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What I Wish I Knew a Year Ago About Exercise and Fitness

"I still have a long way to go, but I'm already so far from where I used to, be and I'm proud of that."

When you are going on a journey, your destination is what you have in mind; you avoid every distraction, you refuse to turn off the road, you refuse to take another course because you have a destination in mind. Once you get to your destination, however, you can take your leg off the accelerator, you will engage the breaks, you will grind to a halt, and it is time to do any other thing you want. This is what happens to you if you treat fitness as your destination.

You have been on an excellent diet for six months, you have been working out twice every day for that long, and you have been keeping your mind healthy, confident and proactive. Then you find yourself reaching the weight you set out to achieve, and you feel great already; it is not time to let your guard down.

Fitness is not where you are going; it is who you want to become. You want to make sure it becomes your new normal; you want to make sure that it is just the beginning of a new life for you. As difficult as it is to achieve fitness and good health, it is even more difficult to keep it. This is where you realize that your determination and discipline will have to become a permanent part of you.

HABITS AND YOUR FITNESS

As you set out on your journey to fitness and health, your habits are the simple tools that will help you work yourself to greatness, and they can also become the deadly weapons that will make sure your dreams do not come true.

If you can keep to a routine, it is proof that you are committed enough to succeed in life. Oprah Winfrey spends 20 minutes in silence twice every day; Richard Branson does not go out of his house without a bowl of fruit salads, while Mark Zuckerberg wears the same color and style of clothes every day. Winston Churchill starts the day by reading newspapers while still in bed; some spend the time to meditate as the first thing in the morning, while others prefer to take a walk. Every great person that has graced the earth has secret rituals called routines.

Success never happens by accident; it is always the product of a committed and consistent push in a particular direction. This constant push is called routines. You are what you do every day. Therefore, excellence is not an event; it is a lifestyle.

One of my goals in this article is to help you see how developing and following through with a routine is one of the best things you can do to acquire fitness, to maintain health and to lose weight if necessary.

Habits are hard to break; you must be ready to unlearn some things, learn new ones and relearn what you think you already know. From the habit of getting out of bed early, putting on your workout clothes and getting out of the house for an early jog; to saying an emphatic “no” to anything that will tamper with your diet; and to the sessions and routines that will keep you fit. If you can turn exercise and diet into habits, you are sure to get outstanding results.

One way to ensure that healthy habits are being practiced is to analyze one's mistakes and make sure they don't happen again. Your mistakes and errors help you to establish better habits that lead to success.

Fitness is more about doing it over and over until your body gets familiar with the whole routine and adapts to the pattern. You will need to stumble through aches and cramps before your body fully adjusts; the process will be painful at first but it will soon settle into the new normal, and you will enjoy the awesomeness of a healthier and fitter body.

Having a clear Plan

Like every other project, when you want to go no a fitness journey, you need to come up with a plan. Either you are following some form of program, or you are coming up with your own plan, make sure you have something documented that keeps you focused and guided.

Putting your plans down will allow you to visualize things better and serve as a source of motivation for achieving your fitness goals. It will also ensure that all the steps you take are very precise and well laid out. A good weight loss plan should be custom made for you, your diet, your exercise routines and every other activity involved in any program or plan that you choose. Your plans should also contain the feedback mechanisms, the set dates, deadlines and due dates for you to be able to check progress and make adjustments if necessary. Your plan will help you stay on course when you feel like quitting.

Structure and Support: Twin souls of a real Gym

Fitness and weight loss is a journey that many start but only a few get to maintain; not only because it can be hard, but also because we are not often exposed to the right information or the right people, and we make mistakes that rob us of the benefits of the process and eventually the willingness to continue. If you find yourself at this point, what you are missing is a gym with structure and effective support system (what I got at CrossFit).

Any gym without a support system that works is nothing but a scam as most of the people who will walk through the doors don’t know so much about what to do and how to do it. I apologize for using the term scam in describing some gyms because at the end of the day, it is the individuals responsibility to make the commitment to attend and make use of any gym membership but unfortunately most gym economics revolve around principles that are not in favor of those who need guidance that is critical and necessary for them to reach their objectives. Support and proper structure are what will help them get results and benefits that revolve around their goals.

Before I came to CrossFit, I knew that I didn’t know much; not because I had not tried over and over with other programs but because I had very little results to show for my efforts. CrossFit is where my fitness education started, and this has helped me to get so much results after such a little time! It doesn’t matter if you know next to nothing about fitness and getting that dream body, CrossFit will teach you what to do and support you all the way. More importantly, you will come to the realization that the principles of being fit is beyond just merely getting the body that you want or losing weight. These are just residual results of actually being fit and being fit, actually positions you to be be able to perform and engage in activities that help you reach other fitness goals.

