I woke up in a great mood today and decided to go for a run. I knew it wouldn’t be easy since I haven’t worked out in a while, but I seized the rare opportunity of feeling productive and decided, hey why not? As I began running my usual route I felt increasingly fatigued. My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest, and muscles were burning that I didn’t even know existed. Thinking that this run was going to be “difficult” was definitely an understatement.
As I slowed my pace to a steady jog and my workout came to an end, I was disappointed. I knew I wouldn’t be able to run like I used to before, but I hadn’t realized how out of shape I had become. I remember thinking the freshman 15 was a myth. I laugh now even thinking that because when I went to college I gained the freshman 15 and then some. Now, as a graduating senior, I find it increasingly difficult to get back to the physical shape I started college in. I’ve always had fickle fitness habits. Crash dieting here and there or working out and eating healthy temporarily, and then slipping back into my old habits. If I’m being honest with myself, I know just how to get back into shape, I’m just not pushing myself to reach my full potential. Trying to get back into shape and staying motivated is difficult, but here are some ways I’ve learned to get back on track when trying to reach your fitness goals.
Realizing there are no shortcuts
I used to try every crash diet out there hoping I would suddenly get my dream body in a week. Even though fad diets and trends seem appealing, and like an easy way out, it’s important to remember that eating that way for the rest of your life is unrealistic. The best way to get into shape is by changing your lifestyle, eating healthy balanced meals, and doing some good old fashioned exercise.
Finding workouts that work for you
I hate working out and I hate going to the gym, but I find when I try something new like kickboxing or other fitness classes, working out doesn’t seem so bad. Working out with friends is also something that’s helped me in the past, because you have someone to keep you motivated and hold you accountable.
Not giving up
If I didn’t eat healthy for a day, or skipped working out I would instantly give up and go back to my old routine. Just because you make a mistake doesn’t mean you’ve set yourself up for failure. Once you’ve realized you’ve gone off track, get right back on. Tomorrow is always a new day.
Setting realistic goals
This one is a big one for me. I always gave up chasing a healthier lifestyle because I would set unrealistic goals for myself. When first starting your fitness journey, do research, think about what’s worked for you in the past, and set goals that you know you can accomplish. Sometimes we get so lost on what numbers are on the scale and forget to look at other signs that we’re showing progress. Setting realistic goals and even changing them to not focus on weight can make a huge difference in how you view your fitness journey.
Taking “baby steps”
On my run today, I wanted to give up because it was tough. I had to remind myself that reaching a goal takes time. You’re not going to get where you want to be right away. Changing your lifestyle takes patience, effort, and a tremendous amount of time and dedication. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not where you want to be right away. With enough time and consistency we can reach our goals, we just have to take baby steps first. After all, slow and steady wins the race right?