Getting fit is a common short to medium term resolution for many people. Unfortunately however, it is often rough to get in the groove of things in the first place. I therefore have formulated 10 easy guidelines to help you get started on your journey to achieve your goals in 2023:
- 1. START WITH A PLAN
Setting specific and achievable goals is essential. Create a workout routine that suits your schedule and fitness level and stick to it. I find that this helps me stick to my goals. If I miss a date on my plan, it makes me feel terrible, so this is a sort of self emotional blackmail. Negative re-inforcement if you will. If you do not do it, you feel like you missed a deadline. No one wants that.
- 2. INCORPORATE VARIETY
Doing the same workout every day can become monotonous. Not only that, it can be extremely demotivating, given that exercise when you are just starting HURTS. Nothing is worse than a painful body whose pain you can’t even identify because there is yet to be a visible difference in your appearance. Changing it up helps you hurt in different places first of all — creating a feeling of new uncharted zones on your body being reached. Secondly, a different workout helps you feel like you’re starting a new thing while working on the same body. It will keep you engaged. Try different activities like pilates, weightlifting, cycling or dancing to keep things interesting and challenge different muscle groups
- 3. EAT HEALTHILY AS MUCH AS IS POSSIBLE
I personally believe food is medicine. A healthy diet is key to getting fit and avoiding many illnesses. Focus on consuming whole, unprocessed foods and minimize sugar and processed foods. Also, suddenly changing a diet to suit either your toning or weight loss needs can be daunting. I find that a gradual introduction of healthy food with a grandual decline of unhealthy foods helps. For this also create a plan. For instance, if you’re a lover of chocolate like me, see if you cannot incorporate your love for cocoa in a way that is not unhealthy. Afterall, cocoa is WEALTHY in nutritional benefits, it is actually a SUPERFOOD believe it or not. The issue comes in with all the added sugar. To therefore satiate your chocolate cravings like I have done, I purchased a bag of cocoa and added it to my daily smoothies that are sweetened with sugar alternatives like honey, and with it add grainy healthy powders like Moringa. From there dear readers - voila! I have a healthy chocolate alternative, without really ditching the taste of my beloved guilty pleasure
- 4. WATER, WATER, WATER — GET HYDRATED!
Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health and can help you avoid fatigue during your workouts. Not only that, water has a wealth of other benefis for the skin and body. Be careful however because too much water can also cause the body to lose an excess of electrolytes, therefore the key is balance. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Also recall that there are some drinks that basically get rid of needed water from the body. These drinks are called diuretics and among them are drinks like coffee and tea. Try to keep them at a minimum if you are a coffee lover like me. Thus instead of a double espresso, make it a single, better yet, rather choose chamomile tea.
- 5. ESCAPE INTO THE DREAM SPACE…GET SOME SLEEP!
People underestimate the power of sleep. During this 8 hour delight, our torn muscles from exercise heal and so we get buff. We also give the body time to absorb and digest all the beautiful food we ate earlier with little interruption. Our peristaltic (bowel) movements are at optimal efficiency making that morning bathroom session a wonder from heaven. That water you drank all day, in your sleep regenerates your cells helping you stay youthful for longer and of course, sleep helps us have all the energy we need to hit the gym, dance floor, pilates class or cycling challenge again. Sleep means the world for recovery and it allows your muscles to repair after workouts. Aim for 7–9 hours of sleep per night.
- 6. USE TECHNOLOGY
Thank God for the internet. There were days where we had to figure it all out on our own. Days where we had to pay very expensive people to help us get fit. Days where we had to have gym membership to get to experiment with strange looking machines to see what they will do or target. Now, thanks to the internet, we have access to a WORLD of applications for fitness, many of which are free to download from Google play, iStore and other platforms. These applications not only show you step by step how to do your workout, but they explain too what you’re targeting, how long it will take for you to get there if you’re consistent and also what levels are best for you. They’re a personal trainer in a smartphone. Capitalize on them and save some money. There are many fitness apps and wearable devices available that can help you track your progress and stay motivated. Only engage with your favorite search engine and take it from there.
- 7. FIND A WORKOUT BUDDY
We are creatures of habit as human beings. Whatever we did yesterday, we struggle to start doing a different thing today. One of the best ways to help you get up and go when yesterday you were getting up and sitting, is an accountability partner. Having a friend to work out with can provide the right healthy balance of motivation and competition. You will struggle to watch your partner do better than you so motivation, and you will work harder once you start to see results on yourself that exceed those of your partner, and so competition. Leverage both and watch your body do miracles alongside making exercising more enjoyable. You also get to laugh and chat over health smoothies later.
- 8. JOIN A CLASS
Taking a group fitness class can be a fun and social way to get fit. It is also a way to meet like minded people with whom you can exchange notes on your individual journeys. Just like in point 7, if you do not have friends or family members, colleagues or mere acquaintances with whom you can train, you can always meet new ones in classes you join. There also exists a group spirit or sense of camaraderie in classes, such that you do not end up feeling demotivated or exasperated when the going starts to get tough. Nothing is better than a training instructor rooting for telling you: “YOU GOT THIS!!”
- 9. INCORPORATE STRENGTH TRAINING
When I was starting out at the gym, all I did was the cycling machine, the stepper, the treadmill and such modes as these to train. Because of how they all exasperated me after a workout session, I would simply stretch my body and then go home. I lost weight yes, but I was saddened by the loss of pertness in my skin tone because of weight loss. Now, I have never been a big girl, but even thin to medium sized people can experience mild skin tone dullness or skin looseness issues when they do not BUILD MUSCLE next to weight loss. It would be only years later when I would finally take the advice I was given to add weight days into my schedule and it made a MASSIVE difference to my overall look. I not only liked the new muscles I was seeing in greater prominence, but I LOVED the way my skin wrapped around them. Strength training not only builds muscle, but it also keeps body skin looking taught.
- 10. BE CONSISTENT
You know that old cliché: “Consistency is key”? Yes, it might be old, but it has never be more relevant to your fitness than it is especially today. We are forced to live sedentary lives behind computer screens for way too many hours a day because of how industrialised the world has become. Our parents walked a lot more, and did a lot more body labour on their nine to five jobs than us. Consistency in working out, not only helps to produce REAL results over time, but it takes us out of the slump of a mistakenly imposed by career choice, sedentary lifestyle. When we were in school we did sports, we walked home, we danced the night away on weekends. The older we got — the more we sat. It is therefore imperative to keep a workout schedule as we get older because upon close observation, the average adult in the 21st century has the physical mobility of a bedridden terminally ill patient that only gets up when it is absolutely necessary. Only for instance, to go and use the bathroom. Being consistent in our modern era with training, is indeed the bare minimum of what we must do to stay mobile enough to not significantly reduce our life expectancy. That and ofcourse because IT PRODUCES RESULTS! Remember that getting fit takes time and effort. Be consistent with your workouts and eating habits, and you will see results.
In Conclusion …
Getting fit requires a combination of regular exercise, healthy eating, and a positive attitude. By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can achieve your fitness goals in 2023.
I hope you’ve been empowered, till the next time!
What a great list. I love strength training. Overall consistency is truly key.