Working hard to stay active and fit isn’t just a healthy habit—it’s a choice you make that leads you down a path. And the longer you follow that path, the more you learn about yourself and what your body is capable of.
Maintaining a regular fitness routine involves hard work, dedication, and believing that you can achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Whether you’re working out to lose weight, build muscle, and/or just retain your BMI, there are lessons to learn along the way.
Here are seven things I learned on my path to fitness that I’d like to share with you with the hope that you’ll find them not only relatable but also inspirational.
1. Respect Your Body.
When we look in the mirror, chances are that most of us immediately see our flaws and can’t help but focus exclusively on them. It’s natural to be hard on ourselves, but one lesson I learned early on in my fitness journey is that if I want to improve how my body looks on the outside and how it functions on the inside, I need to embrace my body and respect both its capabilities and its current limitations. My body is my friend, not my enemy, and by treating it as such, I have a better attitude about my body and my relationship to it.
2. Establish a Routine.
It’s possible to have an on-again, off-again relationship with your fitness routine. I don’t recommend it. Maybe you work out one day but not the next. Maybe you talk yourself into not going to the gym because you’re too tired or too sore. Guess what? You can do yourself a huge favor by establishing a routine. Pick a convenient time every day to work out and stick to it. Otherwise, working out only when it suits you isn’t going to lead to consistency, which is what you want if you want to be healthy and stay in shape.
3. Set Realistic Goals.
Staying motivated is a huge, helpful component of any successful fitness routine. Think about it: how good do you feel after you’ve accomplished something that you thought you might not have been able to? I learned that one way to stay motivated is to set goals—and not just any goals, but realistic ones. Say, for example, that one of your goals is to run three miles in under 40 minutes. You’re not going to achieve that goal without easing yourself into a routine that allows you to gradually condition and train your body. By setting realistic goals (run for five minutes, and then ten minutes, and then so on) and achieving each one, your confidence in yourself will grow and you’ll be determined to keep striving to reach the small goals, the big goals, and every goal in between.
4. Surround Yourself With People Who Support You.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a strong support system in place when it comes to maintaining your fitness routine. It’s an amazing feeling when you sense that there are people who are cheering you on and excited about everything that your path to fitness entails. If you’re lucky, you’ll even find a person (perhaps a workout buddy) who holds you accountable—a.k.a. makes sure you’re sticking to your routine—and encourages you to keep up the good work. Encouragement from one or more special people in your life can go a long way.
5. What You Wear Matters.
I used to wear a shirt and shorts to the gym. Gone are those days! Why? Because I learned it’s not just my workout gear (barbells, yoga mats, jump ropes, and the like) that help me burn calories. Kewlioo offers an incredible selection of sportswear products that allow you to increase your perspiration and tone your muscles. The saunawear line features vests, shirts, shorts, waist toners, and more—all designed to make you sweat, release toxins, and increase metabolism! It’s such a fantastic (and no-brainer) way to take your fitness routine to the next level.
6. Avoid Shortcuts and Excuses.
Tempting as it may be not to do that last set of squats and just call it a day, I’ve learned that it’s best to avoid taking shortcuts and making excuses. They certainly don’t do your fitness routine any favors. To quote the poet Maya Angelou: “Nothing will work unless you do.” Sure, you might have a bad day or experience a setback, but you’ve got to keep up your momentum. You owe it to yourself and to all the progress you’ve made so far.
7. Find Joy Along This Path.
Let’s face it: it’d be so much easier to sit on the couch and watch TV rather than to go on a brisk walk, do some yoga, or go to the gym. In this sense, then, working out can sometimes feel like a chore. So here’s the seventh and final lesson I’d like to share with you: find and appreciate all the simple joys and pleasures that come from working out on a regular basis. The fresh air you breathe when you’re out on a brisk walk or a jog . . . the camaraderie you feel between you and the people you meet at the gym . . . the way your muscles feel when you complete that last set of lunges . . . these joys are all worth recognizing and celebrating.
Everyone’s path to fitness is different, but our paths run parallel in the sense that we all have ambitions, experience struggles, and retain a shared passion for wanting to be our best selves. That said, we can all learn from each other and share stories/lessons that can be useful and reassuring.
None of us are alone as we continue to pursue this path to fitness. Rather, we are all in this together—improving our bodies, staying focused, and trusting that all our hard work is incredibly worthwhile.