Making the effort to prioritize your health and fitness is by far one of the most beneficial life changes you will ever make. After all, we only get one body, therefore taking care of it and ensuring its long-term vitality is of the utmost importance!
While there are a variety of reasons that may have led you to this decision, deciding to improve your fitness and sticking with this choice is all that really matters. Over time, you will notice that most areas of your life start to improve in some form or fashion, not just your physical appearance.
Embarking on any significant life change can sometimes feel intimidating. Prioritizing your fitness is no different. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the slew of information on what you should and should not do. Furthermore, you may feel out of place when stepping into a gym for the first time or worry about what your peers might think about your decision.
These are all completely normal feelings to have, so fear not! In this article, we are going to discuss some of the more important things to consider when beginning your fitness journey. The goal is to empower you with helpful information and useful points so that you can charge headfirst into this new destination!
Everyone Starts At Day 1
When you first begin to exercise on a regular basis, whether at the gym, your local park or even at home, you may be looking around at your fellow fitness junkies and realize that they are light years ahead of you. Watching people with great physiques perform exercises you wouldn’t dare to attempt at this point in time can be somewhat of a deflating feeling.
What is important to realize is that every single individual in your local gym or gracing the cover of a fitness magazine that you’re browsing through all exercised for the very first time at some point. These people did not just wake up one day, decide to get a workout in and instantly look fit and muscular.
While it is true that everyone has a different starting point, beginning to exercise and eat healthy requires a beginning. Furthermore, you can rest assured that the same people who might intimidate you at the gym all remember that they were a beginner once too. The majority of your fellow exercisers not only understand what you are going through, most of them are glad to help you along or offer advice if asked.
As with any long-term process, getting off of the ground is often the hardest part. Don’t let embarrassment and self-doubt derail your journey before you even get started. Always remember that even the most fit of individuals didn’t reach that point overnight.
Sustainability Above Everything Else
As you begin to plan out your exercise routine and hone in on a nutrition plan, you will quickly realize that there a practically a million different options to choose from. The anxiety and frustration starts to build as you worry about following the wrong advice and wasting your time. Another common issue with those new to fitness comes from the heightened motivation that comes with starting something novel and exciting, which makes you feel like you need to go hardcore from day one. You think that since you have some catching up to do, two-hour workouts and ridiculously strict eating habits are a must do.
Slow down, tap the brakes just a little bit and think about your fitness journey in the long-term. One of the quickest ways to fail when it comes to any big life change is doing too much before you are ready. Pushing your body too hard, too soon will do nothing but leave you incredibly tired, sore and possibly seriously injured.
When choosing a workout routine or nutrition plan to follow, realize this: the best plan is the one that you will stick to consistently. This is the single most important factor in determining the success or failure of your process. Don’t worry yourself to death over finding the perfect routine or the most cutting edge diet plan. A decent plan that you stay with long-term trumps a perfect plan that you only adhere to part of the time, period.
Another thing to realize is that the process of improving your body does not require a ridiculous amount of diet and exercise, especially at the beginning stage. The purpose of exercise is to place stress on your body, challenging it just enough to trigger a response in which the body adapts to better prepare for that amount of activity in the future. If you have not been working out long, your body does not require nearly as much of a challenge to signal this response. As you progress in your fitness journey, your body will slowly become stronger and more resilient, needing more of a challenge to continue progressing over time.
The same is true for your eating habits. If your goal is to lose weight or build muscle, there is no need to cut your calories in half or triple the amount of protein you consume right away. Similar to your exercise requirements, your body only requires moderate, consistent changes in nutrition over time. For example, an individual that weighs 300 pounds who cuts their daily calorie consumption by 500 calories will lose weight much more quickly than someone weighing 150 pounds. The inverse is true regarding trying to build muscle and protein intake.
Improving your fitness and physical health is a process that requires an equal investment of time and consistency. Getting started off on the right foot by outlining a routine that is going to work with your lifestyle is essential if you are going to maximize your success.
Lifestyle Change, Not A Temporary Phase
A common mindset when diving into the world of fitness is the notion that the process is as simple as getting from point A to point B. In other words, people establish an end goal that they want to reach, such as a picture perfect body, and believe that going hard with exercise and eating healthy for a temporary period of time will allow them to reach their goal. At that point, the process is over.
This mindset is very apparent, queue the latest fad diet click bait articles and workout programs promising six-pack abs in 30 days. This way of thinking is faulty on several different levels. First of all, improving your physical fitness takes time. You are not going to make a total body transformation in a matter of weeks. Also, going into your fitness journey with the idea that making yourself miserable for a short time period will reward you with your ideal body from that point on is a surefire way to fail.
Understand that the decision to prioritize your health and fitness must become an actual lifestyle change, not a fad you suffer through for a predetermined amount of time. Will you make progress and see real changes in your body? Absolutely. However, if you start the process expecting rapid results, the discouragement when this does not happen is an easy way to knock you off of your path.
Progress Is Rarely A Straight Line
The last important point to understand that will help point your fitness journey in the right direction from the beginning is that your overall progress is not going to be a straight line. We have already discussed the fact that this is a long-term process and how consistency is crucial, but there are going to be days when these facts are hard to keep in mind.
Some days you are going to slip up with your nutrition and indulge in a copious amount of junk food. Things will come up causing you to miss a scheduled workout. There are going to be times where you feel like your progress has stalled or even regressed. These thoughts are completely normal and everybody experiences them.
In order to objectively judge your progress, try to avoid viewing things as a day-to-day type of thing. Instead, zoom out a bit and consider the overall trend in your progress over longer periods of time. Having good days followed by bad days is going to happen, not so much with months and years. If you can picture your fitness progress as a line graph where every day is the next dot on the graph, judging yourself dot to dot will be nothing but an emotional roller coaster. Allow the dots to add up over time before you connect them, there is a good chance you’ll like the way the line looks.
As you begin your fitness journey, always remember that you are completely capable of seeing real success. This process is not a matter of skill or physical gifts, rather your ability to stay motivated and disciplined. Whatever your goal or primary reason for starting looks like, make sure to visualize it on a regular basis. Always remember your “why.”
Hopefully this article has equipped you with a bit of knowledge that will serve to get your journey started with a strong foundation. When things get tough and you feel like giving up, never forget where you started!