Often times, when people first come to me with their desire to get healthy and get fit, they expect me to tell them something like, “Well, you’re gonna need to workout 5-6 times a week,” or “Ok, well, you can only eat chicken breast, salad, sweet potatoes, or canned tuna.”

Funniest of all, most clients would be absolutely willing to follow those recommendations for the first week or two, before they want to punch me in the face.

    So when I start asking them questions about their exercise and eating habits and suggest that we don’t start completely from scratch, but instead just try implementing one or two small changes at first their generally a little confused.

Here’s the truth of it, I want my clients to be successful in the long run. That means I want them all to have a healthy relationship with exercise, food, and most importantly their bodies. In order to do that, we need to establish some healthy habits that are not burdensome but are instead manageable.

Here are 5 small changes/strategies most people can make that will yield great results, without making you feel completely overwhelmed and will still allow you to live your life:

   Figure out what the minimum amount of time is that you can commit to the gym and start there.

I know this sounds pretty insane. I can hear it now, Rob how am I ever gonna get shredded/jacked/toned by doing the bare minimum?

Answer: You’re not, but, my guess is that whatever your bare minimum is, it’s still probably more than what you’re doing now.

After you’ve made it into the gym, however many times that minimum number is, for 3 weeks or so, add in another day if you can.

Think of that extra day(s) as a bonus day, not a mandatory requirement. Reason being, when you start missing those mandatory gym sessions, you start to feel guilty and/or like a failure. That will take you to a dark place that will make dislike the gym as opposed to enjoy it. We want you to build a positive healthy relationship with the gym, not a place that brings up negative feelings.
   Keep a workout log.

This is one that so few people do at the gym, and is probably the easiest and most manageable thing you can do which will provide the biggest impact to your exercise goals.

The simple act of writing down the weights, sets, and repetitions you did for each exercise will cause you to then reread those same notes the next time you repeat this workout. It’s pretty hard not to want to do a little better in some small way each time.

Whether it’s just 5 pounds more in an exercise, a few more repetitions with the same weight as last time, or even just one more set than you did previously, you’ve made some progress, and that’s what it’s all about.
    Celebrate the small victories.

To build off that last point, think of each time you add a little weight, an extra rep or set to an exercise, or even just take a little less rest between each set as a new PR (Personal Record). This will help keep you in a positive mindset and continue to help foster that healthy relationship you have with training and exercise.
    Earn your cake! (This one gets an exclamation point)

I like to tell my clients, instead of thinking about restricting yourself from those indulgences we all partake in, earn them.

If you know that your company’s holiday party is coming up for example, instead of trying to white knuckle it through the whole party without having one eggnog or piece of cake, try to make smart food choices the rest of the week and have some kick ass workouts.

All of a sudden that piece of cake (piece being the operative word) or cup of eggnog really doesn’t have such a huge impact.

    It’s always easier to add than to subtract.

This one for the most part pertains more to diet than anything else. Rather than fixating right away on cutting out all the “bad” foods from your diet, focus on adding the “good” foods (I hate labeling food as good or bad, it’s just food, but I understand most people view what they eat through this lens).

Try adding in more of what you’re missing first before you start taking away all those things that you could probably consume less of. For example, start focusing on adding in more veggies to your diet first before cutting out that daily soda or bag of Doritos.

Eventually, it will become much easier to eliminate the “bad” foods from your daily eating habits, simply because there really isn’t room for them if we’re doing everything else right.

I hope you all found these tips helpful. Remember we want long term sustainable healthy habits, not the quick fix, which we’ll inevitably find will fail us in the long run.


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