Maybe you’ve slacked a little since your active military days. Maybe your six-pack is engrossed in a jiggly cooler. Or maybe, you are looking for a way to get fit, but also be gentle on your body. Wherever you are in your fitness journey, I believe these tactics can help you get to your next level.
Exercise–all exercise–can improve moods and reduce stress and anxiety.
Health encompasses your activity level, your stress level, your emotions, and your nutrition.
To get fit you will need to do a little something with your diet and a little moving with your body.
Improving your health takes time, consistency, and commitment.
7 Effective Tactics to Get Fit
1. Define your get fit goal.
What does being healthy mean to you? It doesn’t have to fit anyone’s idea and it doesn’t even have to match what you where when you were 18 or 25 or fresh out of basic training. Employ Tiffany Peterson’s tactics here for setting an outrageous goal, a target goal, and a minimum goal.
2. Define your why.
Why do you want to get fit? Write down all of your reasons. Imagine how you will feel once you are there. Write down those feelings, too. Like Tiffany says, say them in the present tense: I AM strong and I feel so fit! Call it affirmation or visualization or fru-fru stuff–whatever you call it, it works.
My husband is on day 23 of the ID Life 28 Day Transformation (Performance challenge), and he can tell he has already shed some weight and toned his upper body. I asked him, “How do you feel?”
He said, “Oh man, I feel amazing. So much better.” That, my friends, is the ultimate fitness motivation. We’d all love to effortlessly be ridiculously good looking, no doubt.
Feeling good trumps vanity. Feeling better helps you sustain new health habits until they become your lifestyle. (He’s already psyched to do another 28 days.) Good choices beget more good choices.
3. You have to get fit in a way that works for you, now.
A challenge for veterans, or any other elite athlete is to find a consistent way to maintain physical fitness once that period of intense focus on the body is over. This is also true for anyone experiencing significant changes in their life, albeit parenthood, aging, new school or job, recovery from surgery or illness and it can be especially tricky for military persons returning to civilian life. Workout time and resources are replaced by jobs, family time, and many other duties. So, finding what works for you may mean branching out and trying something new. If you used to spend hours at the gym running or cycling, or lifting weights, but don’t really feel the motivation to do that now, then find something else.
The key to finding what works for you is to figure out you. Not the you that kicked butt in basic training, but the you that has lived all the days leading up to now. You have changed and evolved. Now, evolve your fitness plan. Do you thrive on competition? Do you need structure like you would get from hiring a personal trainer or joining a fitness group? Are you sick of structure and want to play? What sounds fun to you, now?
4. May the plan fit the (wo)man.
In other words, strategize. Go back to your outrageous goal and plan backwards. Break up your strategy into feasible steps. And now your target goal, and of course, your minimum. Years ago, when I first implemented a lifestyle change to get fit, I made a specific goal (walking and lifting weights.) But what really helped me was that I made the strict boundary that I would work out no more than 2 days a week for the first month. This was to prevent me from burnout. Until then, I’d attack a workout plan with ferver for a week or two, then … nothing. So, make your minimum goal absolutely achievable. Maybe it needs to be ridiculously achievable. The more you acheive, the better the feels. (See #2).
5. Work it.
You’ve created a plan to get fit that you think will work for you? Now work it. Work it like Missy Elliot works it.
6. Test Yourself
Every month, evaluate yourself. Take your measurements at the begining so you can note your progress. Evaluating the progress you are making (or aren’t) can help you make changes and sustain a more active, healthier lifestyle.
Most importantly, how do you feel? More energy? Stronger? Happier? Motivated or inspired? Your goal might be to get fit (whatever that looks like to you), but down the road you might find yourself somewhat addicted to feeling so good about yourself.
If you need to make changes (likely), then do it. Try to find the sweet spot between consistency and being reasonably flexible.
7. Mix it up to get fit.
Try some of these ideas if you’re looking for something new.
- Hire a Trainer
- Martial arts
- Dance (Barre classes, hip-hop, belly dance)
- Outdoor gym
- Soul Cycle
- Bust out the ol’ skateboard.
- Rock climbing
- Animal flow
- Fusion classes (growing trend)
- Incorporate movement into your daily life. Mark gives great suggestions in his blog, Stop Exercising, Start Moving
- Train for a race or participate in a low-key one.
- Maybe you’ve heard of a Spartan race and maybe you haven’t. If you like a challenge and you like to test your grit, I recommend checking them out. They have a few levels and they recommend their Sprint race for beginners (3+ miles, 20+ obstacles). “If you fail an obstacle along the way, you owe us 30 burpees before continuing on.” Sound like your kind of madness?