Getting and staying fit can be a challenge. For many of us, it’s hard just to get up off the couch. So what’s the secret of people who have managed to make exercise a way of life? Here are some of the tips and tricks experts and successful exercisers have used to get the most from their fitness routines each and every day.
1. Be Consistent
My friend Rhona is the first to admit that she’s no fitness expert. But here is a gal who used to weigh 205 pounds, more than was healthy for her 5’6″ frame. In early 2016, Rhonda decided enough was enough – she cut out all fatty foods from her diet, and started walking on a treadmill—just walking, no running. The pounds started coming off in about three weeks and and soon after, she started participating in marathons (half, then full)—she still walked during those races, albeit quicker than usual. At the end of 2016, Rhonda loss a total of 80 pounds.
Her secret is being consistent. Rhonda started with 20 minutes on a treadmill but the difference between her success and others who have struggled is that she did it every single day. No exercise program in the world works if you don’t do it consistently!
2. Follow an Effective Exercise Routine
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recently surveyed 1,000 ACE-certified personal trainers about the best techniques to get fit. Their top three suggestions:
I. Strength training.
Even 20 minutes a day twice a week will help tone the entire body.
II. Interval training.
In its most basic form, interval training might involve walking for two minutes, running for two, and alternating this pattern throughout the duration of a workout. It is an extremely time-efficient and productive way to exercise.
III. Increased cardio/aerobic exercise.
Try accumulating 60 minutes or more a day of low- to moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking, running, or dancing.
3. Set Realistic Goals
Don’t strive for perfection or an improbable goal that can’t be met. Focus instead on increasing healthy behaviors. In other words, don’t worry if you can’t run a 5K just yet. Make it a habit to walk 15 minutes a day, and add time, distance, and intensity from there.
4. Use the Buddy System
Find a friend or relative whom you like and trust who also wants to establish a healthier lifestyle. Encourage one another. Exercise together. Use this as an opportunity to enjoy one another’s company and to strengthen the relationship.
5. Make Your Plan Fit Your Life
Too busy to get to the gym? Make your plan fit your life. You don’t need fancy exercise gear and gyms to get fit. If you’ve got floor space, try simple floor exercises to target areas such as the hips and buttocks, legs and thighs, and chest and arms (like push-ups, squats, and lunges). Aim for 10-12 repetitions of each exercise, adding more reps and intensity as you build strength.
6. Be Happy
Be sure to pick an activity you actually enjoy doing. If you hate weights, don’t go to the gym. You can lose weight and get in shape with any type of training or activity. And choose something that is convenient. Rock climbing may be a great workout, but if you live in a city, it’s not something you’ll be doing every day.
7. Watch the Clock
Your body clock, that is. Try to work out at the time you have the most energy. If you’re a morning person, schedule your fitness activities early in the day; if you perk up as the day goes along, plan your activities in the afternoon or evening. Working out while you have the most energy will yield the best results.
8. Call In the Pros
Especially if you’re first getting started, having a professional assessment to determine what types of exercise you need most is crucial. For some people, attention to flexibility or to balance and agility, may be more important than resistance training or aerobics. By getting a professional assessment, you can determine your weakest links and focus on them. This will improve your overall fitness balance.
9. Get Inspired
Fitness is a state of mind. One useful trick to get and stay motivated is to read blogs or web sites that show how others have been successful. Who inspires you? There must be someone.
10. Be Patient
Finally, remember that even if you follow all these tips, there will be ups and downs, setbacks and victories, just like everything else in life. Just be patient, and don’t give up. Hang in there, and you’ll see solid results.
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