The new year is upon us. And just like everyone else, you have decided it's time to kick your booty into shape. Only you're actually dedicated, unlike the thousands of others who will just be wasting their hard earned cash on a gym membership they'll drop by the third week of January.
You're here because you understand that having and holding a healthy body and being takes hella effort and dedication. It's a lifestyle change, but you're ready and raring to go. Prepare to make the next twelve weeks of your life the most confidence boosting, body appreciating, self-educating ones you've had yet. Let's get started.
Step 1: First Thing's First, Ladies. Evaluate Your Motivation
Why do you want to lose weight? If you answered "Because I will be more attractive to fill-in-the-blank," "My mother/significant other/best friend wants me to," or any variety of these two answers, perhaps it's time to re-think your goals.
In order to be successful, you must view your journey to fitness as a personal objective. Do this for you: your health, your happiness, and your mental clarity for goodness sake!
Step 2: Self-Educate
Do you know what you're eating? Get informed—find out how politics plays into your food. That banana you are chomping on may have traveled 1,000 miles before it was displayed in the grocery store where you bought it. Your daily coffee run might be costing Ethiopian farmers their livelihood. Globalization is taking its toll. What we don't know will hurt us. Awareness will bring passion to your daily food choices and is a vital step in doing your body good.
Some gripping sources to check out:
The Coffee Go-Round
The Global Banquet: The Politics of Food - by Fred Powledge
Fat of the Land - by Fred Powledge
Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply - by Vandana Shiva
Step 3: Be Vain. And Realistic
A little bit of vanity is OK-it's healthy to feel sexy and desired and can even push you to take action for your health. Just don't over-do it. Keep in mind that those Victoria's Secret models are 5'11" and airbrushed. Learn to love your curves and your soon-to-be muscles!
Step 1: Stock Up On Clean Foods
Get away from processed, preservative-laden foods. While any food really can be eaten in moderation, it's best not to have those Oreos staring you in the face. Stick to the items found around the circumference of the grocery store—those tend to be the freshest.
Step 2: Brown Bag It
Having food on hand means you won't be tempted to indulge at the vending machine. And you'll save money! Keep an insulated cooler bag on your person stocked with fresh cut fruit and veggies, cottage cheese, yogurt, and string cheese.
Step 3: Forgive Yourself And Grow
Everyone cheats. Get over it and move on. Drink tons of water to counteract a binge and if it helps, schedule a cheat meal into your diet plan once or twice a week.
Step 1: Don't Be Intimidated
Don't hesitate to ask gym employees' questions. That's what they're there for-plus, I'm sure they'd be more than willing to drop that magazine they've been musing over for the past five hours of their shift. If you're unsure, ask for a mini-tour of the gym floor and how to operate the machines. If you train at home, keep it simple. Buy some dumbbells and bands and be on your merry way.
Step 2: Get Organized
Find a time that works for you to hit up the gym. Just like your job, schedule in your workouts. That way, you'll be less likely to cancel 'em. Carry a notebook with you to the gym to record your progress. Prepare a week's worth of food in bulk during free time on the weekend so you can grab and go.
Step 3: Focus On The Major Muscle Groups
Major muscle groups are these:
Start with the basics: bench or dumbbell press and push-ups for chest, assisted pull-ups and dumbbell rows for back, and squats and lunges for legs. Then add on some training for shoulders, arms, and abdominals.
Learn from the best: Bodybuilding.com's exercise guide, located here or pick up your own copy of the bodybuilding bible, Frederic Delavier's Strength Training Anatomy. Bodyspacer Michelle Berger also has an amazing website for beginners: Buffmother.com.
Step 1: Remember: Supplementation Is Optional
Indeed, it can give you a much needed boost when results hit a plateau, but many a fab-figured fitness femme can tell you that the bulk of your fitness ammo lies in clean eating and consistent, intense work-outs.
Step 2: Keep It Simple At First
You can't go wrong with a basic multi-vitamin and a protein powder. Top-sellers are the Optimum Opti-Women multivitamins and 100% Whey Protein powder. They'll both give you the most bang for your buck.
Step 3: Know When To Add More
The best time to add more supplementation is during a plateau, where you feel you've reached a standstill in progress-be it stalled muscle-building or fat-burning.
Remember, everyone slips up. If you make a mistake like skipping a workout or indulging in that jumbo chocolate chip cookie, it's best to brush it off and kick yourself right back into gear. Transforming your body is a mental game, and I have every confidence that you can win it.