This article was co-authored by Laila Ajani. Laila Ajani is a Fitness Trainer and founder of Push Personal Fitness, a personal training organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Laila has expertise in competitive athletics (gymnastics, powerlifting, and tennis), personal training, distance running, and Olympic lifting. Laila is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), USA Powerlifting (USAPL), and she is a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES).
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Many people want to get in shape and improve their health but have a difficult time maintaining a regimen that works for them. These simple steps will help you start a workout program that can work for you and enable you to continue. When you don't feel like making it to the gym, exercise on your own.
Part 1 of 3:Exercising Smarter
1Get active. If you must sit at school and/or work, then move your legs and body about, but not constantly like a pendulum. Get up and go to the pencil sharpener, if possible. Step outside during your lunch break or walk to get a drink of water. If you want to get in shape but you’re too busy to hit the gym, you need to at least get yourself up and active. Walk. Park on the far side of the parking area. There are lots of ways to do such things, and they don’t need to be very time consuming or costly at all. X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source
- Make a point of taking the stairs rather than an elevator when going home or to work (split between stairs and elevator if you need to go up very high).
- Get a standing or treadmill desk, or use an exercise ball instead of a desk chair. Go ahead, listen to your favorite TV shows -- but don’t just sit there watching. Cook, fold laundry, empty the dishwasher or ride a stationary bike. Do a step routine/step up/step down (repeatedly) for a good while.
- Do squats while waiting for your food to cook. Walk around on your tiptoes, in a duck posture or in a semi-squatting position.
2Do aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercises are those that get your heart-rate up the most. They will improve your body’s ability to handle physical exertion and make you healthier. Aerobic exercises will help you lose any weight, if that is your goal but exercising like this will be absolutely required, if you want to get in shape. X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to sourceAdvertisement
3Be consistent! If you want to get in shape, you will need to get in some activity at least every other day. You can’t expect results when you exercise inconsistently and infrequently. Have a plan and follow it.
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- Don't try to work out every day of the week. You should have at least 2 or 3 rest days total per week. Give your body time to rest and build muscle! Your resting time is essential. X Research source
Make a set schedule for yourself to help stay on track. Setting up a schedule in your calendar is probably the most efficient way to maintain consistency in your workout routine. Try planning 3 lifting days and 3 cardio days each week, for instance. However, be gentle with yourself if you miss a day for some reason—it's better to only do one or two workouts in a week rather than abandon it altogether.
4Find a partner! Studies show if you have someone else pushing you and doing the exercises with you, then it's going to be easier to stay on track.
Part 2 of 3:Eating Well
1Create a calorie deficit. To lose weight while getting in shape, you will need to create a calorie shortfall. This means that you will eat fewer calories than are needed to maintain your weight, causing your body to begin burning fat. X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source Calculate how many calories you need to maintain your weight and then plan how many calories you can eat in a day (usually 2,000 calories a day).
2Cut sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats from your diet. Sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats will contribute to keeping you from getting in shape. Avoid sugary drinks like soda, and anything which is high in saturated or trans fats (partially hardened or hardened fats, margarine). Instead, eat fruit as a dessert and foods with healthy fats like omega-3’s (found most easily in fish, olive oil and nuts). X Research source
3Eat balanced meals. You will need to eat a proper balance of protein, carbohydrates (found grains), fruits and vegetables, and dairy. Whole grains might comprise about 30% of the food you eat (if grains are not inflammatory for you), fruits and vegetables another 30% (weighted more towards vegetables), dairy 15%, very lean protein 15% or up to 40%, if you lower the calories from carbohydrates. Lower unhealthy fats, processed carbs and sugar to no more than 4% of you diet.
- There are different types of fats. Some are good for you, while others are not. You should avoid trans fats (found in many commercially baked and snack foods) and limit saturated fats (ground meats, sausages, wieners, fried foods and butter). However, monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados) and polyunsaturated fats (fish, walnuts) are good for you.
- Good whole grains include whole wheat, whole oats, quinoa and brown rice.
- Good fruits and vegetables include chickpeas/garbanzo beans (can be used to make hummus), beans, kale, broccoli, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, lemons and pears.
4Eat properly portioned meals. Your meals should have reasonable portions to keep you from taking in more calories than you need. Be careful not to overfill your plate - use a smaller plate if you’re unsure. Drink a glass of water with your meal, and eat slowly in order to help your body feel full.
5Focus on lean protein. Eating protein will help you to feel full and energetic. However, processed protein-heavy foods often contain lots of unhealthy fat. Eat lean proteins to reduce the amount of unhealthy fats in your diet. Use a little hard cheeses with low fat and low carbs. X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source
- Examples of lean protein include chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and lentils/beans.
