So you've decided to take your life back and embark on a new fitness program. Fantastic! Congratulations! There are a few things that you should know, especially as you navigate the first couple of months.
The analogy I like to give with any fitness program is that it is incredibly difficult to push a huge boulder uphill, but once the boulder is on the top of the hill it's very easy to keep it there. This is just like fitness: you have to work like crazy in order to get fit, but once you are fit you can maintain that fitness level with relative ease.
Right now we need to establish some good habits. In fact, the first one to three months of a new fitness program you should only judge yourself by whether or not you went to the gym. Forget about weight loss, muscle gain, and doing the right program. Just show up.
This advice seems ridiculous, especially since you probably hear plenty of people telling you that you can have a six-pack in a month with their simple 7 minute ab workout. But there are two very good reasons for my advice.
First, as a beginner you have no clue how fast your body responds. Even if you used to be in shape in the past, you have no clue what is going to happen this time, so don't worry about what you cannot control and instead focus on the daily discipline of fitness.
Second, you might be extremely sore, which is fine, but you don't want to worry about having to stick to a program if you are sore and hating life. Instead, just do something. If you are super sore from your weightlifting yesterday, then maybe do a 20 to 40 minute walk today. Worst day of your life? Just do something or maybe some light stretches just do something!
Many people overestimate what they can do in a month. But many people underestimate what they can do in three years. In one month, you will not notice much. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that's just the way it is. Think in terms of years.
This is a great goal: “over the next year I’m going to lose 30 pounds, then I’m going to gradually lose another 10 the following year as I get much much stronger.” Realistic.
I just turned 38 years old. My goals for my health are in terms of where I'm going to be on my 40th birthday. I'm thinking two years out. Of course there are checkpoints along the way, and I need to make sure I'm hitting those checkpoints. But on a day to day, week to week basis not much is happening except that I am checking in for my workouts and doing them to the best of my current ability.
Gradually, your ability will get better and you will be able to do more. As you progress, always stay and when I called the yellow zone. The yellow zone is right in between the green and red zones. The green zone is where you are most of your day. You are not working hard enough to make any noticeable changes in your body fitness level.
The red zone is when you push too hard and you do those crazy CrossFit or Boot Camp workouts that leave you debilitated for a week and a half. Stay in the yellow zone. This is where you are working hard enough to get results but not so hard that you're killing yourself. What's great is that the yellow zone keeps getting higher, so if you workout in the yellow zone today, your body adapts, and then next time you work out you will be able to push a tiny bit harder still in the yellow zone.
Also know that results are not linear, Meaning that you will not be progressing every single day. Some days you progress two steps forward, and the next day you might take a half a step back. If you zoom out far enough the general trend is up. Imagine a stock market graph. In 2008 when the stock market crashed, if you were looking at the stock market from a day to day or week to week perspective, you would have been very depressed. But if you zoom out to a 10 or 20 year perspective, you would realize that the stock market was well above what it had been.
Use years as your benchmark, quarters at the very shortest. Best of luck with your weight loss, weight gain, or other body transformation goals. If you have any questions that specifically pertaining to you I would be happy to answer them. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org