The 11 Steps to Take to Implement and Maximize Your Fitness, Part 2

Fitness is paramount to a healthy life. There are many, many benefits gained from it and the following is a continued list and discussion of how to begin, or how to make a better fitness plan. If you haven’t read The 11 Steps to Take to Implement and Maximize Your Fitness, Part 1, do so now.

To review, the eleven steps are:

  1. Decide on your why
  2. Track your food intake
  3. Begin a stretching routine
  4. Block out a time and place for exercise
  5. Begin a walking routine
  6. Set a goal
  7. Start an exercise log
  8. Begin to change food habits
  9. Find a community
  10. Research exercises or types of exercise that interest you
  11. Gradually accumulate equipment

Steps 1-4 were basic steps that are of utmost importance when starting a fitness plan. Review them if necessary and see below to continue.


5. Begin a walking routine

Walking is an excellent low impact, aerobic exercise that most can do with little to no warm up or preparation. It requires no exertion or specialized equipment, and can be done anywhere. Plus, the benefits of walking are immense; too many to list here.

Your stretching and walking routine will help you develop a habit of physical activity. But you will need to further your time commitment that you set aside in Step number 3.

Begin with ten minutes per day, and build from there. Every two days, add two minutes until you are walking thirty minutes per day. After you finish your walking routine, go directly into your stretching routine. Set this walking and stretching time as a priority in your day. Guard this time carefully, and make sure you commit to this daily. This commitment is important to develop your healthy habit.


6. Set a goal

Humans progress when they have something to look forward to. It is true that exercise helps us feel good, and that is something to look forward to. But setting a long-term goal with smaller goals to reach along the way will also help you in your fitness journey. Make sure the goals are realistic, reachable, and have a time component contained in them.

An example of a goal would be to lose ten pounds in six weeks with a smaller goal of losing two pounds per week. These are realistic and reachable goals that may end up being reached sooner than the stated deadline.

Another example of a goal you can set would be to enter a 1 mile or 5K walk/run. The goal would be to comfortably increase your distance in the time period before the day of the event. This would give you extra incentive to train hard, and then set a personal record at the day of the event.

Brainstorm on this topic. Write down everything that comes to mind, because once you reach a goal, you should move onto the next one so that you continue to progress with your fitness. If this sounds like a confusing or daunting task, fear not. The thing to remember about all of this is that it is a slow and methodical process. Nothing is done out of haste or without proper planning.


7. Start an exercise log

Now that you are stretching, walking, and have set a goal, it is time to begin an exercise log. This can be done electronically, or the old fashioned way with pen and paper in a notebook. Simply record what day it is, and what you did for that day. For example:

  • Monday
  • Walk for 30 minutes, 1.2 miles
  • Full body stretch for 20 minutes, tried a new hamstring stretch

This is to be used as a tool to track your exercise and measure your progress. You can analyze your log and see if any changes or adjustments need to be made. Then you can track the effectiveness of the adjustments you made to see whether or not they are working. You can also keep a running tally of how much time, or how many miles you walked for the week or the month. It can be pretty inspirational to see that time or the miles add up.


8. Begin to change food habits

Back in step 2, you began tracking your food intake. Similar to your exercise log, you can analyze your food intake and decide if any changes need to be made. At this point, with your walking and exercise routine, your body is working at a level of performance and needs adequate nutrition to maintain and maximize this level of performance.

Begin to change food habits. Slowly cut down on processed food and sugar. As you do this, replace these foods with whole foods. Increase your protein and healthy fat intake, and you will notice a surprising difference. You will feel better. Your body will perform better. You will feel stronger and more energetic. You will even notice things like better looking skin, and possibly even a decrease in allergies!

The food we eat is absolutely vital to our health and performance. Think of food as you would medicine. We are very intentional with the medicines we take, and should be with the foods we eat as well.

Congratulations on implementing the first eight steps to better fitness. In part three of this series, the final three steps will be explained and will finalize this series.

The 11 Steps to Take to Implement and Maximize Your Fitness, Part 1

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.”

Unknown

Fitness is paramount to a healthy life. It effects our physical health, our mental health, our attitude, our opinion of ourselves, our confidence, the daily choices we make, our long-term choices, goals, abilities, and more. Fitness makes us better human beings, because it has so many positive results.

Many people embrace their fitness and work on it daily. Others want to be fit but don’t know where to start. Whether it is a fear of failure, intimidation, or belief that it is unobtainable, anyone can take the following steps to get on the path of gaining fitness:

  1. Decide on your why
  2. Track your food intake
  3. Begin a stretching routine
  4. Block out a time and place for exercise
  5. Begin a walking routine
  6. Set a goal
  7. Start an exercise log
  8. Begin to change food habits
  9. Find a community
  10. Research exercises or types of exercise that interest you
  11. Gradually accumulate equipment
Photo by Ryan Cheng on Unsplash

1. Decide on your why

With everything we do, there is a reason, or why, to motivate us to do things. Why do we wake up to the sound of an annoying alarm clock? To get to work on time. Why do we go to work? To earn money to make a living. Why do we eat a meal? To provide energy to sustain life.

