Here are some tips that have helped me not only get started on a workout rutine but also keeping it long term.
1- TAKE SELFIES
There is nothing more motivating than seeing before and after photos of your progress. Take pictures in front of a full length mirror to capture your body from different angles.
Use the same bathing suit or whatever you are comfortable wearing each time you take your pictures, also its a good idea to always take your photos in the same spot and with the same angles.
Another useful tip is to place an object (like a small book or a dvd box) between your feet so that every time you take your progress pictures you will have the same distance between your legs and you will be able to clearly see your monthly progress.
2- GET READY THE NIGHT BEFORE
If you are planning on working out early the next day, this is a great tip to help you get ready in the mornings.
Have your water bottle ready, your protein shake (if you take one) ready in the fridge, your sneakers and gym clothes near your bed and anything else you may need. I used to sleep in my sport bra and gym leggings (you will use them to sweat in 20 minutes and its 6 a.m. so don’t judge!), this way you don’t waste time thinking about what you’ll wear the next day or actually putting it on (that’s a good 3 minutes saved...so much time to spare!). Besides, if you do all this the night before, you will find yourself eager to get up and work out because you know everything is ready and waiting for you.
3- START SMALL
If you are new to the exercise world or it is your 1000th time starting over because you keep falling off track, then I would recommend you start slow. Don’t try to go to the gym 2 hours each day and keep a lettuce-only diet because you will most likely last about a week, and after 2 pizza nights and a movie date you will find yourself back in your old habits….unless you have amazing dedication and willpower and you actually got rid of your bad habits overnight, which in that case congrats!
So set small goals each day, start with a 30 minute workout, it could be just a 30 minute walk, or whatever you like. Small goals will be easy to reach and will keep you motivated to keep doing more and more each week.
The same goes for diet, which for me is the hardest part, and if you love to eat (like I do) then start with small changes, they can be as simple as instead of adding 20 teaspoons of sugar to your coffee now just add 10, and instead of using whole milk now use light or skimmed milk (that's what I did FYI… I love sugar and my daily coffee is more like a glass of super sweet milk with a splash of coffee). This small changes are so subtle that your mind won’t really notice the difference but trust me your body will.
THIS IS MY ALTER EGO... AN OVERENTHUSIASTIC SUGAR BOWL
4 - MAKE IT A HABIT
This is one of my favorite tips and the one that has helped me the most. You’ve probably heard that it takes 21 days to form a good habit (and only 3 to days to loose it). Don’t focus on long term goals like “I am aiming at not missing a workout for 6 months” because you will most likely get bored mid-way or loose motivation.
Start with a 21 day goal, 3 weeks of working out, if you think about it, it really is no time at all. I probably spend 3 weeks just planning the outfit I’ll wear for an upcoming party. So having a 21 day goal will keep you motivated and once you reach it you will find that working out or eating healthier is a normal part of your daily routine.
5- DON'T OVERINDULGE
My mom would always say to me “there is no amount of exercise that can compensate your bad diet” and she was right (moms are always right duuh!) some years ago I would think that since I worked out for 2 hours I could get away with eating 6 innocent slices of pizza with 2 cans of soda.
Don’t make the mistake of indulging in more junk foods than you used to thinking that your workout is enough to compensate for it (hint...it's not).
Truth is that your diet is responsible for 70 - 75% of the way your body looks while exercise is just about 25%...so be careful with that box of Krispy Kreme!
6- DOWNLOAD A CALORIE TRACKING APP
It is amazing how many calories are in each meal, many times A LOT more than you would think.
Did you know that a Venti Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks has 310 calories? (that is without the whipped cream and the 20 teaspoons of sugar I was talking about earlier), it would take you about an hour on the treadmill just to burn that single beverage!. How many things do we eat during the day without even thinking about it? Calories start adding up and at the end of the day that hour or 2 hours you were at the gym sweating your butt off and feeling like you were about to go into cardiac arrest will do very little to help with your weight or fitness goals.
Apps like My Fitness Pal are super easy to use and you can log in your own recipes for meals that you have on a regular basis, it helps you keep a record of what you are eating and it also gives you a better understanding of the nutrition in your meals. Now, for a last tip... don’t lie to yourself, don’t log in 2 oreo cookies when you actually had 12…. Be honest with yourself.