You're an eternal beginner. You get on a program and fall off just as fast. You skip the gym if it's raining. Your problem, however, may not be a weakness of character, but rather not following the right strategy.
Pry the snooze button off your alarm clock, because with a little effort, you can adopt good exercise and diet habits, thanks to this plan from Brian Grasso, a trainer and life coach in Montreal.
"The body and mind are terribly homeostatic machines," Grasso says. "They constantly search for comfort and consistency," so deciding to make a slew of changes at once often leads to failure.
"Making minor amendments to your daily routine will fly under the radar of your conscious thought and become positive habits." In other words, if you start so gradually that you barely notice the change, you'll be more apt to continue it and make more changes without them ever seeming daunting.
Train Two Days Per Week
This isn't asking a lot, so try to go at the same times every week. Get used to making appointments with yourself and keeping them. But if you don't feel like working out, don't. Just go to the gym, walk in, and leave if you want.
The important thing is that you establish the habit of going. At the very least, change into your workout clothes when you get there - you can change back out of them and leave right away.
By this point, working out has become part of your routine, and you look forward to it. If not, continue to at least show up at the gym (even if you don't have the desire to go through with the workouts) until the habit sticks.
Remember to continue adding healthy meals to your diet - you should be at two per day by now.
In no time, you'll be going to the gym and staying to train, and regular exercise will be a part of your life.
Eat One Healthy
Meal Per Day
"I believe in making modest changes to the diet that don't leave people feeling trapped and anxious to return to their old habits," Grasso says.
Choose just one meal to eat that you're sure is healthy. Don't psyche yourself out here-use common sense. Lean meat and fish, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and raw nuts and seeds are all fine.
Eat what you like the rest of the day. Do this for two weeks and then up it to two healthy meals per day. Continue in that fashion and you'll find you're eating healthy most of the time.
Stand Up Straight
Want an easy way to tell if you're performing your exercises correctly? Check your posture.
The correct starting position for most exercises is shoulders back, chest out, standing (or sitting) tall, with your abs tight.
Good posture, good form.
Perform the two workouts (Day 1 and 2) once per week, resting at least a day between each.
How to Do It
Perform the exercises marked with letters as a group. Do one set of A, rest, then one set of B, rest (note that some groups have an exercise "C"), and repeat until all sets are complete. Then go on to the next group. Perform three sets of 8-10 reps for each exercise.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down as low as you can while keeping an arch in your lower back.
Place your hands on the floor outside shoulder width and tighten your abs. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself until your chest is about an inch off the floor.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and step back with one leg. Lower your body until your rear knee nearly touches, and your front thigh is parallel to, the floor.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Brace your abs and press the weights straight overhead.
Rest the top of one foot behind you on a bench or chair. Lower yourself using your support leg until your rear knee nearly touches the floor.
Grab onto the parallel bars of a dip station and lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. If you can't do dips, do a lying triceps extension with an EZ-curl bar.
Sit on the floor with a dumbbell or weight plate in both hands and recline your torso to a 45-degree angle. Hold your arms out straight and twist as far as you can in one direction and then to the other side.
Pedal at a moderately hard pace for 12-20 minutes.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with the weights against your thighs. Bend your hips back and lower your torso, allowing your knees to bend as needed, until you feel your lower back is beginning to lose its arch. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to come back up.
Grab a dumbbell in one hand, and rest the other hand and knee on a bench. Let your arm hang straight down. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, row the weight until it touches your side. Perform all your reps with one arm first, and then switch arms and repeat.
Lie on your back on the floor and rest your heels on a bench or chair. Brace your abs and push onto your heels to raise your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line.
Sit at a lat pull-down station and hold the bar with an outside shoulder-width grip. Pull the bar down to your collarbone.
Hold a dumbbell with one hand and stand on the opposite leg. Keeping your lower back arched, bend forward at the hips as far as you can and then extend your hips to come back up. Complete all your reps on one side and then switch sides.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and, keeping your upper arms against your sides, curl the weights up to shoulder level.
Get on the floor in push-up position, then lower your weight onto your forearms. Brace your abs and hold the position - body completely straight - for 60 seconds, or as long as you can.
Pedal at a moderately hard pace for 12-20 minutes.
2A. Butt Lift (Bridge) (legs on bench)3 sets of 8-10 reps
3A. Dumbbell One-Legged Deadlift (shown with kettlebell)3 sets of 8-10 reps