Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Begin
What do you want to achieve? You are going to need a reason to pursue a healthy lifestyle. We all have both ‘choices’ and ‘goals.’ You may want to be fitter or lose weight. So understanding our goals is crucial. It is worth writing them down or discussing them with someone who will support you. Being clear on the plans makes it easier to consider the ‘choices’ we need to achieve them. The critical decision is understanding the need to change and making the first achievable step. But don’t set the bar too high.
How can you “fail” at this program and still WIN.
It would help if you learned how to “think” about being fit. My ideas may not “fit” how you look to become and stay healthy. But here is a process or a recipe that avoids many of the pitfalls in achieving your healthy living goals. You want to understand the psychology of success and change your habits. Success leaves clues, and so does failure. Simple stuff you’ve heard many times. I’m going to provide you with some actions and tasks that are easy to perform. Your biggest obstacle will be the change in your routine.
WHY DO PEOPLE FAIL SO MISERABLY AT STAYING FIT
It is simple. Most Fitness wannabes are attempting to complete a goal that is structured to fail. It was not until the 60’s that we saw the birth of the health club chain. The option was never available until probably the mid part of the last century. It is safe to say that the only beneficiary has been the individuals who successfully built and ran the gyms and the energy companies that could heat the empty buildings. Everyone else was a loser except perhaps the employees who made a living. I’ve asked Health Club professionals to estimate the typical club’s space utilization—it’s under 10%!
Many of the clubs are attempting to change the business model since Covid. Free online classes are available online, but it is hard to imagine how this beats what is already available on Youtube.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE “BAD” WORKOUT
Most exercise programs fail because the program attempted does not fit the person. We resist changes to our patterns of behavior and lifestyle. For a workout away from home, many variables must all align with the activity to make sense. Let’s look at all the reasons working out away from home will not work:
- Gym Workouts are Inconvenient. It is hard to beat the home-based workout. Why would you want to leave your house, drive to a gym, work out, and return? You can haul to the gym a “shower kit” and extra clothes, but I’ve noticed most folks try to avoid that inconvenience. If you could stop by the gym on your way to or from work, that might work, but you still have to deal with the clean-up. Gym visits have too many moving parts.
- Lunch workouts might be okay if you can take a long lunch or workout at your office. But for most of us, it is a time-waster.
If there ever was an idea contrary to how one could succeed long-term, this is it. Decide right now you will only work out at a gym when the convenience is too hard to ignore. (Move next door if you want this option)
Why not participate in a daily fitness program that incorporates the timing of activities and locations that make working out both enjoyable, practical, and possible. I know you find individuals who successfully maintain fitness by going to the gym, but there are many failures for every success story. Anyone can find a way to keep a routine for perhaps even a few weeks. But the easier, the better.
Here are some ideas about working out:
- Google answers the question about the ideal workout time here. You should probably work out first thing in the morning. The science says that you should try to work out before 4:00 PM. As a practical matter, most people should consider the workout as part of the beginning of your day—before the distractions of life get in the way. And by the way, the mornings a great time for a spiritual time as well. Any other approach might not easily become a routine/habit.
- Minimal Equipment is Needed. You have to incorporate a program whereby if you are traveling, you can maintain your routine. The minimalist approach’s beauty is obvious—you free yourself from excuses because of time/inconvenience. You need a program that both works and stretches your body. Fortunately, a kettlebell and resistance bands with an exercise mat are all you need. Just find some Youtube fitness gurus, and you will have you need to succeed. No excuses that a gym was not available. Keep the kettlebells at home, but all you need is a bag of resistance bands when traveling.
If you want to understand how some people achieve extraordinary success, you have to develop habits you can sustain. Working out is a keystone habit—once we put fitness to work for us, we will achieve a multiplier effect on the other healthy habits. I do not believe that you will get very far in implementing lifestyle habits if you cannot activate the fitness routine.
Here is the easiest way to convince you how important a lifestyle that includes regular vigorous exercise can be. Thank you back in your own life to the people that workout consistently. With very few exceptions, you will discover that virtually all people who exercise regularly also practice many other positive lifestyle habits. This is the magic of the “keystone.”
CRITICAL HABITS YOU MUST INSTALL IN YOUR LIFE
- Never take a day off. You won’t need to. Try to complete the activity at the same time each day. Just vary your workout intensity and variety based on the day of the week (that will determine what you are scheduled to do), your location, and the availability of fitness equipment. Let your continued success drive you along.
- It would be best if you combine your workout regimen with some very deliberate dietary habits.
The Dietary Habits
Give yourself a day every week where you can cheat. But implement some good habits.
