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My physical fitness advice will help improve your overall well being, and potentially get you into the best shape of your life. Having been a personal trainer & fitness author for several years, my background in the field combined with my own experiences with exercise have convinced me that getting one's own body lean, toned, and strong is much less about working out... as it is working on the inside. Here are a few aspects of physical fitness that are often overlooked, thus making it incredibly difficult for a person to shed fat, build muscle, improve their posture, and so forth.
Time & Money
First and foremost, when mentally preparing to improve your level of physical fitness, be sure to get rid of any limitations or constraints you may be feeling concerning time and money. Those who already have quite a bit of experience with physical fitness know that balancing workouts with other daily obligations could be a daunting task. Preparing/eating healthy meals, resting adequate amounts, exercising regularly - All of these elements of fat-burning/muscle-building take time.
One would think that adding them up makes it almost impossible to work a full-time job, let alone a part-time job. But each of us has 24 hours in a day, and so prioritizing is what makes the difference. Also, it's important not to waste even more time thinking about not having enough time. Instead, get into the habit of being productive and taking necessary actions to reaching your goals.
Money can sometimes be viewed as the evil twin sister of time... and is a big concern for most people serious about improving their level of physical fitness. I'm not at all saying that money in itself is bad, or that having an abundance of it makes a person evil. It's just that when it comes to developing a lean, toned physique, the lack of it has the ability to stop you in your tracks.
You may have enough of a budget to cover the gym membership, nutrient-rich foods, and all other things directly related to physical fitness... but compensating by sacrificing other areas of your life can lead you to lose motivation. You no longer want to pursue your goals because you feel it's overwhelming. Similar to issues with time, improving not only in the physical fitness department, but in all areas of your life, demands a positive attitude at the beginning of a journey and throughout it.
The idea that you don't have enough money to get physically fit is a limiting belief. The truth, however, is that you have everything you need to live freely, including the resources to get in shape. You'd be surprised at the results you can get when you "Do what you can, where you are, with what you have", as Sir Winston Churchill so simply put it.
Home Gym or Local Gym?
Which one is better? Whichever you selected is the right choice! An atmosphere you're comfortable in is crucial to getting the results you're after. Some people prefer performing body weight exercises or using mostly free weights when working out, so training at home could be a very convenient, affordable solution. This option, however, can sometimes lead to the development of 'cabin fever', and therefore cause a person to ultimately regret their original choice.
Before taking the decision, try to imagine which environment would energize you. Having been somewhat of an introvert for most of my life, and not necessarily feeling the need for socializing while working out, I could train almost anywhere. My preference, however, always has been large gyms. The variety of equipment is most definitely a plus, but the primary advantage is the energy & life that's in the room at all times.
Strength, Shape, & Confidence
When most people begin thinking about achieving a physical fitness goal, they tend to hesitate, procrastinate, or postpone sometimes for years before they really make the commitment to take the necessary steps that will lead them to their objective. I know many individuals who don't join a gym, for example, because they feel they're not in good enough shape.
Even though a large gym would be their preferred atmosphere and a strong motivational catalyst for them to catapult improvements in their physical fitness results... they keep saying they need to get into a presentable shape by training at home first. They basically don't want to be seen as overweight or scrawny or whatever other insecurity they are experiencing.
The following statement may come off as a little harsh, but please keep in mind that this website is authored by someone who's experienced a tremendous amount of suffering in his life... and therefore feels an extreme amount of empathy towards his readers; That said, here it is - People are not as aware of you as you may think they are, especially when you're a bit down or out of shape.
When you feel good, you affect more people. So it's really only at that point that the negative criticism begins to multiply. The great thing, however, is that it's also less apparent because of the improved attitude & overall state of well-being from having developed your mental faculties, as well as taken care of yourself physically. Your resistance to it, therefore, is also stronger at this point.
Another mental block I often hear about, is the myth that one aspect of physical fitness must be taken care of before moving on to another. For example, it's not uncommon for a person to only want to do cardio (because s/he would like to strip the fat off first), and at a later time incorporate weight training to build up the musculature of their body.
For this, let me clarify a few points. More muscle means a faster metabolism which translates to burning fat more efficiently. Cardio training and weight training together combine perfectly to build muscle and lean down at the fastest possible rate. Of course, your focus may be directed towards one of these aspects of physical fitness, depending on your goal... but as the legendary physical fitness guru Jack Lalanne once said, "Weight training is an equalizer".
For example, if you're obese and need to lose a significant amount of fat, weight training will help you do this (and, therefore, should not be avoided). Similarly, if you're extremely skinny, weight training (and cardio training) will help you increase muscle volume and definition. Above all, a person must always train with the mindset of being healthy.
