One of the biggest obstacles I face on a weekly basis is finding a way to exercise and eat right with a busy, hectic lifestyle. The most common advice I hear (yes, even as a fitness professional), is that you can reach your goals in a short amount of time by following a strict diet and exercise plan that isn't fun and has diet restriction that are unrealistic. Most of the time the problem with this is that it doesn't actually fit into our lifestyles, so that when we stop after the prescribed month or so of following the plan, everything that we sacrificed for starts to reverse itself. It's no wonder why we tend not to see much progress when we follow this advice!
The key to creating a healthy lifestyle is quite simple. I would like you to take the next 5 minutes to sit down and write out your fitness and health goals and what you like to do when it comes to exercise. Keep in mind, going to the gym is not necessary, nor a requirement to get fit. While it works for some people, it doesn't work for others, and that's OKAY. For instance, I like to do a lot of plyometrics, play volleyball, jog occasionally, and lift weights. I don't have a gym membership, because I have dumbbells and I try to play volleyball twice a week. Some of you may like to get a gym membership and go to a spin class, Zumba class, or hop on one of the cardio machines. Others of you may simply go for a nice walk. The point is that you need to find what works best for you, because you are the only one who can actually do the activities for yourself. Now that you have your goals and your interests, it's time to create a plan.
First things first: Go ahead and choose the MOST important fitness goal. Is it to lose weight? Firm and tone your body? Be specific with your goal. Ex: I want to lose 2 inches in the next 6 weeks.
The next step is to address the exercise that you like to do and figure out a way to work it into your schedule. Bring up your schedule or calendar in front of you for the next week. If you don't have anything, go ahead and create a calendar and write everything you have to do, including meals, cooking, and when you plan to go to bed. Let's start with 10 minutes a day. Is there a 10 minute time slot that you can walk or do any other type of physical activity? Start with 10 minutes at a time this week. Try to find 2-3 other 10 minute time slots for you to do physical activity (ideally some type of cardio) this week. After a week, find what works best for your schedule. If you can increase time, then do so. If you workout really well late afternoon and can only do that 3 times a week, then do that and make it a habit.
Moving further, your next goal is to incorporate some sort of exercise for 10 minutes a day, 5 times a week. If you walk or do cardio for 3 of those days, now 2 days a week you can do abs, a total body workout, or some other type of exercise that you enjoy doing. The point is to get moving and to create space in your day to do so. Things will not change overnight, but by focusing on one goal at a time, it will be much easier to accommodate and to reach your goals.
In my sample schedule, I have highlighted the times that I can add 10 minute sessions. I can also add sessions when I have my daughter with me, but those will be more limited with what I can do. Circle or highlight the times that you have free and write in your activity for that day.
Going from being exhausted, eating unhealthy, and not doing any form of exercise to living a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming and unobtainable when you try to do everything at once. Lifestyle change comes from hard work and determination. It comes from slowly making smaller changes that keep you on track and moving toward your goals. Join a group, find a coach, or ask 2-3 different people to join you on your journey and keep you accountable. It's hard to make a change by yourself. Find someone who can keep you on track and moving toward your goals.
If you feel like you may need more guidance in reaching your specific goals, please ask for help! I write $25 individualized exercise programs (that last up to three months), and also offer different coaching programs to help you reach your goals. If you are looking for extra tips and a safe place to ask questions about fitness related topics, join our Facebook group: Cr3ation Fit Women. Now let's get moving!