There are people that seem as if they have been exercising as long as you have known them. And they are still enthusiastic about it. They have not fallen out of love or broken up with the gym. In fact, the relationship seems to be getting stronger. What is their secret? What do they know that you do not know? What are they doing that you are not doing? And what are you doing wrong that they are not doing?
Successful exercisers are exercisers that have kept to their fitness routine for more than 3 years. Most of them have certain things in common – they know the benefits of exercise and are quick to tell you that apart from weight loss and good health that exercise keeps them focused and productive. You can emulate their lifestyle by reading the things they do and the things they don’t do. After reading, start practicing them. That is one of the secrets of successful exercisers – they do not procrastinate, they implement good health habits fast.
#1 Starting out too hard
In a world of instant gratification, instant coffee, fast weight loss, 3 day cleanse, we want everything yesterday. Exercise benefits abound but it does not happen overnight. As a trainer, when people tell me I have 1 month and they yell at me 1 month to burn all the fat in their body and give them 6 pack abs, my advice is always that the fat did not just happen. It took time. So do not be in a hurry, work out, eat right and it will happen. Trainers that tell people in 1 month you will be as slim as Taylor Swift put themselves under pressure and instead of teaching clients good eating habits, you start using clients as guinea pigs for the latest fat burner supplement. Starting slowly and progressing with caution is a good advice. Working out as if the gym is closing in 1 week and being sore the next day is not encouraging at all. Know your threshold and when your body cannot go beyond that. Weight loss does not happen overnight, it takes time. But, it will happen. Concentrate on working out and eating right, weight loss will follow.
#2 Not setting goals
Make long term goals not short term. Focus on being healthy and fit. Do not work out because it is in vogue and that is what everyone is doing. So, you go shopping for the cutest set of sportswear and do what everyone else is doing. You will eventually stop because you do not have a goal. Set a fitness or weight loss goals. Ask yourself
- Why do I want to register in a gym
- How many kg do I want to lose
- When do I want to lose those weights (be reasonable here). Giving yourself one month to lose 20 kg is unreasonable. My advice is always to work towards losing 1kg each week. You may end up losing 2-3 kg a week
#3 Take a picture of yourself.
Have someone take a picture of you or take a picture of yourself with a mirror behind you in your naked, no abs sucked in glory. What you see might shock you into taking care of yourself. No one but you knows how you look naked.
Alone with your mirror there is nothing to hide.
- Take a critical look at the picture. Is that what you want?
- Are there areas you feel need a little work
If your answer is yes, then do something healthy about it. Start a fitness routine.
#4 Know the benefits of exercise
They know what exercise can do for them. It helps you to focus, to be healthy, it boosts your mood by helping your body to release endorphins and makes you more energetic. A lot of people can tell you the benefits of exercise but they will not exercise. Knowing the benefits and not doing anything to make yourself benefit from that knowledge is a useless knowledge. Make use of the information and knowledge you have about exercise. It not only helps in weight loss, it has a lot of benefits you cannot get anywhere else. . Don’t look at exercise as what people do to only lose weight or do to wear that cling dress for your friend’s wedding.
#5 Make the scale your friend whether it moves or not.
Track other benefits – what of your energy level, your skin, flexibility, PMS. What of your mood, confidence, I can go on and on. Exercise is not about weight loss alone there are other benefits; what I call ‘jara’ that comes with it. Have you noticed any other improvements? Do write them down and share. Most times when the scale refuses to move, you may still be losing weight. That is one of the reasons I take and advice that you take the measurement of your thighs, arms and waist. You may be losing inches and it will not show on the scale. Do not frown at the scale, or see it as an enemy. Track other benefits.
#6 Vary your activity
Repeating one thing every day might be a good thing in the office to build routine. However in exercise it is a recipe for hating exercise. There are different fruits with different colors, your coffee come in different flavors, yogurt has different colors and flavor. This is to give you options and do away with monotony. It is the same with exercise, having options and new exercises you can try, keeps things interesting and fun. Plain black coffee for 1 week, cappuccino the next and espresso. All of them are coffee but with varying flavor and strength. See espresso as exercise HIIT, in a small cup but with a high dose of caffeine.
