Healthy Living

First Timer? Here's Some Tips for Starting to Workout!

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Summer is heating up, and if you just began a journey to get into shape, let me let you in on a little secret:
It’s hard.

There’s no way around it. Eating less, eating the right foods, doing cardio, strength training — it’s a big pain in the butt. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. In fact, it’s absolutely what you should be doing. But your goal here should be not to head into this journey at a full sprint, only to quit once you hit your first stumbling block.

Instead, you should be attempting to change your lifestyle, so that healthy living is just who you are. That way, if you miss a few workouts, gain back a few pounds, or have one too many hot dogs at a cookout, you can easily just fall back on your healthy habits the next day.

So here are 4 tips to make that transition easy:

1. Focus on habit, not weight loss.  Here’s the unfortunate thing about losing weight: it takes a long time. So don’t focus so much on the pounds…focus on getting good at perfecting your daily habits.

Once you become more adept at a lifestyle change, the weight will drop off easily.

2. Incorporate strength training. Here’s another secret about losing weight: Nearly any exercise, if done consistently and with high intensity, is going to help you lose weight. But knowing that, make sure you’re not just doing endless hours of cardio.

The science is clear: strength training is going to give you the best results. That’s because muscle not only makes you look better, but it also burns more calories while you’re just sitting around. And if you’re a woman, don’t worry about getting too muscular. That has more to do with genetics than time spent in the gym, and trust us, you’re only going to look better after lifting weights.

So whether it’s splitting your workout week into “lifting days” and “cardio days” or doing a complete workout like crossfit, make sure that building muscle is part of your routine.

3. Healthy eating isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor.  Your friend lost 20 pounds by not eating after 6 p.m. Your mom dropped a cool 40 by limiting her carbs to 50 grams a day.

Those are both great options, but those aren’t the only ones.

The cardinal rule of weight loss is still true: you must burn more calories than you eat. Everything else is just methods of getting you there.

If you’re not eating after a certain time, you’re probably eating less because you’re not snacking at night. And if you’re limiting carbs, you’re cutting down on high-calories foods like bread, pasta, and sweets.

So find out what works for you. Don’t get caught up in diet trends. Instead, figure out how many calories you need to maintain your weight, and eat about 500 calories below that. If you do that, you’ll have a calorie deficit of 3,500 each week, which is equal to one pound of fat lost.

4. Don’t be afraid to experiment.  The fact is, healthy living is only achieved through lots of trial and error, so you can’t be afraid to try new things. A good rule of thumb is to try something out for a month, and if you’re not chipping away at your desired result by then, do something else.

Bodybuilders understand this rule all too well. Half the year they’re eating more than they need in order to build muscle, and the other half they’re eating less than they need to rid themselves of the fat that inevitably comes with eating more calories than your body can burn.

They’re constantly experimenting with calorie intake to see what works for them. You should, too.