10 steps to get in shape
Getting in shape, becoming fit and healthy, is not rocket science. It does require effort, anything in life worth achieving requires effort. But this does not mean that it is complicated or out of reach. Follow the 10 simple attainable steps in the info-graphic below and you will find with a little effort and commitment, nothing is out of your reach:
A bit more detail on the 10 steps to get in shape
1 Make a commitment to yourself
The first and most important step of all is making a commitment to yourself that you will do what it takes to get in shape. Without this initial commitment, and the desire to stick to it, you will find it impossible to succeed. 9 times out of 10 when someone misses a goal it is down to lack of application, not lack of ability.
2 Draw up a plan
Now you have made a commitment to yourself, commit it to paper! Or a spreadsheet, or however you record and plan your activities.
We adjust our behaviour based on the factors we are measured against. It’s a principle that comes true time and again in research studies. This means if we give our self a target with a plan on how to get there, we are far more likely to take the actions required to meet it.
Write down your goals, it may be a target weight or number of times per week your commit to carry out exercise. Once you have a goal write how you are going to achieve it. The foods you will reduce in your diet, the miles you will run each day, the changes in your lifestyle.
Now you have a detailed plan written down, you will find it far easier to carry it out.
3 Eat well
A good diet is essential to getting in shape. For a full article on the links between diet, exercise, health and fitness check out our diet guide here.
In summary, it is key to eat a diet consisting of a balance of whole foods and macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats), that meets your calorific needs. If you are unsure how many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis check out this calculator from freedieting.com.
Cut down on junk food, processed food that contains a lot of empty calories and little nutritional goodness. Also cut down on alcohol, it contains empty calories too, plus it can dehydrate you and reduce your ability to exercise, which leads us nicely to…
4 Get more exercise
Exercise burns calories, improves heart health, builds muscles, ups you metabolism and much much more!
Exercise comes in many forms and and be carried out at home, in the gym or an outdoor space. It could range from regular exercise classes at the local gym to regularly using an exercise bike at home.
If working out at home on a piece of fitness equipment would be your preferred method, we have a number of articles that could be of interest in our fitness equipment benefits and workouts sections. if you are not sure what piece of equipment would work for you we have details on a number of varieties in our fitness equipment review section.
Exercise releases hormones known as endorphins, these lift your mood and give you an overall feeling of well being. The ecstatic feeling some people get after exercise is the result of endorphin release. This regular “feel good factor” from exercise will keep you motivated to stick to other parts of your plan such as sticking to a healthy diet.
5 Get more sleep
Sleep, or holding off tiredness, is important for several reasons.
Firstly, when we are tired we make poor decisions, these include choices on what to eat, important when we are trying to get in shape. When you are tired you are far more likely to eat unhealthy junk food, which will not help you met your goals.
Secondly, tiredness from lack of sleep is likely to put you off from exercise, you will therefore find it harder to keep to your work out plan. The less you exercise the longer it will take to see the results you are looking for.
Sleep is the period where the body carries out most of it’s repair work on your muscles. Therefore lack of sleep or poor sleep will mean that it takes longer for your body to recover from exercise. The longer the recovery period the less you can exercise, as you have more days off. As mentioned above, this reduced volume of exercise will mean it takes longer to see the results you want.
6 Be more active in everyday life
Being more active in everyday life is a fantastic way to burn even more calories and keep you heart healthy. Small changes like using the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to the shops, not driving, can add up over time. Just five, 30 minute sessions of moderate exercise per week, will lower the risk of heart disease. Finding a way to walk just an extra 3 hours a week will burn hundreds of calories.
7 Don’t let set backs put you off
Sometimes life throws a curve ball and you are not able to keep to your plan. However do not let this put you off for good. It can be easy to fall back into old ways, not eating well, a sedentary lifestyle or lots of late nights. This is where the commitment we spoke of in the first point comes truly into play. Reaffirm you commitment to yourself, and get back on track. It may take you longer to achieve your goals, but that’s far better than not achieving them at all.
8 Track your progress
Nothing motivates better than seeing the results you aim for start to appear.
If your goal was weight loss, and you included a time frame in your plan, check on a regular basis that the pounds are coming off. Keep track of this over time, if you ever feel like you may wobble, take a look at your progress to date and it will spur you on.
Aiming to work out 4 times a week? Put a calendar on your wall and mark off every time you go. When you look at it and see that you have been hitting this target in the past it will keep your motivation up in the present.
9 Reward success
This is really important, rewarding yourself for hitting targets will really help you stick to and achieve your plan. An additional reward over and above the health and fitness improvements you are making makes you feel great and keeps you going through those difficult moments. This could be anything from rewarding yourself with a nice meal out for every 6 pounds you lose to booking a holiday once you have run 10 miles three times in one week. Remember, denying yourself a treat completely will make it harder to keep going over the long time. However rewarding yourself for hitting milestones will keep you going even through the tough times.
10 Make these changes permanent
What’s better than getting in the shape of your life? Staying there!
Getting in shape should be half of your journey, staying in shape is the second (and most rewarding) half. Keep the changes to your lifestyle that you have made, do not slip back into old ways. This means continuing to eat healthily, exercising regularly and a more active lifestyle. It’s not that hard, after all you’ve been doing it to get this far.
Staying in shape will make you feel good, improve your confidence and keep you healthy later into life. If you ever feel yourself slipping back to old ways, start again, make a fresh commitment you yourself. Then draw up a plan and carry it out again.
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