At some point in life, many people recognize the need to lose weight, build muscle or otherwise attempt to recapture the youth and vitality that seems to be slipping away. Little wonder that there are numerous options at every turn to join in some established health and fitness program promising to change your life forever. Whether these promises can hold true for you or not has more to do with your preparedness and willingness to commit to the effort than with the individual program itself. After all, the best fitness program for you is the one you will actually follow. How will you know if you’re ready to start, and follow through, on a fitness program?
- What is your initial motivation to improve your health? Is it because you’ve put on a few pounds? Maybe you’ve put on quite a few pounds. Is it because you see your goals more clearly now and want to put your best foot forward as you try to achieve them? Is it because your doctor has started to throw warning signs in your direction?
- Speaking of your doctor, have you received the necessary medical clearance from your doctor to start a healthy eating and exercising program? Don’t assume you know your health status. A medical professional can guide you in ways that will benefit you in the long run and prevent you from doing more harm than good.
- Do you have a support system to cheer you on when you’re making progress and to push you a little when you slack off? You may believe you can do it alone, and you may be right, but there’s no discounting the benefits of encouragement from an outside source. Friends and family can be an incomparable resource in your efforts.
- Are you prepared to document your progress in some way? Accountability is a valuable ally in the fitness process. Whether it’s in a written journal form, an electronic application or any other form that fits your personality, measuring your progress is empowering. Without accountability, you may never really know if your efforts are moving forward or lagging behind.
- Do you have an end game in mind? Your goals should be both short term and long term. Where do you want to be next week, next month or next year? Measure your progress against small goals and watch them build. It’s easier to get back on track after backsliding on a small goal than it is to try to bounce back after viewing yourself as a total failure when measured against your ultimate goal.
Your fitness goals, much like every goal you set in life, is built on what groundwork you lay in your mind. Your strongest muscle, your brain, is already strong enough to take on the challenge. Use it to establish a game plan you can follow through as you get back into that fitness program and continue in your ongoing efforts to build, rebuild or reclaim your strong, healthy body.