Many of us desperately want to improve how our bodies look but find ourselves unable to realize those goals. We either find it too hard to be consistent with a workout plan or just end up losing interest midway and hence never succeed at fulfilling our aims. The underlying reason behind all these obstacles is truly a lack of preparedness. Even if you deeply want to get leaner or become more muscular, you won’t be able to go far if you don’t spend time understanding how the mind works.
Written by: Alycia Gordan
Bringing about a significant change in one’s body is a long process; one that requires constant supervision, restraint and dedication. However, human beings tend to fall prey to the voice inside their heads that tells them to put off gym for other more urgent engagements only to completely lose track of their purpose.
Though this voice may seem as our voice of reason, it is actually nothing more than a camouflaged aversion to change and lack of motivation. So, how can you overcome these barriers? Here we have outlined 5 ways you can ensure that you reach your fitness goals and stay healthy.
1. Begin with the end in mind
When it comes to enhancing yourself physically, it is imperative that you have a clear understanding of where you currently stand and where you would like to see yourself in the future. For example, it is crucial that you find out if your body has an excess amount of fat, a disproportionate BMI, or lacks lean muscle mass, etc. because then you can take the next step.
The next step is to identify a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) fitness goal. Why? Because many a times, owing to a strong urge to alter our bodies, we resort to aiming for herculean and ambiguous targets. These unspecified and unrealistic goals not only trigger misdirected efforts but also lead to frustration when things don’t work out as planned. People also resort to unhealthy means like steroids or crash diets.
So, when you decide to change yourself for the better, make sure that your fitness goals possess all the characteristics mentioned above. Only then will you be able to stay healthy and remain fit for life. Here are some examples of SMART fitness goals:
1. I’m going to shed 5 lbs. in the next 6 months.
2. I need to put on 2 kilos every month for 5 months so that I reach a healthy BMI.
3. I need to add 2 inches to my shoulders in the next 2 months.
Improving physical appearance is a long process and requires you to be disciplined and consistent in your efforts to see visible results. Think deeply about your motivation behind the whole endeavor to fuel your efforts.
2. Map out a plan and execute it
Once you know exactly what you’re in pursuit of, invest time and energy in carving out a clear path towards your goal. An important thing to remember here is that there are no shortcuts when it comes to re-shaping your body.
Yes, you can use artificial means to improve your appearance but the results will soon fade away, doing your body more harm than good. A smart way to start is by altering your eating habits, incorporating physical exercises and steering clear of unhealthy activities like smoking or alcohol that nullify the effect of your efforts.
Switching to a healthy lifestyle is essential if you want to achieve sound health and that perfectly carved body. When you understand the activities that you need to perform to reach your goals, put them into an action plan whereby you incorporate these activities into your daily/ weekly routine.
Then, come up with ways to overcome innate human tendencies that will inevitably and subtly try to derail you from this path. Share your plans with your family and friends so that they push and motivate you to achieve them. Write your plan down and put it somewhere you can see it frequently so that you are regularly reminded of your purpose.
Research proves that goals that are written down have greater chances of being accomplished. In certain instances you will find yourself unable to go to the gym or prepare a meal for yourself. I advise that you prepare for such situations beforehand by devising a workout plan that you can do at home or during lunch breaks. Along with nutritious meals, you should also keep supplements with you as they will help you reach your fitness goals.
3. Increase your intake of fluids
Whether you are working out to lose or put on weight, increase muscle mass or enhance body shape, your body will sweat causing you to lose vital minerals and nutrients. For this reason, it is important that you replenish these nutrients and minerals by increasing your fluid intake by consuming plenty of water, coconut water and sports drinks that are packed with electrolytes.
A good concoction is a mixture of water and coconut water that is refreshing, hydrating and provides your body with essential nutrients. A way of ensuring that you consume adequate amounts of water on a daily basis is to calculate your body's requirement by dividing your current weight in half; this will give you the number of ounces of water you need to be fully hydrated.
4. Handle your cravings
Cravings undo the benefits of fitness plans and hence need to be kept at bay if you wish to maintain a steady pace of improvement. To do so, you first need to understand what cravings are. Cravings are caused due to fatigue or dehydration or are triggered by your body to indicate the deficiency of certain nutrients.
So, instead of falling prey to an untimely sugar craving, try to first analyze whether you’ve had enough sleep or not or simply down a glass of water instead. Most cravings should subside after a nap or drinking water, however, for the ones that persist you need to have a backup plan.
This plan should be the ready availability of healthy food items that will fulfill your cravings. For instance, if you’re craving a cookie, go for fruits or nuts instead, or if you feel like having chocolates, munch on a one or two squares of unsweetened dark chocolate.
5. Don’t stick to a particular routine
Having a monotonous routine can be very boring and can make you lose the motivation that you need to reach the level of fitness you desire. That’s why it’s best to do things differently from time to time. You can do this by cross training at the gym, which besides preventing boredom, will also challenge your body, prevent injury and provide multiple other health benefits.
You should also come up with an array of food options that are in line with your fitness aims so that you don’t get tired of consuming the same items over and over again.
These tips will ensure that you keep working hard towards your fitness goals in a healthy manner, increase self-awareness and your knowledge of health and well-being and in turn embrace an overall healthy lifestyle.
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer. She loves to read and write article related to health and lifestyle, sometime on health-tech as well. She is crazy about choclates and you can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia