Fact is, there are no secrets. Truth be told, I've been working out intensely and consistently since I was about 13 years old - or, read another way, more than 50% of my life to date. Over the years I've learned a few things, most of which have come from trial and error, but a lot of which have come from reading up on the subject and taking the time to ask questions and seeking out advice and recommendations from experts in the field.
For a relatively concise list of what I consider to be some of the best information out there for beginners and experienced folks alike, check out Leo Babauta's list of the Top 42 Exercise Hacks. These are all coming from his personal experiences, mind you - and no, I don't agree with them all down to the letter. Some of the most important, in my opinion:
- Forget about weight loss. Yeah, many of us would like to lose some weight. But if you’re motivated solely by weight loss, exercise will be a tough proposition. The reason is that you might not lose weight right away. Oh, it’ll come, if you can keep it up over time, but in the beginning you might be disappointed (especially if you haven’t changed your eating habits). Just get into the habit of exercise, and worry about the weight later. First things first.
- First thing after work. None of those options work for you? Not a problem, my friend. Make it a daily appointment to work out as soon as you get off work. This will also motivate you to finish your work on time so you can get out on time for your workout. It’s great to stop somewhere to do your workout before you even get home, because once you get home you’ll probably want to relax on the couch, fall asleep at the kitchen table, or rush to the computer..
- Just lace up. Yeah, you’re dreading the upcoming workout. But don’t even think about it. Just lace up and head out the door. That’s all. After that, let nature take its course. Just relax and do what comes naturally. Which is exercise.
- Go for the long haul. Most of all, don’t think that you will become fit and healthy and sexy in one month. Think of exercise as a life-long habit, and your
goals will come to you eventually.
While these are nowhere near the entire list of things you can do to ensure you get back into/continue to live a physically active lifestyle, they are often some of the most overlooked aspects involved in starting a workout routine and maintaining a consistent schedule.
In our day and age, people have become accustomed to the expectation of instant gratification - be it our high speed Internet, TiVo, fast food, or our carpool/FasTrak lanes. The fact is, staying in shape and living a physically active life is hard. The odds are against us. But we have to MAKE time. We all have 24 hours in a day. To say that you don't have time (for anything) is to act as though your co-worker who gets up 2 hours earlier than you to work out, has more hours than you do in any given day - which simply isn't the case. You choose how you allocate your time. Think about the time you've already spent reading this post...or the amount of hours you spend scrolling through Facebook updates every week. No time, eh? My ass.
It's easy to want to or need to lose weight, but the effort to actually go out and do it is an entirely different beast - this isn't something that's going to come to you like that Grande Mocha you order at Starbucks every morning.