Let me start out by stating the following fact: No matter what your gender or age, you CAN get and stay in shape. This has been proven scientifically many times over. As long as you are physically healthy, there is nothing holding you back.
My reason for starting off with this bold statement, is that too many people are being held back by myths and misconceptions. (Read my full article addressing this issue here). If I had my own wish, I would love to convince and motivate everyone to adopt this lifestyle with all its numerous health benefits, as I experienced it myself and know so many other people of all walks of life who are experiencing the same numerous benefits.
Having said that, I realize that not everyone may be ready or able to commit to it right now for a variety of reasons. This does NOT mean you will not be ready at some point in the future, so please, never dispose of this idea completely.
Enough talk, lets get to the questions...
1) Is your "Getting Into Shape" a realistic goal?
Yes I know, it sounds like a rhetorical question to ask, but let me explain. Many people have an unrealistic image of what "being in shape" means and therefore, what they must strive for. The perfect figure of the bikini fitness model on the cover of "Shape" Magazine and the incredible muscular physique of the bodybuilder on the cover of "Muscle & Fitness" is NOT a reflection of reality. (I cover this misrepresentation here.)
This does not mean you cannot obtain that trimmed midsection and six-pack, or obtain that muscular look you've seen on the cover of your favorite bodybuilding magazine. The trouble with that, is if this image becomes your ultimate goal, and you are not willing to settle for anything less, you may actually be sabotaging yourself. And once you've given up chasing an impossible dream, it is that much harder to start again.
I know not everyone is going to agree with me, and I know I said it before, but I will keep on saying it until it sinks in. The ONLY person you should be competing against is yourself. As long as you keep beating the person in the mirror from yesterday, you ARE making progress. And if you keep on beating this person week in week out, year in year out, I promise you: You will be very happy and satisfied with what you see in that mirror. You may even end up surpassing any goals you have set for yourself.
2) Are you willing to commit?
Getting in shape, essentially requires 2 very important elements: Time and Consistency. Period! Every other requirement plays a role as well, but none as important as these 2 elements.
Unfortunately this not the type of activity where you can reach your goal by pouring all your energy and effort into the first few weeks, and then take off for a the next week or two. Just as is the case with food and sleep, you need a fixed schedule to stick to to get positive results.
In order for you to either burn fat, tone or build muscles and get fitter/stronger, you need to exercise consistently. After each workout, you should give your body just enough time to rest and recover before exercising again. Doing this continuously month after month is the only way to reach your goal. It can take 6 weeks or even 3 months, but you WILL see results. The biggest "secret" and requirement, is that you keep doing it consistently.
(It may be difficult in the beginning, but I promise you it gets easier over time, especially when you start seeing results. It also doesn't mean you cannot take off for a week approximately every 3-6 months. Even take it easier for a week or two when you feel fatigued, but just keep going.)
So be honest and ask yourself if you're willing to commit the time and effort, EVEN when you don't feel like it.
3) Are you willing to set aside a specific amount of time each week?
Yes, I know it is sometimes very hard to find "spare" time. Especially as you progress into your adult life, demands on your time do take its toll, The increase in hours spend at work, family commitments, especially after children arrives on the scene - all takes a bit more time away from your already "full schedule".
However, you may be surprised to find out that you only need 90 minutes of exercise per week (or three 20 minute sessions) to stay in shape. If you really need an excuse not to be able to find this relatively small amount of time, you may want to rethink how serious you really are about getting is shape.
4) Are you willing to make small changes to your diet?
Let's just get one thing straight out of the way. You do and must NOT starve yourself at any stage in order to get in shape. (You can read more about it here) You should never be left feeling hungry.
Small changes mean you may have to stop or drastically reduce certain foods that are very detrimental to your goal and health. It also means that you may have to increase or decrease certain types of food like protein or carbohydrates. (You can read more about nutrition and exercise in this article)
5) Can you stop making excuses?
One interesting observation I made through the years: If someone really doesn't want to do something, they will always be able to find an excuse not to it, and it will be valid excuse. When that same person desperately wants to indulge in some time consuming activity he/she really loves, miraculously the time needed for it somehow becomes available. (Yes, I am just as guilty as anyone else).
This simply means that, if you really need to find an excuse not to start getting in shape despite overwhelming evidence, then you definitely are not ready. Not in any shape, form or size - to be brutally honest.
And there you have it. Five Questions that will help you decide how ready you are to make that commitment. It is a guideline, and not the "Ten Commandments", but should steer you in the right direction.
If you feel ready to get started and need some guidance, I am introducing you to some workout programs I can wholeheartedly recommend in this article.
As always, feel free to leave me a comment or suggestion, and remember to join my mailing list to get informed whenever a new article is released, as well as helpful hints & tips and news on new developments.
See you in the next post!