Ahh, that belly!
Fitness is a lifestyle. Yet, more than 30% of people around the globe are obese or overweight. Every obese person has promised themselves at least once in their life to go to the gym and get fit. But guess what? Years after years pass, and you keep putting on weight. You start hating yourself, get depressed, and whatnot.
Instead, why not just get fit? It’s easier than you think, and in this article, you’ll go through seven easy steps to get a lean, athletic body.
Write down your goals
Writing your goals might sound too cliché, but it’s always the first step towards doing something big. When you write down specific goals, you are more likely to remind yourself that you need to achieve them. And the keyword “specific” plays a critical role here. Writing a highly subjective goal, like “lose weight” or “get stronger” won’t help. While these might be your ultimate goals, you’ll need to set intermittent objectives to guide your efforts.
Some examples of specific goals can be:
Run 5 miles every day.
Consumer sugar only on Saturday
Work out in the gym for 30 minutes every day.
Lose 5 kg in two months.
Your goals can vary depending on what you want to achieve. But make sure to divide ambition into smaller, actionable, and realistic goals.
Create an exercise plan
Once you’ve outlined your goals, you’ll need to figure out how to achieve them. If you’re not sure how to create actionable goals, follow these steps.
1. Have a broad goal, such as “lose weight.”
2. Have a specific goal, such as “lose 5 kg in 2 months.”
3. Figure out how you plan to achieve your goals. For example, to lose weight, you can do cardio or weight training. Then, cardio and weight training are further divided into various subcategories. For how long will you run every day? How much time will you spend in the gym? Answering these questions will help you create a plan that you could follow daily.
Adjust your diet
As experts say, 30% in the gym, and 70% in the kitchen. No matter how hard you exercise, if you’re not adjusting your diet according to your exercise plan, you won’t see results. When it comes to diet adjustment, you need to focus on the following components:
Carbohydrates: Carbs should make up 40-60% of your daily calorie intake. If you want to lose excess body fat, don’t look to reduce your carbohydrate intake. Instead, switch from unrefined carbs – white rice and white bread – to unrefined, whole-grain foods. These foods have higher nutritional value, and they make you feel satiated for longer periods.
Fats: Most people looking to lose weight make this mistake of completely eliminating their fat intake. That’s a wrong approach as fats aren’t always bad, and they should make 20-30% of your daily calorie intake.
Protein: If you’re looking to gain muscle, proteins should make a primary component of your diet. But don’t consume too much protein; it should form 10-30% of your daily calorie intake.
Have a once-a-week cheat day
Supermodel Gigi Hadid has a cheat day. And psychologists also suggest having a cheat day. However, it is entirely your choice. If it’s the first time you’ve taken up a new diet plan and having a hard time following it, cheat days could help. Once a weak, you can go out and eat your favorite dish. This way, you’ll need to have a limited amount of discipline, and exercising self-control will become easy.
However, most successful athletes don’t have a cheat day. When you have a goal in mind, self-control becomes easy. So, when you’re starting out, you might need cheat days. But as you follow the diet and exercise plan for a few months, you’ll adapt to it, and you won’t get cravings for cheat days anymore.
Moreover, having cheat days doesn’t mean you should eat unhealthy food. On cheat days, you could eat a diet that has more fats and carbs but less protein. Even on cheat days, try to stay away from refined carbs and unhealthy fats.
Try different types of workout
Imagine running 5 km a day every day for three months. It’ll get boring, right? Like any other stuff, you do in life, exercising and working out should be fun and enjoyable. If you stick to one exercise plan for a long time, you might lose interest. And if you lose interest, you’ll look for ways to avoid working out by lying to yourself.
Besides keeping things fresh, diversifying your workouts allows you to develop your body in different ways, such as fat burning, mass gaining, toning, etc. There exist a plethora of various types of fitness routines and classes, ranging from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to cardio to yoga.
Get a workout partner
Having some company is always nice. Imagine doing pushups and sit-ups in an empty ground with no people around. It can get boring and lonely. But if you have a partner, things can get easier. Not only can you help each other with exercising, but talk and chat as well.
Having a buddy can also help you extend yourself. If you’re in the middle of the set and about to give up, a partner can motivate you to not stop and keep going.
Have rest days in your weekly plan
Everyone needs rest days, even professional athletes. Physiotherapists recommend that if you engage in high impact sports like basketball, having a rest day once a week is critical. It makes sure your muscles and joints get enough rest. However, rest days don’t mean you spend the entire day lying on your couch, eating chips, and watching Netflix.
Do some mild exercise that allows your mind and body to recharge and rejuvenate. Swimming, for example, could be a great option. If you don’t have a swimming pool nearby, taking a nice stroll in a garden can help. What you do on your rest day depends entirely on yourself. If you do weight training, a rest day could be a 3 km jog.
Some mistakes to avoid
The way you plan and execute your exercise can make or break your success. Some rookie athletes tend to make a few silly mistakes that could stop them from achieving their fitness goals. If you’re new to fitness and exercising, avoid these common mistakes.
Being too keen: It’s the New Year, and you’ve made a resolution. “I’ll exercise for one hour a day, seven days a week. I’ll never touch fast-food again.” Having this mindset is wrong. You’re driven my temporary motivation and willpower, but your mind and body are not prepared for a drastic lifestyle change. So, take things slowly and set goals that are realistic and achievable.
Vague goal setting: As discussed, broad goals like “lose weight” or “get fit” won’t help. Make sure to set specific, actionable goals.
Not knowing the reason: Why do you want to get fit? What’s the motivation behind it? Did your girlfriend leave you because your belly came in the way when you hugged each other? Or you didn’t get selected for the high-school basketball team because you weren’t fit enough. Asking yourself ‘why’ is critical to ensure you stay motivated and stick to your routine for the long term.
Neglecting nutrition: What you eat is more important than how you train. If you want to lose weight, you might be tempted to exercise hard and reduce your calorie intake. Consuming excess calories is not good, but you should at least consume the minimum required calories. Not doing so can make you weaker, and you’ll be left with no energy to exercise.
These steps must’ve helped you frame a plan to get fit and develop an athletic body you’ve always dreamt of. And remember; don’t force yourself to become fit. It’s a motivation that should come from within.