After I joined this amazing gym, I wished I had become a member much earlier; I would have avoided all the twists and turns I had to endure in my fitness journey. Not only is this membership pushing me to be better and to be more focused on my fitness goals, but it has also given me a second family where I can call home.

You may be wondering why I am so bold to recommend CrossFit, you see, prior to joining this gym, I have been part of a lot of gym programs that offer little or no support whatsoever; there is no clear schedule or guide that will help you understand what you are doing or what you need to do to improve. Not only did this stunt my fitness pursuit, but I am also usually drained of enthusiasm. Imagine going to the gym and coming back feeling like you are just wasting your time and money; it was so depressing.

With regards to and contrary to what many people think about CrossFit due do to the stigma associated with injuries, as of today, my ignorance as a result of the same treadmill routine I had exposed myself to every day at traditional gyms; has resulted in weak knees and mild joint pains. I had not realized the impact of this until I joined CrossFit. The reality is that there will always be risks associated with any fitness endeavor that you decide to engage yourself in. The probability is constant but the likelihood increases as you become more active. While my knee pain could also be attributed to genetics and other factors, one thing that is certain about CrossFit is that stretching, variety, proper posture, and form are part of their exercise methodology. These factors are also supplemented with certified coaches that are present to ensure safety and proper implementation of exercises. With these components in place, it significantly reduces that risks of immediate and long term injuries.

The importance of nutrition over exercise

I know people expect fitness and weight loss always to be an uphill task which involves sweating and pressure and rigorous exercise and that is true. However, there is another aspect of the whole package that is even more important- your diet.

You are not getting anywhere with your fitness if you are not willing to make some concessions with your diet. You are what you eat, and you will become what you eat eventually; your body will not respond optimally to your gym routines and rigorous workouts if you do not alter what and how you eat.

Not only are you supposed to know what you should be eating, but you should also know why and you should know how best to make it exciting. Being on a diet doesn’t have to be boring and lifeless; you need to learn how you can eat well and use your diet to complement your gym routines and fitness plan.

Gym and Gears

When going to the gym, you need to make sure that your mind and body are completely ready to do a good job; you also need to be properly dressed! Not only does it affect the kind of exercise routines you will be able to do, but it also goes a long way to affect how you will feel during the exercise and even afterward. When you are done, you are likely going to be exhausted, sore and covered with sweat; you need to make sure you are in the right attire so as not to ruin your gym experience.

When you wear the wrong gear for the wrong routines, it is as bad as having the wrong tools for the job; not only are you going to mess up the job, you are like going to end up damaging the tool and looking like a fool. While attending traditional gyms, It never crossed my mind that proper gear is required and makes a difference. I have personally made the mistake of wearing the wrong pants and shoes to CrossFit. Trying to perform a variety of exercises while wearing nylon pants for example, can be a disaster as it will cling to you ties as you sweat and prevent you from doing your best especially when it comes to squatting. Trying to lift heavy weights while wearing running shoes isn't going to help your cause either as there are shoes designed specifically for that purpose. While no gym is going to enforce what you wear, the choice is yours if you want to perform your best.

Never Overwork in the Gym

I know you are passionate about losing weight, keeping fit and staying healthy. I also know that you are willing to pay the price for what you want and to endure the rigors of burning all the fat and calories in the gym.

However, if you are not getting enough rest and body recovery, you may stop getting any meaningful results as a result of over-training. I have learned through some horrible personal experiences and my time at CrossFit that your rest and recovery is as good as your reps at the gym.

When you work so much at your routines that the body doesn’t have the time it needs to rest and recover, you are getting over-trained already. You will notice that the body is growing weaker and cannot keep up with the intensity and frequency of the gym routines; that really sucks!

Effects of over-training include extreme tiredness, loss of endurance, lack of progress in results in and out of the gym and an increase in the incidence of sores, muscle pulls, strains and injuries.

Fitness that fits

When it comes to fitness, there are no one-size-fits-all methods, you need to be sure that what you are working at is custom-made for your needs; and this brings me to the point of letting you know that joining a gym is not a luxury, it is what you need to get results.

Though there may be a gym down your street, you must be sure you can have access to structure and the kind of support that gives you value for your money, helps you to be accountable and motivates you to reach for your goals.

Joining a real gym and keeping fit does not just help your body to be strong, beautiful and healthy, it helps you to develop resilience and endurance. Sweating it out in the gym will help you live happier, healthier and more fulfilled than you can ever imagine.

Finally, what is worth doing is worth doing well, you will need to roll up your sleeves and pay the price in full. A wise man once said that the price of success could only be paid in the currency of hard labor and nothing can ever be truer. You will need to give greatness a hot pursuit with the sweat of your brows and the bending of your back! Don’t allow those horrible experiences of ill-organized gyms rob you of the desire to go get your dream body; go all the way for it! 

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