Being fit doesn't suck. Sprinting to catch a bus, lifting up an awesome kid in your life, and feeling less stressed out are definitely not things that suck. And getting fit doesn't have to suck, either.
The main way you can help yourself to get fit and maintain what you have is by doing little things as much as you can. This breeds consistency, and consistency breeds change. It's okay to feel intimidated by the idea of taking on new habits to get healthier, but small actions will make you feel better right away - and they do not, above all, suck.
10 Drink More Water (In A Way That Makes Sense For You)
This is one of the first steps on the path to fitness. Staying properly hydrated helps with weight maintenance, mood, energy levels, and brain function. If you need a reminder, set a timer, get an app, or purchase a smart water bottle that can remind you to drink. If the thought of drinking plain water isn't your favorite, incorporate hydrating drinks to spice it up. Drink your preferred fruity herbal tea, hot or iced, or put strawberries, citrus slices, or cucumbers in your water bottle. Carbonate your water or add a tiny bit of juice to it, just enough for a hint of flavor.
Take a moment to think about what tastes good to you and make a plan to remind yourself to sip throughout the day. Don't stress yet about measuring how much you drink (unless you want to). As a first step, just pour yourself a tall glass of water and start to sip. You've already succeeded. Just make sure you aren't downing over a liter per hour (though that's pretty hard to do). You'll soon find yourself feeling less irritable and more energetic.
9 Eat Plants
It can get overwhelming thinking about nutrition, even for people who make nutrition their primary focus in life. There are so many different factors to think about: macro counts, vitamins, taste, and calories. A great place to start is to think about eating plants, whether you haven't had a piece of fruit all week or you're a greens fanatic.
Maybe you can try grabbing a bag of carrots on your way out in the morning, snacking on it at your desk. Maybe you can aim to add variety and different colors to the vegetables you eat. Or it might mean looking up fun recipes to incorporate more plants into your meals. If you find it easier to blend up a smoothie, or you need to hide the veggies and fruits within a food you like the taste of, great! Wherever you are, meet yourself there. Start by eating a plant, right now. It will feel great.
Stress interferes tremendously with getting fit. The more you fret, the harder it is to be healthy. Mindfulness and meditation are amazing ways to center yourself, temper your hormones, and allow your body to perform at its best. But it can get frustrating trying to understand everything at once - not to mention, it can leave you breathing a bit raggedly.
Start, right now, by taking 5 deep belly breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you can, breathe out a bit longer - maybe 4 seconds in and 8 seconds out. If that's too much, just sit, breathe, and notice your breathing. Whatever you choose to do, as long as you are taking a moment for your breath, you will notice within a few minutes that your body feels more relaxed. You're going to need your breath when you exercise, so getting to know your breathing is step one to crushing it with your fitness.
7 Go Outside
Most of us spend a ton of our lives inside. We are surrounded by screens, artificial lights, and electronics. The motivation to move and eat healthily comes much more easily when you incorporate some good old fashioned sunshine, fresh air and living things into your life.
Whether it's nice out or not, step outside for a few minutes each day. Those few minutes might turn into more minutes, then hours. Work outside if you can, walk to the store instead of driving, and take air breaks (the fit person's version of a smoke break) to clear your head and see the clouds. When we go outside, we are inspired to move and play - it's a fun, low-pressure way to wake your body up and suggest movement. Climb or hug a tree like nobody's watching.
6 Mini Workouts
Starting to move is no small feat. It's entirely normal to feel stuck and unmotivated when faced with the pressure to perform a huge workout routine starting from scratch. Not to mention, it can be something you don't enjoy doing (yet). Tiny, baby-sized workouts are easy to do while watching TV or just before getting in the shower - and since they're over before you know it, you don't have time to feel grumpy about moving around.
Throw down 10 squats after you brush your teeth, do a plank before getting in bed, or serve up some jumping jacks and mountain climbers during a commercial break. These little movements will wake up your muscles and mind, helping nudge you towards being a regular exerciser. Once you've mastered these, challenge yourself to work out for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes. Eventually, you may start to feel like you want to go a bit longer and work your way up to 30-40 minutes. Be patient and make it your goal to move - plain and simple.
5 Get Your Protein
Many people, women especially, don't eat enough clean protein throughout the day and feel worse for it. A small, simple goal is to have a little bit of protein with every meal to start. That might mean eggs, nuts, fish, lean meats, tofu, or beans. If you can gently introduce healthy sources of protein into your day, your mood will lift and you will have more energy to conquer life.
Rather than stress about how many grams you're getting, start by making sure you're eating protein and noticing what your sources of protein are. If some of them are processed or full of chemicals, swap them out for clean options. Combined with plants and water, this can be what fuels your desire to move and take care of your awesome body. Your body does so much for you - feed it.
Our bodies are meant to move and our souls crave expression. If you can dance, do it. Bottom line - we only live once and we should seize every opportunity to shimmy. If you are a shy type, throw some tunes on at home and dance it out by yourself. You're letting your body loosen up, getting to know your own movements and helping yourself with mobility and coordination.
Dancing is an instant mood-booster and a way to secretly trick yourself into working out a little bit. Maybe dance for 10 minutes of music, seeing if you'd like to continue at the end. Having a chance to follow impulses with our bodies is so beneficial to mental and physical health, and you can motivate yourself by picking your favorite jams. A 90s boyband playlist, anyone?
3 Build A Connection
These things aren't meant to be done totally alone. Fitness is a huge part of everyone's life, and it gets tough if you're just relying on yourself to follow through. Go for a walk with a friend, join a cool class or ask a buddy to accompany you to the gym.
If you prefer to work out alone, maybe have a friend who you trade workout selfies with by text, encouraging and applauding each other for killing it. Tell the people in your life that you care about eating better and moving more because the feeling will be mutual with many of them. You might also inspire the people you love to take care of themselves, which is a win-win in any case.
2 Find A Fitness Hero
Listen to podcasts, watch sports, or follow fitness Instagram accounts. Explore a little bit and find the people who resonate with you. There might be an awesome influencer who helps you unleash your inner weightlifting diva. There might be a female athlete who fires you up with her work in the WNBA or boxing ring. Whoever it is, keep their example in your life - you may check in on their Instagram stories, or pop on their podcast during your daily commute.
Having reminders of why you're doing this is of ultimate importance, and surrounding yourself with positive influences will keep you focused on showing yourself a little bit of love and care. Remember: these aren't people you're choosing for body goals. They're for soul goals. They're strong, awesome, fierce people who excel in the fitness realm and embody positivity and kindness.
1 Go Shopping
There's nothing like a brand new workout top to get you motivated to move. If you're still at a stage where you are squeezing leg lifts in between your favorite TV shows, or if you're getting yourself to the gym at 6 am each day, new outfits help us all.
If you can afford to get the latest gear from top brands, that's great. If you can't, it can be just as much fun dropping by a local thrift store to choose fun used t-shirts to wear to the gym. You can even take the scissors to them and remove the sleeves for a cute top to slip on over your sports bra. Or drop by a dollar store and stock up on cute sweatbands, bandanas, and hair ties. Motivate yourself with a little something new and look good while doing it.