If the answer is yes, you’re not alone.
Women (and men) everywhere take time every day to put themselves down and focus on their flaws. It’s easy to say negative and hurtful and things to and about yourself. It doesn’t take much effort and you feel like you’re doing something by bringing up the problem. But are you?
It’s easy to complain. It’s hard to change. But changing is what’s going to make a difference.
If you feel fat, why not DO SOMETHING about it? Doing something is hard. It really is. But it’s also great and will give you more power and strength than you ever thought possible.
One of the best ways you can change your body is to make exercise part of your lifestyle. But how? These 10 commandments of physical training will help get (or keep) you going on your path to change:
The 10 Commandments
1. Train Regularly. Regularly? Is that vague enough? What does regularly even mean?
The CDC answers those questions really well, giving 3 options for average adults:
- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (think brisk walking) weekly along with muscle strengthening activities 2 or more times a week. (Activities should target all major muscle groups.)
- 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (think jogging, running) weekly along with muscle strengthening activities 2 or more times a week.
- An equivalent mix of moderate-and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity along with muscle strengthening activities 2 or more times a week.
Don’t fret. You don’t have to fit in all 150 minutes at the same time. Just make a commitment to spread it out during the week and make sure it’s a priority.
2. Getting Fit Takes Patience. Patience is required for most fitness goals. You can’t expect to get in shape in a week. It’s important to know that achieving fitness goals takes time… and, you guessed it… patience. Change can and does happen, but never overnight.
It can be discouraging to have to wait, so try to break your main goal (i.e. lose 30 pounds) into smaller goals (i.e. lose a pound a week or exercise every day) that are more easily obtained. That way you can focus on your progress and not just the distance you have to travel to meet your goal.
3. Warm Up Before and Cool Down After. The last thing you want is an injury to derail your fitness progress. Proper warm ups and cool downs can help prevent injury and make a difference in performance. Warm ups increase your body temperature and muscle flexibility. Cool downs give your body a chance to recover from the workout you just put it through.
Warm Up Tips:
- Take 5-10 minutes.
- Do your planned activity aerobic activity at a slower pace.
- If trying new exercises of lifting weights, make sure to target the muscles you will be working with at a light intensity.
Cool Down Tips:
- Walk for 5 minutes until your heart rate returns to a normal pace.
4. Choose Activities According to Your Fitness. If you’re not sure how to choose the right fitness activity for yourself, start by thinking about what you enjoy:
- Do you like to dance? Try a high energy fitness class like Zumba or High Fitness.
- Are you a fan of team sports? Look into programs offered by your local recreation center.
- Do you love nature? Take up hiking.
- Do you prefer to exercise alone? Consider purchasing a few fitness DVD’s or taking up running.
The possibilities are endless, but it’s up to you to figure out something that works for you. Once you do, remember to go in with realistic expectations. You have to know your limits and choose activities that fit.
5. Listen to Your Body. Your body is pretty cool. It’s naturally inclined to to be healthy and has lots of tricks to make sure that happens. Your body is constantly sending signals to your brain to let you know how to act and react in almost every situation.
When it comes to fitness, it’s always important to listen to your body. Your body’s messages are pretty clear and it’s important that you don’t ignore them. A few things to watch out for:
- Pain: If you’re feeling pain, stop what you’re doing and modify to put you in a pain-free zone. It’s okay to push yourself to soreness, but pain can lead to injury and that’s definitely something you want to avoid.
- Hunger: Your body needs fuel in order to have the best workout possible. If you go in hungry, you’re more likely to feel burnt out, which means that you may not get as much out of your workout as possible. If you want to keep calories low but have something healthy in your system, try a healthy, hunger-blocking snack like IdealBar.
- Tired: Sleep is your body’s way of healing itself. If you put a workout above proper sleep you could be sabotaging your weight loss progress.
- Sick: Everyone gets sick and that’s okay. It won’t last forever. When sickness strikes, it’s important to know when it’s okay to push through it and when you just need to take a day off.
When you listen to your body you may have to take a day or two off when you’re sick, sleep deprived, or injured, but don’t sweat it because you’ll come back stronger if you take time to listen to yourself.
6. Partner Up. Having a workout buddy can motivate you to work out. If you’re lucky they’ll even make it more enjoyable. It also makes you accountable to someone besides yourself which is huge when it comes to exercising for weight loss. Working out with someone also helps you make a plan and stick to a schedule.
If you don’t know where to find a workout buddy, consider joining an online support group to help you meet your goals.
7. Be Positive about Yourself and Your Goals. It’s not always going to be easy to work out. Sometimes the workout is just plain hard. Sometimes it may seem like you aren’t making progress. And sometimes you won’t feel like working out at all. Hard isn’t a reason to get down on yourself. If you’re trying, you’re moving in the right direction and you need to remember that.
Look for something positive after every workout. Even if everything went wrong, there’s always a silver lining–maybe it’s only the fact that you showed up. It’s also important to set realistic goals. Fitness goals are never reached overnight.They take hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude.
8. Schedule Exercise as Part of Your Daily Activities. If you’re waiting to exercise until you can find time, you’re probably not ever going to work out again. Everyone is busy and everyone has other responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make time to exercise. If it’s a priority to you you’ll find make the time and when you do, you’re sure to see a difference in your life.
9. Have a Plan. An exercise plan is one of the most important components of getting physically fit. Your exercise plan should reflect your goals. If you want to lose weight, your fitness plan will differ greatly from someone wanting to gain muscle. Know what you need to do to meet your goals and then get to work on making your plan.
When setting an exercise plan, consider the following:
- Be specific with what exercises/activities you will perform.
- Set daily goals that are attainable.
- Set a concrete time for your workout–and STICK TO IT.
- Remember it’s okay to add variety-you don’t have to do the same thing everyday.
- Review the plan regularly and change as needed.
10. Train the Way You Want Your Body to Change. Every type of exercise has its own benefits and it’s important to know what you want to get out of your exercise experience so that you can know what kinds of exercises to do. Think why you’re exercising:
- Because you want to lose weight
- Because you want to gain muscle
- Because you want to change your body shape
Whatever your reason, make sure that you train in a way that supports your goals. Your body will listen to what you’re trying to do and help you see the results you’re looking for.
One Last Thing!
When you start on your fitness journey, these “commandments” may seem overwhelming and impossible to follow, but the longer you’re at it, the easier things will become. Each one gives you the power to change your life in the best possible way.
Before you know it, your days of feeling fat will be long gone and you’ll be loving the new you and the way you can ask yourself a new question as you push yourself every day:
Need a place to put the 10 Commandments into practice? Join the IdealShape for Life Challenge and you’ll see amazing results in just 15 days: