When you set sight on a goal, especially a big one, it can be overwhelming especially when you’re really set on making things work. As a health coach the phrase I hear so often is “I want to make ‘this’ a lifestyle,” as one refers to fitness. The biggest thing that people don’t realize is that being able to turn something into a lifestyle requires little steps to add in new habits to that ones that exist forcing old habits to weed itself out.
For example instead of completely changing your eating habits from junk food junkie to health nut overnight, make small changes like drinking a glass of water before having your current breakfast of 3 donuts and a coffee. Or if you’re used to having a really heavy lunch like fried chicken, roasted potatoes, and a cocktail; like I was, then add a salad or something more wholesome to eat prior to your entree. You’ll probably find that after eating that salad you’ve become too full for your entree and have more energy because you’re nourishing your body with greens that are filled with vitamins and macronutrients to fuel your body. Making the smallest changes like this can help improve your health and will build upon the building blocks you need to become successful with your wellness goals.
In the case of exercise I apply the same concept. Most people start a fitness journey thinking that they need to go for the gold or start training like an athlete the day they commit to their fitness goals. The one thing that keeps me focused and steady is constantly reminding myself that fitness is an evolution of health for a person. It ebbs and flows through our lives and is a tool that allows us to move through our lives with ease.
If you’ve never exercised a day in your life it’s a good idea to start small while keeping your long term goals in mind. Incorporate 3 days of exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Once you’ve created your standard of exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes 3 days a week, challenge yourself by adding another day or adding more length of time. Every small start counts and it adds to building the self confidence you need to challenge yourself for more.
When you’re ready for more, here are a few ways to raise the bar and push your limits with health and fitness:
Incorporate one new vegetable or healthy food item in your weekly menus. Nutrition can be tricky and understanding what forms of theories of nutrition that work for you can be really confusing at first. The beauty of it all is that we are one big walking science experiment and we are the experts. Try something new and see how your body responds to it. You’ll know it had a positive impact if you’ve gotten more energy from it, you like the flavors, and your body just seems to thrive from it. Signs that it’s not good can be simple as bloating, minor inflammation, or your palette simply hates the flavor. I used to hate kale. It was bitter, unappealing, and just a pain to cook with initially. Now I love kale and drink it daily in my green juice.
Join a fitness challenge and get your friends to do it. Fitness challenges are everywhere on the internet these days and you can even create your own with some friends. They are typically short lasting no longer than 30-90 days and if you’ve got a competitive spirit, it can be fun to empower your friends to try something new. Kohl’s is currently hosting an awesome sweepstakes with their Kohl’s Bear Crawl Challenge. All you have to do is share a photo or video tagging @Kohls and #BearCrawlChallengeSweepstakes on Twitter and/or Instagram of your bear crawl and you enter for a chance to win an incredible prize: A 1 $1000 Kohl's gift card. 10 runner-up winners will each receive a $100 gift card from Kohl's as well. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 or older. Ends 11:59 pm CT on 3/31/17. See Official Rules for full details including eligibility, prize descriptions & limitations. Void where prohibited.
Try a new fitness class with friends. Sustaining a long term goal requires support from those around you. I’m a fan of weight training and traditional body building type of exercises, but I also love being able to find new ways to move my body and bringing my friends along with me. At least once a month we go and try a new workout class together: boxing, barre, yoga, or spin classes. I love being able to sweat and smile with friends, it’s such a great bonding opportunity.
In addition to this awesome new challenge, Under Armour just recently launched at Kohl’s. Completely convenient for me since there’s a Kohl's store located in my neighborhood. I’m a fan of black, we all know this from my monochromatic activewear attire posts all over my Intstagram. One of the key features I love about Under Armour is their Coldblack technology that reflects heat and IR rays so that even dark colors don’t get hot under the sun. A key feature for me while I’m out about riding my bike with the family this summer.
Never forget that every effort counts and no effort is too small. There are moments even now just a little over 3 years into my healthy lifestyle where I find myself needing the extra push and motivation and what keeps me going is remembering to discount even the smallest efforts like choosing fruit over a cookie or having a healthy clean nutritious meal over deep fried chicken wings. These small changes are the ones that’ll keep you going and just imagine how amazing you will feel a year from now if you keep going.
Shop my other favorite Under Armour looks at Kohl's here:
I was compensated to write this post by Kohl’s and Popsugar, but as always all thoughts are my own.
photography by Encarnacion Photography