No matter how enthused you might be at the thought of starting a fitness routine, enthusiasm alone isn’t enough. You need to set goals and these goals must be realistic. You can’t expect to leap in and achieve unreasonable results.
There are no overnight success stories. It takes hard work. So whether your fitness goal is to lose weight, get in shape or improve your health, it’s something that you can do as you put in the time and effort.
Set a goal that’s broken into smaller steps. This allows you to gradually build toward your goal. You don’t start out running in a marathon when you’re a beginner. But you can start with a short run.
If your fitness includes cardio, then set a goal for that. What you do depends on what your goal is. If it’s weight loss, your cardio might be different than if your goal is about improving your muscle mass.
You can set cardio goals based on time. An example of this would be running a certain distance within a certain period of time. If you’re new to exercise, this might be running a mile in 15 minutes.
You would gradually subtract time so that you run faster to reach that timed goal. You can also set a cardio goal of exercising by distance instead. For example, you might set a cardio goal of jogging around a walking track 5 times instead of 3.
Before You Begin, Set Realistic Goals
Set goals for whatever is involved in your fitness routine. So if it’s for muscle or strength building, you might choose to set goals for fat loss. Or you might choose it for muscle gain or increased strength.
If you want to build muscle, then you would set a goal for however many pounds of muscle you wanted to add – or you would measure it in inches according to muscle growth.
Some goals are centered around building stamina, which is increasing your physical power. This is usually done by determining how you can work out and at what intensity as well as for how long.
A high-intensity program is something that people usually use for this kind of goal. Exercises in this area might include pushups, squats, lunges, mountain climbers, etc. You set a goal to hit a certain number of moves in a shorter amount of time.
Endurance means that you can handle whatever your body is doing for longer periods of time and this goal is usually based on exercises like cycling, swimming, aerobic dancing, and more.
You might set a goal to develop more mobility, which is improving your range of motion through exercising. Whichever one you decide to include as part of your fitness routine, you want to gauge what you can handle at the start and then slowly level up. You can set this goal to mean you’re going to push a little more during each workout or, you can set the goal so that you improve each week.
Find the Foods That Fuel Your Fitness
Something that you need to learn before you start a fitness routine is the fuel that your body needs. There are a lot of myths as well as a lot of good advice about how to eat when you’re trying to get fit.
You need to learn what the right way is for your goals – and it might not be what’s right for someone else because your body is different. You’ll be at a different fitness level and may have health issues that someone else doesn’t have.
So choose what works for your body. Some foods that can fuel your fitness are carbs. You can consume these before or after your workout, whichever works for you. But you’ll want to make sure that these are healthy carbs that will give you longer-lasting energy.
If you want to fuel up before your workout, then you’ll want to eat two to three hours prior to working out. Choose carbohydrates that are low in fat, because your body can absorb the energy faster this way.
A good source of carbohydrates would be something like peanut butter, a lean meat source, or a healthy yogurt cup. If you choose to fuel up after your workout, then you’ll want to make sure that you have protein with the carbohydrates, since this is most beneficial for your muscles.
An example of foods to eat would be cheese and a piece of fruit or lean meat. When you’re in the recovery stage, you might want to consider having a protein shake. These are helpful because your muscles need the protein.
You can put different things in this kind of shake, depending on what you like. Some of the ingredients you can use are items like orange juice, fruits like bananas or blueberries, Greek yogurt and more.
You can also use a protein powder mix. You’ll want to keep in mind that while protein shakes are helpful, you should never use them as your only source of protein. Your fitness routine should include a balance between working out and good nutrition.
The two are meant to go hand in hand. When you’re figuring out this balance, you’ll want to map out a plan that suits your goals. Among your goals should be a plan that reduces your body fat.
Don’t just decide that you want to lose body fat. Have a specific body fat goal. To get there, always choose the healthiest fats in your diet. Pick the protein that’s lean. Avoid any saturated fats in your diet.
Get rid of empty calories that affect your body fat. Change your carbs to fuel-based ones and stop eating carbs that are refined. These usually have very low fiber and low nutritional value.
You should also map out a plan to build your muscles and tone your body. To build muscle, make sure you never skip breakfast. Eat more often. If you’re up 12 hours a day, you need to eat 4 meals.
If you’re up 16 hours, you should eat at least 5 meals. Make sure you have protein each time you eat. Forego the pre-workout carbs and instead eat carbs after. Toning your body doesn’t take as long as you might think.
You can start to notice a difference in a matter of weeks if you’re consistent. When you tone your body, it means your muscles are getting strong and you’re carrying less body fat. The kinds of exercises you’ll want to plan on doing for toning should be strength training exercises.
How to Deal with Setbacks So You Don’t Sabotage Your Goals
Setbacks are going to happen. But how they affect you is up to you. They don’t have to spell the end of your goals unless you allow them to. When a setback occurs, it’s easy to get discouraged, but realize that they’re common and they happen to everyone who wants to get fit.
You might have been doing great and seeing the kind of progress that you were hoping for. Then you stepped on the scale for your weigh-in day and were shocked. The scale didn’t show the loss you were hoping to see.
The numbers either didn’t move at all or they went up. It was quite the blow to see that you’d experienced a weight gain instead of a loss. What you have to understand is that weight fluctuations happen for a number of reasons.
It can be caused by water weight. This happens when you’ve consumed a lot of fluid, but it can also be caused by a higher salt intake where the body retains water. You might notice a change in your weight because of a medication you’ve taken, because you’re wearing different clothing or weighing at a different time of the day.
You can also experience a higher weight due to the fact that you’re gaining muscle mass. While weighing yourself is important for tracking purposes, don’t let seeing the numbers on the scale going up as a sign that you’re failing.
You might have experienced an injury that’s preventing you from being able to hit your regular fitness routine the way you have been and it’s really discouraging you. Instead of thinking that you’re going to have to give up now, look for other ways to exercise that don’t affect your injury.
For example, if you injured your ankle because of your running routine, you can still swim because there’s no pressure on your ankle. Maybe life threw you a curveball and it derailed your fitness routine.
Understand that fitness doesn’t have an expiration date. It’s not now or never. If you can’t work out right now, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to soon. Your life might smooth back out enough so that you can return to your routine a few weeks or months down the road.
When you’ve experienced a setback, remember what all you have accomplished. You can do that again. Pick up where you left off if you can. Forget what you weren’t able to do and don’t let that become something that you beat yourself up about.
If you had a setback because your motivation lagged, find a workout partner or another way to recommit and motivate yourself to adhere to your routine. If you have a weakness that interferes with your fitness, plan ways to work around it, overcome it, or learn to take it in stride.
Do something different temporarily for fitness if you have to. Do your best to keep going, pick yourself up when you falter, and remember that fitness is not a sprint or a marathon. It’s a lifestyle change – and it’s going to be okay when setbacks happen. You will be able to overcome it if you believe in yourself!
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