When it comes to getting fit, there are a lot of options out there. How do you know which path is right for you and will lead you to success? It can be tough to figure out – but don’t worry, here’s a quick guide to help you define your fitness path, set health goals that match your unique needs, and stay motivated along your self-improvement journey.
Defining Your Fitness Path
The first step to starting your fitness journey is to hone in on your goals:
- What do you want to achieve primarily?
- Do you want to lose body fat, build muscle, or improve your overall health?
Once you know your goal, you can start creating a plan of action.
If you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll need to create a calorie deficit. This means that you’ll need to burn more calories than you consume each day. There are a few ways to do this, such as reducing your calorie intake and increasing your physical activity. Or, you can do both simultaneously.
Build Muscle on Your Fitness Path
If you’re looking to build muscle, you’ll need to focus on strength training. This type of exercise will help you develop sculpted mass and improve your overall body composition. To get started, you can do resistance training at home or lift weights at a gym.
Improve Overall Health
If you’re looking to improve your overall health, you’ll need to focus on both diet and exercise:
- Eating a healthy diet is important for maintaining a healthy weight, reducing your risk of chronic diseases, and providing your body with the beneficial food-based chemicals it needs to function correctly.
- Exercise is also vital for overall health as it can help reduce your risk of chronic diseases, increase your lifespan, and amp-up your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories you burn while at rest).
However, keep in mind that improving overall health includes mental health, too.
No amount of dieting or exercise can completely offset the effects of habitual negative thinking.
So while you’re training your body, train your mind, too – by habitually focusing your awareness on the more positive aspects of your life for which you can feel grateful.
How To Set Fitness Goals
Now that you know what your primary goal is, it’s time to identify some action steps or specific goals.
Action steps should be specific, realistic, and achievable.
For example, if your primary goal is to lose weight:
- A specific goal could be to lose five pounds in four weeks.
- A realistic goal would be to lose one to two pounds per week.
- And an achievable goal would be to work out three times per week and eat a healthy diet.
If you’re looking to build muscle, a specific goal could be to add two inches to your arms in eight weeks. A realistic goal would be to add half an inch of muscle each week. And an achievable goal would be to lift weights three times per week and eat a diet rich in protein.
No matter what your primary goal is, it’s important to set specific goals or action steps that are realistic and achievable. This will prevent you from becoming discouraged – and help you stay on track and motivated for your fitness journey.
How To Stay Motivated For Your Fitness Journey
The final step in starting your fitness journey is to find ways to stay consistent. This can be difficult, especially if you’re not seeing results immediately. However, you can do a few things to have a successful program.
Make a goal of doing at least one activity that you really like each day. You’re less likely to continue your workout if you don’t enjoy it.
Finally, seek out support from family and friends. They can help you stay accountable and motivated to reach your goals.
One key principle of defining your best fitness path is to stay consistent on your health journey by surrounding yourself with encouraging people.
Use Science-Based Principles to Define Your Fitness Path
It’s helpful to assess credible clinical research studies to see if they apply to your situation. Doing so will help you avoid wasting your time on methods that don’t actually work.
The abstracts of research studies are often misleading and easily misinterpreted, so you’ll need access to meta-analyses of all available data on fitness and nutrition for someone your age – preferably of randomized control trials (in which subjects are subjected to either an intervention group or a placebo group).
To help you get started, here are some helpful facts from recent research.
Good Health = Ample Vitamin D
A double-blind, parallel, randomized trial (see sources below) of healthcare workers from four hospitals has established that those who received vitamin D supplementation had a 77% reduced chance of getting Covid. What’s more, this result occurred whether or not a worker was deficient in the vitamin!
Since most people in today’s developed countries are deficient in vitamin D, you could be, too. Ask your doctor about taking Vitamin D supplements.
Walking the Fitness Path Makes You Younger
Walking is good for humans. We’ve been doing it for so long (160,000+ years) that it’s built into physiology as the ultimate wellness maintainer. Researchers recently looked at the DNA of 400,000 adults and established a clear link between the pace of walking and longevity.
Telomeres (the caps at the end of chromosomes that determine biological age) are longer in people who walk briskly regularly. Using wrist activity trackers and DNA analysis, scientists can conclude that brisk walkers have up to 20 years longer life expectancy than slower walkers.
And the walks don’t have to be marathons, either. Even 10 minutes a day makes a positive difference.
Your Magnesium Levels Are Probably Suboptimal
Researchers recalculated the recommended daily allowance for magnesium based on updated average body weights in 2021. They came up with a new RDA for adult men of about 625 milligrams per day (more or less, depending on height and weight) and about 500 milligrams per day for adult women. Using the US as an example, the average magnesium intake is about 342 milligrams per day for men and about 265 milligrams per day for women. This is suboptimal and can negatively impact overall health. Ask your doctor about using magnesium supplements.
