Whether you were a high school athlete or the proud owner of a six pack in college, life has a way of shifting our priorities away from fitness. Maybe you had a child - or a few - or had a stressful few years. More likely, you have become complacent and stopped fighting the urge of afternoon office snacks or eating out.
Regardless of what happened, why, or how much your body has changed, you’ve made the decision to regain the fitness you once had; as with any accomplishment, the first step is making a goal. However, there’s a lot more to it than that.
If you’re not sure where to start, that’s okay – you can always start today. Here’s our guide to kickstarting your path back to fitness in a way that will be healthy, and, most importantly, sustainable long term:
The first step to accomplishing something is really nailing down what that something is. Here at Black Market, we like to approach things in a level-headed, scientific way - you won’t find anyone at this company spouting hollow motivational phrases or suffering from this condition. Creating S.M.A.R.T. goals - yes, the same Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Based system your boss or professor harped on - is the key to staying on task and actually getting the results that you’re after.
While many of us understand the value of creating goals in this way, it can be challenging when it comes to fitness. If you’ve started a fitness journey by saying on Day 1 that you were going to lose more than 20% of your weight or double your squat in a month or two, or that you were never going to eat ice cream or drink beer ever again (ever!), you’re in the vast majority of humans. 92% to be exact. That’s the number of people who make fitness resolutions but do not fulfill them.
You can be in that glorious 8% of people by creating realistic, measurable goals, and tracking yourself. Think about what you can realistically do, and don’t forget - all of your other responsibilities will still be around. For example, it is hands down better to lose half a pound of fat a week consistently, and be on your journey for longer, than to lose five pounds over two stressful weeks and then give up again.
Yes, you’re full of passion and images of your body looking the same as it did five or ten years ago - but will you still be focused in a week or a month? Will that motivation still be there after you make a mistake at work or have a bad day?
If you rely on motivation alone, you can look forward to a few days of sticking to the plan at most. The true way to achieve what you set out to do is to make it a part of your life; make it a part of your routine. Don’t rely on willpower, especially in the beginning.
Specifically, this means don’t buy the food you shouldn’t be eating. Put your gym back in your car or bring it to work, and pick a gym that’s on your way home. Pick a workout routine or sport that you like, not just what’s trendy or has the most attractive models.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. This doesn’t mean be soft - don’t give yourself a reward before it's earned - but talk to yourself the way you would a friend. It’s common for people who are recovering their fitness to feel negatively about their body, but bashing yourself internally does more than make the process unpleasant. More often than not, insulting yourself drives you to the very vices that got you in the physical state you’re trying to recover from. The phrase “healthy mind, healthy body” is more true than you may realize.
If you’re making great goals and incorporating your new routine and workouts into your life, the last step is to find the tools that will help you along even further. This means more than experimenting with different equipment.
If you’re looking to cut down on your calories and stick a specific macro breakdown, download a food tracking app, and invest in a food scale (most are only $10-30). This will make the task much easier than trying to guess amounts and logging in a notebook. In addition, many popular workout routines - like the famous Stronglifts 5x5 - have simple apps that help you keep track of your progress.
Lastly, consider supplements to jumpstart and accelerate your progress. Each body type will react differently, but finding what works for you can make the difference between success and failure. This may mean using fish oil supplements to stabilize your moods during a cut (when you’re likely not getting enough of it), or using AdreNOlyn CUTS to help burn fat without sacrificing your newly gained muscle mass.
When you’re setting out to recover fitness that you once had, the temptation is to assume you already know what you’re doing, and to be emotional and negative about the fact that you haven’t been doing it. However, the best way to get back into great shape is to always keep an open mind, be curious about new tools and techniques, and - most importantly - stay positive!