Recently, I’ve run across many people who have given up with exercise because they didn’t see immediate results. They stop their program because it wasn’t working, or they started the newest diet trend to lose a few quick pounds only to put more back on. I wish I could tell you the secret to weight loss, strength gains, or athletic superiority. In my life the only thing I have found to be successful is hard work.
The “results NOW” mentality doesn’t apply to exercise. Let me backpedal. There are positive results that can be almost immediate such as stress relief, increase in self-confidence and endurance. But when it comes to the big picture there are many aspects involved. Here are a few suggestions I recommend.
1) Be Patient – It is important to realize many changes are taking place in your body as you begin a workout program. You may also find you may be eating a little more, drinking a little more water and retaining it as well. I don’t recommend worrying about the scale for 3 to 4 weeks. Another good approach is measuring your hips, waist, arms, etc. and seeing the change taking place. Sometimes weight doesn’t appear to be falling off, but you are losing inches.
2) Be consistent – You can’t expect to see results when are in the gym or running maybe one or two times a week. You need to make sure you set goals and then hold yourself accountable to them. Another thing that helps with consistency is a workout partner. Bring your spouse, friend or sibling, and when you don’t feel like going they can push you along. Consistency is the most important thing!
3) Change up your routine – Sometimes your body plateaus. Why does this happen? You may be doing the same thing over and over again. Try something new. If you’ve been running (consistently) and aren’t seeing changes then try spinning. Or change your running to interval training. Look to do weights or plyometrics or cardio on different days of the week. Consistency is the key, but you don’t want to be comfortable in a routine.
4) Lifestyle Change – This is HUGE! Fad diets restrict calories, have you eat strange concoctions and aren’t always practical. The biggest difference between short-term change and long-term change is it becomes part of your lifestyle. You can’t live on 500 calories, so why go on a diet like that and then expect the results to change after you are done? Those diets can act as a catalyst for weight loss and your commitment to it shows determination. Now it is important that those same aspects come into your workout regimen and diet. As you make the change, look to include your family and loved ones. It is much easier when others are involved.
Be sure to set reachable and measurable goals you can follow and track. Also, have a plan. Whether that is with your diet (what to take to lunch so that you don’t eat fast food or splurge at dinner) or your workout plan so you know what you are doing and not wasting time, it is important. Lastly, have fun!