The biggest barrier to improving your appearance—building muscle, burning fat, and looking leaner and fitter—is your own mind. Entrenched habits and busy lifestyles get in the way of transforming your body. Still, people do manage to change their bodies, sometimes dramatically, and often to such an extent that people who haven’t seen them in a while don’t even recognize them. So, how do you get fitter and healthier? How do you feel happier about your appearance?
Imagine what it would be like to get into shape. How would you look? How would you feel? Begin dreaming. Once you capture that image of your ideal physical appearance, then commit it to paper. In other words, write down your goals. Writing down a dream makes it a goal. Adding steps to the goal makes it a plan. And acting on your plan makes it a reality.
Plan Your Meals
Once you’re inspired, you’ll be ready for the next step — going on a diet. The fastest way to get in shape is to make far better food choices. You can either follow a healthy diet plan that you read about in a book or on the Internet or you can do some basic research on nutritious foods and design your own diet.
Dieting can be confusing. It’s not because there’s a lack of information about nutrition or how to plan a meal, but because there’s too much information, an overwhelming amount. Worse still, many diets declare that they are the solution–the one and only valid solution. According to the most popular diet fads, everyone else has it wrong. If you can’t get past the information overload and emotional overwhelm, then make an appointment with a certified nutritionist and get guidance on how to plan your meals to hit your target goal weight.
While it’s tempting to simply dismiss meal planning and jump straight to figuring out the best exercises to get in shape, this is the wrong approach. If you don’t plan your meals, you’ll either end up not getting the right nutrients or eating the wrong amount of calories for your body size; eating too many or too few. So, before moving on to deciding on your exercise program, take the time to perfect your meal planning.
Choose Your Exercise Routine
Once you’ve settled on healthy habits in the kitchen, your next step is to maintain healthy habits outside the kitchen. This isn’t just about avoiding snacking, stress management, or getting enough sleep at night. While that’s a part of it, of course, the healthiest thing you can do outside the kitchen is to exercise regularly.
Joining a gym is a good way to start a regular exercise routine. There are all sorts of gyms you could join depending on your preferences: gyms with exercise machines, gyms with swimming pools, gyms with kickboxing classes. The most important thing about exercise is to find something that you enjoy.
If you decide to pick a sport as a way to get fit, you should still choose an exercise routine, too. Usually, a sport alone will not give you all-around fitness… Michael Phelps, for example, got most of his exercise from swimming, but he also balanced it out with some weight training to ensure total fitness.
The most interesting thing about getting into shape is that it’s not easy to do. On the surface, it’s fairly straightforward: improve what you eat and how you exercise. What’s more, there’s plenty of information about diet and exercise routines. But your mind gets in the way. So, getting into shape doesn’t start with your body; it starts with your mind. You won’t get far if you don’t develop the right mindset.