Before we get started let me explain what I believe is the most important component of a great fitness plan. It’s not knowing what to do. In this day and age of information overload everybody already knows what to do. You already have a good idea that you should be lifting weights or doing some form of cardio regularly. You already know that burger king probably isn’t going to make you king of the cage. Or king of much anything other than king of the couch. So knowing what to do is not it.
It’s also not having the perfect plan. Creating the perfect fitness and nutrition plan that guarantees great abs and athletic prowess is often the very bullet used to shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to actually achieving such success. This is because perfect plans are very one-dimensional. They take nothing into account except your goal to get in shape. Eating 6 meals a day might sound good on paper, but you are a lot more than your plans on paper. You already have a life–and probably a decently busy one at that. And if you’re not in shape then chances are that a complete schedule overhaul based on one area of your life that hasn’t been high on your list of priorities before is just failure waiting to happen.
The most important component to a great fitness plan, in my experience, is motivation. And the two keys to staying motivated in beginning a fitness routine is a low commitment and a playful approach.
Low commitment!? That doesn’t sound right! By low commitment I mean on paper. Don’t plan to change everything all at once. Start with small changes. It’s human nature to resist change. So make a small change and then let it snowball as you start to look and feel better. In otherwords, a low commitment on paper means a high commitment in practice. And by keeping things playful I mean to allow for a more relaxed approach towards training while you’re starting off.
Don’t worry too much at this stage about how good of a workout you got at the gym. Consider it a success if you showed up and put in your time. This will give you the flexibility to find what works for you and what keeps you motivated and enjoying your workouts. Think of getting started as the stage of experimentation.
3 Simple Steps To Lose Weight And Get Fit
It is by taking this approach that I will share my 3 simple steps to beginning your fitness journey.
Step #1: spend 30 mins at the gym 3 times a week.
Often the battle over working out is won by just showing up. So commit to being at the gym for a mere 30 mins. Once you get there keep your plan real loose. Do a brief warmup. Then pick up some weights. Try out the different machines. Find what exercises you like and the amount of weight and reps that feel best for you. You may want to keep a training journal, but don’t start creating a routine just yet. Instead, just go in with the idea of staying busy. It’s only 30 mins, so you’ll want to move from exercise to exercise fairly quickly.
After a few months of this approach you’ll be able to create an extremely effective, motivating routine if you choose.
Also, you may want to change up the days that you work out on a regular basis until you find the best schedule for you. Working out Mon, Wed, and Fri the first week and then Tues, Thurs, and sat the second week is one example.
The best thing about this strategy of working out is that you can constantly try out new exercises and work out whatever muscles seem to be crying out for attention. It’s a complete freedom to your workout with no wasted time.
Step #2: when it comes to food, don’t be bad but don’t be too good either.
Another common mistake people make when starting out on their journey to a better body is going from the extreme of eating whatever they want to the extreme of eating only what they hate. Again, not gonna last! Instead, start by making your meals a little more healthy. You don’t develop a taste for wine by gulping bottle after bottle, but rather by taking small sips with your meals. So why force yourself to eat the foods you hate instead of taking the time to develop a palate for the healthy foods.
So the next time you sit down to eat, go ahead and include that cookie (just one) for dessert, but also compliment it with some steamed vegetables. What’s that? You love soda? Okay. But first drink (and savor) a bottle of water and then see how you feel about that soda. If you still crave that soda then enjoy that soda guilt-free.
Step #3: take up 1 new weekly hobby.
Cross-training has been an invaluable training tool for the elite athlete. Make it one of yours as well. The fact of the matter is, our bodies were meant to be exercised through natural, purposeful activities, and the more we use them in this way the more we learn to love movement and exercise.
Running on a treadmill everyday sound boring to you? It does to me. But you’d be amazed how quickly time flies when you’re hiking a beautiful mountain at sunset. Or playing ultimate frisbee with a group of friends at the park. Don’t like weight lifting? What about taking up indoor wall-climbing? Great for your arms, legs, and core. Find at least 1 new hobby to do on a weekly basis that involves a decent amount of movement and leads you towards your fitness goals.
Another beauty to taking up an active hobby is that not only does it help you reach your fitness goals, but the more that you grow to love your new hobby the more motivated you’ll be to stay dedicated to the rest of your weekly workouts.
And, of course, one great hobby that I highly recommend on your road to fitness is none other than martial arts! In fact, there’s this awesome Jeet Kune do school in north Austin, Texas ran by–you guessed it–me! 😉 so feel free to come try out a couple free classes.