No doubt many of you thought the very same thing after Christmas, “I’m going to get healthy after the holidays”, and you build yourself up ready for that first day back after New Year’s Day where you are going to push it, feel the burn, and get yourself fit. Unfortunately, what probably happened is that you spent the day after New Year’s Day still hungover, pushed the remote control button many times, felt heartburn, and felt terribly unfit, possibly more so than any time in your life! But, you are not alone, with all the will in the world, we struggle with an exercise regime after the New Year, and it seems that most people give up before the end of the month because it’s too difficult. So, this brings us to an important question, are there any ways for you to prepare to get fit? Well, preparation is key, so here are some of the things you can do to help get yourself mentally fit, so you can get physically fit.
Learn To Breathe
Yes, the key to proper workouts is actually breathing properly. Believe it or not, most people don’t breathe properly in everyday life, and this so-called shallow breathing can impact us in every aspect of our life, especially when we exercise. We need to take in more oxygen, so we can get the blood flowing, and so gain more strength when we are lifting that heavy weight. There is a breathing technique that bodybuilders use called the Valsalva, which is where you hold your mouth shut but push the air out, so it’s still in your body, which gives you that little bit more strength to lift an extremely heavy weight. Breathing properly, and making the most of any breathing technique will be more useful to you in your workouts than you realize. When we exercise, the temptation when we are doing the last 5 reps or pushing it that little bit further, is to hold our breath. But this doesn’t always benefit us, especially if we don’t take in enough oxygen. So, be aware of your breathing, and before you go into any work out environments, practice deep breathing through the nose, and exhaling through the mouth. This will give you a bit more edge in your workout than you realize.
Have The Correct Workout Apparel
It’s surprising how much of a distraction the old pair of shorts you dug out of the wardrobe actually are. If you haven’t exercised for many years, they don’t fit anymore. So it’s important for you to get some workout shorts, shirts, and trainers that will help you do the job properly. It all depends on the exercises you plan on doing. For example, if you plan on doing a lot of strength training, a pair of trainers is unlikely to give you that support you need, and you may be better off with flat shoes, such as Converse because it gives you that flatness you need to dig your heels into the ground. Or if you are planning on going running, you might benefit from having a consultation with a running shoe expert. In addition to these types of things, you would benefit from materials that help your body breathe so you won’t feel so uncomfortable during the workout. It’s important not to wear restrictive clothing during a workout so that you can breathe easily and the blood can flow properly. Some materials can actually help with blood flow, and compression socks are one of those things that can help. There are plenty of sites like www.SockwellSocks.com that sell these socks, but it’s always important to have material that is comfortable, functional, and will aid your workout. When it comes to shirts, breathable fabrics like cotton are always the best. You’re going to be working up a major sweat, so you don’t want distractions stopping you getting that last important rep.
This is harder than you realize, especially when you are starting after a long time away from the gym. The temptation for so many of us to complete the required amount of reps usually results in us compromising our form. This is a very bad idea. Not only will you cheat your way to completing those reps, but you may also be doing them in such an incorrect way that you’d be doing yourself some long-term damage. So, think about the exercises you really want to do, and you can prepare the proper form. This is why so many people start off with light weights. If you are planning on doing something like strength training, or you are trying to get fit quickly for a specific reason, the superficiality of completing a workout can outweigh exercising with proper form, which is not the way to go. For something like strength training, and the fundamental exercises like squats, there are a lot of things to think about when it comes to proper form, not just putting your butt to the ground. You need to make sure that your knees aren’t going past your feet, your back and your shoulders are upright, and if you don’t know these things and you are flying blind when beginning a workout regime, you will stick to these bad habits, and you won’t see the gains that you need.
Learning To Focus
This is another thing, like learning to breathe, that we can benefit from in an intense workout routine. The importance of focus and reducing distractions means you will put your all into the task, but you will work harder to complete it. People can feel embarrassed in the gym if they have to grunt and groan to complete those last few reps, but if that’s what you need to do, then so be it. You need to learn focus and concentration, and this will help. There are websites like www.Lifehacker.com that can give you exercises and hints on learning the importance of concentration, but also in quieting down that voice inside your head that says “I can’t do it”. We all have those thoughts, but we need to learn how to control them. Consider reading Brandon Webb’s book Total Focus. It really helped me put value on the important things.
The actual act of getting fit and exercising is the final piece of the puzzle, but to make it an easier task, you should think about putting these things in place first.