Simple Fitness Fundamentals
Credit: Nicholas A Joslin
We've all struggled to meet one of our fitness goals at one time or another. Whether it's trying to lose that stubborn last 10 pounds or trying to curl just 10 more pounds. The journey to better fitness and health can be challenging. There is a maze of information out there on diets, exercise routines and the best approaches to lose weight. Ultimately, all you really need are three keys to better fitness to achieve your goals.
The first and probably most critical key to better fitness is to be consistent. Commit to your plan and stick with it. You can lose weight on any diet and you can gain muscle on any exercise program, but only if you stick with it (assuming the plan is basically sound - but most plans are). The key is picking the right plan for you. If you like lifting weights don't pick a plan that focuses on running (as you'll be less likely to stick with it). If you love eating breads, don't adopt an ultra low carbohydrate diet that eliminates them (but do select healthier choices of bread, like whole grain breads). Pick something you can live with for the long-term, and then stick with it.
No one gains 30 pounds over a weekend, and you shouldn't expect big changes in that amount of time either. Developing a goal and sticking with it for the long-term will not only improve your chances for success, but also increase your chances of sustaining them for the long-term. Picking the right plan can help you be consistent, and being consistent will help you reach your goals, no matter how challenging they might seem.
Work Hard, but don't kill yourself
The second key to better fitness is to work hard and challenge yourself, but not so hard that you can't sustain it. If you work out so hard on Monday that you're too sore to work out for the rest of the week, there is a good chance you may quit your program before you even get started. The same applies for your diet. If you deny yourself every food you like to eat, chances are you won't stick with it. It's better to take a more moderate approach and make small changes over time that challenge you, but that don't kill yourself. Applying a degree of moderation to your plan, will help you stick with it and will allow you to challenge yourself at a rate you can keep up with. If you overdo it, scale your routine back a little until your body can adapt and then ramp it back up. It's this steady progression that will make you successful in the long run, not one "super work out".
There is power in writing down or sharing your goals, and tracking them to completion. Surrounding yourself with encouraging friends or family who help you work toward your goals can greatly increase you odds of success. There also is power in keeping track of your progress. This can help you find stumbling blocks in you program (for example, if you always eat out on Sundays and this causes you to overeat, you might be able to change your routine to avoid the temptation). It can also help you identify when you are "plateauing", or have stopped progressing toward your goal. Identifying this can give you the opportunity to change your plan to get back on track (maybe by changing up exercises in your workout routine). Keeping track will help you stay on track.
Following these three keys to better fitness, can help you stay on the path to a healthier lifestyle and to avoid many of the pitfalls along the way.