Just Do It: Starting Your Journey to Health-guest post by John Unverzagt

Today's post is by one of our coaches and partners, John Unverzagt of Fitness Together.  John has been a personal trainer, teacher, coach, and inspirational leader for over 20 years.  He gives fabulous tips to create sustainable habits for health and wellness, which is the foundation for  performance and resilience. Enjoy!!

You know you want to be  healthy, fit, strong, confident, muscular, thinner, whatever it is), but it's SO hard to get started.  How many cycles of  “I’ll start on Monday” or “next month when things aren’t so stressful” have you gone through with your get-healthy goals? If the number is uncomfortably high, you’re not alone.

We’ve all heard it takes 21 days to start a new habit, right?  Well, according to a study at University College in London of 96 habit-hopefuls who wanted to add a new healthy routine such as running every night, including fruit with lunch, or doing 50 crunches every morning, it wasn’t that easy.  While simple habits, such as drinking a glass of water in the morning, were established after 20 days, the average habit-forming time was 66 days, with some still trying after the better part of a year!  Yikes!

Before you throw in the gym towel, some tips for success on your path to health:

  1. Start, and continue, with an attitude of self-compassion.  Aside from sounding  sweet, this is actually scientifically backed.  If you exercise or diet from a place of guilt, or from a fixed mentality, then every time you slip up (which we all do, lots) you’ll view it as a character flaw.  Self-compassion will help you frame your diet changes and exercise attempts with a growth mentality, or something you can improve.
  2. Remember that every positive decision you make is a gain, but you have to keep going.  One long walk isn’t going to fulfill your requirements for a week, just like one super food salad isn’t going to “carry” you through the next five meals.  The long walk and salad are great steps in getting you to where you want to be.
  3. Want to know the very best exercise for you, the one to guarantee results?  It’s the one you like, that you’ll want to do!!  Aim to do this exercise, or another enjoyable one, for around 30 minutes, most days.  The good news is that exercise can take many forms, from dancing, to swimming, to aggressive house cleaning.  Every time you choose activity and health over poorer choices it's a win!
  4. Slow and steady wins the race!  Overexuberance in the beginning is a great way to sabotage yourself.  Either you get burnt out mentally, or your body gives out because it’s not used to doing what you’re asking it to.   Start slow, and celebrate each gradual gain.
  5. Try a little of everything.  The exciting thing about beginning a physical health routine is there are so many choices.  You never know what might strike your fancy and find a permanent place in your regiment.  Under the instruction of your trainer, give weight training a try, as well as biking, yoga, stretching, and jogging.  Many people just getting started enjoy walking or the elliptical machine.

Change for the right reasons.  Focusing on the scale, your pant size, or your appearance may motivate temporarily, but that fuel often burns out.  Instead, decide you love and respect yourself, and deserve to be the best you can be!

Go to FITNESS TOGETHER  to learn more!

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