It’s easy to get frustrated in the fitness world and over-complicate things. I hear things like this all of the time…
Should I train 3 days or 4 days a week?
Am I eating too much? Not enough?
Why am I not losing weight?
…the list could go on forever.
There are so many variables to all of these questions. But I think a lot of people tend to over-complicate their situation… especially when they are new to working out.
I created this list to try to simplify things a little more. Follow these rules and trust the process!
1) Listen to your body!
This can take some time to master and may sound simple but it’s really IMPORTANT! Be more aware of how you feel. Know your body.
If you feel stiff and sore… walk, stretch, or foam roll yourself. Don’t just sit around.
If you are hungry, eat! Of course, be smart about your choices with your plan and goals in mind, but your body usually will let you know if it needs something.
Don’t beat yourself into the ground with trying to squeeze in hours upon hours at the gym. It’s good to be active but for the general person training for weight loss, muscle gain, or whatever goal it’s not going to take 3-5 hours in a gym a day. Also, know that there’s a difference between pushing through regular soreness from lifting and trying to workout a muscle when it hasn’t had a chance to fully recover.
Advanced and some super-freak lifters can get away with different things than new lifters so don’t think just because you saw Instagram star “Joe-Schmoe” squatting every day that it’s a good idea for you to squat every day too.
2) Comparison is the enemy!
I kind of touched on this in the last part with “Joe-Schmoe”, but I hear this time and time again so it’s worth mentioning… I saw this person do this, so should I? Why don’t I look like this person? How do I get my abs to look like that?
Social media is great for sharing, learning and finding inspiration, but it’s also easy to fall into the comparison game. Don’t fall for it!
When it comes down to it, you are NOT that or any person but yourself. Not everything works for everyone. Yes, there are general guidelines and rules, but those usually need tweaked to individualize your needs depending on how long you’ve trained, your goals, health conditions, and more. So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have a 6 pack or look like a bikini Insta-model.
Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having a long-term goal of a certain body fat percentage, if you want a lean look, but be realistic and make a good plan that will get you there. Also, know that certain body types require a lot of sacrifices so know what you want and what you are ultimately willing to do to get yourself there. Acknowledge how much time it will take because it doesn’t happen over night. Again, awareness of these things are key.
3) Do more activities you enjoy!
Typically, I try to get my clients to lift weights with me or on their own 3-4 times a week, if their schedule allows this. The other days I tell them to do things they enjoy. Get outside! Go on a hike. Run. Walk. Do a Zumba class. Shoot a basketball. Even go to a museum or zoo and just walk around and enjoy yourself. Make it fun! Be active doing things you like.
The more you enjoy your fitness routine, the more you will stick with it… and long-term is where you will win. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
4) Walk more!
When I first started out, I definitely under-appreciated the benefits of just walking. It’s good for the body and mind! It can also aid in recovery.
When my legs are sore the next day after a workout, I love going on a walk to get the blood flowing and get the stiffness out. I try to walk my dogs when I can around the block or go to my local cemetery and get a couple miles in. It goes by fast when I’m listening to a good audio book or podcast.
Another easy way to get more steps in that I always promote is to park in the very back of a parking lot and take the stairs instead of an elevator. Bike or walk somewhere instead of driving. It’s easy to add more steps in your daily routine if you just make a conscious habit of it.
5) Stop hating your body!
Everyone dislikes something about their body. Go ahead and ask the person you idealize on Instagram and think has the “perfect body” and I guarantee they will tell you something they don’t like about it. I fall into this trap sometimes as well, but it isn’t logical and is negative to your progress.
We all need to realize that there is no PERFECT. Start appreciating your health and what your body can do. Stop looking at the wrong and love the right.
What kind of motivation is it when all you do is tell yourself bad things? I challenge you to look into the mirror at least once a day and say something positive! The mind is a powerful thing. Use it to your advantage and be on the same team instead of tearing yourself down!
6) You can’t naturally lose fat where you always want to.
If any trainer or anyone tells you this, RUN. I surprisingly get this one a lot too. Everyone wants a special exercise that will take away the fat on their arms or their legs or stomach. Unfortunately, your body is going to get rid of fat on the body in whatever order it wants to and there’s nothing you can do to change that. You can do exercises to target areas for strength and muscle growth but it doesn’t mean you will lose the fat there. Over time though, as your body fat decreases, you will see changes in the places you’d like to lose, so don’t be discouraged and stick to the overall plan.
7) There is no 1 “best” diet!
Paleo. Keto. Vegan. IIFYM. Low carb. South beach. Intermittent fasting. What ever diet you want to insert here. The most important thing when deciding is something you are ultimately going to stick with long-term and be consistent with.
I’ve tried so many different ones through the years. I’ve had success with almost all of them because I stick to the plan and don’t veer off. I have a good knowledge base of diet, macros, and myself most importantly. Transitioning to Vegan the last month or two has been easy because of my passion for animals. Now it doesn’t give me the freedom to just eat anything non-animal related that I want. I still have to take into account my macros to fuel my powerlifting.
Everyone is different. Yes, you may lose more on some than others but short-term is a lot different than long-term, consistent and measurable progress. Also, research the good and the bad. Know what you are putting your body through. Don’t wreck your metabolism. Don’t just lose water weight. Research, research, research. And once again KNOW YOURSELF and what will work best for you.
I hope this list simplified some things for you! The most important thing is awareness, research, having a plan and sticking to it. Don’t over-complicate it. If you are sticking with it, be proud of yourself and keep with it. Progress will come over time.
I plan to write more of these in the future as more topics come up with clients and friends. Thank you for reading!