Here are some sobering statistics: Only about 20 percent of Americans engage in the recommended levels of regular physical activity. What's more, roughly 64 percent never do any physical activity at all. Seems crazy, right? In a recent study, regular physical activity was deemed the closest thing to a 'magic bullet' against obesity and cardiovascular disease. Many people think restricting calories is enough to lose weight, but that's not going to cut it. While healthy eating habits do account for 70 percent of weight loss efforts, working out makes up the other 30 percent. Weight loss and reducing your risk for obesity-related issues is not a one or the other equation—its one and the other. So if you're someone who has tried the diet-reform thing a thousand times, but just can't seem to jump on the exercise wagon, or if you've fallen off said wagon, here are 10 expert tips that can help you get into the fitness habit.
1. Love your body
Get into the mindset of "I love my body and simply want to be healthier" instead of working out because you want to look like XYZ celebrity. Realize that you are unique, special, and beautiful and you're exercising because you want to live a long healthy life, so you can just be even more fierce than you already are. SLAY.
2. Have realistic expectations
Beyoncé wasn't created in a day. It's important to remember that nothing happens overnight. Realize that losing a steady 1-2 pounds a week is great! Life isn't 'The Biggest Loser' or any reality show that shows extreme weight loss. That's prime-time drama, not real life.
3. Set both long- and short-term goals
Now that your expectations are in check, it's time to set goals. Choose a long-term goal: something you want to achieve during the course of a year. Then within that year, set several short term goals which act as benchmarks you want to hit by specific dates. Goal setting will help keep you on track and make it more personal, compared to a general goal of simply wanting to work out.
4. Find a kind of exercise you actually like
If the elliptical isn't for you, try a dance class. Have two left feet, try hopping on a bike for a SoulCycle class. Don't like spinning, try a boot camp class like Orangetheory Fitness. Need more of a challenge, try CrossFit. Don't like working out in public, exercise at home with YouTube workouts. With all the available options, it's impossible not to find something you actually like doing. And liking what you do makes setting that alarm for your morning workout a little easier.
5. Don't go balls to the wall
You have to learn to walk before you can run. If you haven't worked out in a bit, or if you're completely new to exercise, you'll want to ease into it. Instead of jumping into an intense HIIT boot camp class five times a week, try making a commitment to yourself to get to the gym three times a week, and spending 45 minutes exercising each session, for a month. If you go all out right away, chances are you'll burn out very quickly.
6. Some days will be better than others
Just like in everyday life, you're going to have good days and bad days. It's the days when you don't feel like working out that are the most important to show up. You don't want to get into the habit of bailing on your workout because you don't feel like it. Plus, when you exercise, endorphins are released, and endorphins make you happy, so no matter how you felt before your workout, you're guaranteed to feel better after.
7. 'Clean eating' also means cutting out booze
Your exercise regimen is on point, and you started eating healthier, but the weight still isn't coming off! Those two glasses of wine or the sugary cocktails are dinner every night are probably to blame. Calories from booze add up quickly and stall your weight-loss progress. Try to limit your alcohol consumption to two nights a week max.
8. Don't get upset if progress slows
If you don't lose as much weight one week, as you were typically losing before, don't get mad at yourself. You're going to see very quick changes to your body when you first start working out, but your body naturally starts to adapt as you continue to exercise, so things that were difficult start to become a little easier. And as workouts become easy, progress sometimes slows down. When that happens, realize that you're so badass that you need to kick your workouts up a notch!
9. It's OK to be selfish
It's rare in life that we get a chance to be self-serving without feeling like a complete tool. However, when it comes to your health, it's totally OK to be unapologetically selfish. Carve out time for yourself—both for workouts and recovery. Everyone is busy. Everyone has other priorities, but taking care of you should be at the top of the list!
10. Ryan Gosling
Need we say more? The end.
For more humor, sass, and legit fitness: don't forget to subscribe to Mike Donavanik's YouTube channel for free weekly workouts. Find more of Mike on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. And if you need some awesome music to energize your workouts, check out his music mixtape podcast available on iTunes.