It’s Not What You Eat; It’s What You Absorb
You could eat – or supplement – with the recommended dietary allowance for every vitamin and mineral in existence; however, if your small intestine is not absorbing these nutrients, it will make little positive difference and waste your time and money.
What do scientists know now that they didn’t know 50 years ago? That the condition of your gut is stunningly more important to your overall health than was previously realized.
When patients – hoping to start on a new fitness path – report to their doctors that they’re having intense food cravings, subsequent tests will often reveal small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth, fungus, parasites, or some other gut microbiome imbalance.
Researchers have now established that mice will have food cravings based on their previous diets, which, in turn, further influences the health of the gut in the mouse. It becomes a vicious cycle. For example, the purpose of a parasite is to stay alive, so if it thrives on sugar, it will make you crave sugar even though you don’t thrive on sugar.
How Weight Loss Can Be Part Of Your Fitness Journey
When it comes to fitness, weight loss is often one of the first things people think about. And for good reason! Carrying around excess weight can take a toll on your health, energy levels, and overall quality of life.
If you’re facing body image issues, there are a few things you need to do. First, you need to create a calorie deficit. This means that you need to burn more calories than you consume each day. There are a few ways to do this, such as reducing your calorie intake and increasing your physical activity.
Second, You’ll want to make sure that you focus on eating a nutritious diet. This implies consuming lots of vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Your weight loss will be more effective if you avoid processed meals and alcohol.
Be shame-free and patient. People come in all shapes and sizes – that diversity helps to make life beautiful. It’s okay to want to look better naked, but let the primary motivation for improving your body composition be so that you become even healthier than you are right now.
Weight loss takes time, and focusing on making lifelong changes is essential rather than scrambling to achieve goals quickly.
For most people, there is ample opportunity to improve weekly nutritional habits. However, once you get your diet dialed-in, it doesn’t have to require much more thought. You do your grocery shopping, you do your meal prep, you eat your vegetables – and that’s that.
Once your diet and sleeping habits have been optimized, next comes fitness. And fitness is a fascinating area of your lifestyle upon which to spend time and energy because the improvements you can do – and subsequent rewards you can obtain – are almost limitless.
“There’s no person on the planet who isn’t going to be made better with a more finely tuned exercise program,” explains medical doctor Peter Attia.
Dr. Attia believes there’s a lot of potential for “exercise-based alpha,” or exponential return on investment, for those on the fitness path – as he asks, “How many 80-year-olds in the history of our species have said, ‘I wish I had less muscle; I wish I were less strong?’ Zero!“
How To Incorporate Cardio Into Your Fitness Routine
If you’re looking to add cardio to your routine, there are a few things you need to do. First, you need to find an activity that you enjoy. This can be anything from walking, running, biking, tennis, swimming, gardening, or even dancing.
Second, you need to make sure that you’re doing cardio at least twice each week. This can be done by adding it to your current workout routine or making it a separate workout. Doing one steady-state cardio workout and one anaerobic cardio each week is wise.
Finally, you must ensure that you stay consistent with your cardio workouts. This means sticking to your schedule and not skipping workouts. This is even more important for people who happen to be over the age of 50, as cardiovascular exercise can help improve memory and brain function.
How Strength Training Can Help You on Your Fitness Path
Strength training is a crucial part of any fitness routine. It helps build muscle, improve vein health and bone density, and can even help to improve joint health. It can also make your skin look better.
If you’re looking to add strength training to your routine, there are a few things you need to do. First, you need to find an activity that you enjoy. Exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, dips, rows, and sit-ups are a couple of examples. You may also do bodyweight exercises or resistance bands to build strength.
Second, you must establish a strength-training routine at least twice each week.
The final “cherry on the fitness sundae” is your mobility workout. Once weekly, do a yoga session, Pilates, stretching, or mobility drills. This will keep your joints supple and your muscles limber. Think of your mobility workout as the foundational workout that makes all other workouts possible!
Conclusions about Your Own Fitness Path
There are many different ways to approach fitness, and it’s important to find what works best for you. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, improve your cardiovascular health, or develop muscle, there are a few things you need to do. First, you need to find an activity that you enjoy. Second, you need to make sure that you’re doing it often and consistently.
By implementing the above tips during your fitness journey, you stand a much better chance of achieving a happier result from your efforts.
Additional Sources to Help You on Your Fitness Journey:
Vitamin D Supplements Prevent Covid – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0188440922000455?via%3Dihub
Dr. Chris Kresser on Dietary Interventions that Make a Positive Difference – https://chriskresser.com/category/podcast/
Making Sense of Scientific Studies – https://examine.com/guides/how-to-read-a-study/#why-learn
Walking Reorganizes the Body – https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-022-03323-x
American Glutton Podcast with Ethan Suplee and Dr. Peter Attia on Delaying Disease Onset – https://www.americanglutton.net/listen
An Unhealthy Gut Creates Unhealthy Cravings – https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.2117537119