Being fit means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And if you assemble a handful of subjective definitions, you would come up with one that greatly mimics those of health, balance, energy and strength. For the average Joe and Jane, getting into this territory is hard work. Staying there- you might imagine- substantially harder.
The blueprint which follows tries to amend that. No magic wands, but no herculean effort either. All it takes is a nicely structured approach and the will to stay consistent. Keep scrolling for I will make you an offer that you can’t refuse.
There – I even managed to squeeze Don Vito in here as well. Sit tight Vito; this will be a long ride.
Adjusting your mindset
Most people start their journey towards fitness by getting their clues from all the wrong places.
They’d scan the net, watch countless of videos on YouTube, search for the perfect training regimen. Add to this a manufactured sense of emergency, and you get a grown up individual trying all sorts of ill-advised scenarios.
Gruesome workouts, drastic changes in nutrition, and a lifestyle so suddenly adopted no wonder it becomes an exercise in frustration.
Sooner or later, quitting seems like a perfectly reasonable idea, and on it goes the chase around the maypole.
Seeing as we are not six, this unsustainable approach must be swiftly discarded. What should take its place is a slight change in mindset. One that starts by letting go.
When you let go of the manufactured emergency, and understand this as a process, everything becomes easier. Acknowledging that your lifestyle must change, you develop the patience to gradually get there.
Playing it safe instead of betting the farm- that’s the takeaway here.
People who want to get fit tend to follow a very symptomatic curve. Aiming for the hardest approach, only to fail and search for shortcuts instead.
And if the chapter above was a sermon advising you against drastic change – this one is about telling you to forget the shortcuts.
You see, while products like the 3 week diet plan tend to work they might solve only a part of the puzzle. Without the right mechanisms in place, your lifestyle is what it is- even if you were to become fit overnight, old habits will drag you right back.
Every shortcut undermines the fact that in order for you to get and remain fit, your lifestyle needs to change accordingly. And while sudden changes are a bad idea, not changing at all is equally stupid.
Shortcuts allow you to believe that you don’t need to change. But you do. And here is how.
One step at a time and you get a cookie.
Did I say cookie? Oh well, let me reverse there for a second.
Starting with the notion that food is as addictive as drugs, it’s easy to spot the difficulty of getting this step right. Disagreeing with me already, huh?
Well, if my experience with coaching people serves me well, changing your diet should give birth to symptoms that slightly resemble a relapse from most commonly used drugs.
Don’t believe me? Try and ditch sugar completely from your life.
You see, food not only feeds the body, but it alters the chemical balance in the brain. So if you decide to change diet behavior out of the blue, mood swings are known to happen. Some of them will have you cursing your mouth of, and others will have you sneaking into your kitchen at midnight, eating the household monthly supply of candy.
The best way to match the above described change in mindset is to change diet gradually as well. Starting with the aim to add more balance to your meals, you will find yourself quickly at the crescendo of your progress, being able to resist all unhealthy choices.
But this should take time and patience. And the occasional cookie without the supporting sense of guilt.
Here is how to get this step right…
Add veggies to your diet first
Your mother and father were both right when they preached over lunch on how to study college because you might end up writing blog articles for the rest of your life instead…
Oh, lost my focus there for a while… Where were we? Veggies, right.
Eat your broccoli- said your mom- and she was right.
You see, logic dictates that adding X to your meals- whatever it is- makes it harder for you to consume the same quantity of Y.
Back to English now… If you add 50 grams of veggies, it usually means 50 grams less of whatever else you usually put into your plate.
Then, over a week or two, you’d start to use the same principle when substituting your protein sources, and your carb sources as well. Adding the healthy variety on expense of ditching the bad habit. Fries gradually make room for quinoa, and pork chopsticks for lean chicken or fish.
In no time you would be eating nuts and Brussel sprouts, where you’d previously eat Skittles and garden variety of candy.
Eat more times per day
This allows you to exercise control over your plate.
What happens when people get hungry is a series of mood swings that affect will power and rational thinking. In turn, making your healthy choices gets harder.
So to avoid this, you’d like to feed yourself throughout the day, teaching your body not to have emotional cravings for food, but feel nutritional need instead.
So 3 main meals and 2-3 snacks.
Allow yourself a break
It is better to embrace your bad habits, than to pretend they don’t exist. So, from time to time, eat something I would advise you against. Don’t feel guilty. Understand that it is only a necessary evil in the process of exercising more control.
It’s better to plan these things through, rather than get overwhelmed by them.
How to start working out
Most workout regimens are built on top of theories I can shot holes in. That’s why going to the gym seems so intimidating to many. Popular home workouts are designed the same way too.
It requires a serious amount of will power to start doing complex exercises out of the blue, and stay on track for months to an end.
So, the best way to start working out is by not working out at all.
That’s right- don’t work out. Hacking diet is so hard by itself that adding something on top of that is a surefire way to fall flat on your face.
Give yourself a week just for tweaking nutrition. And then, when you feel ready, and have built enough of a positive anticipation, start taking longer walks or maybe few push-ups before you hit the shower each day.
As the days go by, you’d build on top of that.
Ease your way into fitness- it’s much more fun and rewarding, and certainly tenfold easier.
When it comes to results, slow and steady outranks other methods nine ways to Sunday.
That’s why dancing workouts like CIZE tend to produce much better results than their more intense counterparts. Because they’d ease your way into fitness making you stay on track longer. You’d enjoy the process instead of dreading it.
Here is how to gradually build your strength, endurance and will power in order to be able to tackle complex and demanding routines.
For the sake of having fun, you can do a series of exercises each day starting with one or two repetitions.
Let me elaborate…
Push-ups, sit-ups, and squats- three repetitions of each today, four repetitions tomorrow. So on and so forth…
Take a piece of paper or your smartphone, and write progress down.
One minute intervals
Tell me this – how hard is to work out only one minute per day?
Not at all, right?
Well, that’s exactly what you can be doing starting from tomorrow. One minute before you go to the shower, just decide over a cardio move and do it as much as you can.
Pretend you are jumping on a rope; or do jumping jacks; or run while in the plank position…
Each day, one minute per day. As you get stronger and more agile, simply improve the range of motion, intensity and speed.
See, working out can start gradually and develop from there. And judging according to my personal experience, this is the best option to choose when structuring your fitness blueprint.
Folding up this letter, I hope you don’t need more convincing on how important the gradual process is. In the grand scheme of things one extra month means nothing- but use it to build good habits, and they can last for a lifetime. So forget the manufactured emergency, and approach your fitness from a different angle.