One of the keys to successfully achieving any goal is to develop habits that help you reach it. This is especially true of losing weight. A great way to compliment your new diet is to pick an athletic activity that seems just a little too difficult and just do it. This is something that I have personally learned a lot about when I decided to give myself 12 weeks to prepare for, and run, my first marathon.
Of course not everyone will go from start to marathon in that kind of time frame, but anyone CAN pick a goal that seems just a little too hard for them and tackle it. Whether you choose to run a 5k, pick up a 200 pound barbell, or just walk around your entire neighborhood without sitting down, here are some tips that will help you reach your fitness goals.
Pick a barely attainable goal
After you’ve thought about what kind of activity you want to do, it is a good idea to think of what you could do in 4 months, and decide to do it in 12 weeks. By overreaching just slightly you will be motivated to work harder and may just surprise yourself with how well you do.
Exercise frequently, but don’t hurt yourself
A lot of people, when first attempting to lose weight through exercise, will push themselves to the point of injury early on and find that they unable to continue their new routine. Exercise as frequently as you can so long as you have enough energy and aren’t experiencing pain beyond typical soreness. (If you do experience exercise related pain that is either unbearable or not within you muscle, ask a medical profession before continuing any new program.)
Mix it up
Despite what you may expect, my marathon training program did not involved countless miles ran over days and days. Instead I ran a few times a week, often times running shorter distances repeatedly, and lifted weights throughout. This kind of approach helps keep things fun while avoiding the “repetitive motion injuries”. If you have a specific goal in mind and aren’t sure where to start, ask us and we will try to point you toward an appropriate training program.
Feed your exercise
While you want to be on a calorie deficit in order to lose weight, do keep in mind that the amount of energy your body can burn from body fat in a day is limited. If you have especially difficult workouts, or find yourself exercising vigorously and frequently mention this to your doctor when discussing nutrition plans in order to adequately fuel your body for exercise.
Stretch well, sleep well, and recover well. You body needs these things to stay healthy and to get strong, so don’t ignore the recovery if you want the best results from your exercise.
That’s it, a few tips to help you get started on whatever activity you decide to pursue. Good luck, and for any of you who are wondering, I am running the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon in 2 days as of this posting. Look for a follow up article after my race for some additional reflections as well as some tips on how to pick your next first goal after achieving your first. I hope to see some of you next year at the Pittsburgh marathon.