Updated: Nov 7, 2018
When starting your own fitness "journey" a lot of questions & feelings come to mind. You may feel excited, nervous, ready to conquer the world, overwhelmed or a bit lost. With questions like, how many calories should I be eating to hit my goal? What style of training should I be focusing on? What types of food are best for me and when should I be eating them?
Well I've got some good news, you're not alone!
I decided to write this article to share some things I wish I knew and focused on at the beginning of my own fitness journey, in hopes to make the process much more enjoyable and attainable for you!
1. Fitness is a journey, not a sprint. Be in it for the long haul.
"Be Patient, good things take time."
I wish my younger self was more affiliated with the truth behind this quote. At the start of my fitness "career" I wanted everything and I wanted it RIGHT AWAY. My focus was always about reaching the end goal, which for me was to be this aesthetically built and muscular guy. I would get frustrated constantly with all of the work I was putting in and in return only seeing minuscule results. It wasn't until I matured that I realized that getting better, whether it was being stronger, faster, more flexible etc. was something that was gained only through hard work & time. So I refocused my energy around LOVING THE PROCESS. I embraced the journey and looked at each good workout, healthy meal and stretching session as a building block to getting myself one step closer to my goal.
The moral of this step is to enjoy the grind and recognize that the hard work you are putting in today will reward you later. Just be patient.
2. Don't let your workouts consume too much of your day!
I used to have the thought that if I worked out for longer periods of time (sometimes twice a day) that I would increase the timetable at which I would get to my goal. WRONG.
All this did was burn me out & give my body less time to recover, which in turn was negatively affecting my body.
Luckily extending your workout period isn't the secret formula to getting in great shape. Whether your focus is around building muscle, burning fat or BOTH. You can get in an extremely effective workout with anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour if focusing your time on the proper exercises.
Which leads me to my next step!
3. Have an easy to follow GAME PLAN.
The AWESOME thing about fitness is that it's a science. And since we all don't share the same genetics, by preparing appropriately to the goal YOU have at hand, you statistically have a much HIGHER chance of reaching it in a timely manner.
Trust me, I know first hand the difficulties of accomplishing this because I was the king of jumping from different workout plans to new supplements hoping (key word) it would inch myself closer to my goals. Well I couldn't have been more wrong.
When I was able to figure out my body type and what style of training, rep ranges and rest times etc. corresponded well to my goals, I was able to finally set up a GAME PLAN that, when followed correctly, aligned me with my goals.
My recommendation for anyone just starting their journey would be this, figure out your body type and what form of exercise will best help align YOU (not that Instagram model you follow) with your goals and then build a progressive routine from there!
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
4. You can't outwork a bad diet!
You can game plan your workout regime all you want, BUT if it's not paired with proper eating habits you're going to be shooting yourself in the foot.
Aside from being extremely frustrated with lack of results, you're overall energy levels take a decline when not supplementing your workouts with the proper nutrition.
A few tips to keep in mind when looking to improve your diet:
- Choose quality foods - lean meats, complex carbs, healthy fats, good fibers.
- Portion your meals around your goal - Figuring out how your macros (proteins, fats, carbs, fibers) should be distributed (based on your goal) is a good first step!
- Eat smaller portioned meals every few hours - This will help naturally boost your metabolism & in turn improve fat loss
- Switch out juice and soda for WATER! This one is a no brainer.
Not everyone is able to go cold turkey on their normal routine and implement these tips right off the bat and THAT'S OKAY! So if this is you, start slow and try to implement each tip one by one until it feels like part of your routine and not a chore.
5. Continue to grow, overcome that plateau!
I've seen many people make great strides toward their goals only to up and quit because of the frustrations of a plateau.
The solution to overcoming a physical plateau is in your approach, so be willing to change the way in which you workout. Whether that be increasing your weight (on an exercise) and decreasing your reps or vice versa, decreasing your weight and increasing your reps. It could be as simple as switching up the speed in which your workouts are performed or alternating between upper/lower body workouts, full-body workouts or isolating in on specific muscles each day.
This is called, MUSCLE CONFUSION.
There is always a way around a plateau and the first step is to not let it mentally break you down. Having a coach or a trainer who knows your goals can be very effective in adjusting your routine in order for you to overcome any plateaus you may encounter.
Aside from the physical aspects of a plateau, I switch up my workout routine regularly because it keeps the excitement of going to the gym alive and continuously challenges me.
"Giving up on a goal because of a setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat."
I hope these tips can help guide you in the progress of your own fitness journey. And for those of you who are dealing with an area in which I did not touch on, PLEASE mention it below and I will be sure to answer in a later post!