I really liked this post by Mark Fischer, and thought it was worth reposting: Getting Started Is The Hard Part.
Getting Started is the Hard Part
By Mark Fischer
You knew it was time to do something, you have been looking in the mirror for months and justifying your weight gains. Your designer pants don’t fit right, your shirt or blouse makes you feel fat, and baggy clothes seem to be really comfy, but are not flattering at all. That one occasion or instant that pushed you over the edge has arrived, and now it’s time to do something about it!
You get serious and decide that it is time to get in to shape, or at least got serious about living a healthier life. You set the start date, and probably like most people went out and bought some work out gear, gym membership,water bottle, iPod, bananas, apples, lettuce, and chicken.
After a few days of being sore and giving it all you got, frustration and discouragement hit you hard, since the way you feel does not match the way you look or weigh. Certainly feeling this sore warrants a few pounds missing, right? Ugh! And so you continue to forge on at an attempt to fulfill your commitment.
A few weeks later you have found yourself to be confident enough to talk about your health and fitness and establish yourself as officially back in the game. But your not real happy about the progress, you just know that you feel better than you did before. And you forge on in an attempt to fulfill your commitment to yourself.
When does it end? When do I get there? How come it’s taking so long? These are the questions that we ask ourselves when we are in a position of doing something reluctantly. The answer to these frustrating questions are here. I’m going to attempt to answer as many questions as possible to help you get started off on the right track.
1. Do you have time every day? When making the big decision to get your life back, or in gear, there are some serious things to consider. Do you have time every day to dedicate to your health and fitness? If the answer is no, then you are going to have to rethink your success timeline and re-establish a more realistic goal.
2. What is a realistic goal? Well, how long did it take you to get out of shape? Expect that much time to get back in to shape. Depending on your effort, you should be able to see significant results with in two to three months (60-90 days). Now remember, the question is not how long have you been out of shape, It was how long did it take for you to get out of shape. Any time past ‘take’ is simply stayed out of shape.
3. Do you have a program that measures weekly, monthly, and tri-monthly results? Start off with your measurements and keep track of your progress. Weigh yourself, establish circumference measurements; Neck, chest, biceps, waist, hips, thigh, calves, and if you can, have your body fat tested and keep recording.
4. Do you have a systematic approach to calorie consumption vs deficit? Just as you plan to get calories out, you also must have a plan to get calories back in (The law of thermodynamics). For the first week simply make healthier choices, do not starve yourself. Lay off the pizza, breads, pasta’s, and refined sugars. The average women takes in 32 teaspoons of sugar every day! and if she was to cut out half of that, she would lose 25 pounds in one year! After the first 10 days of cleaner eating, figure out (research) three extremely healthy breakfasts that you can alternate. After 10 days of healthy breakfast’s, figure out (research) three extremely healthy lunches and work your way to snacks and dinners. 80% of you reaching your goal is all about what, and how you eat.
5. Work out like you mean it! High traffic gyms can be a distraction from your work outs especially if equipment is not available, or if you don’t know how to use the equipment, or maybe just sheer intimidation. Get a good pair of running shoes and either speed walk or lightly jog outside, if your area’s weather allows it. Develop a resistance training program that will work every primary mover, as well as secondary muscle groups, all in one week.
6. Drink water and get sleep! Your body is going to be exhausted from working out and repairing muscle tissue and water will aid in muscle cell recovery as well as resting. Plan for an extra hour of sleep and 48 ounces of water (minimum) per day, your body will love you for that.
7. Save it for Sunday! Take one meal on Sunday (or another set “cheat” day) and eat what ever you feel like eating. Your brain will begin to lay off the temptation endorphins that cause you to crave certain foods. The average person has three monster cravings per day, if acted upon those cravings every meal, you would take in an extra 15,000 calories per week! If you ‘save it for Sunday’ you are only taking in an extra 800 calories per week. You will soon figure out that even Sunday will turn in to an all day healthy eating.
8. Stay active on your rest day. Every day is a calories in vs calories out day, you have got to keep the fire burning! Go for a hike, walk, golf, swim, yard work, deep clean the house, or organize the garage. This is what active people do! Generally active people are in better shape and their homes are five time more likely to be clean and organized.
9. Always prepare in advance. Food, time, clothes, work out, etc. – those things that you plan for – you will surely do. Don’t get caught in a situation of poor nutrition choices, but make your food in advance. Be flexible on your work out times as sometimes you may have to get up early to get your work out in. You may be tired at the end of the day, but at least you are one step closer to your goal.
10. Stop making health and fitness a short term goal and turn it in to a life style! Most people work out for a quick couple of weeks or months in hopes of feeling good on the cruise, at the wedding or for the class reunion. If you create a healthy and fit lifestyle you won’t ever have to crash train for an event and most likely will stop the yo-yo lifestyle of healthy living.
There is so much more detail to these ten tips, and I hope that I can address them more in your comments and responses. Get started right! And your progress will be so much greater!