Are You Ready To Get Back In Shape?

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Are You Ready To Get Back In Shape?
© Doug Champigny,
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Are you ready to get back in shape? If you’re like most adults, you’ve been flirting with fitness for years; getting into reasonable shape then letting it slide until you’re finally bothered enough to do something about it again. But to get – and stay – in shape you need to break that cycle and move towards living a healthy lifestyle.

To truly move towards a healthy lifestyle usually means addressing health concerns in a number of areas. First, you need to schedule a full physical & blood workup with your doctor, if only to be sure of what conditions and concerns you need to allow for as you get started. Changing your diet, sleep patterns and exercise level places some stresses on your system initially, even if those changes are designed to bring you better health over time.

Discuss your planned return to fitness with your doctor while you’re there. While your doctor may not know as much about exercise physiology as your personal trainer or as much about current nutrition research as your registered nutritionist, he or she knows a lot more about YOUR body and systems than anyone else. While I would never get my doctor to create my exercise plan or design my meal plan, I would never ignore his advice regarding my body and it’s internal workings – that would just be foolish and potentially dangerous.

Once your licensed medical professional has given you the green light to start working out and changing dietary habits, be prudent about getting started and especially realistic in your expectations. Chances are you didn’t get out of shape in just a few weeks or months, so don’t expect to reverse the damage and get in shape in that short a time period. For one thing, the loftier your goals and shorter your expected time to achieve that level of fitness, the greater the risk you’ll do more damage than good.

For example, when trying to get back in shape many people will pick up one or two bodybuilding magazines, find the workout routines competitive bodybuilders are using, and try to start out with those. After all, if it worked that well for them then it has to do the same for you, right? WRONG. The pro bodybuilders featured in most magazines have a) been working out for years, building up to a point where their bodies can handle a workout like that, and b) most pro bodybuilders are using thousands of dollars a month in steroids and other drugs to help their bodies heal faster and stronger – without those drugs even they would have to dial their workouts down a few notches… And their central nervous system is already used to those heavy weights and grueling workouts – think of what they’d do to YOUR body!

To truly get in shape and stay in shape, don’t even consider using drugs to get bigger, get stronger or lose weight. Fitness isn’t a cosmetic concept – those sexy bodies with their healthy glow are a side effect of being in great shape. Fitness is a health issue, and using illicit drugs to reach certain goals quicker is counter-intuitive to being as healthy as you can be.

Besides, unless you have a life-threatening condition or are morbidly obese, you most likely have a lot of time to get in shape. Trying to achieve a great fitness level or that ‘perfect’ body too quickly will lead to disappointments that will quickly erode your motivation and probably result in you abandoning your quest yet again.

Instead of starting out with the goal of losing 30 pounds, benching 250 pounds or running the next marathon, set your goals to be a little better each week than the week before. Start each week with the goal to lose 1 – 2 pounds, add 5 pounds to your bench press or run a quarter mile farther than you did last week. Setting reasonable goals will still have you reaching to achieve them each week while giving you a greater chance of success – success that will help you stay motivated to get in better shape week after week. And while you won’t meet or exceed your goals every single week, your overall patter of success will lead you further and further along your path to a truly healthy lifestyle and the resultant fitness, energy and health benefits.

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