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Fitness Mantras For Real

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The toughest part of sticking to a fitness routine can be the yo-yoing, sometimes underwhelming results, which can lead to a lack of motivation to stay on track. Komal Soni brings you tips to persevere in your struggle for fitness

Beauty standards can be exacting these days. With everyone Instagramming pictures of their skinny selves, the pressure to look good can weigh you down. It often results in people having exaggerated expectations from their fitness regime and making unreasonable demands on their bodies. But, the more lofty your fitness goals, the easier it will be to abandon your fitness regime altogether. To stay the course, you need to set realistic targets for yourself.

The aim of your fitness plan should be to improve your overall health in the long term, not just shed (or gain) lots of weight in the here and now. But, when the results are not always palpable, it can get difficult to stay inspired or to stick to that gruelling exercise routine. These tips should help you redefine your fitness goals and stay motivated to achieve them.

KEEPING TARGETS REAL

Create attainable milestones

The desire to look svelte is overpowering. We look at our reflection in the mirror and vow to shed a lot of weight in a short period of time, and many take up crash diets or engage in overzealous sessions at the gym. But once we realise that we are not losing as much weight as we’d like to despite putting in the work, our enthusiasm for getting into shape loses steam.

So, set smaller, more practical and attainable goals instead. Start with a daily goal first — say, climbing a certain number of stairs every day. Then move up to weekly and monthly goals — logging additional miles on the treadmill, for instance. Stick to the smaller goals and it will become much easier to attain bigger targets. It is in deed the small victories that will ultimately transform into your larger triumph over your fluctuating weight.

Set a realistic timetable

Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve your desired weight. You will need to engage in more vigorous activity over time, but when and how you make those changes will depend entirely on your fitness levels and your body’s response to your current fitness routine.

If you rush the process, you might end up injuring yourself and will have to halt all activity for some time, reversing any benefits you may have accrued. Also, the initial spurt of weight loss (or gain) is invariably followed by a tough, lean period where you plateau — it gets more difficult to see a change. But, even losing just a kilo or two is better than being unfit. As long as you get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, you’re making steady progress towards achieving your targets.

Eat healthy foods 

Depending only on your fitness routine to attain your weight targets would be short-sighted. You need to complement this with the right food choices. The focus should be on eating healthy. Stay away from sugary and fried foods, incorporate vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains into your meals, cut down on red meat and dairy, include low-fat options whenever possible and reduce your alcohol intake.

Steer clear of crash diets at all costs. Make changes that you can sustain over long periods and you will be that much closer to realising your goal of a healthier, fitter you.

Seek help

It might be useful to seek professional help to ensure that you are following the right path. Fitness trainers can provide you with the right weight management solutions in the right timeframe for your body type. Nutritionists can help arrive upon a food plan that works for you. You could even turn to apps to keep a check on your calorie intake and keep you apprised of calories burnt.

MOTIVATING YOURSELF

Keep a fitness journal

It is easy to lose sight of your goals and become disheartened when you are not shedding or gaining weight as consistently or quickly as you’d like to. So, maintain a fitness journal. Chart the highs and lows, the ups and downs of your journey. Weigh yourself every day and put the number down in your journal. Take frontal and profile pictures of yourself and add them to the journal. Jot down what you eat and drink every day.

Over a period of time, a clear and honest picture will start to emerge and you will see that you have made real progress. And, the results will keep you motivated to carry on with your fitness regime. 

Pick an exercise regime you will enjoy

Another way to keep yourself motivated is to opt for a fitness routine that you can have fun with. If sweating away at the gym is getting tedious, mix it up with a zumba workout, or throw in a yoga session a couple of times in the week. Go for a run in the morning if you prefer the expanse of the outdoors to stuffy indoor gyms. The more you enjoy your fitness routine, the more inspired you will be to stick with it.

Reward yourself

Celebrate every victory in your fitness battle, no matter how small. Every time you achieve one of your fitness goals, reward the achievement with something significant. Go for a mani-pedi, buy yourself something pretty, take your friends out for a (healthy) meal, grant yourself an extra half-hour of TV time or just announce the win on social media. Treating every accomplishment as a momentous occasion will motivate you to keep going and prepare you to take on the next step of your fitness journey with gusto and without losing momentum.

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