Pretty much on a daily basis people ask me what they should do to get in shape, lose weight, feel better etc. Basically, people ask me what I would do if I were them. How would I go about feeling, looking, and performing my best again?
And as I’ve said countless times before, the answer is “It depends”.
It depends on your goals, your circumstances (like lifestyle and schedule), the results of your physical assessment with us, and a few other factors.
But there are 10 things that I would do that would apply to just about anybody’s situation.
So if I weren’t ecstatic with how I looked, felt and performed, here’s what I would do to right the ship and get back to being the best version of myself. In no particular order…
- I would establish what I REALLY want. People always come into the TR and say “I want to be fitter”, “I want to be more toned”, “I want to be stronger”. Those are way too vague. I would decide “I want to have more energy when I play with my kids”, or “I want to look better in my clothes”, etc.
- I would set small a goal and build off of it. I’ve never seen anyone set a HUGE goal like “Lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks!”, or “I want to be 10% body fat”, make it and stick to it. Not once. I would set a small, realistic goal – then when I achieved it, I would reevaluate before setting another.
- I would choose one food to remove from my diet. Going cold turkey on everything that’s bad for you is very difficult. But I would accept that something has to give – I would choose one food item I know is unhealthy and remove it for a week. If I didn’t miss it, great. If I was dying without it, I’d try a different one. But I would accept something has to give with all the crap we ingest.
- I’d add protein and fiber to my diet. Protein controls hunger hormones and keeps the metabolism up. Fiber slows the rate of digestion. These two things have an enormous impact on body fat and overall health, and almost everyone I meet initially isn’t getting enough of either.
- I’d schedule my workouts and stick to them. “I’m getting to the gym this week” does not work. I’d put my workouts on my schedule and stick to them. Nothing short of an emergency would keep me away. (And here’s a tip – it’s almost NEVER and emergency).
- I would do only high value workouts – only things that would have a big impact on my success. There isn’t enough time to waste on things that aren’t driving you toward your goal. (Yes, even if they are fun, or make you feel good.) That’s fine for other reasons, but it won’t get me what I want. For example, if I want to lose weight, yoga isn’t going to help. If I want to decrease joint pain, jogging won’t help.
- I would consider the source. 99% of people who give fitness advice have never trained anyone but themselves. (And no, working out and having people follow along is not training someone.)
- I would ask for objective help. It’s difficult to see the forest through the trees. This is a cliché for a good reason. I’m fortunate enough to have good trainers with me at the TR – I always ask for feedback on what they see/observe when I’m working out.
- I would evaluate my situation and formulate a plan. Many roadblocks and obstacles can be avoided if they’re spotted ahead of time. For example, if I had 4 hours per week to workout, planning workouts that took 6 hours would be a bad idea. If I had a bad knee, putting joggin on my program would be a bad idea.
- I would accept responsibility. People who blame lack of time or money for not being healthy are lying to themselves and don’t really want to be fit and healthy in the first place. That’s fine, it doesn’t make them bad people – but if I’m going to look, feel and perform my best again I’m not going to be a victim. I’m going to control my choices.
Again, there are aspects that are specific to you based on your goals and your circumstances. But with very few exceptions, I would do the above if I were starting out again and wanted to look, feel, and perform my best.