How To Make Getting In Shape a Habit—Without the Gimmicks
In our age of immediate gratification, we tend to believe that the body fat will come off pretty fast. We think that we just have to do the latest extreme home workout DVD and take the latest caffeine filled diuretic, thermogenic or testosterone booster, and the hard work will be over.
But what really works is being habitual, consistent and uncomfortable.
You don’t even need to make five payments of $24.99. You just have to take on new habits consistently, and occasionally try things that require you to do more than you’re used to.
Your habits play a huge part in where you are in life. But sometimes, these habits can lead to an imbalance. I had one client who had gotten into the habit of eating pizza, drinking soda and watching the Red Sox every single night. In the first six weeks, he dropped over 10 pounds. What changed? Yes, he started exercising, but more importantly, he made little changes that produced a big result. In less than a year, he lost almost 50 pounds and put on some serious muscle. He can bang out 46 push-ups in three minutes, crank out two chin-ups with 15 pounds around his waist, and after every single workout he asks for a little bit more. He stopped messing around, and the results speak for themselves.
Six things. That’s it. Drinking enough water alone will make you perform better in the gym while helping you look and feel better. Not to mention, the average American drinks about 400 calories per day. In 9 days, you’ll have consumed 3500 fewer calories. What else has 3500 calories? One pound of fat. As if that wasn’t enough, while you’re getting your eight hours of sleep, your body will be building muscle (thanks to all of the strength training), thus increasing your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and total daily caloric expenditure. In other words, you’ll burn fat while you sleep… Yahtzee!
All of the habits I mentioned above work under one condition: you actually have to do them. Little habits can have a big result—when done consistently. Fitness isn’t temporary; you’re going to want to be in shape for the reminder of your life. So close out the ‘Extreme Crosstraining 3000’ YouTube video and start to incorporate four days of exercise per week. Two strength and two conditioning. This gives you an adequate recovery period, and only takes up four of your 168 hours per week. In other words, you have the time. The client I spoke about before spends about two to three hours in the car commuting to and from work, works for eight to 10 hours and still makes sure he doesn’t miss a scheduled workout.
Try new things. Change doesn’t happen where we are comfortable, whether it’s mental or physical. Constantly try to learn something new; it could involve the correct way to lift weights, or learning the correct way to sprint. The idea is the same—get into a routine of being consistent, but don’t get complacent.
The moral of the story is, nobody can force you to eat anything, nobody can force you to exercise less and nobody can force you to be complacent. You are in control of your actions, and it is your job to make sure those actions promote an increase in quality of life.
Stan Dutton is a coach for Training for Warriors Boston. Born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, he found fitness at an early age and worked his way up to a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon do. As a TFW Level 2 coach, and a graduate of the American Academy of Personal Training, he has the drive and knowledge to help you find the warrior within!