Part 3 of 3:Sample Diet and Exercise Plan
1Eat breakfast. Balance protein, dairy and carbs in the morning for a natural energy boost. Alternate between these three example breakfast options:
- One cup of vanilla yogurt, 2 cups of melon, and ¾ cup cooked oatmeal.
- One cup of low-fat cottage cheese, one banana, and one whole-wheat bagel.
- Two scrambled eggs, ½ cup of blueberries, and 2 pieces of whole-wheat toast.
2Eat lunch. Lunch is a great time to fit in protein (for an energy boost) and produce to keep you from feeling weighed down while you finish your day. Try alternating between these three example lunch options:
- Arugula salad with salmon, onions, and tomatoes. Use Italian dressing.
- Pita stuffed with chicken, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, and feta.
- Rye bread sandwich with spinach, mozzarella, hummus, and tomatoes.
3Eat dinner. Eat a small dinner and try to eat it further in advance of going to sleep (your body won’t be able to burn enough calories if you eat right before sleeping). Examples of healthy dinners include:
- Lemon pan-seared chicken, steamed broccoli, a side salad, and garlic mashed potatoes.
- Quinoa with bacon pieces, peas, and carrots with a side of steamed kale.
- Grilled salmon with roasted asparagus and spinach salad with cherry tomatoes, carrot slices, and vinaigrette dressing.
4Eat light snacks. Eat one snack in between breakfast and lunch as well as between lunch and dinner. This will keep you from getting faint or hungry and will also help you not to overeat when it’s time for meals. Examples of healthy snacks include:
- Carrot and celery sticks.
- 1/4 cup hummus and 3 pieces of broccoli.
- Apple slices with a handful of almonds
5Drink water. Drink sixteen-ounces of water with every meal and at least once more during the day.
6Get active. Take the stairs, stand when you work at your computer, and go for a walk around your building while you eat lunch.
7Exercise. Make it your goal to exercise with variety, for at least a total of one hour a day. This does not need to be all at once. When exercising, make sure you are getting your heart rate up for at least ten minutes at a time. Here are some example exercises (try to do all three every day):
- Do 2 minutes of planks, 4 minutes of jumping jacks, and 4 minutes of squats with thighs parallel to the floor (not deep squats), as soon as you get up. Do a few sets of as many push-ups you can do while keeping good form.
- If you have time before getting ready for work, go for a half hour fast walk or jog.
- Use a stationary or mobile bike for half an hour when you get home from work or school.
Workout Goals, Exercises for Beginners, and Foods to Eat and Avoid
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QuestionHow do I get a flat stomach?The plank exercise is fantastic for strengthening the entire abdominal region, especially the muscles that keep our tummy flat. However, there is no abdominal exercise that will get rid of fat around the waistline, so reduce your calorie intake to create the calorie deficit mentioned in the article here. High intensity interval training will burn the most amount of calories for the time it takes.
QuestionHow do I get a flat stomach when I have asthma problems while working out?First of all, see a doctor and take the appropriate medication to control exercise-induced asthma symptoms. Once the asthma is under control, you'll enjoy exercise much more. A flat stomach has more to do with what and how much you eat, than it has to do with exercise. If you have a fat layer around your middle, calorie reduction is the only way to lose the fat. Abdominal exercises can't hide or get rid of tummy fat.
QuestionHow do you keep in shape?
When exercising, don't forget to warm-up before and stretch after.
While working out, don't forget to hydrate your body. Don't go too long without taking a drink of water.
If you don't have (or want) other people to exercise with, try getting an iPod and listening to podcasts or audio books while you exercise. This makes the exercise time feel less like 'lost time' and more like 'productive time', since you're now learning or being entertained while you work out.
- Never sleep immediately after having your meals.
- Always warm-up before doing any exercise.
- With any workout regimen, start slowly and build up to more reps and more strenuous workouts as you can. Starting off with too harsh of a workout plan can lead to sore muscles, discouragement and burn-out.
- ↑ https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/physical_activity/index.html
- ↑ https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/basics/aerobic-exercise/hlv-20049447
- ↑ https://www.planetfitness.com/community/articles/beginner-how-long-should-i-work-out
- ↑ https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508
- ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fat/NU00262
- ↑ https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/index.html
About This Article
If you want to get in shape, look for ways that you can be active even when you can’t work out, like parking further away from the entrance or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Try to participate in an aerobic exercise like swimming, jogging, or biking, at least every other day. In addition, try to limit your calorie intake so you are burning off more calories than you eat each day. For tips about creating healthy, balanced meals, keep reading!