How many times have you promised to start exercising again on a Monday? Have you ever woken up late for your morning workout, concluded the rest of your week was ruined, and pledged to resume your workout program the following week? I’ll bet you’ve broken your New Year’s diet with some naughty foods and then reneged on dieting all together with the plan to change “FOR REAL” on January 1st of the next year.
Why does it have to be so ALL or NOTHING when it comes to achieving physical fitness?
Over the years, a lot of folks have told me they don’t work out because they “hate running” or can’t go on a diet because they “don’t like salads” as if these are the key essentials to becoming physically fit. If you don’t like running, don’t run. Likewise, if salad is not your forte, find another “healthy” meal to eat.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Oftentimes I’ve had to give people a little tough love because the way I see it, many, perhaps unknowingly, use their “busy” lives as an excuse for not becoming physically fit. Fitness is simply a general state of being healthy and while it’s generally a result of exercise and good nutrition habits, it doesn’t always require structured exercise in a gym or a tightly regulated dieting program.
You can achieve an optimal level of fitness by making subtle changes to your lifestyle and sticking with them.
When it comes to improving your nutrition, start by simply making healthier food choices. For instance, substitute chips or cookies for more healthy snacks like plain popcorn, baby carrots, or apple wedges. It would also behoove you to gradually wean yourself off of any high-calorie beverages you may drink regularly (sodas and juices, “fruit smoothies”, and iced coffee blends) and opt for water instead.
When making dinner choices, go for seafood in place of red meat and complement your main entrée with non-starchy vegetables instead of potatoes. To keep your meals exciting, invest in a cookbook that emphasizes healthy eating.
As for the exercise component of fitness, well, that’s pretty cut and dry. You can try walking or jogging a mile before work, taking a brisk walk during your lunch break, and then capping it off with another walk or jog after work.
In addition, set a goal to implement some stair climbing into your daily routine by eliminating elevator usage whenever possible. For muscle maintenance, which is a crucial component of physical fitness, perform 1-2 sets of about 8-10 full body exercises with resistance like dumbbells, tubing or your own body weight 2-3 days a week.
It’s as simple as that!
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, achieving physical fitness doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Commit to simple lifestyle choices like the ones I’ve described and make it happen. It’s also important to understand that flexibility is an absolute must when it comes to fitness. If you miss a morning walk don’t consider it a wash. Make it up in the afternoon or at night. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow.
Likewise, if you have a “bad” day of eating or go on a huge eating binge, chalk it up and prepare to get back on track. You may also need to reevaluate your eating habits to figure out why you’re binging in the first place.