If you have decided to make your life healthier through moving your body and eating better, you are making one of your best choices of your life.
But how to get started?
There is so much information out there. The Internet is full of workout plans and diets. The craziest thing is that every one of them is claimed to be THE BEST. But that can't be possible.
So Many Questions: Where To Start?
How to survive in this abundance of information and distinguish the important from unimportant?
Here are some questions that are possibly crossing your mind:
- What kind of workouts should I be doing?
- How much should I work out?
- What are the best exercises for me?
- What time of a day should I work out?
- What should I eat and what should I not eat?
- How much should I eat?
- Should I avoid this food?
- Should I take this diet pill / drink only shakes all day / get on this juide diet?
- When do I get to see results?
With all the information out there, it's easy to get lost and worst case scenario, give up pursuing your goals altogether.
Don't let it happen.
The most important thing is to get the basics right. The timing of the workout or making a choice between of chicken or turkey for lunch are not something that matters too much, as long as you got the most important things nailed.
Here are five core principals you need to know and put into action when starting your health and fitness journey. They are your keys to success.
1. Keep Your Workouts Simple
You probably need some strength training in your life.
Forget about gym machines that (mostly) put you into extremely unnatural positions and make you move in an unnatural way.
Instead, do fundamental exercises that are the most natural for human body. They are simple compound movements that use large muscle groups in the most efficient and functional way.
The exercises are:
If you take a look around you, you see that these are exactly the exercises that people that are actually fit and in a good shape keep rotating in their workout routines all the time.
There are many variations of these exercises, but the simplest versions of them will do a great job. Beginners shouldn't overwhelm themselves with all the variations. Do them with just bodyweight. As you get stronger, you can increase the rep amount, take less rest between the sets or add weight.
2. Change One Thing At a Time
There is so much information about weight loss, fat loss, dieting and exercising that it may seem that you need to restart your whole life in order to get anywhere.
But the more changes you are trying to make, the less likely you will stay on track.
My suggestion is to take it easier and make one change at a time. There's no need to throw out all sugar, workout five days a week, never go out for an happy hour any more, start waking up at 5 to get your workout in and drinking 8 glasses of water and do it all today.
Slow it down!
Make one change at a time and be very consistent with it.
Say that you set yourself a goal to workout three times a week. To do that, you need to create some discipline. Really stick with it but don't put yourself under a pressure of eating six cups of broccoli with a meal and never having wine again at the same time.
After a couple of weeks of successfully working out three times a week, set yourself a new goal while keeping the first one. Breaking your goals down into smaller pieces and tackling them one at a time helps you to keep the consistency up.
3. Find Enjoyable Way of Moving
Finding a way of moving that you really enjoy is an extremely important key to success.
Are you doing a workout that you don't like, only because your friend told you that it's awesome? You will stop sooner or later, if you don't enjoy it.
Find what you like. It's so much more likely that you will keep doing something that you enjoy. You may already know what your thing is but if you don't, get exploring and experimenting.
Never wait until you are more fit or until you have lost some pounds. Don't think that you are not fit enough to try X, W, Z. The only way to find out what's good for you is to get started. There is a way of moving for everyone, because human beings are meant to move.
4. Create Discipline
There will be no results without discipline.
You need to work out often to get results, and you need to make healthy food choices most of the time. There is no way around these two things.
It doesn't mean that you can't skip a workout if there is true reason to do so, or that you can never have your favorite cake again. Quite the opposite: I encourage you to take a break from working out every now and then and also have your dessert every now and then.
You won't wreck all your hard work by taking two rest days or having a piece of cake.
However, you want to be sure that those things don't happen too often.
This is why creating discipline and good habits are important.
Some habits are easy to create and stick with, but others require hard work and lots of practicing.
For example, keeping up a proper workout discipline has never been a problem for me, but having just one piece of chocolate cake is. It's hard but it's all about practicing, because it's unlikely that my sweet tooth will just be gone one day.
I don't want to deprive myself either, so I need to teach myself eating just one piece, and practice doing so. It doesn't always work, but there's no other way than keep working on it.
5. Be Patient
No change will happen overnight. As simple as it may sound, it's especially hard to remember for those who are just starting out. Seeing results takes time.
If you have never been physically active or your diet has been unhealthy, give yourself time to learn the new things that are necessary to get your goals and to put them into action. It all takes time.
It's not a good idea to compare yourself with someone that you want to look like. Maybe you see a picture of someone on Instagam and think: She has the body that I want.
Most of the time you don't even know the person and have no idea how log it has taken for her to get where she is. Maybe she has been an athlete all her life?
It's unrealistic to get a similar body in one week or even one year or maybe ever. Be realistic and know your starting point, but don't beat yourself up either for not having what she has.
All this doesn't mean that you shouldn't be taking steps towards getting healthier.
It means that you need to be patient.
If you have been fit and healthy in the past but then put on a significant amount of weight, you know that it didn't happen overnight. So there is no shortcut to losing it overnight either.
Give yourself time and be kind to yourself throughout the process.
With all the information about health and fitness out there, it's easy to get lost. Therefore, keep in mind five simple principals in anything you do to get closer to your goals.
In your strength workouts, focus on doing basic compound movements, such as squats, push ups, pull ups and running.
Make one change at a time and stick with it for some weeks before adding the next goal.
Find a way of doing movements that you enjoy.
Create habits and discipline because you will need to be consistent with your actions to see results.
Be very patient and give yourself time to get the results.
There is no need to read one more article about the newest trends in health and fitness, or try out another fad diet – that's just wasting your time. Instead, start taking action, while keeping these five things in mind.
You'll get there.