When it comes to fitness, there are a lot of us who just don’t know what to do. Typically what I see when someone decides they are going to start exercising, is they want to get a treadmill or elliptical, or they might even start a walking/running program. But, as most of us do when we just don’t know what to really do, we get bored and stop exercising. We eventually go back to our old habits and end up gaining anything we’ve lost; and in most cases even more. For me personally, I was tired of starting over! So after a couple months of trying to exercise on my own, I knew I couldn’t just stop but just didn’t know what else to do. I knew the only way to be successful was to get help. That’s when I researched and found Michael and Fitness Together. I knew I needed professional help, and this is what I found to be the best option for me. And what have I learned over the past four plus years? Is that being physically healthy isn’t about getting out there and doing a bunch of cardio, but getting that balance of cardio (fat burning) and strength training (muscle gain) in order to lose the fat I need to lose along with becoming stronger. Noticed I didn’t say lose weight, but lose fat. The reason I say that is because, even though the scale is a good guide, it can’t be the only thing you use to track your results. I’ll use myself as an example. I had just started my second year at FT, lost my first 100 pounds, and it seemed the scale hadn’t moved much and I was getting discouraged. At one of my assessments, it had been three months since the last one, I learned the importance of not focusing on the scale. In that three months I only lost five pounds per the scale. But, what the scale didn’t show was the inches lost, fat loss, or lean mass gain (muscle). What I learned, is my body weight was only down five pounds, but I actually lost 18 pounds of fat mass and gained 13 pounds of lean mass. That lean mass is where I’m getting results from the strength training, which also means I lost inches in that time as well. And that brings me to another point I want to make, strength training and using weights WILL NOT make you bulky or huge! In fact, when I was at a point where I could do the strength training and it was incorporated more that’s when I started to actually get leaner. I can deadlift 315 lbs, and in the process of getting there, I didn’t “bulk” up as some might fear will happen. When I hear someone say they don’t want to lift heavy or don’t want to use weights because they don’t want bulky muscles, they just want to tone, I have to really bite my tongue not to start in on how stupid that sounds. I have to remember, I’ve learned so much over the years, and so when people say those things it’s truly a lack of knowledge on their part. Anyway, I kind of digressed on that topic. So, basically when it comes to fitness, it’s important just like anything else, plan it out. Ask yourself, how many times will you work out this week? How many will be cardio based? How many will be strength based? And then the key is to show up and do the work!
Now the nutrition part of it! This can be just as difficult because so many times we want the quick easy fixes. We tend to turn to the diet pills or the fad diets. Now, I will say, me personally because I hate taking meds, I never did do the diet pills but I went for those fad diets every time! Except the cabbage soup diet, that just didn’t seem worth it. But, most of us have been there, especially when there’s that guarantee of quick results. But, when it comes to any of those fad diets or diet pills, those are typically temporary solutions. They aren’t teaching you what nutrition truly is. Hell, most of those will advertise “And you don’t even have to change how you eat.” Well, again, after four years of learning about nutrition, I call bullshit on all that! You have to change what you’re putting in your body. It’s okay to have, what we call a reward meal, from time to time, but you don’t want those meals as part of your daily meals. I limit one reward meal a week, and sometimes I don’t even have that. It’s important you learn portion control, what’s a protein, what’s a complex carb vs. simple carb, what’s a healthy fat. And then learn how to combine these for healthy meals so your body is getting the most out of the nutrition. Because if you’re nutrition is healthy, then you’ll be able to perform better with your fitness. We can get overwhelmed with all the information out there on nutrition and get sucked into those fad diets, so once again that’s where having my trainer I’m able to get properly educated on all this. Now, you can’t just stop there. I can have all the knowledge and all the best intentions of eating healthy. I can even have it planned out for the week, but what I’ve found the past couple years is that it’s vital to not only plan out your meals for the week but prep them. I started planning my meals a couple years ago, but didn’t prep them ahead of time. And I would have days where I was so tired, that I would get home and not feel like cooking so I would eat something else. Not necessarily something unhealthy, but just not on the meal plan. This also leaves me more apt to indulge or overeat on something that wasn’t even in the plan. So, now I plan everything out for the week and prep everything on Sundays so I have no excuses for not following my meal plan. For me the key is education on what nutrition is (fats, carbs, proteins, reading labels, etc.), plan out your meals, and then execute that plan by prepping your meals for the week.
Being physically healthy is setting fitness goals and planning a healthy meal plan, and more importantly DOING IT! If you’re at a loss of what to do or how to do it, reach out to someone who can help you. If that’s finding a professional, then I would suggest you look into that. If you’re here in the local Tulsa area you can contact Michael Watkins (owner) or Keith Jacobs (manager) with Fitness Together Downtown or Fitness Together Jenks to see how they can help you. Look what they’ve done for me in just a little over four years. My physical health has never been better. Not local? Go to the corporate Fitness Together site and find a local FT to check out. Only you know what you need, and only you can make the decision to change, but there’s always someone who can help!