So you've decided to take charge of your life and start getting in shape – good for you! The road you're starting on may be a rough one, but it's definitely one with a near infinite amount of rewards. The good news is, many others have travelled this exact same path before you. As the saying goes, “success leaves clues,” so here are some pointers to get you going.
1. Believe in yourself
I've always found this step to be the most crucial. Aside from believing that you can get fit, you need to believe that you deserve this opportunity to get in shape. Being fit is the natural order of things. In the past, if we were in any way out of shape, the chances of us being something else's dinner were pretty high. Even though we're now well past the danger of marauding sabre-tooth tigers, it's nonetheless still important for us to keep in shape.
2. Move, and move some more
Movement is the basis of health. We're not designed to remain stagnant for long periods of time. Aside from being completely boring, staying inactive only worsens any existing affliction. Just taking a daily walk can do wonders for your health, both physically and psychologically speaking. Being consistently active also ensures that you're able to perform certain tasks, such as picking something up from the ground, without complication.
3. Challenge yourself
What's life without a good challenge? If you never challenge yourself, then you're never going to improve, are you? We are stronger when we rise against adversity. Whether or not it's doing 10 more push-ups, or shaving 10 seconds off your run, never be afraid to push your limits.
4. Meat and nuts
Animal meat is by far the best source of protein. Protein of course, is the building block of all muscle. So if you're looking to sculpt that athletic physique you've always dreamed of, wouldn't it make sense to eat more meat? Don't be afraid of the fatty cuts either. Animal fat, or dietary fat as it's also known, is essential for maintaining optimal hormone levels and cellular health. Another great source for healthy fat is nuts. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews and macadamias are rich in monounsaturated fat, which is more readily used as energy compared to most other kinds of fat.
5. Drink up
Put down that beer bottle; I meant water! Our bodies are approximately 65% water, so it's important that we drink enough to keep it functioning properly. Water regulates our body temperature, assists in digestion, flushes out toxins, and performs a myriad of other tasks, all vital to our survival. Aim to consume at least 2.6 litres of water a day.
6. Eat the rainbow
Vegetables offer tons of benefits – vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre – are all essential for basic good health. Prepared right, they're pretty darn tasty too. Vegetables are also a great low-calorie option for filling up one's stomach, thanks to their satiating effect.
7. Throw out the junk
Chances are, if you find yourself needing to get into shape, you probably already have a steady relationship going on with junk food. Processed and refined foods such as potato chips and instant noodles may taste good, but they're void of any real nutrition when compared to whole foods. If you really want to pamper yourself, treat your body to some real food instead. You'll look better, and feel better for it.
8. Carb down
Yes, carbohydrates are a convenient source of energy, but you have to earn them. For people that are considered inactive, their actual carbohydrate requirement is much lower than they think. The ketogenic diet (one that is low-carb and high-fat) has a person consuming (usually) no more than 50g of carbohydrates per day, yet shows no drawback in terms of energy levels. In fact, the person displays better energy in terms of steadiness and shows improvement in their overall health profile. As your activity level increases, you can slowly start to add carbohydrates back into your diet.
9. Remember why you started
Every now and then, I look back and recall why I started training in the first place. Not only does it give me a sense of perspective as to whether or not I'm on the right track, it also reminds me how far I've come, in spite of all that I've faced. You will only see the true extent of your journey when you look back on the time you took your first step.
These tips won't just help you in the beginning, but will also form the bedrock of all your future fitness achievements. When it comes down to it, remember that it's your life and that you have the power to make these choices!
Need a hand to “just start”? Why not book an appointment with one of the Urban Remedy recommended trainers – we have lots of partners waiting to help you take those first steps on your fitness journey!
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