How Do I Get Into Shape?

The topic of today’s article is definitely going to be a bit broad, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I often hear and see people at the gym looking to get “into shape.” While it’s definitely a formidable goal to have, a lot of people are many times, blinded by their own definition of the phrase and end up failing at their exercise routines before they even make any progress.

Today’s blog post will cover how to set goals for yourself so that you can actually get yourself into shape, but will also cover what exercises you can do and what programs you can follow to actually make the changes you want to make to your body. Today’s article should be a lot of fun and should be inspirational to all who read it, so I hope you stick through it and enjoy!

Setting the Right Goals

Firstly, you’re going to have to decide what it means to “get in shape.” To some who are already able to run half marathons but have the muscle ability of a pre-schooler. If you fall into that category, then your definition of “getting into shape” will definitely be different from someone who struggles to run a mile but is actually built in the upper body region. Once you’ve determined the type of shape you’d like to get in, it’s time to move on to what I consider to be the most important process of any fitness goals.

Shoot for the Hill; Not the Mountain or the Stars

The number one mistake I see people make when they first start working out, without fail, is that they set enormous goals for themselves only to be let down a week or two later when they’re not seeing the results they were anticipating.

1. Set a long term goal for yourself. I don’t mean that you want to say to yourself, “In six months I want to look like Katy Perry” type fitness goals, but something more reasonable. Something to the effect of, “If I start by losing 10 pounds within some time frame, I’ve made progress.”

You may notice that I’ve only put one step to this procedure. The reason being is that I only want you to focus on completing one goal at a time. Setting goals for six months from now will almost always guarantee failure. I want you to take things one step at a time so that you don’t get discouraged when you don’t see results, but so that you can set achievable goals for yourself so that every few weeks you’ll notice a considerable change that will keep you motivated to move onto your next goal.

If losing weight isn’t your thing, you can always interchange losing weight with being able to lift more weight or make your way to the next highest difficulty on a workout machine at some point in time.

The ultimate point of this subsection is that you need to set attainable goals and not the common one that’s just “I want to lose weight in the New Year.”

Personal Trainer/Workout Plan

Next up on your decision list is how you’d like to go about achieving your fitness goals. One of the more common routes beginners takeis that they’ll hire a personal trainer to walk them through the steps of getting fit. Obviously going with a personal trainer is your best bet as you’ll be paired with someone who can help you push through your goals and achieve actual results.

If you can’t afford a full time personal trainer, there’s a little trick that I like to use to get some free instruction and guidance when you first go to the gym. Before you sign up for a gym membership somewhere, be sure to mention to the staff members that you’re not sure whether or not you’re ready to sign up at their particular gym as you’ve been to others in the same town that offer 2 or 3 free personal training sessions to new members. While it may not work at all gyms, some will try to “compete” with the other gyms by matching their free personal training sessions in order to entice you to sign up at their gym instead. By getting a few free personal training sessions out of your new gym membership you can get a basic idea of what you need to be focusing on to achieve your fitness goals and the best way to go about them. Take the knowledge that you get and apply it to your routine workouts for maximum results.

If a gym membership is out of the question as well, what are your other options? Well, my personal favorite is a home workout program. I sometimes get made fun of by gym buddies for doing cardio or weights in my living room, but on days that I don’t feel like trekking to the gym or during the off month’s when I’m not near the gym I hold membership to, it’s extremely easy to pop in a DVD and get to work. I generally recommend DVDs to beginners so that they can get a feel for what their exercise routines will be like, but even for fitness buffs who are looking to just keep the pounds off, DVDs are a great supplement to a full exercise routine.

Home Exercise Equipment

I’ve mentioned in previous articles which DVDs I recommend for home workout programs, but I’ve never really gone in depth with what other equipment you can buy to use at home for days that you can’t make it to the gym. If you want to get in shape, I recommend working out every day, even if it’s just a little bit. Obviously you only want to do a vigorous workout a few times a week, but if you’d like to see solid results, doing a bit of exercise daily is a good way to burn calories over time or build up muscle over time.

Bowflex Weights:

These may seem like they’re horrendously expensive, but when you think about how much you’d be spending on a gym membership over the course of 6 months or a year, these are well worth the money. They’re definitely a pretty big upfront investment, but if you have these weights in your home, you can easily do a workout each evening without having to go to the gym. I highly recommend these weights because of their sturdy construction, but also small form factor. There’s nothing I hate more than having 10 different dumbbells strewn across my living room floor. Having them all in one place is nice and easy to tidy up.

If you’re thinking of starting the P90X training program, these are the weights for you. I generally stay away from Bowflex products because they’re unnecessary and bulky, but these are the perfect weight and size for anyone looking to get started with Tony Horton’s fitness program.

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