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7 Ways to Stay In Shape without Trying

Posted Mar 12 2009 5:46am



Image by Readers Digest


#1: Cut Back on the Alcohol

I don't know what it feels like to get drunk. I've never done it and probably never will. Call me a prude, but I just think it's ridiculous to lose your inhibitions, especially if you are in a public place such as a bar or nightclub (where people usually get "wasted"). But I do drink, maybe once a month when I'm with my cousin. We get together to reflect on our lives and other "guy" stuff." The point here is that alcohol is bad for health and fitness. I'm not going to go into the fact that excessive alcoholuse affects sleep patterns and suppresses Testosterone levels. There are numerous studies and articles talking about this very topic. You don't ha ve to gi ve up alcohol, but just cut back on it. Make it "special" the way I do it: once a month in good company.

#2: Realize What Counts

Most people struggle on a daily basis to find the "why." Why am I training so hard? Why am I sacrificing that pizza for this health food? If you keep having to question yourself, then you probably won't get far enough. Yes, everyone hits a wall in their training and needs to "dig deeper" in order to progress. But if you can find a truly meaningful reason why you are doing what you are doing, then you'll never ha ve trouble getting up out of bed everyday and working out. My reason? My grandmother. I see her struggling to walk, struggling with diabetes, and struggling with joint pain. I don't want to be her when I grow up. I want to be in even better shape when I'm in my 70's than I was in my 50's, 30's and 20's.

#3: Always Look for a Challenge

The biggest problem people ha ve with their training programs is that they get bored of them. Even if you design a program with steady progressions for 8-12 weeks, you might just get tired of doing the same kind of exercises day in and day out. Instead, focus on challenging yourself every once in a while with a new exercise, training style, or workout. Instead of perform 3x10 pushups in every workout, try 10x3 handstand pushups. Instead of distance running, try sprints. Another option, if you want to stick to your current training program but still want to mix things up, is to do a weekend challenge. Every weekend, or once a month, try to design some sort of intense, challenging workout, and go do it just for fun.



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#4: Take Things One Day at a Time

You've designed this really great, 12 week program. On the second week, you missed a workout because of some family or work commitment. Oh no! How are you going to make up the workout, and how is it going to affect the rest of the weeks you planned out? This is precisely why I'm against long-term detail planning. You should plan in detail for the short-term, perhaps 2-3 workouts ahead of time. But your long term planning should be blocked out by general goals and changes you want to introduce. The reason for this is that life is random and things happen. Just take things one day at a time. If you miss one day, be sure to pick it up the day after.

#5: Get Up off your Butt

I sit in front of the computer maybe 4-5 hours a day, but I still find time to move around. Go to your kids and play with them for a while. Go out for a walk around the block, just to clear your mind. These simple acts might seem like nothing, but they add up. It's like putting pennies in a jar: it all adds up in the long run. Now, I'm not saying that simply walking around the house and doing chores is going to get you ripped and strong. No, the main idea here is to be more active. Also, when you sit in one place for too long, it screws up your back. Most people don't have very good posture, and being in one position for hours on end is not very healthy.



Image by Straight To The Bar

#6: Don't Forget to Rest

I think what happens to a lot of young guys and gym rats is that we forget to rest. I've gotten better results when I dropped my training from 6 days a week to 3 days a week. Being well-rested has allowed me to put more effort behind one single workout, resulting in more intense training sessions, resulting in improved strength and conditioning. But rest doesn't just mean days off from your workouts. Rest also means getting enough sleep. You've heard this a dozen times: you need to sleep. I can't tell you how much sleep you need, since everyone is different. I get around 8-9 hours of sleep per night. I've met people who function perfectly with 5-6 hours per sleep a night.

#7: Focus on the Long Term

I believe that progress should come slow and steady. I make a horrible fitness marketer because I'm bad at lying. The truth is that whatever goes up, must come down. So if you lose fat really fast, you have a greater chance of gaining it all back. If you put on muscle really fast, you have a greater chance of losing it quickly. Now, there are certainly exceptions to this rule, however these individuals are often able to make quick changes to their lifestyle and be able to maintain these quick changes. Most people can not turn back 20 years of bad eating in 2 months. I believe that to be impractical. Now, let me just clarify one thing. I have lost close to 15 lbs of fat in 3 months, but you must realize that my body was "shocked" into this fat loss, since I had gone from low-intensity training to high-intensity training. So yes, a complete beginner is also able to accomplish such results. But also realize that the true battle is not fat loss, it is maintaining the fat loss and continually improving with your training.

About the Author

Parth Shah is an average joe who’s tired of all the nonsense he sees in mainstream health and fitness media. His thoughts, ideas, and philosophy can be found on his website, (Feed - )

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