Whenever I post a progress picture, I usually get a handful of people that message me and ask what I’m eating, what kind of exercises I am doing and what supplements I take. Aside from all that, the most popular question that I am asked is: How did you get started?
It’s the New Year and that means everyone’s resolution is to lose weight, go to the gym, and eat healthier foods. According to WebMD, by the end of January, 64% of these weight loss resolutioners are still hangin’ in. Six months later, only 44% are still in it to win it. That’s a huge drop.
I’m gonna break it down for you as to how I started my weight loss extravaganza.
1. Start simple
When someone asks me how I started, I always say that it was never at the gym. Trust me, it wasn’t. I had toyed around with the idea of losing weight in December of 2012. A gym membership was out of the question. Too expensive and I was out of a job. I looked around for other alternatives. What is free and still can make you lose a ton of weight? Walking and running. I started a program called Couch to 5K and would run outside in the frigid cold. It was hard, but it got easier every time I ran.
2. Join a gym
I know there are people out there who don’t want to go to the gym for reasons beyond me. They are scared of people judging them, they are scared that they don’t know how to use the machines, and they are definitely afraid of the free weights section. The truth of the matter is that the sooner you bite the bullet, the sooner you can lose weight and see results. No one is staring at you and if they are that is their issue. As far as I’m concerned, you are there to make a change for yourself and how can anyone in their right mind judge you or fault you for that?
3. Cardio, cardio, cardio
I, too, was clueless when I joined my gym. I was scared of the free weights section. The only thing I really knew how to do was cardio machines like the elliptical, recumbent bike, and treadmill. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I spent the first 3 months of my gym membership just bustin’ out cardio for the majority of my days. I’d start out and do 30-60 minute of the elliptical and then hop on some weight machines.
4. But don’t you dare forget those weights
I will fight tooth and nail to make people understand that lifting weights is essential. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate is. The higher your metabolic rate is, the more calories you are burning throughout the day. If you do a weight lifting day, you will continue to burn calories at a more rapid rate than you would if you just hopped on the elliptical for an hour. Start light with your weights, but make sure you increase those reps then. Dumbbells are your friend. Kettlebells are even more of your friend. Go to the free weights section when it’s pretty quiet and just pick shit up and put it down. Ask a trainer if they can show you the proper form on how to do those exercises. Don’t be scared.
5. Small group training
I’ll be honest, I got sick of the cardio/light weight lifting routine. It gets repetitive and you want to abandon ship. My mom saw that my gym offered small group training and we jumped right on board. SGT is basically when trainers will hold a class a few times a week and people who are in the SGT program can sign up to join the class. Up to 8 people (depending on the class) can join, but if no one shows up then it is just you and the trainer. Personal training session at a fraction of the cost. Steal.
I’ll probably get shot for even recommending the site, but I cannot deny how effortless it is to lose weight through them. I only started counting my calories in April of 2013. I lost about 25-30 pounds without counting my calories, but boy does the weight just drop off when you are mindful of your food. MFP makes it easy. They tell you how many calories you can eat a day to lose X amount of pounds a week. Log every thing that goes into your mouth. Stay under your calorie goal. Lose weight. Easy as pie!
7. Finally, not taking yourself so seriously
I’ll admit that I am intense. I am insanely intense when it comes to my workouts and I’m even more intense when it comes to the food I eat. But I always remember that this is my life. My life includes going out with my friends, it includes going out to eat, it includes drinking endless shots of whiskey, and it definitely includes some cookies and cream ice cream. To give up on those things would be to give up on a part of your life. We all fall off the horse for a day or a week or a month, but we have to get right back on and not beat ourselves up.
And that’s the story of how I got my buns into the gym. Now back to your scheduled program.