A survey recently conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that 1.4 Billion people in the world are suffering from obesity. There are countless surveys which show that people want to be lean and fit and healthier, and yet the obesity figures are so high. The reason perhaps is that since the age of computers and online gaming and social networking people have gotten caught up in a routine and in habits that propels them away from a healthy lifestyle. So how does a person change one’s lifestyle and make it healthy? Well overhaul is not an answer because while it’s easy to say that follow a strict diet, exercise plan, put in hours at the gym etc. but such an overhaul either simply can’t be implemented by most people or can’t be maintained over time, which makes such radical advice useless. To start with one needs the right amount of drive and motivation. For that one needs to understand and appreciate the need for fitness.
So why be lean and fit? There are obvious mental or psychological benefits as it improves self-confidence and self-esteem, improves focus and being lean and fit looks good and feels refreshing. There are also important health benefits: It keeps the cholesterol in check, as well as the blood pressure, heart disease can be avoided if a person remains fit, improved energy levels, increased metabolic rate, better coordination, increases insulin sensitivity, increased strength and therefore a reduced risk of back and muscle pains, it keeps the bones strong, helps in sleeping habits and quality of sleep, it even reduces the risk of acquiring certain cancers and Alzheimer. Concentrating on these benefits is a good motivator when trying to change one’s lifestyle and making some sacrifices in terms of over indulgence of food and/or sleep etc.
Now coming to the most important point: how to get lean and fit? Lean means a muscled body and that implies losing fat—not necessarily weight– and gaining muscle; how much muscle depends upon the persons target physique. Well first and foremost one has to make changes to one’s lifestyle. There are three steps to get these changes in place. Eating habits are the first that need to be looked at and regulated. Exercise is also necessary in order to burn calories. The third step is to gain muscle—how much is a question of the type of physique you want.
While many make an initial attempt, many of them lose heart and fail to meet their objective of getting lean and fit. The answer is small steps, don’t overwork yourself initially and then leave it halfway, it is not like a growth spurt but an evolution—your lifestyle has to evolve into and adjust to these changes on its own time. Fitness is a continuous process and a lifestyle. The following steps will help avoid the common mistakes like overdoing it and not regulating diet etc.
- Ease into the changes: Start taking morning and/or evening walks, or go for a run whenever you have free time on your hands. Instead of spending countless hours on the various electronic gadgets, use your time on a treadmill, or a bicycle or any physical sport. Make the physical exertion a routine. Studies have shown that not only would your overall fitness improve but so would your sleeping habits and mental sharpness.
- Once eased in and set into a routine, start pushing yourself, be competitive in sport—nothing motivates a person more than the pursuit of victory, when you go for a jog sprint the final few yards, get your heart pumping because that increases the capacity and hence improves your stamina. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to store to get a few things, keep moving around. If you are a video game fanatic get a nintendo wii nothing beats a workout with a bit of visual fun !
- Along with these exercises another change that you need to incorporate in your lifestyle is a modified eating habit. Don’t starve yourself because strict diets are not only hard to follow but also counter-productive as weight loss can mean loss of muscle as well so the lean mean ideal that you’re striving for also gets bent out of shape. But do try and burn the calories you intake. Start weaning of the excess food; eat light, give in to cravings but never let go of control, gorging on food in single sittings is what harms the Body Mass Index, nibbling a few times, having a fruit at random in a day is in fact helpful.
Now that you have improved your overall level of fitness and stamina by small changes to your lifestyle we get to the main target: getting lean and mean.
- Start targeted exercises now, like stomach crunches and cardio to reduce body fat, this will bring out the muscles underneath the fat. The important thing to note here is take it slow and be patient, and when you eventually get there, you have a physique that is at least close to the ideal that you had thought up off. If you think there is still something to be desired, and then build muscles: hit the gym; low rep high weight. And then you will be at your leanest and meanest.
A fit body also translates to a fit mind as applying these lifestyle modification takes mental composure and strength and once success is achieved the mental satisfaction will leave you sharp and in command of both your mental and physical faculties; these small lifestyle changes will lift your whole outlook and leave you confident both in your skin and in your abilities.
Ali Jan Qadir is a passionate writer, on a constant learning curve. Through his articles he aims to give people useful advice. His writing ranges from productivity to art. He also runs a blog about sleep and beds where his questions answers like what is the best rated mattress for back pain