Here are a few other points worth noting; Cardio is generally for working the heart and for burning fat (and has countless other benefits). Weight training is for building muscle and improving posture (and, likewise, has many other benefits). Both cardio and weight training help increase confidence, mental focus/alertness, athletic performance and functional strength.
Make sure that you're confident about who you are before you start your journey to physical fitness. If confidence (or the lack thereof) is an issue in your life, here's a tip: Know where you want to be. Having a solid, clear goal is two-thirds of achieving it. Most people don't know where they're going in life, and it shows in their results. They criticize others but do nothing to help their own situation. Once you have a goal, you can (with confidence) begin taking inspired actions towards that particular goal... AND YOU WILL GET THERE!!!
Seeing is Believing
Seeing is believing and believing is an essential precursor to manifesting. The reason why many people have difficulty getting into shape is because they (sadly) hate their current physique, and get discouraged when looking at the long road ahead. Overall successful (not solely financially-accomplished), productive people are happy with who they are... but always look towards a better future.
Your eyes may be telling you one thing, but the mind (and even more importantly, the spirit) can overwrite what it sees. Try to visualize (at least twice per day) what you will look like once you've achieved your desired physique. Don't worry about the details - Just imagine the general picture. See yourself (in your mind) achieving your goal and with a lot of perseverance & hard work, you will eventually get there.
Eating, Sleeping, & Training
Don't make eating, sleeping (or resting/relaxing), and training rule your life. Learn to harmonize these fat-burning/muscle-building elements with your other daily activities. If you make them into all-or-nothing priorities, you'll destroy any chance of having a normal social life, and probably won't get into shape altogether.
People become overwhelmed when too many rules are enforced into their lives. I'm not suggesting you do the opposite, and be totally indifferent with regards to controlling your circumstances. If you're too nonchalant about training, eating, and resting, then you'll most likely find yourself over-conforming to society.
I think the legendary martial artist & screen actor Bruce Lee said it best when he stated "You have to have a certain natural un-naturalness". That's what he described as "Going with the flow" or "Being like water". Don't try to control everything because you can't. In fact, it's when you intentionally give up this control that the middle line appears (and the magic begins to happens). Your job, then, is to simply do what needs to be done, according to what you know about yourself and physical fitness in general.
Surround Yourself with Like-Minded Individuals
Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals will definitely help speed things up when pursuing any goal. These people don't necessarily have to know everything (or anything) about what you're attempting to accomplish. As long as they consistently encourage you & lift your spirit (instead of trying to break it), and have a great attitude towards life... they can be seen as powerful forces assisting you in carrying out your objectives. We all need help at times (especially during the most difficult of times), and who better to support you than someone who understands you.
Being around someone who is genuinely good is not enough. Often, we feel guilty looking to anyone else besides our closest family members & friends... But the sad truth is that, although they may love you more than anyone else, most of the time it's not they who will form your encouragement club. Family could actually harm you at times and slow down your progress, but understand that it's because they're afraid for you; They just don't want you to get hurt, and for that reason would prefer that you avoid risk.
Ironically, they sometimes feel that criticism from others may harm you (as the general population is not in shape, and sub-consciously attempts to stop non-conformists in their tracks)... so they prefer to preach what everyone else does, which is work like a dog at your job, eat unhealthy foods, and do nothing but watch television in your free time.
Overcoming Mind/Body Plateaus
Most gym-goers, once they've hit a plateau (or in other words, stopped progressing), quickly lose motivation. You should never feel overwhelmed or get discouraged because the downs, just like the ups, are assisting you in some way. When results begin to stagnate, remind yourself that, above all, you're in good health due to your consistent training - and that really is the most important benefit of exercise.
Sometimes trying to accomplish too much (for example, stuffing yourself to gain more muscle mass or overdoing it on the treadmill to lose weight quickly) can actually set you back weeks, months, or even years if you're not careful. Be patient. Don't try to jump when you've barely got the energy to walk. You don't want to get yourself sick or injured in the process.
Your mind and body will tell you when it's time to take a step back; And as I'm sure you've already heard, taking a step back is sometimes necessary for taking two steps forward later on. As an example, taking a day off from training or eating a cheat food every so often may actually be beneficial to you in the long run.
The journey to physical fitness takes time and, like anything else worth accomplishing, is a process. I'll use the analogy of a high staircase with very large steps. Imagine if your goal, or dream, or whatever else you want is at the top of that staircase. Because the steps are big, you can only climb up one step at a time. But you also have to be careful not to climb too fast, or you'll go tumbling back down to the bottom of the staircase (and be forced to start all over again).
Training towards a physical fitness goal can be looked at in a similar fashion. To go higher and higher in the fastest way possible, you need to put in the work and you also need to pace yourself. You should always feel in control in your quest. Know where you're going... and with confidence and the use of your common sense, you'll get there.