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My Fitness Level

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Your daily habits determine how you look, feel and live. Unfortunately, as obligations pile up, diet and exercise can get pushed to the side. That's why it's important to tend to your body and mind before anything else, even if for just 10 minutes. "My health comes first every day," says Marla Streb, 38, world-champion mountain biker and author of “Downhill: The Life Story of a Gravity Goddess” (Plume, 2003). "For example, I never check e-mail before I go for my morning ride. Otherwise, I might find myself on the computer longer than on my bike!" Develop the habit of putting yourself first each day and you'll look, feel and live better.

Jumping In

Motivation is essential to diet and exercising, so it’s extremely important to find a plan that best suits your needs – something you’ll be able to stick with long term. Before you get started, consult a physician to make sure you are in the condition to begin your plan of attack. For example, you wouldn’t want to start jogging if you have knee problems.

You can record your progress in a journal. When you look back in a year, you’ll marvel at how far you have come and it’ll provide even more motivation to continue down that path. Be focused on health, fitness and feeling better rather than weight loss – consider weight loss a bonus!  

Assess Your Fitness

Set realistic goals for yourself. Don’t expect to see changes overnight - expect to see changes over a period of time, whether it be weeks or months.

Weigh yourself each week, but don’t rely too much on the numbers. Use them as more of a guiding force than a hard and fast rule because remember – muscle weighs more than fat, so as you are developing muscle mass you may gain weight. This is why it’s important to take measurements too, and consider how your clothes are fitting your body.

Schedule your workouts in advance so you can make sure you have the proper time to devote to them. Include friends and family members in your workout program when you can – they will help motivate and inspire you, and vice versa! This also adds diversity to your workouts and helps regulate against boredom or plateaus, as you’ll gain a competitive element when working out with others.

Plan your meals for the entire week and shop accordingly. Try to have extra healthy foods on hand in case of an emergency, like the flu or working overtime. Don’t be discouraged by the curve balls life throws in your direction. Stay focused on your goals. If you mess up, just get right back into your program and keep pushing forward!

Reward yourself when you reach a certain goal, but try not to make it food centric. Buy yourself a new dress, a book you’ve been wanting to read, or for big lifestyle changes, maybe even a trip you’ve been saving up for! Acknowledge your hard work, and then set new goals!

Success

To achieve success in your diet and workout plan, be sure to get enough rest. A good night’s sleep will help you excel in your workout program. Limited sleep can cause you to overeat and drains you of energy, making you less likely to get a solid workout or have the ability to get through your day effectively. 

Eat an adequate amount of calories and nutrients to sustain your energy throughout the day. Don’t starve yourself to lose weight; eat healthily when you’re hungry and be good to yourself so you can excel in your new workout or exercise routines!

Finally, be sure to warm up with every work out and rest when your body tells you to – no one knows you better than yourself!

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