The term, “get in shape” is somewhat subjective. Everyone has their own ideas of what “shape” means to them. For some it’s bulking up while others simply want to lose weight. But let’s set aside semantics. What can you do to quickly join the millions who chose being healthy is a better way to live?
Before we dive into it though, realize you need to have realistic expectations. You’re not going to get fit inside of three days unless you were already there. It takes time to build strength and stamina.
However, you can get in shape quickly by maintaining a strong regimen for yourself.
5 Steps to Get in Shape
These are some of the easiest steps to follow. The hard part is committing yourself to change. You need to realize that you’ll have to make adjustments in your life and get rid of bad habits. After all, you wouldn’t be reading this if your past actions were beneficial.
Step 1: Set a Goal for Yourself
Goals are quite simple. For some, it’s all about losing a certain amount of weight. Others want to bench-press a small car. What is driving you to be healthier?
For me, it was about losing 100 pounds. At one point, I was 290. And I really couldn’t believe I weighed that much. Looking at before and after pictures, especially in YouTube, I am blown away by the difference.
Break Up the Goal
The best way to approach an end-game-goal is to break it up, in my opinion. For example, I wanted to lose 100 pounds. However, I focused on how much I can lose inside of seven days. Then, it boiled down to what I can do on a daily basis to achieve the ultimate goal.
Goals are excellent, as long as you’re realistic when setting them. For instance, you’re not going to lose 20 pounds in three days without causing damage to your body. On average, I can personally lose 0.3 pounds per day with a half-assed attempt.
Step 2: Choose Healthier Foods
I’m not saying you should jump on any particular diet to get in shape. However, making better choices will certainly make a difference. I still eat a lot of the same stuff I did when I weighed 290 pounds, I just eat far less of it.
Mix in Something Healthy
There is a reason why certain diets work. The human body needs a balance of nutrition to function properly. If you load yourself up with sugars and other “junk,” you’re not getting what you need. Vitamins, minerals and proteins are all necessary to strengthen the body and mind.
I’m a fan of having a side salad. Onions, mushrooms and raw spinach with a bit of ranch is probably one of my favorite ways to eat it. Toss in a bit of lunch meat or grilled chicken and it’s a meal.
Step 3: Understand Portion Control
Portion control is probably one of the most important aspects to consider. According to the CDC, more than 36% of adults in the United States are considered obese. A large number of these people overeat on a regular basis.
A 16 ounce steak is technically enough meat for five meals. When you go to many restaurants, you’re actually ordering enough food for three dinners in one sitting.
Even snacking is laden with calories. A cup of milk and just two Oreos is about the same number of calories as one of my lunches. If you snack too much, you’ll easily pack on the pounds.
Read the Packaging
I make my meals according to serving sizes in most cases. Most packages in the US will have a “suggested serving” size printed on them. Not only do I save money throughout the week as the food lasts longer, but I lost nearly 60 pounds with this mindset.
Cook and Freeze
I’m a fan of frozen lunches and dinners. In fact, I make a lot of them myself. While I do buy Lean Cuisines quite often, I mostly enjoy making my own recipes in proper portion sizes and tossing them in the freezer. It’s insane to see just how much food you can make when you’re properly measuring out your portions.
Step 4: Create a Personalized Workout Plan
This is an exceptionally important part to quickly get in shape. Based on your goals, create a workout that is personal. Meaning, you want to do exercises and workouts that are tailored to meet your objective.
Want to lose weight? More cardio and physical activity is needed to work up a sweat. Personally, I tend to play a lot of the Xbox Kinect and have worn myself out on several games.
Want to build muscle? Lift weights. I don’t want to bulk up, but I do want to add a bit of strength. So, I play the Xbox while wearing weighted gloves or exercise with my resistance bands.
How Often Should You Workout?
Your motivation will drive how often you exercise. I know some experts say three to four times a week at about 45 minute intervals. Of course, this also depends on the intensity of the workout. In other words, there are too many variables that will change how often you exercise.
At the moment, I do two to three sets of 25 minutes or so at different times of the day. This is because I am doing a case study on the number of calories you can burn playing “Avengers: Battle for Earth” on the Xbox.
The important thing is to not mentally or physically burn yourself out. It’s easy to push too hard and go into shock after an intense workout you’re not ready for. And, pushing yourself too hard can cause mental issues such as feeling bored, frustrated or view the routine as mundane and chore-like.
Step 5: Commit to Your Routines
This is one I had a problem with in the past. If you want to get in shape quickly, you need to commit to your routines. Once you start relaxing in diet or exercise, the weight can come back and you will lose muscle density within weeks or months.
It takes a lot of effort and work to get in shape and stay that way. You can’t just reach a goal and be done. It’s a life-choice to be healthy and will require constant vigilance. Otherwise, you’ll be back where you are today.
While this may sound rough for some, it doesn’t have to be. If you find an activity you enjoy and certain foods you love, outside of cake and cookies, you can remain healthy for a long period of time.
It’s all about finding things that will engage you. Aerobics don’t do it for me, but I’ll burn as many calories playing the Kinect – which does keep me interested and focused.
Health and Fitness Isn’t About a Quick Fix
If you’re looking for instant gratification, you’ll be disappointed. It’ll take weeks of work to lose a significant amount of weight or reach a specific lifting goal, short of drugs or operations. Health and fitness is something that should be a focus for yourself for the rest of your life.
Think of it as giving yourself the best chance to stave off death for another year.