In moments when we admit that our diet and exercise habits aren’t working, it’s easy to fall into “if only…” excuses.
Instead, we can turn the corner on old habits and discover an exciting new direction that gets us off that old treadmill.
If you want to become truly lean and fit, you need a holistic, sustainable routine that works for your mind, body and spirit.
It’s actually easier than you think. Follow these five keys to discovering a new mindset that will lead to improved health and greater happiness and help you achieve your fitness goals.
How To Reach Your Workout Goals
1. Look within
If it’s true that 10 percent of life is what happens to us, and the other 90 percent is how we respond, then why do we look for a solution outside of us rather than within?
Resolve to develop your inner observer. When working out, think of exercise as a way to combat aging, not to burn calories, and quit before you reach the point of exhaustion.
Incorporate breathing into your workout by inhaling before each repetition and exhaling after the repetition, and observe the body achieving complete recovery before starting again.
Finally, become aware of “trigger foods”—those you find hardest to resist—and avoid them like an alcoholic avoids alcohol. By relying on your inner observer to eat what your body needs, not craves, good food begins to taste better than junk food.
2. Go for the not-so-quick fix
Fast, radical changes rarely work, and we risk losing whatever gains we make. The wise approach is to find a steady, progressive approach to changing from within that will lead to tangible results.
One of your biggest fitness goals should be to look forward to exercise and to change your relationship with food. Easing into interval training that combines floor and weight exercises can provide a sustainable workout routine that you can build on by adding more weight, repetitions, extensions, and speed.
Regulate your eating by keeping a food journal to learn about yourself and your eating habits. Eventually you can strive to space meals and snacks at three-hour intervals in a 12-hour period.
3. Find a cheap or free approach
We live in a time of abundance and are bombarded by images of people enjoying glamorous, lavish lifestyles. Know that this way of life is unrealistic for most of society.
Don’t let the high cost of gym memberships or specialty foods prevent you from making positive changes. Instead, identify affordable approaches that can enable you to achieve your desired changes wherever you are.
For example, with very little investment in equipment and a bit of floor space, interval training that addresses all the major muscles groups can be accomplished at home. Forego costly and fattening prepared foods for complete, homemade meals that mix one protein with two vegetables.
4. Pursue permanent change
Don’t fall into the trap of pursuing short-term improvements that only make us feel better temporarily, like spa treatments or diet retreats.
Instead, pursue changes that offer long-term value, like developing an exercise routine that becomes part of your daily rhythm. Over time, the improvements to your health, weight, sleep patterns and outlook will inspire you to continue your regime over the long term.
5. Don’t obsess
So many of us obsess about food, exercise, or stress in our lives. All three are interrelated. When you approach your fitness goals not as a way to lose weight, but as a reasonable plan for healthy living, you eliminate these obsessions.
Related: 10 Ways You Can Reduce Stress
You can enjoy your journey toward a better you. Your workout can become the part of your day you look forward to most. You can achieve your fitness goals this year!
Aniela Gregorek, with her husband Jerzy Gregorek, founded and serve as head coaches to the UCLA weightlifting team, and own a successful personal coaching and athletic training practice in LA. Aniela is a five-time World Weightlifting Champion who holds six world records, and Jerzy is a four-time World Weightlifting Champion with one world record. They have devoted the last 30 years to researching and designing The Happy Body Program, and now share that program in a new book and the new companion Happy Body Exercise Program DVD set.
Photo by Jeremy Hall