Follow these top 10 tips to make sure your fitness journey is successful and to help you enjoy getting fit!
1. Find the right mindset
Perception is everything when it comes to getting fit, you’ve got to enjoy the process and love yourself all the way. Getting fit because you “have to” or because you “look fat” already associates the process with negative thoughts. This kind of mindset will probably go through excuses like “it’s not fair, everyone else loses weight and gets fit and I stay the same”. Getting your mind on track to enjoy the process by practising patience, consistency, and resilience will help you to get to your goal and stay on track long-term.
2. Set goals
If you start exercising without a plan, you will never make any progress. Goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and have a time-frame. These are known as SMART Goals. For example, rather than just saying "I want to tone up" or "I want to lose weight" your goal needs to be more like "I want to be able to run a 5k without stopping by the end of next month" or "I want to lose 5kg in weight and fit into a size 12 pair of jeans by the end of the year". You will be far more likely to succeed this way.
3. Track your activity
There are lots of activity trackers on the market, and there's something for everyone no matter what budget so there's no excuse! Track your steps, sleep, and exercise each day so that you know you're staying on track and to help incentivise your progress.
4. Track your nutrition
Trying to guess your calories or remember what you've eaten each day is bound to end in failure. It's impossible to estimate the nutritional information of a lot of foods, especially when they contain a lot more sugar and calories than you realise. Tracking your food is a great way to stay on track and help you understand why you might not be seeing the results you want. Keep a food diary and always check the label of your food before you eat it.
5. Drink more water
Most people don't drink enough water but it is crucial for health and fitness. The recommended amount of 8 glasses a day is not enough, and neither is 2 litres. Especially in summer, you should be drinking closer to 3 litres of water a day, every day. Unfortunately, if you don't like the taste, you just have to get on with it and do it anyway! Carry a bottle with you everywhere you go and take sips all day long so that you don't forget to stay hydrated.
6. Get a training buddy
When training alone, it's much easier to quit. Having someone there to spur you on and make sure you keep going can be a big deal. It's also good to have someone you have to let down if you don't feel like exercising. Having to text your friend or personal trainer and explain why you won't be training means it's harder to quit for no reason. Training with a buddy can also make getting fit much more fun!
7. Get active outside the gym
If you sit at a desk all day, you are still considered to have a sedentary lifestyle, even if you go to the gym every day. Try adding some exercise into your commute by walking or cycling to work or getting off public transport a couple of stops early and walking the rest of the way. Go for a walk at lunchtime instead of staying in the office and eat your lunch at your desk. Go walking at the weekend and try to stay as active as possible.
8. Get more sleep
We all know that getting enough sleep is good for our health. Getting a full 8 hours is important for proper brain function but also hormone function. The growth hormone is released only when we have been asleep for 4 hours uninterrupted, and won't be released if you are listening to music or have the television on in the background, or have lights on. Having a proper night's sleep with no external distractions is vital for weight loss and if you always have disturbed sleep, this could be why you're not seeing results.
9. Get the right gear
Training in uncomfortable activewear can be the difference between a great workout and no workout at all. If your sports bra is chafing or your leggings are falling down, you won't want to continue and are more likely to quit. Make sure your activewear is made from technical fabrics with sweat-wicking capabilities and four-way stretch.
10. Give it time
So many people quit because they are not seeing instant results or because they expected the process to be quicker. Getting and staying fit is a lifelong commitment which will benefit you well into old age. Think of your body as an investment and take good care of it in the long term. Don't set unrealistic goals and don't give up when things get hard. You only get one body after all!