How Fitness Becomes a Lifestyle
You've probably heard cliche advice of making fitness into a lifestyle. Like brushing your teeth in the mornings to prevent cavities and rancid breath, physical activity helps the body stay mobile and healthy. It sounds so simple, but why is it so hard to implement?
I believe part of it has to do with the narrow scope of what our idea of what fitness is. We think we must get a gym membership and follow specific workout routines to achieve results. It's important to remember this is just ONE method which will ABSOLUTELY work. It is an efficient way to put on muscle and burn body fat assuming you do the right workouts and have the right nutrition. This method is harder to do, takes more commitment, and tends to be more expensive. If you would like to chose this route I would highly recommend hiring a trainer. It is very common for someone to start working out not knowing how to do certain exercises properly or which workouts are even right for them. This uncertainty results in a quick loss in motivation or worst case injury.
Besides heading to the gym to train with weights, there are many options for effectively incorporating fitness into your weekly routine. Consistent physical activity combined with proper nutrition will guarantee you weight loss. That physical activity can take the form of walking, hiking, running, recreational sports, yoga, even taking the stairs instead of the elevator. This method may take a bit longer to see results than training with weights, but it is a good alternative to someone who doesn't enjoy going to the gym, wants to save some money on memberships and trainers, or needs a low barrier to entry to fitness.
Here is an example of Bob the accountant:
Bob hasn't done much exercise in the last six months. He has a 9 to 5 job in accounting, a social life he wants to maintain, and a girlfriend he wants to give time to. Recently Bob has been feeling out of shape. He is 20lbs heavier than where he wants to be, and doesn't have much gym experience.
Bob decides to make some lifestyle changes. He stops drinking his sugary coffee drink with a pastry in the morning, and decides to start walking up to the third floor at work. In the first month of implementing this he loses about 3 lbs.
Bob wants to continue his momentum, so he adds in one day of jogging on the weekends and plans a hike with his girlfriend Sunday mornings. Now Bob has added more physical activity into his weekly routine and used it as a strategy to spend quality time with his girlfriend. In this second month, Bob loses 4lbs and is almost halfway to the body weight he is comfortable with.
Bob's friend Matt invites him to a recreational soccer league that plays twice a week in the evenings. He joins the league where he starts exerting himself much more by sprinting up and down the field, as well as builds bonds with his new teammates. Bob and his girlfriend both decide to eat healthier by cooking more instead of eating out. In this month Bob loses another 5lbs, makes new friends, and creates a stronger bond with his girlfriend.
These simple strategies of implementing a bit of fitness and nutrition in Bob's weekly routine helped him lose 12lbs in 3 months! It cost him nothing and he developed deeper and new relationships.
The key to incorporating fitness into your lifestyle is consistency and progression. Bob started with very simple steps to kickstart his fitness lifestyle. A small change in nutrition and incorporating more activity than his baseline gave him enough results to motivate him to add even more physical activity to his weekly routine.
Fitness is a psychological game more than a physical one. It's finding strategies to keep yourself motivated and coming back to do more. In Bob's case he took simple steps that were easy to do that gave him great results in both his fitness and personal life.