We are almost in the final quarter of 2023!
If you are familiar with me, you know I am a HUGE fan of "just starting!" For a little backstory on that check out my post on that challenge.
Rather than waiting for January and the "New Year, New Me" stuff in 2024, I wanted to give you a brief list of ways to get a head start on your fitness goals and start building some momentum now!
1: Start Now (literally... right now)
This is the most important fitness, shoot, the most important step for anything. Don't spend a lot of time researching for the perfect exercise program or diet. Do something today to begin.
Go for a walk, knock out sets of 10 push-ups throughout the day, drink one less soda, eat 3 servings of vegetables today, increase protein intake, etc. Just begin and then perfect the plan as you go!
Easy first step: Sign up for my Gym Gainz Guide or Bodyweight Blaster plan today and I'll tell you what workout to do each day. All you have to do is show up.
Whether it's my program or something you found on google, find a plan and get started today.
2: Aim for 4 Days of Exercise Per Week
When people start a new program they are all "Gung Ho" and want to start with 6 days a week of exercise. While that is commendable and maybe a great long term goal, it's not realistic initially.
4 days per week in the gym allows you to hit each muscle group twice, keeps it manageable, and gives you something to build upon! Anything on top of four days is a bonus. Hear me out, if you exercise 4 days per week and eat the appropriate amount of calories, you will crush your goals.
3: Hit Each Muscle Group Twice Per Week
Starting out, I love the upper body/ lower body split! Here is a great place to start:
Monday: Lower Body
Tuesday: Upper Body
Thursday: Lower Body
Friday: Upper Body
The schedule above is the outline of my Gym Gainz Guide and Bodyweight Blaster programs, plus a core and cardio day on Wednesdays. On top of a regular, structured workout plan, you should aim to live an active lifestyle by walking, playing, and getting outdoors more.
4: Treat Leg Day Like It's Your Job
Leg workouts are where you build your base and where the majority of the muscle is located in your body. Leg Press is great but squats are more effective and functional. There are so many variations of squats, so find the variation that suits your current fitness level.
My top leg exercises: Barbell squats, RDLs, Lunges, Good Mornings, Split Jumps, Glute Ham Raises, and sprints.
Build a base and then start challenging yourself with heavier weights.
5: Count Your Calories
This is boring, I know. But there is no quicker way to succeed... or fail. Download my fitness pal, enter your weight goal, and that's how many calories you should shoot for per day!
You don't have to do this forever. Eventually, you will be able to eat intuitively and eyeball portion sizes. But in order to fast track results, track diligently until you are confidently moving in the right direction.
6: Measure Your Food
This doesn't have to be super scientific but we are typically terrible and guessing how much we are eating. A lot of times we think we are eating a serving size but we we are actually eating 3! Cereal of the worst. 3/4 cup to 1 cup is a serving and we typically double or triple that.
Get your calories in check by tracking and measuring food. Eventually you will be able to eyeball it if you stick with it!
7: Begin Workouts with Compound Exercises
Obviously, hit a quick warm-up but following that don't just go hop on random machines. Compound exercises are movements that involve multiple joints and muscle groups. Think: squats, deadlifts, bench press, bent row, pull-ups, or shoulder press.
These are movements that I like to go heavier on. 5 sets of 5 reps is a great place to start. Progressively getting heavier each set and finishing with a very challenging set. This is where you break down the muscle and allow it to grow back stronger.
More muscle = more calories burned while a rest.
8: Protein, Protein, Protein
Focus each and every meal around protein. Protein helps keep you feeling full and it helps build muscle = win, win. Great sources of protein include: eggs, chicken breast, greek yogurt, tuna, whey protein, lean beef, etc.
I shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of my body weight each day. That isn't necessary for everyone. The general consensus is 0.8 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight for a sedentary person. If you are training hard, 1.4-2.0 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight per day.
9: Walking is Underrated
If you don't know where to start begin walking daily! Walking is amazing for physical and mental health. Best of all it is free, accessible, and requires zero skill.
Aim for 20-30 minutes a day. Also, if you're already super fit this is still applicable. I am in the best shape of my life at 32 and I am still trying to incorporate more walks!
Pro tip: family walks after dinner are a life hack. More steps, sunlight, and quality time together with no screens.
10: Abs are Built in the Gym, Revealed by Diet
If someone gives you an ab workout and tells you that it will "give you abs" run the other way. Core workouts are a great way to strengthen the abs but they won't necessarily give you a 6-pack. Then you have the people who say "abs are made in the kitchen." That's not true either. A lot of skinny people don't have visible abs.
Abs are like any other muscle and must be trained. Abs are best trained by compound exercises and running sprints. Follow workouts by direct ab training to strengthen the core. Combine this with a caloric deficit to see ab definition, meaning you must reduce body fat through diet to see your abs.
11: Fitness and Health are a Lifelong Commitment, Not a 30 Day Challenge
Find a way of exercising and eating that is enjoyable, sustainable, and helps you reach your goals. A lot of us hop from 30-day challenge to juice cleanses to the next craze and just remain in that cycle forever.
Being fit, healthy, and strong is a way of life. You will be happier for it and will gain longevity. Results may take longer in the lifestyle approach but they will also last longer!
Find what works for you and then commit!