This article is the first in a series of articles designed to educate you on fitness. Articles will be archived so they can be accessed if you missed one or if you have just discovered the site. Not everyone feels the need to work with a personal trainer. If you want to get fit on your own, this page and the Workout page is the place to check in with regularly.

It is my belief that everyone has fitness goals, even if they do not verbalize them. For example, your goals may emerge each time you get dressed in the morning or to go out in the evening or when you sit down to eat (did you ever feel self conscious about eating something "fattening" in front of, say, co-workers?), when you try on clothes in a dressing room (isn't the lighting so flattering?), when you see someone your age at the mall who looks great. You aren't verbalizing a fitness goal out loud or on paper, but you are verbalizing it sub-consciously.

"I wish I looked better in this outfit"
"These pants are so tight"
"My butt is so big."
"I'm so skinny!"
"I am so annoyed that I have Osteoporosis?"
"I feel tired all the time"
"I shouldn't eat these cookies"
"I really need to start exercising"

Sometimes you actually think it, sometimes it is a general feeling, other times it just comes out in a big sigh. The time to get started on attaining your fitness goals is now. Just take 1 hour to sit down and write out what it is you would like to accomplish. Make the goals simple.

1. I would like to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months.
2. I would like to fit into my size 8 jeans (or 10s or 12s).
3. I would like to lose fat and get toned.
4. I would like to gain lean muscle mass.
5. I want more energy.
6. I want to counteract my Osteoporosis by exercising regularly.
7. I want a slimmer lower body.

Once you have your fitness goals on paper, you can then decide how to attain them. The first thing you should do is check with your doctor to find out if there are any health limitations. If not, I would start with the basics. Don't ask huge tasks of yourself.

Schedule a half hour walk 4-5 times a week. Once you've been moving for a few weeks, I can almost guarantee you will want to go longer or further. Can't do a half hour? Do 15 minutes. After a few times, you'll be trying to go longer. If you want to work out with weights but don't know where to begin, choose 1 exercise per body part per day and do 1 set. (Workout Routines) You don't have to do all exercises in one day.

Don't make the resolution to go on a strict diet. You're only setting yourself up for failure. Remove 1 high calorie food from your daily intake. Switch to sugar free soda, put 1% milk in your coffee instead of cream, eat half a bag of M&Ms at 3pm instead of the whole thing, switch to only whole grain bread. Small adjustments are easy and after a few weeks, you will be motivated to make bigger changes.

If you incorporate small changes over a month or two, you will immediately find yourself feeling better and looking for more changes to make to bring you closer to your goals. You didn't get where you are in a 2 weeks and you can't completely change your appearance or health in 2 weeks. BUT, you can feel better about yourself immediately just by trying. Remember - There is no such thing as 'staying the same' - You are either striving to make yourself better, or allowing yourself to get worse.


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