- Protein Fix. I got this from the 4 Hour Workweek, and I think it makes a lot of sense. Start every day with a minimum of 30 grams of protein in 30 minutes. I rotate some flavors and protein sources (plant and animal) and occasionally use a blender with fruit.
- Proper Nutrition. If you make it, they will come, and you will only fool yourself if you think you can continue your current practice of dining out regularly. Most restaurants offer reasonably healthy alternatives, but few go for them. It is best to view dining out as entertainment and go out as a “cheat day.”
The Meal Planning Regime
I am not advocating that you follow this meal planning program exclusively. At some point, you will become tired of this routine. One way I mix things up is to visit an exotic buffet once a week. This falls in line with the common belief about a cheat day being valuable in maintaining a high motivation level.
- Your Food Preparation Plan.
- Breakfast. Keep it simple, if possible. I seem to never tire of combining bland foods like oatmeal with fruit, nuts, and other natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Use a small crockpot and cook a 3-4 day supply of steel-cut oats.
- Lunch. Periodically cook a large batch of beans. Freeze in bags and thaw to cook 3-4 days of servings. Spinach salad never gets old when you combine enough ingredients.
- Dinner. Lean meat and frozen veggies come prepared a lot of ways.
- Your Food Administration Plan. I have purchased glass airtight food containers from Sam’s Club. Glass will clean completely, and with a silicone top, you have a winning combination to keep your food as fresh as possible.
THE FITNESS REGIME
USE THE BEST SCIENCE TO GUIDE YOUR PRACTICE
There’s been quite a bit of research done, and the evidence is that you do not need to spend a lot of time working out. You can complete just about any fitness activity using a method known as interval training. Just learn to search on Youtube.
WHY YOU WANT TO WATCH VIDEOS
The depth and breadth of the content that is available online is amazing. You can learn about anything you want. You will find Youtube a lot more enriching if you stay away from BAD VIDEOS. Check the Chrome add-on Ratings Preview on Youtube.
Daily Workout Priorities
- Every day with No Exceptions. Leave no room for ambiguity, and you will not fail. You can establish a minimum threshold or time/intensity for each day. Don’t worry if there are times where you alter your routine if you must. Ideally, you earn some bragging rights of self-discipline you will repeat to others. The risk of public shame might carry you farther than you could go on your own. I take a certain pride in saying that I have “only missed once,” which was intentional! But you will also need to find a way to forgive yourself if you do occasionally fail. The nice part of the program is a success can be easy with a good process.
- 20 to 30 Minute workouts seem just about right, but you will want to have some shorter workouts, perhaps as little as 10 to 15 minutes for those times when you need to get a workout in but yet do not want to take the full-time.
- Don’t Start Day without a workout. Sounds simple, but may not work out that way. The program is well suited for someone who has control over their time and can create some “space” in the morning. If you are always rushing to leave, you may find you will need to alter the time you wake up. For someone who works for themselves and has a degree of flexibility when they can dress up, this can work pretty well.
- Have a backup plan. You can always grab a workout later in the day, but try to avoid this breakdown in your routine. The simplicity and repeatability come from an unalterable routine. Try to look at an afternoon routine as a failure or breakdown to be avoided.
Weekly Workout Schedule
Weekly Training Plan – Google Sheet Overview of the Plan
RECOMMENDED FITNESS PROGRAMS
Channel Focus: All Fitness Programs Covered.
This couple has a professional site with all the bells and whistles. If you want just one site for all of your workout needs, this may be the one.
How do you find videos? The key is the search. Fortunately, Youtube provides some handy search filters. Or to make matters even easier, you can check out Fitness Blenders, and you will find hundreds of videos and a search capability built into the site.
Yoga and Pilates Channels
Disclaimer. It is no secret that this category caters to some fascinating personalities–and controversial/unorthodox views. When necessary, limit your attention to the fitness aspects of the program.
Most Fun – Sean Vigue Fitness
Channel Focus: Yoga and Pilates
Eccentric but charming, this guy is a Youtube favorite. Sean has a wide range of programs. Dog lovers will also enjoy his shows.
Yoga Search Favorite (female category) – Yoga with Adriene
Channel Focus: yoga
You gotta love her–at least the fitness seekers searching in Google do. Video 1 of Adrian’s 30 Day Fitness has been viewed over 12 million times. I have not actually completed one of her Youtube classes, but I can see her appeal with women. She reminds me of one of my sisters… (I won’t say
which one, okay?) But success leaves clues, so you might want to check her out.
Yoga Search Favorite (male category) – Yoga With Tim
Channel Focus: yoga