Write down everything you eat from the moment you get up to the moment you get to bed, including snacks in between meals and after dinner. Also include water, tea, juices, sodas, alcohol, etc. The only way you will see where you need to make changes is by keeping a log of what you eat. Having a food journal has been proven time and time again to help people reach success. Maybe you’ll see that you had a bag of chips or a donut. These are empty calories that do not belong on your daily menu, especially if you’re looking to lose weight. The best way to give certain food items far from you is to begin cutting back. I’m not telling you to cut back cold-turkey. If you’re into donuts eat half of a donut. If you’re into chips pour some out into a small bowl. Replace sugary drinks with water. Cut back on the sugar you use in your coffee. And always read labels. Things that read “sugar free”, “fat-free”, etc. are not good for you. They are loaded with artificial ingredients and thickeners. Whenever possible go for the real deal. Have real butter instead of margarine. If you can’t believe it’s not butter that’s because it’s not! These items have to taste good one way or another at the expense of your body.
Accountability! Find someone to make yourself accountable to. Work out with a buddy. Go for a long walk and walk like you have somewhere to go! This is not a leisure walk because you’re on a mission to burn some serious calories which will in turn aid you in reducing inches and losing weight. Walking is something you can do if you’re out of shape. You can walk slow and then pick up the pace and then walk at your normal pace and then walk like you’re going to miss the your favorite show on tv because DVR hasn’t been invented! Alternate two minutes at a time. You’ll see that by doing this you’ll tax your cardiovascular system. You’ll feel amazing and best of all, if you do it with a buddy you will have both helped each other.
Exercise at least 30 minutes per day even if it’s in 5 or 10 minute intervals. If you’re out of shape this is the best way to get used to being active. Try to break a sweat and get yourself a resistance band and a set of light weights. Performing weight-bearing exercises increases your calorie burn to the max. You’ll burn calories even while you sleep! Did you know that your biggest muscles groups are in your legs? Squats, lunges, running, calve raises… the bigger the muscle, the more energy is required to repair them. This is how you maximize your workouts.
Hire a personal trainer to help you get started with the best exercises for your current fitness level. A trainer’s job is to make sure you exercise in the most safe and effective way possible. Your trainer will give you homework, some simple tips on better nutrition and will also show you how to use the machines at the gym. Your posture during the exercises is very important. In order to avoid injury you must be careful not to over-exert yourself or move in a way that can cause injury.
This morning I woke up with a terrible headache probably due to the weather and a muscle spasm that flares up every so often in an attempt to keep me from doing what I want. Or what I need to do. In this case it was teaching a Zumba Toning class. This is something that probably doesn’t cross the participants’ minds. They get in their car and drive to the gym to workout with me. Probably dealing with their own issues. So, I get there knowing that I have to give a great class, engage participants, motivate and inspire because that’s the type of instructor I am and that is what they have grown to expect. But honestly I was dragging my feet, my head was pounding and I was there because I had to be there.
I’m writing this post because I want you to know that we, fitness instructors also have issues. And although often times we are the ones who motivate and inspire you to the point that you will rearrange your work schedule and set up doctor appointments around your favorite class please know that we draw our inspiration from YOU.
Yes, I was dragging, it was raining, it was cold. But once I stepped on the platform and turned on the music I was in a much better place. I shared this with the class because it’s important to know that we are all on the same page. We are not special just because we lead the class. We are just like you, sometimes with more issues!
My point: Just do it! Get in the car, drive and get over the yucky feeling you may have woken up with. Fitting in that workout will boost your confidence and make you feel better. No more grumpiness!
After class everyone agreed that even though it was a dreary day and a bit of a hassle to get there we all left feeling much, much better.
As a fitness instructor I am grateful to be in a position to inspire people and to show them how simple it can sometimes be to take that first step. But the truth is, it’s not that simple. Starting a fitness regimen can be daunting especially if one wishes to do so at a gym. All of a sudden you feel that everyone’s eyes are on you because you’re overweight or might feel like you don’t belong in that dance class. I’ve been teaching Zumba® Fitness classes for a number of years. The great thing about this format is that it gets people through the door and opens them up to someday try something else. Spinning, kickboxing, etc. Sure, it’s all fun and good but how do you get there when you’re afraid to get in the car and drive? ” Is my outfit OK”? “What will they think of me?” “Will the instructor even notice?” “What if I’m terrible and they laugh?” “What if I don’t like it?”
There have been many instances when I have received emails and messages as well as phone calls asking about my classes. What are they like? Do you accept beginners? And there’s always someone who makes it a point to tell me that they never work out, they hate it and they are overweight and hate that too. It’s my job to put them at ease and convince them. But the truth is if the seed is already planted because a friend told them about it or they don’t like the way their clothes fit or they have to keep their vitals in check after their latest physical, then my job isn’t all that difficult.
So if you are someone who has been thinking about hitting the gym because working out at home is just not cutting it but you’re intimidated think of this: Even the fitness models with the killer bodies were once in your shoes. Nervous and feeling inadequate. It takes a lot of mental commitment to finally say “OK, I’m going!” Once you’re out the door and you get there ask questions. Talk to the trainers. Have them recommend a great fitness instructor if you want to try a class. And if you are not immediately taken care of get back in your car and go somewhere else.
The bottom line, we as health and fitness professionals are here for YOU. Your only job is to get to us and once you do you will realize that there was no reason to feel inadequate or intimidated or weird. So, regardless of whether or not you have 30lbs or 200lbs to lose if you don’t start NOW you are missing out on a better YOU. We must retrain our way of thinking. Our thought process can take us from feeling amazing one minute to feeling upset the next. And that’s OK. Don’t let anxiety or fear keep you from trying something new. Fear is the belief in something that will never happen. We flood our brains with thoughts and what-ifs. Making changes can be scary but realize that all it takes is a few small tweaks to get you started. Take that first step. Exercise releases the hormones and chemicals that make you feel happy. It boosts confidence, helps you sleep and jump-starts your metabolism. Get to a fitness class. Get in touch with a trainer. Update your daily menu. You will see in time that feeling great is 100% attainable.