How To Get Started
Hi Fit Fam,
First of all I would like to say congratulations for taking the first step towards a journey that is going to change your life. When I began my health and fitness journey I hadn’t realized the ways in which it would change my perception of the world as a whole. To make this transition period easy for you I have made a step-by-step guide to help ease you into this new lifestyle. Feel like I should again state that I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer, the steps below are just what worked for me!
1. Choose your nutritional approach. I have written articles on IIFYM: If It Fits You Macros and Clean Eating, which seem to be the most popular approaches to nutrition but there are others you should take time to learn about as well.
- Paleo (The Caveman Diet): This approach to nutrition seeks to emulate the way we used to eat when we were cavemen. This means no grains, no sugar and no processed foods. When I wasn’t a vegetarian I adapted this way of eating and found great success. To learn more please read Nerd Fitness’ The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet
- Ketogenic (Keto Diet): This approach to nutrition is a low card approach to fat loss, similar to the Atkins or South Beach Diet. Followers of this approach swear you need to “eat fat to lose fat”. To learn more please read BodyBuilding.com’s 2-part article called The Keto Diet: A Low-Carb Approach To Fat Loss.
When picking a nutruitional approach you should consider a few things: 1) How well it will fit into your lifestyle, 2) Will this approach help you become a better person physically and mentally, 3) Can you see yourself adapting this approach for life? These are questions you really need to think about because this isn’t just a 1 month diet to fit into a dress, this is a lifestyle change!
2. Begin meal planning! Meal planning is very important especially when transitioning. Each nutritional approach has a different method to meal prep so it is important you do your research. Below are a number of resources I have found to help you get an idea of how to plan for your day to day life.
- IIFYM: If It Fits You Macros: I have provided the link to my article because in this article I describe how to calculate your required macro nutrients for each day! For a more in depth description of how to meal plan using the IIFYM approach, please read The Beginners Guide to IIFYM by TrimmedAndToned.com
- Clean Eating: When I began following this nutritional approach a number of links really helped me understand the types of foods that would become a staple in my diet. LiveLifeActive.com has created a list of approved foods for the Clean Eating approach. Another one of my favourite links that helped a tremendous amount was Prevention.com’s list of the 100 Cleanest Packaged Foods. This not only gave you an idea of what products to look for but also which brands to choose. Lastly, LaurenMuchko.com has a great article one How to Prep to Eat Clean for those just starting out.
- Paleo: When I was Paleo I found that PaleoFoodList.com was a lifesaver! Anytime I was confused about an ingredient I would consult this webpage’s lists to ensure it was Paleo. Another good website is Paleononpaleo.com who has written an article of 10 Paleo Food Tips to Give You A Jump Start on The Week Ahead
- Ketogenic: Unfortunatly I am not very knowledgeable on the Keto diet so I haven’t used any links for this. However if you are looking for a meal plan to follow instead of creating your own I suggest reading CavemanKeto.com’s 7 Day Keto Meal Plan
For all these approaches I highly recommend prepping your meals for the entire week! It ensures that you are prepared and have no excuses not to follow your approach to nutrition. Especially in the first week, it is hard to resist bad habits but when you are prepared there is less of a chance that you will cave in!
3. Plan your workouts! By planning your workouts ahead of time you wont waste time in the gym wondering, “Hmm okay what should I do next”. Also, this helps keep you motivated! When you have your workouts planned out you are less likely to leave the gym early –you will want to stay and accomplish everything on your check-list.
The one App that I use is called Full Fitness (it is for iPhones). This App allows you to create custom workouts, track and record your weight, reps and speed, and also provides you with helpful images and explanations if you have any questions! Don’t think that you need any special applications to help you with this though, a simple list written on a piece of paper is just as good.
It is also good to plan your workouts by days. The following is how I separate my workouts:
4. Track your progress! Go out and get yourself a journal and write down everything. Write down how much you weigh, write down what you eat, write down how it makes you feel. A great App for this is My Fitness Pal. This App allows you to track all your macro and micro nutrients but providing you with a calorie counter that has almost every food product you can imagine! This App also allows you to track your weight and physical activities. Highly recommend this App!
5. Stay positive! Just like Rome was not built in a day, you dream body isn’t going to happen over night. Set milestones for your self as mini victories to your end goal. For example, when I have gone down a certain % of body fat it feels like a reason to be happy, other than being upset that you still haven’t reached your end goal body fat %.
I hope this has helped guide you in the right direction! If you have any questions please be sure to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org