this is the single most important rule. it doesn’t matter what you track or how, but track something related to your body every day. before you even set a goal, find your baseline. I tracked my weight and body fat percentage in a spreadsheet (download example). you can also use our trackbodi.es ios apps to track your workouts and body stats, see your results against your goals and share your success with your social networks (see #3).
set goals – near and far
set goals that both push you (longer term or ultimate goals) and motivate you with frequent achievement (short term goals). this isn’t meant to be a walk in the park, nor is it meant to be unachievable. build balanced personal challenges with clear timeframes – for instance, I want to lose 30 lbs by the summer and 5 lbs by the end of the month. as an example from my life, my ultimate goal was to go from 222 to 180 by the end of 2011. I did it 3 months early. my next goal was to get to 10% body fat or below by July 1st, 2012 (the 1 year mark for my fitness journey). I started at 19.5%, and finished 2011 at 13%. I hit the <10% mark on April 16th, 2012, and was down to 7% by July 1st. I’ve stayed around 10% since then. you can apply the same logic to life goals as to working out. if you want to go for 20 minutes of cardio and that scares you, look at it in 5 minute chunks. don’t think about running 10 miles, pick a spot in the distance at get yourself there before you pick the next spot to reach. set the ultimate goal, and win your way there, step-by-step.
being open about your goals, your performance, etc is crucial for several reasons. first, it gives you a pep squad to cheer you on and pick you up on the tough days. second, by going public, you create social pressure that will reinforce your need to succeed – you are essentially guilting yourself into not failing. third, it can be fun to boast about your successes now and then. a great way to do this is with something as simple as twitter or facebook status updates (the only thing I use fb for). there are a few good sites that help you do this that you can find in the links page.
don’t question it
letting doubt in is the first step to failing. nike was right – just do it. don’t start arguing with the rules of the diet or how you can’t make it work because you love xyz. do you love your body? are you happy? really? obviously, you can do and be better, or you wouldn’t be here. same for exercise. if you stop and think about whether you have it in you, you will find reasons not to have it in you. if you just do it, you get it done. stop questioning, and start doing.
be smart about it
it’s all about the minimum effective dose (MED) and being smart with food (like using cayenne pepper to control inflammation and boost metabolism), not about working out for hours each day. instead of going long and constant on a machine at the gym, use intervals to spike burning for hours after your workout. use your intelligence – your results will follow.
don’t just do one thing during your workout. do a couple of cardio activities. try some weights. do some body weight exercises. mix it up. keep it interesting. and for cardio, don’t set it on manual, open a magazine, and zone out. intervals, my friend, intervals. oh, and try fartlek, especially if you run. it’s not just about keeping it fresh and interesting so you don’t bore of anything, but because your body burns more with varied intensity and style than constant. your MED will be lower with variety than without it.
win every day
every day, find something to make that day your best. whether it’s going longer or farther than you’ve ever gone in some exercise, hitting a new top speed, breaking a bad habit or something else, find a reason to make each day feel like you’ve achieved something. success begets success. build that pattern starting today.
find ways to make it work, and be sure those around you are on board with food choices, etc. they don’t have to do it, but they need to respect it. tim ferriss goes over how he’s not a great cook, and relies on canned products for a lot of his cooking. this is the point – find ways to simplify what you think is too hard to keep up with, and you will follow a better diet much more closely and easily. this idea applies to all aspects of being healthier – working out, eating right, having more positive thoughts, etc. an example with food for me, it’s precooking my morning omelets, and for you, it may be eating a newbodi.es slow carb bar instead of eggs. it doesn’t matter so long as it works for you and removes the hurdles you see to being healthier.
find a coach, not a partner
workouts are always easier with a friend, but that’s because you probably are socializing and underperforming. you want to get the most out of each minute, so get someone who will motivate you, but give you the space to do it yourself. tim ferriss puts it really well – a friend spotting you will take most of the weight while shouting, “all you!” you don’t need that. it won’t help. the same goes for the overall approach – having someone there to be honest with you, push you, motivate you and celebrate real wins with you can greatly increase your chances of success. check out our coaching approach and plans to see what this is all about.
there are a lot of inspiring and amazing books out there. expand your mind, and you will lift your body at the same time. here are some good ones to get you going.