Fitness Level

for some people, exercise is a chore. it's something they "have to do", and they want to get it over with as quickly and easily as possible. for others exercise is great fun! it's not an intrusion on an otherwise perfect day. rather, it's an activity that helps to make that day perfect. what's the difference between these people? attitude!
we know that you need a positive attitude toward exercise, to make it fun. how do you get that? how do you make the change? let's look at a few ideas.
challenge yourself.

some of us respond well to challenges. if we see a goal that seems unattainable, we want to work even harder to attain it. if that look in the mirror shows you something about yourself which you feel you can't change, try viewing it as that sort of challenge. you can change it, and you will change it!
give yourself an incentive.
take a look in the mirror, and pick out something you want to improve. mentally direct your exercise session, and your thoughts about exercise, toward that improvement. speak to your trainer about what you might do between sessions to effect that improvement. as you approach your goal and begin to visualize the results of all your work, your effort will become less like work and more like fun.
using intensity can advance progress.
what does it mean to use intensity in your workout? it is quite simple. do it just a little harder. that's how you improve in anything in life, isn't it? when you want to increase your time on a bike ride from 20 miles in an hour to 30 miles in an hour, push harder than you did that last time you rode. pretty soon you will be doing it regularly! want to build muscle better and faster? grab a 25 lb. weight instead of a 15 lb., or pump that 15 lb. a few more times! you get the idea.
set reasonable goals.
you are exercising and watching your diet now. you want to lose weight, buff up, and generally get to improve your self-image. how long should it take before you can expect to see some progress?
overblown expectations can totally wreck to a good plan. the diet industry has tried to convince us that you can lose all the weight you want in a minimum amount of time, and keep it off with some magical set of special foods or pills. it just doesn't happen that way. some of those diets will initially reduce weight. they all have testimonials from people who lost a lot of weight. few to none of them have desirable long-term results.
use common sense.
the most intelligent approach is to simply eat reasonably and sensibly, and to exercise. first, you have to find out what's reasonable for you. that's going to depend on several factors, but your current level of fitness is high on the list. your present fitness level will, in large part, dictate just how rapidly you'll be able to burn fat, as your metabolism is directly related to general fitness. the more lean muscle you have, the more bodyfat you can burn, whether exercising or not.
choose the right foods and supplements.
don't just believe what the supplement companies tell you… remember that they are trying to sell a product. once you recognize hype for what it is you can begin to look more objectively at what is out there. don't just accept someone's advice because they are a body builder either. good genetics and/or steroids do not a nutritionist make. there are many that don't really understand proper nutrition outside of what applies directly to them. find a trainer or nutritionist with good credentials who seems to have a grasp on things. do your own investigating by reading books, searching across the internet (be careful there too), and reading credible fitness magazines or newsletters.
make it fun!
anything that we perceive as recreation, we tend to consider fun. if your exercise is cycling, even on a stationary bike, take a little tour in your mind. why do you think "spinning" has taken off so well? once you are having fun playing at exercise, you'll start looking forward to that time and try harder to incorporate it into your daily life as a healthy habit.
don't get discouraged, ever.
sometimes it takes a while before you start seeing improvement. sometimes, the improvement comes in some unexpected place, too. chances are that the first improvements you'll notice are in coordination and endurance. those will take place before you lose any noticeable size, unless you're over-training or not eating properly. don't expect to see a huge difference for at least the first two to three months. most experts in the fitness and exercise field believe that you won't be able to see significant progress for up to 12 weeks. remember these words… don't get discouraged if you don't see things happening right away. you have to give your body time to adjust itself to your new regimen of exercise and diet. if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, your body will eventually begin to reflect how hard you work. it doesn't happen all at once!

(originally by bill whedon with modifications by jp)

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