Written by: Sam Schneider
3 Easy Steps to Starting and Sticking to a Fitness Routine
There are a couple hard, fast facts about fitness and nutrition we need to get out of the way.
Dieting is not hard, and it is not rocket science. However, it's also not a quick fix nor is there any perfect solution for everybody in existence to following along to.
Chances are, if you're reading this article, you've struggled sticking with a fitness centered lifestyle like most of us have. We've tried the internet blogs, videos, and articles. We've resorted to social media to find motivation through others' workouts and diets. We've tried the easy fixes, because at the end of the day, what do we have to lose?
I'll be willing to bet, that if you're still reading, these things didn't work, just like they didn't for me. Whenever I discovered bodybuilding, I discovered the science behind these "myths", what works, and what doesn't. Everything all began to add up to me after numerous trial and error efforts. I want to share with you three easy things I have discovered that I can GUARANTEE will help you stay on track, and most importantly let you enjoy your life along the way.
These three steps don't require you to be a bodybuilder, nor do they require you to be a man or a woman. We can all relate, all shapes and sizes.
First, we must ask ourselves why we're doing what we're doing. Is it because we want to get in shape to look good at the pool in the summer time? Are you suffering health related issues that could be resolved or better controlled with proper diet and nutrition? No matter the situation, we must all ask ourselves the question, "why?"
If I can think of one thing that requires persistence, it is fitness and nutrition. Like I mentioned before, it's not hard or complicated. We simply must do the proper things correctly, over and over again. In order to do this, we must be able to wake up everyday and know the task at hand.
Do it for yourself. No matter what your reasoning for creating a healthier lifestyle may be, you must be able to easily apply that to yourself. Don't try and be someone that you are not. It's easy to get on social media, and be led down the wrong path of these "instafamous" models. Be you, and find a routine that fits you, to create a better you. Here's how I recommend doing that.
The Food List
Many times we quit a diet, or get burnt out because diets can be hard to follow, or much less enjoyable. Like I've mentioned before, persistence and convenience is the key here. I have developed a "food list" that keeps me on track, without feeling burnt out or bored with the same old, same old foods, day after day. This "food list" will consist of healthy, delicious foods that I can eat at any meal of the day, and know that it's ok to eat. This has also helped me keep my diet on track while eating out. These foods don't necessarily mean chicken and rice only. It also doesn't mean 100% of your carb source can come from donuts. You may have heard of IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), which may work in some cases, however this is actually a pretty advanced technique, and to expedite the process, we can go about nutrition in a more efficient and healthy manner. I like to think this method is somewhat meeting in the middle. I find this to yield the BEST results.
Some things on your foods list will consist of mainly low fat and low sugar foods. Most of the time if you hunt around the store, you can find several things that will fit into your foods list that you never knew existed! Here are some examples of my staple foods. There are many more items on my list, but these are my go-to's. **IMPORTANT NOTE**: some of these foods can be right for your diet if you spend the extra time in the grocery store to look at the macros. For example, some brands' English muffins can vastly vary in fat and carbs. Look at several brands before throwing those items in your cart, and choose the one that will best fit your macros. Make sure that you're finding foods that you like and enjoy, but never disregard that nutrition label!
- whole grain waffles
- bagels/English muffins
- low fat granola
- white or sweet potatoes
- fresh fruit
- Almond/peanut butter
- egg yolks
- olive/MCT oil
- boneless, skinless chicken breast
- flank steak
- eggs (whole or white)
- 97/3 ground turkey
- sugar free syrup/chocolate syrup
- sugar free jelly
- zero calorie spray butter
- sugar free jello
- low fat cheese
- Halo top/Enlightened ice cream
The list can go on and on. The best way that this method works, like I said, is to find foods lower in fat that still taste good. For lower carb days where we need increased fats in our diet, we utilize that by inserting healthy fats (Peanut butter, Avocado, Almonds, etc.)
Here is an example:
For lunch, say I am tired of plain old chicken and rice. I'm bored with it, my chicken tastes plain, and I'm craving something different. I want to go eat some Mexican food with my coworkers. For me, this meal may call for 50g Protein, 40g Carbs, 14g Fats. So, since I took some extra time to hunt around the grocery store, I found some tortillas that are 2g fat, and 37g Carbs (close.) I take some of my grilled chicken, throw it in my tortilla, add some low fat cheese, and toss it on the skillet. I have a perfected healthy quesadilla, not to mention, I think I'll add some avocado to meet my 14g of added healthy fats, some low fat sour cream, and maybe even some hot sauce if I'm feeling spicy!
I stuck to my diet, I am full, and I am satisfied!
So, we've conquered the two hardest parts- the "why" and the "food list". The third and final step ties all of this together. We've got a good solid reason as to why we want to make this lifestyle change, we have found a way to manage, enjoy, and tolerate our diet. Now, let's have some fun!
Find enjoyment in the process. Research a training program that intrigues you, something that you look forward to doing in the gym. There is a lot to learn, but try to seek out quality education. For example, you might not want to stick to a training program that's called "How to burn 1,000 calories in 10 minutes." It's not realistic, nor possible. A great way to go about this is to find a friend. Your gym partner can be anybody. Sometimes it's best to have somebody more advanced than you to train with; sometimes it's more enjoyable to have somebody in your same shoes to share your experiences with. Most gyms normally offer numerous classes that you can attend as well. Switch it up; attend a group class with some friends on Monday and Friday to change things up!
The secret sauce here is to have fun, learn, and enjoy yourself. You have started seeing good results, and that only fuels the fire! You're now on track to that beach bod in no time, feeling healthier and better than ever!
Don't forget to have a free meal every now and then. Allow yourself a day to have some pizza and ice cream. People often use the word "cheat meal." I don't really like that, because we aren't cheating, it's strategic. I personally like to dedicate my free meal on Saturday. I train legs on Saturday (largest muscle group) so I am going to utilize the calories more efficiently, and go out with some friends that night and enjoy myself with some delicious food! One bad meal won't kill you! IF you've been sticking to the plan. Actually, it will help you.
Don't forget, we don't want to get burned out! Stay inspired, be yourself, and stick to the plan! Turn your new and improved healthy lifestyle, into something you enjoy!
Go get it!!