9 Tips for Getting Back in Shape
I have always been someone who enjoyed being fit whether it be working out, playing sports or just being active getting out and about. But, unfortunately, over the past couple years I have been on again off again with working out. I’ll do really well for a few months and then I let something like travel, vacation, busy work week or another excuse throw me off. I’ve never stopped being fit such as choosing stairs instead of elevators or trying to eat decently healthy but I haven’t committed to it in the way that I have in the past.
You see, I tend to have an obsessive and competitive personality. What this equals is that I always have to be the best at what I do and I obsess over ways to become the best. Well, with not working out on a regular basis, it has driven me crazy because I know the things that I can do to immediately improve. It drives me crazy that others are in better shape than I am. I’ve spent a lot of time throughout my life studying nutrition, nutritional supplements, and working out. For a few years I was a manager at GNC in college where I would devour 10-15 magazines per month and read every book that was sent to us.
As I make the commitment to get back into shape, I wanted to share with you some of my top tips to getting back in shape.
Top 9 Tips for Getting in Shape
- Buy some new gear – Go to your local athletic store and buy a new outfit including proper cross-training or running sneakers. Not only will it make you feel better and put you into the mood to workout, it’ll help you be more comfortable and proper footwear will help to protect against injuries.
- Create a new playlist – Put together a fast-paced playlist that you’ll use when you go to the gym with your iPod or other MP3 player. I tend to load hard-hitting rock or alternative songs for when I’m lifting weights. If I’m doing cardio, I have a playlist of uptempo songs usually pop, hip-hop or club music. You’ll find you’re workouts will be a lot better if you’re not already doing this. Who really wants to listen to themselves gasp for breath while working out anyways?
- Always be a student – Go out and buy the rack of magazines, pick up a couple new books and find some websites that you enjoy reading. Become a student of being healthy. Not only will you learn tons about how to eat properly and put together workout plans based on your goals, it will also help to keep you motivated. When I’m really into working out I will typically read 4-5 magazines and 1-2 books per month. My two favorite magazines are: Men’s Health and GQ but there are tons more.
- Set small obtainable goals – One of the things I think discourages people the fastest when they’re trying to get back in shape is setting a goal that seems impossible such as losing 50lbs or dropping 8 pants sizes. Set small obtainable goals and write them down. Maybe if would be a big win if you made it to the gym 5 days this week, lost 3lbs, or didn’t eat fried food for 2 weeks. These are very obtainable and measurable goals. A bunch small wins will turn into obtaining that larger goal.
- Track your progress – You should record everything including your goals, your meals, and every workout along with a picture of yourself once per month. This will help you to track your progress and see those small wins as well as helping you to set new goals. What I also find this does, for me at least, is that I will not cheat on a meal or I’ll make sure I get that workout in that I don’t feel like doing because I don’t want to have to write the fried food or missed workout into my journal (unless it’s a cheat day of course!). It keeps you accountable. You could even make this journal public to keep you even more accountable.
- Reward yourself regularly – I find that people fall off track because they go too far too quick to the other spectrum. You’ve spent a long time not eating healthy and/or not working out regularly. Going to the other extreme and droppin everything you were doing previously, may actually cause you to fall off. Start by cutting back and also don’t be afraid to reward yourself regularly. I allow myself to have small rewards. For example, if you eat a lot of chocolate, try cutting it back and just have a small square each night after dinner. You’ll still be cutting back a lot of calories, fat and sugar and at the same time you’ll be satisfying your craving.
- Workout with a friend – While I don’t always have this luxury, I do find that I stick to my schedule a lot more when I’m able to workout with a friend. When Laura and I first moved to Boston she was transitioning between jobs so that meant she was home every night. Every night we would go to the gym as soon as I got home and then have dinner together. It kept us accountable to each other and made it fun!
- Just get started – One of the most important things with getting back into shape is to just get started. Is it a sunny day out right now as you read this? Lace up your sneakers and take a walk around your neighborhood. Hop in the pool and try to swim a couple laps. Just do something active!
- Have fun - Most importantly, have fun with it! Don’t see getting in shape as another task. Choose activities that you enjoy doing and can do often. If you don’t like gyms or are intimidated by them, go for walks, or bike rides, go swimming, run hills, do a hike and enjoy the view. Whatever it is, find something that you enjoy and keep doing it. You’ll find that you’ll soon begin wanting to explore other activities.
What are some of your tips for getting back into shape?
In my next post I’ll cover some of my tips for eating healthy which can sometimes be the more difficult thing for people to accomplish on their path to getting in shape.
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Photo by: stacya