Here's the bad news: There is a LOT of health and fitness information out there. It can leave you overwhelmed and intimidated and wondering where to start.
Here's the good news: We know one thing for sure. Exercise is good for you! I'm sure that is a huge relief to hear. Now you know where to star. Step one is complete. Isn't this easy?
The next step is learning to "just say no" to peer pressure from your old friends: couch, pizza, and Netflix. They often make a pretty compelling argument that you don't need to work out, but you'll have to learn to tune them out if you want to get healthy. Sure, you can still hang out with them from time to time, but they'll have to understand, you want better for yourself.
It doesn't happen overnight.
We know. You want the chiseled abs, or to fit into those pants from high school, or to just feel overall healthy. No matter what your goal is, is it really worth having if it didn't take some dedication? Super man had everything handed to him by his alien genetics. Batman had, well.. everything handed to him. But he had to train to acquire all those crime-fighting skills! The point is, Batman is better. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.
Everyone has seen the kid with four scoops of ice cream on a tiny waffle cone, only to have the whole thing wind up on the ground. Whether you find that heartbreaking or hilarious (you monster), the point is: no one wants to be that kid. You want to be the kid that knows their limitations, and maybe even asks dad for a little help before it all melts.
Terrible metaphors for fitness aside, doing too much too fast will only set you back. It is not recommended to lose more than two pounds per week, and even that is on the high end. Or if you are looking to get stronger, you only want to increase the weight you are lifting by ten percent or less every two weeks. Slow and steady wins the race. Be the slow-burning candle rather than the stick of dynamite. The candle might not be as impressive, but it lasts a lot longer.
Just like Momma always said: Don't try to be something you're not. If you don't feel at home inside a gym club with weight machines and treadmills, maybe a big gym isn't for you. And that's okay! There is more than one way to skin a cat. Actually we don't know anything about skinning cats, but we do know there is something out there for everyone, it just might take some searching. Be honest with yourself and don't stop looking until you've found it.
You don't have to do it alone. In fact, the science says you'll be better off if you work out with a friend or a group. So go on, Frodo, find your Sam and start that journey to the top of Mount Doom (P.S.: Hiking is great exercise).
Get outside your comfort zone!
Living in your parents' basement for the rest of your life might sound like a good life to your. We're not here to judge. Assuming most of you reading disagree, it is best to look at exercise the same way. While moving out requires some hard work, some personal growth, and adaptation, it ultimately opens a lot of doors and lets you lead the kind of life you are looking for. Improvements in fitness are adaptations by your body to adjust to the stresses you put upon it. No stress = No growth.
Hide the scale!
Too many people place the emphasis on shedding pounds, and this can be a source of frustration for anyone, especially on a program when the scale doesn't reflect the effort they've put in. While there are certainly associations between being overweight and serious health conditions like heart disease and diabetes, there are many more accurate measures of health and fitness. This is why you need to...
It doesn't take much!
When Netflix asks, "Are you still watching" say no and go for a walk. Just 150 minutes per week of walking at a brisk pace leads to significant health benefits, and you can split that up however works best for you. Everyone can make time for a ten minute walk a couple times a day.
Track your progress!
Take measurements of your body at specified intervals, record the weights you are lifting or the distance you covered on a jog, even write down how you feel. Fitness apps like the FitBit come in handy with the measurable elements like how many steps you tool, how much sleep you got, a rough estimate of how many calories you burned, your resting heart rate and more.
Kim DeLaFuente. (2015). Finding Your Motivation For Exercise [Brochure]. Author. Retrieved from http://www.acsm.org/
(Finding Your Motivation For Exercise, 2015)
Walking. (2016, March 14). Retrieved April 25, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/walking/index.htm