Take a long hard look at the benefits of fitness that are listed above. Think about them. How would you benefit from an increase in your fitness? How would you benefit from better health? Increased confidence? Increased physical ability?

Decide on two or three of these benefits that are most important to you and write them down. Put them on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Tell people about them. Post them on your social media accounts. This may even help someone else by motivating them to think about their own health and fitness.

Congratulations! You’ve taken the most important initial step to improve your health! Whenever you’re feeling tired, discouraged, or apathetic (and you will), use your why to maintain your purpose and motivation.


2. Track your food intake

Fitness requires nutrition. The quality and quantity of the food we eat is the foundation of our physical being. Relate food to medicine. Different medicines have different effects on our cells, hormones, organs, and body overall. Food is no different. We take it in, and it affects our cells, hormones, organs, and body overall as well. Depending on our needs, medicine can help us, or harm us. Again, just like medicine, food falls into this as well.

Get into the habit of tracking your daily food intake. There are many apps that are easy to use to help with this task. You can also use software like a spreadsheet, or just use a pen and notebook. Any of these options are effective. The goal here is to be able to analyze what you eat, when, and how much. Track the calorie count and macronutrients (grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat) for everything. This information can easily be found on the internet. Be honest with serving sizes. This information will only benefit you in the long run.

Using a food log takes a lot of work. At first. The more you work on it, the easier it gets. This is because you will begin to notice patterns and will get faster at entering your food. You will also begin to have an awareness and visual record of what you are, and are not taking in. It will be easier to make necessary changes as you progress. And you will also be able to relate how you feel with what you eat.


3. Begin a stretching routine

Now that you have your why in mind, and you’re compiling food intake data, it is time to get physical. It is time to start a stretching routine. This is a simple step that should be incorporated daily. We want a full body stretch routine at the least. This should take about fifteen or twenty minutes and should be performed after exercising, or after the body is warm. Stretching is not recommended when the body is cold or has been inactive.

If you’re unsure how to stretch, or what stretches to do, YouTube is a great resource for this. Search for full body stretches, and additional stretches for any body part that gives you extra trouble. You can also choose to do a quick, full body yoga routine.

Stretching teaches us to maintain and take care of our body. It helps loosen tight muscles, scar tissue, and stiff tendons. It promotes circulation and helps mobilize waste products out of the tissues. It is also a healthy way to get into a habit of daily physical activity.


4. Block out a time and place for exercise

When I first began working out, I set up an 8′ x 12′ piece of carpet in my basement. I used this as my workout area for the body weight exercises that I was doing at the time. I had a television and VCR set up for workout videos. And it wasn’t long until I mounted a pull-up bar and a set of dip bars as well. I even ended up dragging a treadmill down the stairs and running in the basement!

It was great. I had my dedicated spot for working out and would work out when I got home from work. Without thinking, I had accomplished ‘blocking out a time and place for exercise.’

This is your next step. Be deliberate about this so you can commit to the time and place as you fit it into your schedule. If you’re the typical overly-busy person, you will need to make a decision to make this time a priority so you can accomplish your fitness.

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

This is part one of a three part series. In less than thirty minutes, you can start these four steps today. Put them on your to do list under priority one. Tackle them and check them off. Then, be ready for part two of this series.

Re-read the steps above. Which do you think will be the hardest to implement?

Purpose!

In order to be productive, a purpose must be fulfilled. In this day and age (time in history), we have an incredible opportunity to use technology to reach and change the world.

What is my purpose for the words contained here?

  • To bring awareness to the growing obesity epidemic in our society.
  • To educate as to the causes and consequences of this epidemic.
  • To offer solutions to help combat these problems.
  • To coach and motivate to carry us in a positive direction.

In addition to this , other relatable subjects will be explored in order to use any and every tool available to us. We will take this journey in hopes of making us healthy, strong, and effective human beings.

Other topics we will explore:

  • Fitness (of course)
  • Weight loss
  • Human performance
  • Health optimization

Just to name a few!

As this blog progresses and evolves, I hope to change just one life. Millions would certainly be better, but one and my mission would be accomplished.

Beyond that, I dream of changing the food industry. There is no reason farming subsidies can’t be changed to produce healthy food. There is no reason that the convenience of fast food can’t be redirected to produce healthy, life sustaining nutrition for our population.

And finally, I am a Normal Human. I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or elite athlete. I am not an expert in anything. One does not need to be an expert to educate oneself with vast resources, experiment, implement, and succeed empirically. Dictionary.com defines the word expert as a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority. There are nearly infinite ways as to how that knowledge and skill can be obtained. It is actually debatable as to how many of the problems we have are the result of listening to experts in the first place.

I am a Normal Human. I invite you along in this journey to be a Normal Human with me. To change the world one word at a time.