Working out is now a major part of my life and my everyday routine. I try to do it 6 days a week and it can be hard to stick to sometimes. It’s a lot easier than it used to be for sure. About 1.5 years ago, I decided to get my fitness and health together. I wanted to look better and have the added side effect of feeling better as a result of improvements to my health.
When I started, I weighted about 165 pounds and that was not all muscle. In fact, at the time, I definitely felt a lot chubbier and always felt groggy. I wasn’t very confident in myself either. I just felt that as I was getting older, my body was doing it’s own thing and I was being pulled along for the ride. So I went to personal training. It was difficult at first but over time you get use to the difficulty and appreciate it more. Now, I weight about 183 pounds which is not what I wanted at the start. I didn’t want to gain more weight. But I realized a few things. First, I don’t look like I weight that much. Secondly, the reason for this is because the weight I’ve gained is muscle weight. My body has become tighter and bit more cut. I’m finally feeling happy with the way I look and my confidence is increasing.
Personal training is not cheap. Nevertheless, if you can swing it, I highly suggest at least going once a week to work out with a personal trainer. They are professionals at helping others get into the best shape. I know going to personal training helped me learn how to exercise correctly and that was very important. Working out is great for your health but there are a few things you should keep in mind if you plan to begin a fitness journey.
1) Working out will never be easy. If it were easy, everyone would do with no problem. No one wouldn’t make it a New Year’s Resolution and we’d all be fit and happy. Working out puts your body under stress as you train your muscles by tearing and exhausting them. You will feel soreness, sometimes pain (though you shouldn’t feel this often), and you’ll sweat a lot. When it becomes easier, then you up the ante. It’s all about gains.
2) Results don’t happen overnight.I think a lot of people fail at fitness goals because of our instant gratification society. With fitness, there is no real instant gratification. Many people expect and hope for quick results. A lot of things influence your fitness progress including diet, consistency, genetics, and adequate exercise. Results won’t be linear. You won’t continuously make progress. In fact, there will be periods of progress and periods of slow progress. It’s stagnation you need to look out for but progress will happen overtime. So commit for the long haul and you’ll be good to go.
3) Diet is just as important as exercise. So you started a fitness routine…fantastic! Now you need to work on your diet too. Eliminating empty carbs from bread and other sugary foods is important. Eating less starches can make a huge difference depending on your fitness goals. Increasing protein will help build muscle…and don’t forget fiber! Exercise alone is not enough to get you that dream body you so desire. You have to focus on your diet too which means eating a balanced meal three times a day and healthy snacks. You can work out all the time but if all you eat is junk food in different forms then you won’t see very much progress. Health is just as important as your looks.
4) Habits are hard to break AND develop. Changing your diet can be very hard. Maybe you are in the habit of ordering an extremely sugary Starbucks coffee drink or you enjoy a nice doughnut in the morning. You have to break these bad eating habits. Don’t drink enough water? Then you have to develop the habit of drinking more water. Exercising is also a new habit which can be difficult to develop. This is probably the hardest part of a lifestyle change but once you’ve developed a habit, you don’t think about it anymore. It just becomes something you have to do. For instance, there is no question I have to go to the gym most days…I just do it.
5) Some days, you just won’t want to work out. Now, there will be days when working out is the last thing you feel like doing. On those days, you should suck it up and get your butt to the gym. Yes, you can work out at home but going to the gym forces you to immerse yourself in an environment for fitness. Once you’re there, you will workout. But if there happens to be the occasional day where you really can’t bring yourself to do anything then that’s ok. You’re allowed to have bad days. Don’t feel guilty.
6) Inner motivation Is key.Motivation is important when it comes to working out. My main motivation for sticking to my fitness routine is that I want to look good naked. It really is that superficial. As a gay man, there are plenty of opportunities to be nearly-nude or nude and I want to always feel comfortable in my own skin. I also want to feel lively, healthy, and have high energy level. Working out helps me accomplish all of these. Whatever your motivation is, you need to find it. That inner motivation will stick in your mind and give you the extra push you need to make it happen.
7) Comparisons will be your downfall. Comparing yourself to anyone else is just silly. Unfortunately, we all do it sometimes. There will always be someone stronger, leaner, fitter, and any other adjective you can think of. Remember you are on your own fitness journey and everyone else’s progress is no indication of your own success. Look at your own progress and compare yourself today to yourself 3 months ago. That’s the only comparison that matters.
8) Rest is important. Working out can manifest awesome results that make you happy and excited. You might want to workout as often as possible…even two times a day. Just remember that exercising too much can cause you to burnout, have slow progress, get sick, or even injure yourself. Resting is just as important as exercising. You have to let your body and muscles recover. You either rest some or you rest a lot later when you are fatigued or injured.
9) It’s OK to ask for help. There is always room to learn. Personally, I use a personal trainer. He helps me understand the exercises I do and how they effect my body. He also just motivates me. Don’t be shy or embarrassed to ask for help. Getting help with some aspects of your exercise routine can be the difference between progress and stagnation. It can be anyone too!
10) Enjoying the workout is important. Most importantly, you have to learn to enjoy your work out. If it isn’t fun to you in some way then you are likely to quit and not stick to it. There are many ways to get fit so find one that you enjoy and then stick to it. You’ll eventually vary your exercises and learn to find something enjoyable about it all. Working out is an important part of our health as adults. It can improve the way we look, the way we feel, and our overall health. Following these tips, you can build a positive foundation for your fitness goals.
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