Starting a Fitness Journey is the Easy Part
So, you’re thinking about starting a fitness program, or just getting healthier … or both. You tell yourself that it’s a good thing to do, but unfortunately contemplation and action are miles apart.
“You always hear people say “JUST START.” Well SHIT, that’s a no brainer.”
You need to start, but that’s not usually the issue. I’ve watched 100s of people find the inspiration and motivation to begin. A lot of them even last a few weeks – or months for that matter – before relapsing. I know it sounds like an episode of “Intervention” but in some ways it is; well, the relapse portion for sure. For the most part people who struggle with addiction want to be good and not hurt the ones they love, just like most people want to be healthy, start a fitness program, and stop putting their bodies through unnecessary stresses. But it’s not that simple when it comes to taking action and sticking with it. There are a lot of variables involved in becoming successful in a fitness journey and most of the time it isn’t physical. It starts between the ears.
Now let’s be clear here, I am no psychologist nor am I a therapist of any sort but what I am is a realist and I know that this journey is not easy and I know that every single night that pantry is calling your name. Mine whispers to me … it’s super creepy.
So when asked about my own journey and the advice I give to all that ask me, “How do you do that day in and day out,” I tell them it’s simple… Hahaha you thought there was an easy button? F&%K NO! I don’t mean to discourage you but there are no shortcuts or magic pills. It’s all about hard ass work, mindset and consistency.
Now before you tell me to go screw myself and move on from this post I promise that I have some advice that will maybe make this journey a little bit easier.
Below are a list of nine tips and suggestions that may help you ease into this without overwhelming yourself.
- Small goals equal big results – The overwhelming thought of a fitness journey is enough to exhaust anyone. Things like, “I want to lose 50 pounds,” seem like a million miles away, and all you can picture are the countless (boring) hours on a treadmill trying to get there. No thank you!
The idea here is to set small goals that get you one step closer to that “jump out of a cake” accomplishment! Baby steps, everyone. Make a healthy choice and stick with it. Take walks after dinner, eat less fried foods, park your car further away from your destination to get more steps in. Simple things like that, and most importantly be consistent with these positive changes and goals.
You can also set small weight loss goals if you’d like. Try, “I’m going to lose five pounds in two months,” rather than 50 pounds altogether. Set goals that are realistic and attainable.
- Involve others – Support groups are key when it comes to motivation as well as helping with accountability. We’re human, and for the most part we hate disappointing others. Great places to start are group fitness classes or workouts with a friend who has the same goals. Hold each other to your word. Maybe even place a bet, such as the first person to miss a workout has to buy dinner at a restaurant of the winner’s choice. Or make it a challenge. The first person to get to 10 unassisted push-ups wins a free lunch from the other. Friendly competition is a great way to motivate.
- Find something you actually like doing – You will never stick to it if you hate it. Let’s be honest, if you can’t stand the thought of doing something the chances of you continuing to do it are drastically reduced. There are so many ways to get fit. You don’t need to join a gym, you don’t need to starve yourself. You just have to do more than what you’re doing now. Accessibility to different types of training has never been better. Traditional gyms, group fitness classes, online training, cardio kickboxing, martial arts, home workout programs, American Ninja Warrior stuff, sports, etc … You can even learn how to fight without ever having to fight. And, it’s a great workout.
My wife is the perfect example. You will never see her on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike, but where you will find her is in a boxing class or on the mat learning a new Jujitsu hold.
- Consistency wins over motivation and inspiration every time (read that again)
As important as a support group is, you can’t rely on others (specifically personal trainers) to motivate you all the time. That gets expensive, and what motivates you today might not motivate you tomorrow. So what now? Consistency wins over motivation and inspiration every time. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows but you need to dig deep. You have to start thinking differently and on days that you don’t want to go, just get going! You’ll figure out the rest when you get there. Remember, even a shitty workout is better than no workout.
- Take progress photos – It’s okay if your motivation is perceived as vain. Shit, we all want to look and feel our best. You can’t deny that we live in a world that has us comparing ourselves to others, more so now than ever, what with social media and our constant connection to the world. Now, I’m not saying you should be upset with yourself if you don’t look like that cover model in the magazine. Your only goal should be to improve upon the person in the mirror. But, what I am saying is it is actually okay to use someone you saw in a magazine or at your local gym as motivation to better yourself. There’s no better motivator than results, which a lot of the time are visual. So selfie away people!
- Accountability is a big one – Start an Instagram page and be transparent about your fitness goals. This is a great way to find your “Fit Family”, connect with others on the same path and at the same time hold yourself accountable. It’s true, though it may seem boastful at times, that daily posting or progress updates to the people you connect with on social media is a great way to stay motivated. Also, you’d be surprised as to how many people you end up motivating and inspiring to start their own journey.
- Cut out all the negative shit – When you start on a journey you will always run into haters and a lot of the time they are people you hold dear. Loved ones, friends, family, coworkers. You cannot let them discourage you from your goals. This goes back to positive support groups. Sometimes it’s really tough, especially if it’s a spouse or someone really close to you but you have to eliminate that negativity. Show them why you’re doing it. Even involve them. And if you have to, just ignore them. Easier said than done, I know, but if it ends up being an issue, rest assured that it’s not your issue, it’s theirs. They are not happy with themselves and in turn don’t want to see you succeed.
- Throw out your scale! – Unless you are measuring body composition your scale is about as useful as a gym membership you never intend on using. Having one in your home will more likely discourage instead of encourage you. In the beginning of this journey you may actually gain weight as you increase and tone muscle but remember that you have to stay consistent in the things that you’re doing and trust the process. THERE IS NO EASY BUTTON!
- Eat real food – This journey isn’t about eating ice cubes and cucumbers or starving yourself. Nutrition is a big part of the game and starving yourself will just make you hate this journey. The simple science is all about calories in, calories out. Do your research on developing a proper diet, track your caloric intake in the beginning to get a good baseline of what you’re actually consuming, and once again be consistent with your program.
So I know you’re probably sitting there saying; “This was awesome! I’m so motivated now to get started. Tomorrow is the day!”
But in all honesty most of you will click away from this post and within minutes be right back to where you were before. Eating the same foods, following the same unhealthy habits, and making the same excuses as to why you can’t start yet. Then you’ll blink, six months will go by and you will be searching online for the next inspirational quote or post that might help give you that ass kicking you need.
“Baby steps and hopefully you’ll be one of the few that get to that place where you can call this a lifestyle.”
Remember what I said at the beginning of this post. No easy button, no magic pill, no shortcuts. It’s just one foot in from of the other in the right direction.
I’m rooting for you all. Hope to see you in the gym.