Being Fit and Resolute
It’s a New Year, and with it come the infamous resolutions. Some of you are planning on this being the year you lose weight. Having been on my own Fitness Quest for two years now, I understand how daunting it may be to get started — and how hard it is to keep at it. It’s important to know your own expectations and to set goals accordingly, and to be flexible enough to adjust them.
Some things to keep in mind as you embark on your own Quest:
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE NUMBERS!
Saying you plan on losing “X” number of pounds is a good idea, but it can lead to frustration. If you’re new to this, a fitness routine is going to take some getting used to. You’re also going be spending some time figuring out just what the hell you’re doing — as we all have different bodies, we all react differently to nutrition and exercise. Because of that your weight will fluctuate a bit. Maybe you’ll lose a little one day, gain a little the next.
Day to day weigh-ins can lead to frustration. Take that trip to the scale only once a week, or maybe every two weeks. Remember that your goal is fitness, not just weight loss.
If you’re working with weights, don’t fret if you’re starting out light. You’re stressing your body in ways it may not be used to. Better to start with a light workout so you can develop good form and steady control right from the beginning. That’s more important than lifting something heavy, even if your goal is to “get swole.” Don’t even get me started on Crossfit.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE DATES!
In fact, don’t set any hard dates to your fitness goals at all. I know some of you might be thinking of swimsuit season, but the best way to get a bikini body is to put a bikini on your body.
Losing X pounds in Y months maybe be a good measure of progress, but not so much for setting goals. Unless you really know your metabolism you might have set your expectations too high or too low. It also can get frustrating when you hit a plateau — and you will hit one — when things don’t appear to change much. Undertaking a Fitness Quest involves making and experiencing changes. Fat and muscle mass will fluctuate as you exercise, eat and rest. Again, look to the overall progress you’re making. Even a little improvement — an extra five pounds on the bar, ten more minutes of running — is what you need to keep you going.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT CHEATING!
You’re gonna cheat. You’re gonna skip a workout. You’re going to have that candy bar.
Relax. It’s okay.
The word “diet” is often reviled as a word for strict and unpleasant denial. It’s really just what you eat over the course of the day. When you embark on your Fitness Quest, your diet may change. How that changes depends on you (and maybe a doctor or nutritionist if you consult one) and while you might need to adjust your caloric intake, banning treats can lead to frustration and binging. It’s a cycle you can avoid thanks to moderation.
The same goes for “skip” days. Diligent as you may be with your schedule, there will come a time when you have to duck out because of another commitment. It happens. You don’t need to do a double workout later to make up for it. In fact, if your workouts are both regular and intense, you’ll need an occasional break to rest and heal up (and that’s very true if you lift). What’s important is establishing the habit of regular exercise and not giving up. Stay the course and you’ll be okay.
If you want to improve your health with fitness and diet, consider what you’re capable of doing. You might be able to jump in full steam, or maybe you need to take small steps. Take the time to find out what forms of exercise and dietary habits work best for you. It might be as easy as not having that daily candy bar, or just doing doing 30 minutes of yoga. Maybe you need to shift your feeding to six small meals per day, switching between weights and karate as I’ve been doing.
Being “fit” is not a goal, but a way of life. If you want that, you can have it, without fear, without guilt, without shame. You can also have it while having fun and feeling good about your body no matter how you look.
You can do it.
I’ve got your back.
Now kick ass.