The 11 Steps to Take to Implement and Maximize Your Fitness, Part 3

Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

Fitness and health go hand in hand. Health can’t be maximized without consistent exercise. To begin an exercise plan read The 11 Steps to Take to Implement and Maximize Your Fitness, Part 1 and The 11 Steps to Take to Implement and Maximze Your Fitness, Part 2 as this is part three of a three part series.

The eleven steps to take to implement and maximize your fitness 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 exercises that interest you

11. Gradually accumulate equipment

Steps 1-8 are foundational steps in the importance of starting a fitness plan. Review them if necessary and see below to continue.

9. Find a community

Now that you have been exercising on your own for a while, it is time to find a community where you can share your fitness journey. Sharing your journey with other like-minded people will help you grow. It will give you support in reaching your goals, and it will help you stay on track when things get difficult or discouraging. A community can also act as a support system to help keep you accountable and keep you motivated.

Where can you find a community? There are many places to look. If you join a local gym, take a yoga or aerobics class. Sign up for a boot camp or martial arts class; this is your community. You can even find an online community where you can interact with like-minded people. There are also running clubs, walking clubs, hiking clubs, and many more. Try different groups until you find one that works for you.

10. Research exercises or types of exercises that interest you

A large part of your fitness journey is growth and change. You will not grow without change, and your progress will plateau if you continue to do the same things forever. The body is a well-designed machine and will adapt to whatever stresses are placed on it. It will learn your repeating physical habits and change its physiology to make itself more efficient. Granted, doing the same thing is better than doing nothing, but at this point in your fitness journey, your progress will only improve if you begin to make changes in your physical activity.

What types of activities interest you? Weightlifting? Running? Hiking? The options are nearly endless. Research whatever interests you. Information is very widely available. If hiking interests you, find a hiking store, and the staff will be able to answer any questions you may have. Your fitness community can also assist you in expanding your interests and opportunities.

11. Gradually accumulate equipment

The final step to take to maximize your fitness is to gradually accumulate fitness equipment. Regardless of whether you live in an apartment, a house, a condo, or whatever, you can accumulate equipment related to your exercise interests. Accumulate this equipment to use at home. Most equipment can be used anywhere, and requires very little storage space. For example, you can store a barbell and a few weight plates under a bed or couch and pull them out when you are ready to use them. You can store a jumprope in a drawer, or a bicycle anywhere in a home. Buy something that looks interesting, and then figure out how to use it and incorporate it in your home workouts. Think outside of the box. Don’t think fitness can only be achieved in a traditional gym. You can certainly get fit in your home with equipment that you have gradually accumulated.

This concludes the three part series The Eleven Steps to Take to Implement and Maximize Your Fitness. Fitness is a journey and requires work and dedication. Review the eleven steps and master each one. Even if you have to start at step one, master it to build the proper foundation. If you feel your progress has stalled, go back through the steps and take an honest assessment of each one to figure out where you are in your fitness journey.

Five Reasons Why You Should Track Your Food Intake

MyFitnessPal App by Under Armour

Losing weight or adding lean mass is a difficult task. Eating can be as subconscious or autonomous as breathing. Most of us go throughout the day knowing we need at least three meals, maybe some snacks, and are usually looking forward to the next thing we are going to eat. When eating in this random manner, do you know if you are getting enough or too many calories? Do you know if you are eating adequate amounts of protein? If you don’t document what you are eating, and how much, it is very difficult to eat with a purpose to reach your nutrition goals.

In the electronic age we live in, there are a multitude of apps that can help us track the food we eat. These apps record the serving size, the calories contained, and the macronutrients contained. If you dislike apps, however, a spreadsheet or even a pen and notebook can be used to log nutrition intake. However you do it, this log is definitely an advantage that will set you closer to your goals in only a short time.


There are at least five reasons why you should track what you eat. These five reasons are:

1. To learn your caloric intake and eating habits

2. To learn your macronutrient intake and set macro goals

3. To use as a tool to plan meals

4. To use as a tool to combat overeating by being aware of what you eat

5. To be deliberate about your food intake


The first reason you should track your food intake, is to learn your caloric intake and eating habits. This first reason may seem pretty obvious, but do you really know how many calories you eat if you don’t track them? It may come as a surprise to learn the amount of calories you take in once you begin keeping track.

You will also learn some of your eating habits. You will see which meal, or which time of day you eat the most. And which meal, or which time of day you eat the least. Learning your habits is a good way to bring awareness to your diet and nutrition intake.


The second reason you should track your food intake, is to learn your macronutrient intake and set macronutrient goals. Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Your macros need to be set a certain way, depending on your goals. Whether for weight-loss, muscle gain, even certain diets, your macronutrients must be tracked. And if you are not tracking your nutrient intake, you will not reach your macronutrient goals.


The third reason you should track your food intake, is to use as a tool to plan meals. Looking over your food tracker will help you plan meals and make grocery lists. You will know exactly how much of a particular food to buy by plugging the macros into your food tracker. It can also tell you if you are deficient in fiber or any micronutrients, and you can adjust your meals accordingly.


The fourth reason you should track your food intake, is to use as a tool to combat overeating by being aware of exactly what you eat and how much. In this step, it is very important to be honest when entering your serving sizes. For example, the normal serving size for most peanut butter brands is two tablespoons. Most of us easily exceed this amount which can be catastrophic when logging high calorie-concentrated foods like peanut butter. It doesn’t take long to learn the proper serving sizes you need to reach your caloric goals. This also helps us become accurately aware of how many calories we are actually taking in. It may be surprising to learn how many calories are contained in our favorite foods. And it is very helpful to learn which foods we eat are high calorie-concentrated. This is just another step to help us to begin eating with a purpose, on purpose.


And finally, you should track what you eat to be deliberate about your food intake. Plan your daily meals one week in advance. Make sure your meals contain the calories and macronutrients you need for the goals you are trying to reach. Build the habit of planning your meals, and you will find that it becomes easier and easier to follow this plan as the habit is reinforced. But whether you stick to this plan or stray from it, make sure to honestly track what you are eating. This way, you will always have a record which can allow you to go back and analyze where you need to make adjustments if necessary.


Tracking your food intake is not difficult. It does take some work at first, but becomes easier the more you do it. It allows you to stop the mindless cycle of random eating, and puts you on the path of eating with a purpose, on purpose. Everything is more effective and efficient with a plan. Eating is no different. Tracking your food intake allows you to plan your meals to the very last calorie, even when eating in a restaurant. To make the most of your nutrition goals, be sure to start a food log immediately.

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.