Fitness is both an end goal and the process that gets you there. It is a lifestyle that you need to build, block by block. These building blocks take the form of small decisions that you need to make regularly.
This article will explore a few helpful tips that help you to achieve good results that stay with you for the long haul.
Doable fitness goals that are worth pursuing
Taking on a fitness journey is a lifestyle change that quickly improves your physical and emotional health. Regular and consistent exercise also sculpts the body, but only in the medium to long term. For many, the lack of immediate results in the weight loss and muscle departments can be demotivating.
For this reason, you should start your fitness journey with very realistic, gradual milestones. Your fitness journey will be a marathon, after all, not a sprint. The strategies below will help you make enduring changes that will pay off for a long time to come.
This section is for anyone who is looking to take up fitness after an extended hiatus. The mere thought of starting a new fitness journey can be intimidating. Your mind may trick you into thinking that you need to clear some impossible hurdles even before starting. There’s only one way to get through this: Start small.
If the idea of going to the gym seems like too much, start with five or ten minutes of exercise right in your home. Make it a point to make this small, daily effort towards exercise. This will rewire your brain to accept that you are capable of setting a goal and working on it. Here is how to rewire your brain to make yourself more consistent.
1) Forming a habit and sticking with it
You’ve overcome the mental block of starting your fitness journey, and now you have to find the motivation to keep going. So there you are, faithfully showing up for every one of your workouts, until one day you just don’t feel like it.
Maybe you didn’t have the energy to wake up early one morning, or a hard day’s work had you running on empty. Missing one morning or evening session can lead to erratic workout patterns, snowballing into another long hiatus. Here’s how to avoid this:
Build a habit by starting small
Diet and exercise are habits you form mentally, even as you form them physically. Your mind can override your body after a long day, and it can wake you up when you would rather sleep in. Here is how to turn the mind into your very own fitness trainer:
Start with short, easy sessions that are a walkover and stick with the ‘easy’ setting for a week or two.
Proceed to turn it up a notch to give your body and mind something new to work with. Take care not to discourage yourself by pushing too hard; this is about forming a habit more than anything else.
Slot your workouts for a time when you have the energy and concentration to get through a few minutes of exercise.
It will take a couple of weeks for your mind to adopt exercise as part of your lifestyle. There are no shortcuts to forming a habit, except for time and repetition. The good news is that it is easy to remain consistent throughout your fitness journey once the habit forms. For motivation, you can change up your workouts whenever you start to get bored.
2) Build muscle to burn fat
You do this by incorporating high-intensity exercise and strength training into your cardio workout. This prevents the loss of muscle while stimulating the formation of new muscle tissue. Muscle burns more calories than other tissue types, which helps you reach your fitness goals that much faster.
3) Some foods will help while others will hurt
You still need fuel to exercise even if weight loss is your ultimate fitness goal. You can take in small amounts of complex carbohydrates before your workouts. This measure becomes even more important as you increase the intensity of your workouts.
Avoid fatty foods before exercise since they can make you sluggish. Also, remember to hydrate before, during, and after your workout sessions. Lastly, reward yourself with a healthy snack a short while after your workouts, preferably a protein-rich one.
4) Find exercises and activities that suit you
Don’t take up jogging if you despise jogging. Stay away from gym settings if you hate the gym. Instead, take up the kinds of activities that you enjoy. If it helps to watch TV as you ride an exercise bike, do that. Maybe competitive sports are more your speed, so find people who like the same sport as you.
Better still, take up martial arts like Muay Thai, which can help you burn up to 1000 calories per hour. There’s a whole world of sporting activities to choose from. Pick one that works with your schedule and your preferences.
5) Find a way to stay accountable
We all need a little help to maintain our enthusiasm as we turn a fitness journey into a healthy lifestyle. Find a friend or support group that will either work out with you or check on you periodically. Having someone to answer to may provide a timely dose of motivation on days when you feel like you just don’t have it in you.
Put your best foot forward
Setting a fitness goal and reaching that goal is an investment that pays off in a big way. We appreciate that you’re already putting your energy into doing something good for yourself just by reading this. Martial arts training provides a fun activity that can burn up to 1000 calories per hour, bringing you closer to your fitness goals.
This article, "5 Easy-To-Follow Fitness Tips For Successful Results", originally appeared on Evolve MMA, Asia’s No. 1 martial arts organisation.