Before we get started, let me tell you that I am not some fitness guru claiming to slap you into shape in less than a week. Nor am I one of those gals you see on the internet chronicling her weight loss of some 80+ lbs. Like most of you, I’ve been somewhat of a yo-yo dieter since my high school days. Also like most of you, at my thinnest (a size four), I felt my fattest. We never give ourselves the credit we deserve do we? Hmm something we’ll work on in another post.
What I do want to do today is share with you some tips and tricks that have helped me over the years. Some of them may seem like no-brainer ideas and concepts but if you’re like me, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with where to start when beginning a workout regimen.
1) One of the most important tips that I will share with you is to “Do what works for YOU and YOUR schedule!”. I stress that this tip is extremely important. Just because 6am works out for your best friend doesn’t mean it’s going to work in your schedule. Which leads us into tip #2.
2) Figure out which environment you’re most comfortable in.
- Gym- you may like the competitiveness a gym can give you, the aerobics classes they offer, or that you can work with a personal trainer. Whatever your preference, interview gyms in your area. Get free tours and day passes to see if it’s something you can see yourself committing to.
- Home- this is what I prefer to do. In high school I frequented our local YMCA. I loved the environment and the minimal crowd it would have and it worked for me than. Now, being that I work from home, it’s just more convenient to jump on the treadmill and run for 45 minutes.
- Work- this one might come as a shock to you, especially if your job doesn’t have a fitness facility to work out in, but look at the bigger picture here. If you work in an industrial park start walking during your lunch. Drive to the nearest mall and walk inside the perimeter and window shop, or go to a park nearby with walking trails. Also, grab a walking buddy this will help time go by faster and keep you focused.
3) Buy a pedometer. I love this handy little tool. Technology is rapidly growing in pedometers so you can find them super cheap and super expensive. I bought a basic pedometer from Dicks Sporting Goods for $12.99 a few years back and use it quite often. The average person takes 2,000-3,000 steps a day which is about 1 mile. If you take the daily recommended 10,000 steps it’s about 5 miles. Getting more steps will result in weight loss and a healthier life style. Why not right? Here are some ways to get in more steps in your day:
- Park further from the store
- Walk your dog instead of letting him run around the back yard
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
- Take a walk after dinner with your spouse and/or children
- Pace while talking on the phone instead of sitting and chatting
- Bicycling even counts for steps
4) Put your Pinterest boards to work. I recently decided to print out every single workout I pinned to my ’Trim The Fat’ board, and put them to use. They’re not helping me sitting in my computer right? So I bought a binder and added categories for Arms, Legs, Butt, Treadmill, Cardio and Abs. Since your body works best when it’s “tricked”, I do a variety of workouts every day. You don’t even have to go the extra step and print it all out and be a psychotic organizer like me, simply save the images to your phone and bring them up next time you want to work out.
5) Challenge yourself every time you workout. Start keeping a log of what you do. It may sound silly but trust me it works. If you do 50 jumping jacks for cardio, the next day do ten more totaling 60 jumping jacks. Small increments will make a huge difference and challenge to push yourself. Like Jillian Michaels tells you in her 30 Day Shred workout: “If 400 lb contestants can do jumping jacks, so can you!”
6) Listen to an entire cd. I actually learned this little tip from my husband. This helps with tip #5 with the concept of pushing yourself. I like to use this one when I’m running on the treadmill. It gives you the chance to get caught up on all those cd’s you’ve been meaning to listen to. Don’t have any cd’s? Make a playlist, but look at the time limit. The average length of a cd is about 45 minutes. Let the entire playlist play, do not press fast forward or skip.
7) Be consistent in your workouts. I understand you’re most likely going to be extremely sore once you get started, this is when you need to push yourself the most to workout. Yes, give yourself a break one to two days a week to let your muscles rest, but that’s it. Don’t work out twice and say I’ll pick it back up next week, because the truth is you most likely wont.
8.) If you’re consistent and dedicated than set goals for yourself. Set goals to walk/run further, longer or faster. Challenge yourself to workout an extra twenty minutes or whatever works with your workout schedule. More importantly, don’t forget to reward yourself. Not with food either but rather with a movie night to see something you’ve had on your movie wish list or even to a new workout outfit. Whatever your fancy is, don’t forget to acknowledge to yourself the hard work you’re putting in.
Good luck to all of you starting your workout routines and getting back on track to a healthier you. Probably one of the most important tips that i didn’t mention is to have patience. I tend to forget this one quite often. When we’re working so hard day in and day out and we’re not seeing any results it starts to get quite frustrating. Keep in mind not to only let the scale be your proof. I learned while working out at Curves, that just because the scale isn’t going down doesn’t mean the inches aren’t going down. For example I had worked my butt off for two weeks. Salads every day, Curves everyday but the weekends and even an extra workout at home sometimes. Only two pounds were shredded. I just didn’t understand what was wrong and it got extremely frustrating. I went in and got my measurements done (something they offer) and sure enough I was dropping inches left and right. She was so impressed and couldn’t believe how well I had done and praised me to keep up the good work. I stood there in disbelief I had no idea all my hard work was paying off. So moral of the story, keep at it, every person is different. You are making a difference, even if you can’t see it.
What are you doing to get in shape this year? Share with us below and maybe you’ll get featured in an upcoming article in my fitness section.
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