There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose a few pounds or inches. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be stronger or faster or to have more endurance. Getting fit is a good goal! It is how you go about achieving that goal that contains all of the problems.
There is no field filled with more scam artists and profiteers than the health and fitness industry. Think about all of the weird fads, crazes and “get healthy right now” schemes you’ve probably come across in just the last couple of months: cabbage soup diets, Atkins, Paleo, Shake Weights, BowFlex, 8 Minute Abs, and probably lots more. The truth is that the best way to get healthier–physically speaking–is to watch what you eat and exercise regularly.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain tips and tricks that will help increase your chances of success! Here are a few of them.
Find a Buddy
It is important to have a fitness buddy. This can be someone that literally works out beside you at the gym or who goes running with you a few times a week. It can also be someone who has the general goals as you and, though you might not work out together, you check in with each other regularly to compare progress. This is why the social fitness apps like RunKeeper and FitBit have been so popular. These apps let you work with (and, okay, compete against) other friends who have the same apps. It’s a great way for people who might live far away from each other to track each other’s progress. Plus, if you choose to publish your progress to other social networking sites, you have the added benefit of your Mom seeing and admonishing you if you skip a run or two. But try to focus on the positive stuff.
Wear the Right Gear
Yes, it is true that you could workout barefoot and in old sweats if you wanted. You’ll probably still make progress. You will have a much easier time and your body will feel a lot better if you wear the right gear. This means choosing the right shoes for the actual workout you’re doing. Yes, there are some general “gym” and “athletic” shoes that you can buy. Your feet will feel a lot better when you’re running, though, if you’re wearing running shoes. The same goes for dancing does, gym shoes, etc.
Foundational garments are also important. Ladies, there is no delicate way to put this: you’re going to want the highest quality sports bra your budget can afford. You should also invest in some good women’s compression shorts. Yes, these need to be gendered. Compression shorts for men are not built to support the same anatomy as women’s compression shorts. Why do you need compression gear? Compression shorts (and other gear) are good for improving circulation, muscle support and moisture wicking. People who wear compression gear–shorts, sleeves, and socks also report having shorter recovery times after harder workouts. You can get a good idea of your compression wear options, as well as more information on their health benefits, by checking out the TommieCopper clothing site.
Track Your Progress
One of the most difficult parts of getting healthy, and recovering from an unhealthy lifestyle, is just how slow the process is. No matter what those late night infomercials tell you, you are not going to have six pack abs overnight. You’re not going to lose twenty pounds in a week–not if you’re losing weight and getting healthy the right (healthy) way.
It can get frustrating when you climb on the scale every day to not see the numbers changing as quickly as you’d like. This is why you need to track more than just pounds lost. Once a week, log in your weight and your measurements. Inches drop faster than weight. It’s also a good idea to track things like the length of your workouts and the metrics of each one. For example, if you regularly jog for a mile, are you getting faster? Or, if you lift weights for ten minutes, are you able to lift heavier and heavier weights? When you track these types of progress you’ll be able to see the affect that your new and healthy lifestyle is having on your body.
You need to reward yourself regularly for the effort you are making. Yes, you need to do this even when you aren’t making progress as quickly as you had hoped. Rewards help provide incentive to keep going when things are rough or you feel discouraged. The reward can be anything you like–a cheat day, buying a new dress, going to a movie, whatever most incentivizes you to keep going. What matters is that you work at this a little every day so that you build good habits over time.
And that’s what the real goal of getting healthier is: to build the good habits that will keep you healthy for the long term. Nobody wants “flash in the pan” health! Build a longer and healthier future for yourself–and use these tips to help you do that!