I don't want you to change your entire lifestyle if you already made a huge, important decision to get into the gym.
Anything else on top of that is a huge disservice to yourself and the sheer determination you proved you had just by showing up and deciding to make a change. Go with what's easy, and I guarantee the rest will fall into place quickly enough in the coming days, weeks, months, and even years (crazy to think about).
Trying to commit to all of these crazy notions at once is the fastest way to get burnt out, lose your willpower, and soon enough resent the gym and the idea of healthy living. It simply isn't sustainable for 99% of people to inflict that amount of discomfort on themselves and expect their body to be fine with it, whether physically or mentally.
Think about it, if you say, "I love love love Mt. Dew and I have a few bottles every day or every other day (which for those of you who don't know Mt. Dew is a nice indulgence for me every now and then)." Then, suddenly, you make the decision to be healthier and go to the gym. You stop drinking any and all Mt. Dew ever again even though you thoroughly enjoy it, because in your mind it is an all or nothing thing; you're making your health and fitness journey extremely hard on yourself.
Going to the gym is already a big enough shock for some people - myself included back in the day when I first started - so why would you go and subsequently deny yourself of EVEN MORE of your favorite comforts?
Surely, I understand the thought process behind wanting to make sure you are optimizing your time spent in the gym and working as efficiently as possible, but if it comes at the cost of your eventual disdain of working out and going to the gym, it cannot be worth it.
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"Yeah I totally just changed EVERYTHING for the better this week.
I gave up soda, alcohol, Starbucks, television, video games, carbs, and also guess what? I am FO SHO gonna workout seven days a week, because I am TOTES serious about these goals and I am definitely going to make it happen in two months. And OH EM GEE I almost forgot, I also signed up for hot yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I plan to go on a 45mi bike ride every Sunday outside of the gym, plus with my new supplements that I just bought I was told I am going to get great results. I got a green tea cleanser, probiotics, a garlic remedy for heart health, and three other ones I can't remember."
Facetious as the above example may be, a lot of folks may be able to draw a lot of parallels to it. Perhaps one of your first thoughts was, "Wow, that is actually pretty impressive that people are willing and able to give up and change that much in order to reach their goals!"
You know what? It is great that people want change that badly that they THINK they are willing to go through this much in order to achieve their goals.
The bad news is there's no secret snake oil, or magic pill that fitness professionals use to get people results. The amount of money spent on health products does not correlate to success in reaching health goals. Which begs the questions of how we got to this place, where some people actually think this is the only way to see success in any amount?
Anyone who claims to be a health and fitness professional in any capacity shouldn't be excited to hear these lofty goals from members, family, and friends.
It means proponents of healthy living and supposedly trusted sources of expert-level knowledge, have failed wholly and miserably at our craft. You don't need to have more information shoved in your face in order to be successful; there is plenty of easily accessible, quality material to be found across the internet.
You also shouldn't need to buy the newest fat burning ointment that you rub on your forehead and left forearm 17 times a day for one week in order to see amazing results - no money back - with a side effects list that comes in pamphlet form they have to mail separately because it is so long and off-putting that you wouldn't otherwise buy it.
What can you ACTUALLY BENEFIT FROM in the ever-changing and always confusing landscape of health and fitness?
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Work on enacting small changes week to week, or even month to month.
For instance, just starting to go to the gym is enough for some people to begin. After a little while, going with the Mt. Dew example, instead of getting completely rid of it, perhaps work on drinking cans instead of bottles which will reduce your total intake. After a few more weeks, maybe have only one or two a day.
Honestly, I wouldn't ever completely get rid of the things you enjoy just because you heard it will hinder your health progress. Sure there are exceptions like smoking cigarettes, that's one I can never condone, but if you like Mt. Dew, one every now and then isn't going to mess everything up. The thing is, this concept can be applied to everything relating to making a sustainable change.
Another example would be, instead of vowing to go to the gym seven days a week and doing two-a-days at least twice a week, try starting with four days of exercise per week. If you need more or less, you can fluctuate from there in the following weeks, but there is really no need to be at the gym that much though.
You might despise it rather quickly because you'll be sore, tired, and otherwise uncomfortable day after day. That doesn't sound like fun for anyone, myself included. Why would you continue that behavior then if it is so exhausting? These are the kind of things I want you to avoid, because you will stick around longer than a few weeks and undoubtedly reach all of your goals and beyond.
Be smart about the expectations you set for yourself when you decide to move forward with a lifestyle change. Right out of the gate, it can make or break your chances at succeeding. As I mentioned, I don't want you to feel like you are giving up everything and/or depriving yourself of all of the things you enjoy. It will NEVER work that way.
If you made it this far, admit it, you're hooked. There's plenty more where that came from!
LET ME HELP YOU.
While I have done my darnedest to completely simplify health and fitness for you, there are undoubtedly always more questions than answers. If you feel stuck on your journey, get the help you need. Myself and plenty of other professionals are available to help you with whatever you need.
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With that adieu.
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