When it comes to getting in shape, there are literally millions of options. It can be confusing, and even with so many (good) choices, a lot of people still feel lost. So we’ve compiled a short list of things you can start doing immediately to get better results, no matter what program or “diet” you follow or where/how you train.
Reduce your stress by…
- Getting better quality sleep. How? No electronics for 30 minutes before bed (TV, cell phone, tablet, etc…). Also, completely black out your bedroom. You can tape over the running lights of common items, like your cell phone charger, or the power cable on your computer. I like to hook everything to a power strip, and then just turn the power strip off at night (this saves energy too). But if you’re really lazy just drape your dirty socks and underwear over the lights as you undress for bed. At least you’ll know where everything is in the morning!
- Focusing on one task at a time. This is a tip I picked up from legendary sport psychologist Aladair Kogler. In his book “Clearing the Path to Victory,” Kogler recommends doing all your activities in singular fashion. Sounds like a nightmare for the modern day American, but it’s a habit we can all benefit from. When you eat breakfast, do nothing but eat breakfast. Enjoy each bite, and focus on the flavors and textures of the food. Need to fold laundry? Turn off the television and just focus on the task at hand. Experience how the fabric feels in your hands, its weight, texture, and temperature. Not only will you complete the task more quickly, it will be surprisingly relaxing, and destressing.
- Meditation. There is plenty of science to back up the benefits of meditation, and it only takes 5-10 minutes of your day. Need more reason to do it? It’s a common habit of highly successful people from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Oprah Winfrey.
Have more effective workouts by…
- Walking through the doors of the gym. Seriously. You can have the best training program in the world, but if you don’t train consistently, it won’t do anything for you. Twice this week, three times the next, miss a week, repeat is a recipe to no where. I know what it’s like to “dread” the gym. Sometimes you just don’t feel like going, but when you get there and get started you’re ALWAYS glad you came. I’ve never heard anyone say “I really wish I didn’t go to the gym today” but I’ve heard plenty of people lament about how much they procrastinated about getting it done. Just get yourself there, and the rest will take of itself.
- Leaving your phone in the car. This is THE biggest progress killer in modern day fitness. If you can’t focus on your workout for 1-2 hours, you don’t take your goals seriously. Get off your phone. There was time when cell phones didn’t exist. People traveled the country (or world) with no easy means of connecting with loved ones. Whatever e-mail, imessage, snapchat, or text message you’re reading can wait until you’re done. To quote Andrew’s father from The Breakfast Club “If you’re on your phone while you train, your intensity is for sh*t!” Okay maybe he didn’t say that thing about cell phones. But seriously, have some intensity when you train, and you’ll get way, way better results. Also, if you have a coach, they will probably take you more seriously if you take your training more seriously.
- Eating some carbs before you train. Even if you’re on a low carb diet, you still eat SOME carbs, so try to eat them 30 minutes prior to training, and you’ll get a lot more out of it. Remember, that training isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about building a more capable you. If you don’t properly fuel your workouts, then you won’t maximize their benefit, which will lead to lesser results later on, regardless of your goal.
Stay motivated by…
- Being positive! It’s a lot easier to stay motivated when you’re making progress, but if you’re constantly nitpicking your body, or your performance, it’s easy to create the perspective that all of your hard work is for nothing. Having a positive attitude is often the first step in achieving a big goal. Let’s say you want to lose the fat around your midsection, but you were just able to do your first unassisted chin-up…those goals may not be directly related, but you should be proud of your accomplishment, and acknowledging it is a great reminder that your hard work is paying off.
- Asking a friend to hit the gym with you. Sometimes all you have to do is ask, and knowing that someone is counting on you to be there at a certain time goes a long way in keeping you motivated. A lot of people will be okay with letting themselves down, but do you really want to let down your friend too?
This short list are 9 things you can do TODAY to get better results. They take zero talent to implement, and there is no learning curve. They do require one thing, however: Action! Today you have millions of options for professional help with your exercise, nutrition, apps to track progress, to motivate you, products to enhance your fitness, and your lifestyle, but all of that is meaningless if you don’t take responsibility. There is no secret, no book, or coach that can tell you how to get what you want without putting in the work. All of those things can guide you, and make sure your hard work isn’t wasted, but at the end of the day, it requires you to take action, so let’s do it!