(Note: Last week I wrote this post. The original concept of the post was to give pure fitness advice to my staff who kept asking, but that piece got turned into something much different for our company blog. I still thought this post, as originally, drafted was important for my team so I’m also sharing it here with you on my personal blog. I hope it can help get some of you started. — Wesley)
“What are my fitness goals? I want to feel better about myself, to start taking better care of my body, and if I lost a little weight in that process I wouldn’t be mad. (But I mean who would?) So to make those things happen, I need y’all’s help! How do you stay motivated? How do you stay on a consistent schedule? How much do your eating habits affect the way you work out?
I’m open to any and all suggestions! Help ya girl get fit and then stay tuned to figure out how exactly I plan on doing it.”
That’s how one of our Account Executives recently closed a post on her personal blog. I’m always being asked what I do to stay motivated — just recently three other staffers asked me those same questions. So today I’m going to give advice to all those workers, including my team, who find themselves sitting in front of a computer all day, snacking on bullshit, with no actual plan to get fit. This is for everyone who wants to start, but don’t know how to actually get started.
*Disclaimer: I’m not an athlete, coach, nutritionist or a doctor. I’m just a guy who’s proven that the following advice works, and is sharing the knowledge.
Through a lot of trial and error I’ve learned that there are a few key things to keep in mind when getting started with fitness:
1. Cut The Crap
We all know that fad diets don’t work. You’ll do it for awhile, lose some pounds, get sick of the regime and then those pounds will suddenly reappear. Skip the diets and just eat healthy. Starting the process is as easy as cutting out one unhealthy thing a week. Don’t try to go all in at once. Start small. This is how it went for me:
Week 1: Cut fast food
Week 2: Cut soda
Week 3: Cut sugar out of my coffee
Week 4: Cut dairy out of my coffee
Week 5: Cut all processed foods
Week 6: Cut all dairy
Personally, I don’t have a big sweet tooth so candy and other sweets weren’t on my “cut out now” list. Once I had eliminated what I wanted to out of my diet, I started concentrating on what I SHOULD eat: organic foods, lots of fruits and veggies and clean meats.
2. Cheat Days
It’s okay to splurge. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I personally use Saturdays as my day to take in as much crap food as I can. Six days on and one day off is the most effective way for me to stay healthy while keeping my sanity. It may be different for you, so be sure to strike up a good balance between on and off days to find what’s right for you. Ease into it and give your body time to adjust. You’ll find your balance eventually.
3. No Excuses
“I can’t run” is the biggest bullshit excuse I’ve ever heard. Everyone can run. Not everyone can go out and run five miles on their first try, but everyone can run. Again, this is all about starting small. Don’t get discouraged because you can’t run a quarter of a mile. Forget the distances for now. Just run as long as you can, and then walk. Then do it again and again until you find a ratio that works for you. A few options include: run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute; run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute; run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute.
Once you get your rhythm down, put your focus back on distances. Aim for one mile on the first day, a mile and a quarter on the second, a mile and a half on the third, and so on and so forth. It’s all about start small and growing. Before you know it, you’ll be at ten miles with no clue how you got there. There’s no excuse for not trying. You can run — so lace up and get going.
4. Set A Goal
I’m a firm believer in goals. If you don’t know where you want to end up, how are you ever going to get there? Pick the destination, set the course and go! An event gives you something to celebrate. It gives you a light at the end of the tunnel. But most importantly, it gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. The big day is coming no matter what. So work hard every single day until that big day — whether it’s a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon or a triathlon — arrives.
5. Find A Battle Buddy
This is ultimately what changed my life. I have my workout group, F3. I can’t tell you how important they are to me. My guys text me at night asking me if I’m going to workout the next day and then they beat my ass when I don’t show up. Even if I don’t want to go, I know that my guys are waiting on me. I can’t let my F3 brothers down. And in return, they don’t let me down. They keep us accountable. So find yourself an accountability partner (aka a battle buddy), and start kicking some serious ass!
6. Stay Flexible
Mobility matters. It just does. I may be fast, but I’m as stiff as the Tin Man. Most of my current fitness problems come from hunching over a computer for decades. Y’all, trust me on this. Sitting all day does a lot of damage. Please get up. Walk around during your conference calls. Use a standup desk. Sign up for a couple of yoga classes a week. Staying active in the small ways is the easiest way to start getting in shape.
My advice may not turn you into a beast immediately, but it will definitely get you started. These six simple tips will help you get healthier, and help counteract the effects of sitting in front of a computer for hours upon hours every day.
It’s important to point out one very important fact: the brain and the body are connected, just in case you didn’t realize that yet. The mind is sluggish when the body is sluggish. The mind is unhealthy when the body is unhealthy. Remember to start small, cut the crap, find your rhythm, set goals, find your battle team and stay flexible. You’ll be more clear minded, you’ll be more productive, you’ll be more creative. In short, you’ll be a better worker.