How to stay on track
When you are starting a new diet plan or exercise regime, you start with the best intentions. You expect to start a plan that’s easy to follow and will give you a shredded 6-pack in just a matter of weeks. But sometimes, after just a short while of starting your new fat-burning HIIT exercise routine or super low-carbohydrate diet, you struggle to stick to it. If this sounds familiar and you struggle to stay on track, you’re not alone!
Let’s look at some simple ways you can start a fitness regime and keep yourself motivated to stick to it and achieve your goals.
1) Have a plan
With most things in life, the hardest thing can often be getting started. This rings true with exercise, as getting started can be the hardest part, especially when you don’t have a plan.
Getting into exercise without having a plan, is like getting in your car and going on a long journey without knowing the directions to your destination. You will struggle to reach your destination and even if you do, it would have been quicker if you had it all mapped out.
The same applies to exercise. When you start, you have a goal in mind, so why not have a plan to ensure that you can achieve that goal? Having a plan will ensure that you have a routine to stick to, making it easy to know what activities you have throughout the week and taking the guess work out of your training allowing you to track your progress.
A plan doesn’t even necessarily have to be a full-body split, or a 12 week training schedule. It could be as simple as noting down which classes you’ll do over the next 4 weeks or what you’ll do in your home workout sessions. It can be helpful to look online for some ready made training plans - we have some exercise videos you can follow on our website which can be a good place to start!
Once you have a plan in place, follow it religiously and try not to skip any days. Skipping days will often lead to you skipping the other days, and before you know it, you’ve skipped everyday and fallen off the wagon. Your plan will also allow you to track your progress with your training program, so every session you can add a little bit more weight to the bar, or complete that 5k a few seconds faster. These little wins can be a great way to motivate yourself to keep going!
If you're looking for an easy to follow training plan, our resistance band sets come with a free workout plan that you can easily adapt to get you to your training goals.
2) Keep track of your food intake
If you are training with the goal of either putting on weight, or losing weight, you’re going to need to track your food intake. If you aren’t tracking your food and you have a goal of losing weight for example, you may well be over-eating everyday without even realising it.
Tracking your food becomes important if you want to change your body composition, so you should understand how many calories your body needs to maintain its current weight and eat slightly less than this number. For weight gain, you would do the opposite.
To get started with tracking your numbers, you could use an online calculator to calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and then use an app such as My fitness pal (we love this app at Requipt!) to track your food intake on a daily basis.
Remember not to beat yourself up if you have a bad day food-wise, just try to pick it up again the next day!
3) Don’t start a fad diet
One sure fire way to send yourself flying off the wagon in record time, is by starting a fad diet. Fad diets include (and are not limited to) the following:
Tea detox diets
"No carbs after 6”
Low/No fat diets
Low/No carb diets
Diets like the ones listed above are often promoted as quick weight loss diets. They usually seem like they work in the first week or so, but this is mainly because they lead to extreme calorie restriction. These diets however are extremely unsustainable and therefore difficult to stick to. Worse still, once you stop these diets, you tend to re-gain the weight that you lost in the first place! Your best bet is to start a plan where you have a balanced diet and eat less calories than your body burns, putting you in a caloric deficit.
4) Be realistic
When you set out on your fitness journey, it's important that you set yourself goals that are realistic. I would suggest setting yourself a small target that is easily achievable, and gets you one step closer towards achieving your overall long-term goal. For example, if you're new to exercise or getting back in to it after an injury or period of rest then set yourself the goal to do three 45 min home workouts a week.
Other examples of small goals include:
Lose 0.5 lbs body fat in 4 weeks
Get stronger on one exercise by using the next level of resistance band, then grouping together more than one band in 4 weeks
Going up one dumbbell size (2kg usually) or one weight plate on each side of a barbell (1.25kg each side) in 4 weeks
Reduce waist size by half an inch in 4 weeks
5 Track your progress
Tracking your progress with both your exercise routine and your body composition will become an important factor in keeping you on track. When you track your progress, you take the guesswork out of your training plan and start to work towards your goals effectively.
For example, you may want to increase the weight on your barbell bench press by 5kg. To do this, you would log down the current weight that you can press, then the next week you would try to increase the weight by 1.25kg on each side, and reduce the number of reps slightly. Over time, you will eventually hit your goal of adding 5kg in total, but remember not to rush, healthy progress takes time!
6) Take body measurements
If you are doing all of the above with the hope of achieving your goal, you will want to see the results in the mirror! It is hard to see your results if you are using the mirror as a judge. You see yourself in the mirror everyday, so it can be hard to identify if there are any changes.
This is where logging your body composition comes in.
I have never been a fan of using the scales as a tool for fat loss as muscle weighs more than fat so this isn’t always the best indicator. Taking progress photos on a regular basis can be a great way to track your progress, because you can compare your first photo with your most recent. Always take the photo in the same mirror at the same angle, and you should see the progress more clearly, you could take a photo every 2 weeks.
You could also try using measuring tape to measure your hips and your waist area to check for changes in body composition. The best way to track progress would be to use all 3 of these methods, so you get a good idea of whether your current routine and diet is working, and if it needs any changes.
The best way to keep on track with your goals is to stick to a realistic exercise plan and diet plan that will allow you to work towards your goals, without being too strict. Be sure not to embark on any fad diets, but do keep track of your diet and exercise plan. The most important part is to set yourself small goals to achieve, and stay consistent!
Show us your 'little wins' and results by tagging us in your posts @requipt_fitness!