Look at all those on television. Believe it or not, everyone who is physically able can change his or her lifestyle with good nutrition, and especially strength training to lose weight.
Perhaps you’re a mother of several children who has spent more time raising her kids and neglecting herself, putting family first, that you wish you were the younger healthier you. Or, maybe, you’re the guy to built his business and slowly became increasingly overweight over the years and out of shape putting the business first over your own needs. Let’s change that and get you going on the road to improvement.
Regardless of what success story you see on the news, TV, with your friends or elsewhere, there is a commonality among them that all can learn from and achieve similar lifestyle goals. We want you to say “I did it.”
What did you do or want to do? Well, you want to get your body back! You want to live a healthier lifestyle, have more energy and look and feel great. When you were in your 20s and 30s you could eat and drink lots of things and likely were never bothered about weight gain and sagging midsections or butts. Now, you’re in your 40s or older and everything that used to be the old you seem to be gone. It does not need to be that way. What’s missing? Time has taken its toll, but now you’re going to make time and commitment work for you.
No longer will you be the frumpy you or the guy with the sagging beer belly. You’re going to take your life back! How hard is it? It is not as difficult as you may fear, but it will take some effort. I want you to follow the eight principles below to become as much of the old you and even a new you, but with renewed vigor for the future, as you can. These principles are common to almost all success stories in health and fitness. Trust me, the rewards will be more than you imagine.
1. You are going to have a positive attitude. Attitude is everything! Let nothing stand in your way as you begin this quest. Sit down, make some mental notes of where you used to be and where you want to go. Do not let others dictate – this is for you. Stay the course and stay positive. Be positive in all you do and it will spill over into other areas of your life.
2. Change your lifestyle because you need to. Obviously the old one didn’t get you where you want to be, but it did get you to where you are now. It’s time for the proverbial engine overhaul as you take stock of where you are. You haven’t been exercising or eating well. Those are the first two things to change.
3. Be determined to stick it out. You must learn alternatives for everything. You’re on the road and need to eat out – choose wisely. The weather makes it unable for you to get to the gym to work out – workout in the home or office. Even if it’s not the caliber you want, it will keep you moving forward. Determine right now not to let anything – weather, schedule, etc. – keep you from your goal. Never become discouraged. Maybe you lost only ½ pound instead of 4; that progress, keep moving.
4. Develop a support system. Find workout friends at the gym, home, work, or social media. Tell them all about your goals. Believe it or not, they’ll help hold you accountable and cheer you on. Just stay away from dream killers and Indian crabs – they’re everywhere – avoid them at all costs. You may become stuck along the way, but we all do at some point. Find a way around the problem. Ask your friends; while the advice may not be perfect it may spur great ideas from you.
5. Start slowly. Do not try to totally change your diet or try to workout 8 hours per week in the gym. Starting too fast in the gym will result in great soreness and you will not want to go back. Both will be self-defeating. Start making daily nutrition changes, small ones that you can stay on top of. Eat a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a burger. Slice 100 calories there and 200 here. It adds up. For working out, if you have not been for some time, begin simply by walking and gradually increase your time and intensity – begin with only 2-3 times per week so that the necessary time can be fit in. As you do this, the changes will be small, but constant. And in a short period, you’ll be amazed at your progress. I help a friend recently and just small changes like this helped him lose 18 pounds in 10 weeks, adding small amounts of exercise here and there. It works; it always has.
6. Never give up; be persistent. Winners Never Quit; Quitters Never Win (coined on team shirts at the University of Colorado where I worked for 10 years with Doc Kreis, Donnie Maib, and Dave Plettl). Make it your motto to. No matter what, those who have a success story ride out the difficult times. No setback is too small or large to overcome. Maybe you got sick and lost an entire week of exercise. It happens and while you may have gained a couple of pounds during that time, those who succeed get back in the saddle and keep going. Every day can bring new opportunities, whether they set you back or propel you forward, it’s part of the process. Thus, enjoy and look at any obstacle as a challenge, just as you would your workouts. Deal with it and forge ahead.
7. Listen to your body. Those who succeed become more aware of what their body is telling them. You’ll feel fat in areas you didn’t notice before, mostly because you’ve burned off a lot of the unwanted fat. More importantly, by feeling it, you’ll do something about it. Instead of eating that hot and sloppy burger, you’ll become more conscious of what’s going into your body and thus, make better choices. These choices will help you lose pound after pound – all because you’re now listening to your body and what it tells you.
8. By involving the others steps above, which are quite natural, the entire process helps to encourage and promote better self-motivation. Developing that positive attitude from the beginning will flow into all the other steps, helping you to improve your lifestyle one day at a time. The more motivated you become, the less you rely on others, including your support group, you just do it!
What are you waiting for? Start today and enjoy a happier, healthier, less stressed you.
Following are some tips to help you begin:
1. First, set a basic nutrition decision making process. Choose to eat more veggies, the proper portion size, and more vegetables. There’s an article about this on our website. For the nitty gritty, set a breakfast time and routine. This should include foods you enjoy, but are healthy. For example, for breakfast you could have a couple of egg whites on whole wheat toast, protein drink, fruit juice (4 ounces), etc. But, you need to begin your day with breakfast to initially boost your metabolism. For lunch try a tuna sandwich, turkey, cheese, or peanut butter. So many choice – select a healthy one you like. Then, for dinner the choices also are endless; a nice salad topped with beans, nuts, or avocado, broiled fish and green beans, broccoli, and a pork chop (trimmed), etc.
2. Plan a workout time and an initial 2-3 days only as a starting point. Choose simple exercises that make it more enjoyable for you. But, do something different each time, i.e., choose to work a different body part, different cardio exercise, etc. Next, choose a set time, preferably the same time, for each workout day – this helps to develop routine and habit, like so many other things you do. Don’t worry, as you continue, you’ll learn to enjoy the challenge of working out and begin to push yourself more. It’s a natural process and will become part of your lifestyle.
3. Do not go haphazardly to the gym and wander around from machine to machine. Get a trainer to help you if you need to and use a workout program, checking each exercise off and keeping track of the weight lifted, time spent for exercise and rest, total time in gym, etc. Following a stricter regimen will help you stick with it and minimize time spent in the gym. Try the ‘my workout’ section of the website where we professionally develop a 4-week program just for you based on your needs. They are not canned and will change for every program as you progress.
4. Stay away from you biggest food temptations. Perhaps you enjoy, beer, wine, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, donuts, etc. You can have them, but only as a reward for you hard effort. Thus, choose one that you really like and have it on the weekend. Really savor it as you think about how you’re getting rid of that sagging butt or beer belly. The key is moderation.
5. Finally, think about what you’d really like to do, i.e., why you want to have a new you. Maybe it’s to show you midsection again with a midriff shirt and low cut pants or for the guy, it’s to wear that muscle shirt and slacks that currently don’t fit. Work toward that goal, don’t stop, keep pushing forward.
Congratulations. Now, you can truly say, “I did it!”