Getting fit is a top concern for most people. Unfortunately, it often remains wishful thinking for reasons ranging from maniac schedules to not knowing how to get fit and stay that way.
Fitness success isn’t a walk in the park for anyone, including the pros. But it’s achievable if you’re determined and ready to put in the effort. In this guide, we’ve put together five tips and tricks on how to get fit easily.
1. Determine Your Starting Point
This is one critical step that most people skip when starting a fitness program. You probably have an idea of what you want to look like in the end, but do you know exactly where you are?
A precise understanding of your current physical fitness gives you data you can use to track your progress down the road. Such information also helps you determine whether a particular workout program or weight loss regimen is working and what needs to be done. On a psychological level, knowing your starting point and what you want to achieve also impacts your confidence besides giving you a sense of direction.
Here are ways of assessing your current physical fitness;
- Record how many push-ups you can manage in one minute. 30+ reps for men and 25+ reps for women suggest a high level of fitness. 19 reps and below for men and 14 and below for women indicate that a lot needs to be done.
- Hold a plank for as long as possible and record your maximum time. Beginners should aim for 10-60 seconds. As you progress, extend to 1-2 minutes.
2. Boost Your Metabolism
In addition to exercising regularly, transforming your body requires understanding its internal functions, particularly metabolism.
Metabolism is a complex process by which the body stores and converts food into energy. Individuals with a faster metabolic rate burn calories much faster than those with a slower metabolism. Having a higher metabolism boosts your ability to lose weight and keep it off, significantly impacting your fitness goals. Genetics play a significant role in your metabolism. But there are things you can do to boost this process naturally. Eating more protein at every meal is a scientifically proven way of boosting one’s metabolic rate. Protein increases muscle mass and strength. It also keeps you full for longer, helping in minimizing calorie intake.
Other ways of increasing your rate of metabolism include:
- Drinking cold water.
- Doing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
- Standing up more.
- Lifting heavy things.
- Eating spicy foods.
3. Sit Less and Move More
Recent studies suggest that a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet are the significant causes of obesity today. Besides weight gain, a sedentary lifestyle also has other long-term effects, including loss of muscle mass. Muscles are the ‘engine’ that generates strength and stamina, allowing you to lift more weight and exercise more to get a toned body. The thing with muscle mass is that we tend to lose it if we don’t utilize it. This is one of the main reasons it’s challenging to keep fit while leading a sedentary lifestyle. The way to increase muscle mass is through adequate nutrition and having a balanced diet. But that’s just one part of the equation. The second part is moving around a lot. Office workers who spend a big chunk of their time sitting should look for ways to stay active, including biking or walking to work, taking the stairs, using a standing desk and moving around when on the phone.
Evening walks and hiking, for instance, during the weekend, also offer an excellent opportunity to work muscles that you don’t utilize a lot at the workplace.
Lastly, borrowing exercises and training drills from your favorite sports is also a great idea. Take, for example, exercises and drills from the soccer world (Source: BlazePod). They are usually very thought out and efficient exercises, ensuring you get the most out of your valuable time.
4. Add Resistance Training to Your Workouts
Resistance training (also known as strength training) is another highly recommendable addition to your fitness program. This form of exercise means working against an external force that causes your muscles to contract.
Strength training is often associated with large biceps and elusive six-packs. But even if you’re not building muscle bulk, resistance training is a much better way of strengthening your muscles than strolling. What’s more, you only need to train at least twice a week to realize the benefits of these exercises. Plus, you don’t have to hit the gym every time you want to do resistance training.
It’s possible to do resistance training without equipment. Exercises, such as planks, situps, lunges, push-ups and pull-ups are effective and only require your body weight. However, if you’re looking for the real burn, consider resistance training exercises that use equipment, such as suspension bands, elastic resistance bands and free weights (dumbbells, kettlebells and medicine bells e.t.c)
5. Lastly, Stay Motivated
How many times have you listed “getting fit” in your new year resolutions only to quit a few days later? If you’ve answered many times, you’re not alone. This happens to almost everyone. Exercising demands a lot of effort, discipline and time. You’ll agree that it can also be downright boring at times.
If it’s hard to stick with your fitness regimen, start by revisiting your previous attempts and figure out why you quit. Some of the reasons why most people lose motivation to work out include unrealistic expectations, failing to set short-term goals and not setting apart enough time for exercising. Another common excuse why people lose interest in working out is being unable or feeling lazy to go to the gym.
Here are tips on how to stay motivated and inspired to continue exercising:
- Set simple short-term goals before graduating to longer-range goals. For instance, you could start by taking a 10-minute walk every day. After a week or so, graduate to a 30-minute walk every other day. As you get fit, challenge yourself to a 5k walk.
- Come up with practical workouts that you can do at home without the need for fancy equipment. You’ll also find tons of easy at-home workout moves to get fit online.
- Mix things up! It’s our human nature to want change. On this note, think of a variety of effective exercises that you genuinely look forward to.
- Train with a workout buddy. It’s now well accepted that your friends shape you. If it’s challenging to stay motivated to workout, enlist a trainer or buddy up with a person fitter than you.