It is very good to keep fit (jogging, working out at home or the gym, eating healthy and so on) because of the many health benefits that come with it. But many a time, people start a fitness program with the thought that the journey to those fitness goals is going to be a rosy one. By the time they attempt some programs for one or two weeks, they lose enthusiasm because of the type of discipline and patience, in weeks of consistency, required in order to start seeing the results on their body, and therefore slump back to their old lazy, unhealthy-eating-habit, chubby selves.
The reality is keeping fit and getting results is not a day or a week’s job. You have to know right from the very beginning that it will need discipline and patience. To develop this discipline and patience, you should have as a guide, the following acronym called SMART:
- S is Specific, meaning you should have in mind what you wish to achieve with starting a fitness program: do you want to lose a certain amount of pounds in weight; develop your muscles; or improve your endurance level. Having a specific target will help keep you going on days when you’re likely not to be in the mood.
- M is Measurable. You should find ways to measure periodically, maybe weekly or every two weeks, the impact of your fitness program. It may be discouraging sometimes with little to no or even worsening results, but this helps you critically evaluate yourself to find out and correct what you might have done wrong in the preceding weeks as regards your fitness.
- A is Attainable. Before you begin your fitness journey, ensure you plan it in such a way that you will be able to faithfully adhere to the earmarked fitness activities, without regular impedance from your work schedule and other engagements you have on a daily basis. This means if you work till evening, you should have your fitness activities inserted in the early morning or late in the evening when you will have time to actually work out. Planning in this way and sticking to it will help you make your fitness activities a subconscious routine which is one of the best things that can happen to you.
- R is Realistic. Before starting out on that fitness journey, you must have realistic expectations; if your belly is ballooned out with fat, don’t expect to have six packs after one month of fitness activities. Instead, bear in mind that that belly fat will probably take months to burn before another work starts on toning your abdominal muscles to six packs. So, measure your waist circumference monthly and track and celebrate those tiny centimetres that disappear as a reduction in abdominal fat.
- T is Transparent. You should be able to share your fitness activities and the gradual progress you’re making with friends, colleagues and even with social media friends on a periodic basis. Being transparent in this case is not forcing you to share your fitness journey; it is more of a choice, but it can help keep you motivated to continue: friends encouraging you and those who may start looking up to your fitness journey and progress as an inspiration to start their own fitness journey.
You can get a kind of fitness diary where you can draw up a weekly schedule using the SMART guideline. You should be honest with yourself in the area of requirements needed for your fitness activities (going to the gym, waking up very early to jog, stopping unhealthy eating habits and so on), and possible constraints such as unplanned emergencies that may come up in your workplace or other engagements, taking extra hours or days and your fitness program in those periods.
There’s no rule on working out every day of the week. But try and make it at least 2 times a week. And don’t beat yourself or get discouraged when urgent work engagements mess up your fitness program day. Make up for it the next available time.
For more advice and help, feel free to ask a Doctor via The Reliance Care App