So, you're on a mission. You meal-prepped a week's worth of salad's, bought yourself a quart-sized container of egg-whites to mix with spinach in the morning and have a handful of healthy snacks on deck for when you need someething. You scheduled some gym time for the week and told yourself with the realest focus and determination; "this-is-it." You do well for a few days and start to feel great. But you slowly become distracted. After a week, that elliptical starts becoming way less fun. You've lost your enthusiasm for egg whites, raw almonds and lettuce and forgot; which day is leg day?. You're tired, and most of all; bored. Sound familiar? It's called "yo-yo dieting." And guess what? We've all been there.
It's not easy today in a world where our supermarket's have 10x more fake food than real food and it's become impossible to go to a restaurant that will serve you, good, healthy meals that aren't covered in artificial seasonings, damaged vegetable oils and GMO's. It's why I do 99% of my own cooking.
But what's even harder is the gym routine. You might be one of the lucky few who can stick with a routine long enough to see and feel real results, and that's great! But to those of us who can't stomach another day of "today I'm going to hit the elliptical, try and stay awake long enough to do some bicep curls and a few pushups, then maybe hit the treadm...zzzzz." I know that's something I can't do though I give massive amounts of credit to the people that can! I hate the term "gym rats", but to those who are; respect.
I believe there is a way to hack this that comes in two simple steps; try new things and follow your heart.
Have you ever flirted with the idea of taking a yoga or Pilates class, even for a minute? There are very few studios that would deny you a free intro class if it's something you wanted to try. Yoga is a great way to get in shape. It can help increase flexibility, muscle strength, respiration, energy and vitality as well as reduce body fat, increase metabolism and protect you from injury. Most importantly, you might fall in love with it! People will make the excuse "they don't have time." When an opportunity to fall in love is at stake you make time! You might try yoga and hate it, that's fine too. Try something else.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High intensity interval training or "HIIT" is a form of exercise becoming more and more common in both larger gyms and smaller studios. HIIT is a training technique where you'll give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time and makes you sweat like crazy. You might fall in love with that feeling! It helps when you have a great instructor teaching your class, bumping great music while motivating you the whole way through. HIIT is usually as close to a full body workout as you can find and will burn through fat like nothing else- say goodbye to the "today is chest-day, tomorrow is back-day" routine and blast off some fat and get ripped.
Boxing or Kickboxing
Cool thing about a lot of boxing gyms is you don't necessarily have to fight to go to one! Boxing will definitely teach you the basics of throwing a good "one-two" but along with that will come improving your condition with jump-rope, push-ups (even if you can only do two!), shadow boxing, running or jogging and lots of bag work. There are big corporate gyms as well as local gyms in almost every neighborhood in the country, and don't be afraid, but the butterfly's in your stomach might get kicking the first time you hear "Eye of the Tiger" while your throwing a slick combo at the heavy bag. Who knows? You might even fall so-hard in love that you'll end up wanting to compete!
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, Taekwando, Karate, Judo and Muay Thai are all popular in the US, and increasingly so since MMA has increased rapidly in popularity. Martial arts can be different in philosophy but similar in teaching traditional and sometimes ancient principles. They will challenge you in different ways, focusing on technique, precision and timing over strength, power and speed. Like most gyms, most martial arts academies will offer a free introduction class or classes to see if it is right for you. Research different forms of martial arts and see what's right for you. If you have zero-experience- awesome. Learning something new can be a great way to become enlightened and spark curiosity. Don't shy away. Aside from learning new techniques, you will also get into the best shape of your life and meet some great people when you find the right place for you.
CrossFit is a training method that works to improve physical well-being and cardiovascular fitness in a hardcore yet encouraging environment. CrossFit is extremely different from a commercial gym and you won’t find any ellipticals, weight machines or treadmills. In a Crossfit "box," you'll work on what's called a WOD, or workout-of the day. CrossFit focuses on whole body functionality, keeping track of your progress and even nutrition! I know plenty of people who've seen amazing results from their local CrossFit box and have totally fallen in love. If you've got the guts, this method of training can definitely help you break through that plateau and take your fitness journey to greater heights.
Training for a Spartan Race, Tough Mudder or 5K
When you sign up for an obstacle course race or running event, it means you've invested cash-money into something that you're going to need to train for. This can be a great way to get motivated. Imagine that feeling of crossing the finish line. You might not think it right now, but its right-there. Some gyms will offer training for specific events, or in the case of running a 5K, 10K or even a half-or-full marathon, the road is yours! Find an event near you, be spontaneous, sign-up and put a BIG circle on the date on your calendar and stick it on the fridge. Let it be a fun thing. No need for stress when it comes to those races, unless your the guy in coming in second place to Usain Bolt in the 100 meter dash every year, relax. Do your best and allow yourself to enjoy the process.
Hiking, dancing, or riding your bike can be great ways to free your mind and chase your fitness goals too! There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a routine when we have a goal of getting into shape but all share similar principles. Challenge yourself. Get sweaty. Push your limits when possible. Most importantly; find what's fun for you.
Someone told me a few days ago "but I can only do- like two push-ups" I said "Perfect. tomorrow morning do two, the next day- do three." We all start somewhere and we can't let anxiety and fear of the unknown get in our way. Don't be afraid to be a warrior in your own way. We can put a knot in our stomachs when we think about how bad we want it... that beach body, those abs, that flat stomach, toned arms or that unhealthy feeling to go away. Get out there and do it, don't be afraid. Try new things and find what you love. You have it in you.