Getting Back Into Shape

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Getting Back Into Shape

I am a candidate for getting back into shape. For longer than I can remember I have been passionate about health and wellness, and have been fortunate to be able to build my dream career that helps others establish a healthy lifestyle and follow the path of personal development.

Unfortunately due to various circumstances as I touched upon in my post Goodbye To Middle Age Spread I currently find myself in the worst shape of my life. It is time for me to get off my backside and start training hard and making those other adjustments to my lifestyle to bring things back to the way they should be.

I hate feeling unhealthy, it really demotivates me. It’s just not me, I’ve always been someone who trains properly and eats well because health has always been a major priority in my life. I’ve always been into sports and fitness, playing a game or two of squash a week and hitting the gym on a daily basis. With regards to food I’ve always been a healthy eater, only allowing myself to break my rules once a week when eating out. But for too long now I haven’t followed my old established routines. My bodies now paying for this, and I really have to take action to get things sorted.

So I’m starting out on a strict regime with the goal of getting my body back into shape. I will be writing a lot more about this over the following months. Today I want to consider the factors that are going to be of importance to me and achieving my results.

Step 1: Make a commitment

The problem when we start out on such a journey is sticking with it long enough to give ourselves the chance to achieve our targets. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight, build muscle or achieve some type of body change can tell you of the enormous commitment it takes to succeed. Alas there is no magic pill to make it easy, just old fashioned determination and commitment, being willing to alter your life and habits, changing those things that have got you where you are. Now it is time to reverse what has happened. It’s a no brainer for me, I no the lifestyle changes I made that led to the position I’m in, and I definitely know what I have to do now, but I also realise it isn’t going to be easy.

Step 2: Be Realistic

The results you are after will take time and effort. When it comes to setting goals people are often unrealistic. When it comes to losing weight ½ to 2 pounds a week is what experts would generally recommend. Many people will give up because they are not satisfied with the speed of their results seeing what they are doing as being unsuccessful, when in reality they are doing well, making progress and just have to continue doing what they were and be patient. When starting out on the journey I’ve ensured that my weekly and monthly targets are indeed realistic and I have devised a plan of achieving them.

Step 3: Cardio Training

Planning is not enough, I actually have to take action lots of it. Doing cardio is essential. Fifty minutes, four to five days each week, is the sort of level I should be aiming for . I prefer doing my cardio sessions first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to maximize the results and ensure I get my workout done. I have never been a great lover of cardio workouts always favouring the weights room but needs must. This is a great way to start burning fat and ensuring I’m increasing my calorie expenditure.

But I know it’s going to be hard, and so must you if you’re looking to do the same. As I said above, be realistic.

The first day back into the gym was like a slap in the face. I don’t remember working out being this hard. Within 20 minutes of my cardiovascular session starting, my lungs began to burn, my muscles were sluggish, and my legs began to feel like they were made of concrete. If I needed any further evidence that my aerobic fitness levels were low I now had it.

But every cloud has a silver lining. Our bodies are very adaptable, and within 6 weeks of exercising my body will have gone through significant anatomical changes that include increased muscle, wider blood vessels, higher blood volume, and more efficient oxygen delivery.

Tomorrow I’m going to do a walk-run. Where I will run for a minute every 5 minutes. Each week, I would run for a longer period of time (and walk less) until I got to the point where I could run continuously for 45 minutes. It may take me time but eventually I will be able to get myself back to being able to run for 50 minutes continuously. Give this a try yourself.

Step 4: Weight Training

Weight training will be the most enjoyable part of this journey for me, once I get back into the swing of things. By lifting weights – really lifting weights – you will firm the muscles underneath the fat and build new muscle tissue (and remember that muscle is the “furnace” of the body). Therefore, the more muscle you have, the faster and more efficiently you will burn fat and develop the body you really want. The more muscles you have, the more calories you burn. Do some free weights, that’s not machines you’ll see how fast you start to burn more calories, making it even easier to get into shape.

I’m setting out at the beginning of this journey to do three intensive weight training workouts a week, 60 minutes a session, with my cardio days in between. So Monday, Wednesday, Friday it’s weights, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday its Cardio, and a rest day on Sunday.

I will be writing about the type of training program I will follow. I will be changing this every 6 weeks.

Step 5: Cut Your Calories

When you eat as many calories as you burn daily, your weight stays the same. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. For every pound you want to lose, you must burn 3,500 calories.

You can do this by cutting your calories down for the day, while increasing yoiur calorie expenditure by doing the exercise.

I plan to be lying on the beach in 3 months time, and I don’t want to be mistaken for a beached whale. So this area is important, I know the gym isn’t going to cut it on it’s own.

Now I like food, but I also like looking good. When I want something I am very capable of getting totally focused and doing what has to be done. For me cutting calories is easy. For starters taking bread, potatoes and dairy products out of my diet will go some way towards achieving this. And I guaranteed those chocolate bars I’d eat on a Sunday will be a thing of the past.

My diet will be made up by having three light meals a day and two snacks. The foods I will be eating will be proteins (chicken, lean beef, turkey, fish or Whey), Vegetables, Salad and Fruit. Nothing packaged, processed, with added this that or other. I call it, I’m eating clean. You see I’m consuming healthy foods that are high in fiber, that have good nutritional value and less calories and the fiber enables you to stay fuller longer, preventing unhealthy snacking. It’s incredible how eating healthy food can get you back into shape. My suggestion is you give it a try and you’ll find it tastes good too.

Step 6: Drink lots of Water

This is as equally important as any other of the steps. I have to drink water, and aim between 2 to 3 litres. It will help me keep full and my body will stay hydrated. I will be cutting out all squashes , sodas and alcohol. When I drink it will be water. I will allow myself a cup of coffee in the morning and another one in the evening.

Step 7 No More Excuses

Everyone loves to make excuses as to why she can’t do this, and why she can’t do that. I value my time in the gym; it’s the one time during the day that I give solely to me. It’s my time. If you are not happy with something in your life then you have total control over it to make the changes.

Step 8: Supplement

I will take a multivitamin supplement to ensure I’m getting my required vitamin and mineral intake.

No turning back now, you know what I’m doing. I will provide a detailed update each week, including my workout and diet regime, so those of you that want to join in, you can. My promise to myself is I will look as good and feel even better than I did before.

So more soon.

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About the author: Larry Lewis
My name is Larry Lewis, Health & Wellness Life Coach, Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Living, contributor to the Huffington Post, recently featured in the Sunday Mail Newspaper and somebody who went from being an owner of a chain of gyms and fitness fanatic, to a visually impaired overweight and incredibly sick person. Read about my illness to wellness story.

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