#7 Do not put undue stress on your body
Successful exercisers do not subject their body to undue stress. Do not exercise as if today is the last day for exercise on earth. Exercise is not punishment so don’t punish yourself for overindulging. Your body is just trying to work with and cope with what you have given it over the years. Be consistent and do the needful with love and caution. Seeing exercise as punishment will derail your goal. Approach each day and week with a specific goal and move towards it with focus but not stupidity.
#8 Good nutrition
Fitness and good health is 50% exercise and 50% nutrition. Not just nutrition but eating right, portion control and timing. Exercise without proper nutrition is like pouring water into a basket, it will not hold. Educate yourself on proper nutrition and make it a habit to eat right. Go to your fridge and remove all the junk food. Replace it with wholesome food and fruits.
#9 Do not get rigid about time. Make it out.
If you do not work out in the morning, do it in the afternoon, if not, do it in the evening or at night. If you cannot find an open gym, do it at home. There is no best time for workout. Any time that works for you is your best time. Working out in the morning has a lot of benefits but if you cannot do it make out time. There are 24hrs in a day. Surely, you can carve out 10 – 30 minutes for your body.
#10 Do the exercise you love.
Is it running? Run. Badminton or volleyball? Play it. As long as it gets your butt of those comfortable and gummy thing called seat, do it. Dance, jump or squat. It does not matter what you do, just move.
#11 Do not give excuses
There will always be something, sometimes to keep you from working out if you give in to it. You may have unexpected visitors, make them walk with you to the gym and tell you whatever it is they want to say on the way. If it is raining get an umbrella, if the weather is too hot, get an umbrella and a water can, if the weather is too dry, get Vaseline. Most time if you make it to the gym, by the time you finish your workout the rain will stop and you will get a cool and refreshing weather to help you cope with your sweat session.
#12 Be creative
Be creative about making exercise part if your day. Use whatever you can lay your hands on as an exercise equipment. Use your chair in the office to do triceps dips. Use the water bottle to get a quick bicep curl. Engage your tummy for 10 seconds as you are walking or sitting and relax them again. Do arm circles and calf raises. Find a way to get something in. When you want something really bad, you find a way to get it. Now its fitness, weight loss and good health that you want. Get creative. Get up from the chair you are sitting on now, and use for a squat as you are reading this.
#13 Be flexible
There might be a time you will not be able to exercise for some time. When I lost my Dad, I did not think about exercise for some time. I was not in the mood to work out or train anybody. In between bouts of crying I used burpees as an outlet for my grief. I eventually got back to it. Don’t stay away forever though or feel guilty. Just make sure that when you are being flexible, that it is for a just cause. Not because the weather is cold and your bed so warm. Do what you can when regular workout is not possible and get back to your routine as soon as possible.
#14 Reward yourself but not with food.
You are not a dog under training that is rewarded with food, a pat on the head and a mutter of good dog. Reward yourself with something that will help you in your fitness goal. Go shopping and buy that beautiful sportswear that you have been thinking of from the moment you saw it on Ben or Jane. Every week that you achieve your 1kg weight loss, reward yourself. It may be a new hairstyle, a massage or a pedicure. Do something for your body. Plan what you will do each week you lose 1kg. Reward is highly motivating, even if you are the one giving it to yourself.
#15 Invest in good fitness wears.
Do not wear you husbands discarded and torn shirt for your workout. It will make you not to be motivated to work out. Buy sports bra, sports shoe and tops and shorts. Will you wear a torn and smelly clothing for an event? Actually you are in an event, a fitness event happening in the gym so dress for it. You prospective employer might be there. When you dress shabbily, he might not have time to see the talent and the beautiful soul crying to be seen. Dress properly for your workout. Too tight shoes causes blisters, a sports bra without good support will make you uncomfortable and self-conscious when jumping rope. Buy more than one sportswear, so you can wash one and still have something to wear. Get everything you need ready for your fitness event at the gym.
#16 Above all, take time to rest. Take a break
Your body is a highly efficient machine. But when you use a machine on a daily basis without a break and maintenance, it will break down. Learn to listen to your body, know when it needs a break and give in. If you don’t, your body will force you to one way or the other. Even while working out recognize when your body needs a break, do not keep pushing it till breaking point. No pain no gain is not something you should be quick to practice. I do not believe in pain, I believe in challenging my body to do more but not by painful means. Exercise should be fun, not a screaming match when lifting weights and jumping to failure.
All these habit will help you when you practice them. Now is a good time to start. Visit Bellisima fitness gym and start your exercise, fitness, and weight loss and health journey today.