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5 Myths about Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

5 Myths about Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

As the New Year rolls along, you can bet that almost every resolution you hear includes the iron clad “get healthy” resolution at the top of the list. Your gym, which is normally far below maximum capacity is now bursting at the seams with people and it’s miserable for the first two weeks of the year, but if you have a bit a patience it will return to normal by week three. Why? Because believing the following workout myths will keep the results at bay and people quickly lose motivation.

We’ve all been there, starting the year off with good intentions to hit the gym 3-4 days per week, eat healthy and be a healthier version of you. Right?! So why does it fizzle so quickly? Do we really understand how to achieve better overall health and more importantly, maintain it? Achieving an overall healthy lifestyle is easier than you think if you ignore these common myths:

Myth #1: I don’t have time to workout

I hear this myth all the time. “I don’t have time to work out.” Truth be told, you can start on a path toward better health by simply adding 30 minutes of activity to your day.

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The activity doesn’t have to be in the gym, you can pick something that fits comfortably into your current lifestyle. A few healthy options include walking your dog, taking your shorter breaks at work to walk laps around the building outside, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the store. You will see your efforts will make you feel better and you will want to increase your time naturally.

Myth #2: I’d have to spend hours at the gym to see results

Okay, I get it. Walking isn’t your thing but you have a gym membership you’ve been paying on for six years yet have never stepped foot in the gym. Why? Because ain’t nobody got time to spend hours in the gym. I hear you and I’ve got good news and bad news; the bad news is that you can’t get that money back but the good news is, you CAN start utilizing the gym and I challenge you to start with only 45 minutes.

Start with a 20 minute cardio warmup like a brisk walk on the treadmill or elliptical then move on to free weights for the remaining 25 minutes. Voila! You just kick-started your healthy gym habit and a got a workout in less than an hour.

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Myth #3: I can achieve results by doing only cardio or strength training

You’ve got your favorite type of workout, I get it because I do too. But, only focusing on cardio or strength and not creating a workout that incorporates both will leave you frustrated. You can drop weight with cardio but you will hit a plateau and if you aren’t toning at the same time you will find yourself with flabby skin. Toning with no cardio will only get you so far, so do yourself a favor and add in a healthy mix of both for maximum results.

Myth #4: I work out regularly so I can eat whatever I want

I believe this is the biggest myth of all. Many people believe they can eat whatever as long as they are pounding it out at the gym and it’s simply not true. Diet accounts for about 80% which is a HUGE part of whether you will be successful in achieving overall health.

Research has proven that you can lose and maintain a healthy weight by modifying how you eat. Notice I didn’t say how much you eat, rather how you eat. It’s not about dieting, depriving yourself or eating less. It’s about eating more of the foods that are good for you: healthy carbs, protein, leafy vegetables and fruits.

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Making simple substitutions at meal time will sustain a long term healthy lifestyle change. If you feel you are eating healthy but the weight isn’t budging, try keeping a food journal – you may be surprised to find that you could make small modifications to get on the right track.

Myth #5: It’s too expensive to be healthy

Let’s think about this – gyms cost money, eating healthy foods that you purchase from a store and prepare costs more than pulling in a drive-thru so the two combined equals more expensive, right? Wrong. With the increase of pop up gyms that cater to those who want a low cost solution, you can get a gym membership with no monthly contract for $10 a month or better yet get out and walk for free or purchase DVD’s to work out at home.

Food prices continue to rise and although healthy options can be higher than buying pre-packaged food, you can save in this area as well. Plan your meals around the weekly sales, stock up on fruits and veggies from your local farmer’s market and buy your meat in bulk. Let’s face it, the cost of being unhealthy far outweighs that of being healthy when you add up ailments, doctor co-pays and prescription costs.

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Creating a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. With the minor tweaks that I mention and a dedication to dispelling these myths you will be on your path to overall better health in no time.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Jasmine Bryant

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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