Getting that 6-pack abs is no easy feat. It takes a combination of hard work, clean eating and major willpower for you to achieve the body that could rival Jason Momoa’s. Admit it, seeing these super heroic physiques in the latest blockbuster movies is often enough to inspire many people (including you) to sign-up for gym memberships, drink gallons of protein shakes and start chowing down tasteless chicken day in, day out.
But while many start with the best intentions, life and its many tempting distractions get in the way. After all, it’s more convenient to just have a beer with the guys after work instead of trying to battle rush-hour traffic to get to the gym. That meeting that ran overtime? Yes, another excuse to skip leg day. Football playoffs on TV? Then that means staying in and ordering pizza. This string of excuses often leads to sporadic attempts at fitness that do not seem to get you anywhere.
Yet many people do manage to stay on track, proving that getting in shape is not limited to highly-paid celebrities. If you’re wondering what the quickest way is to get to your goal body without getting demotivated, what you need to do is apply a few lifestyle changes and adopt a different approach on your workout routine.
Here are 5 effective steps to help you quickly get in shape.
1. Engage in Full Body Exercises
It’s not unusual to want bigger biceps or a broader chest. This is the reason why most men mirror bodybuilders and start with isolation exercise machines in the gym. While isolation exercises are effective in sculpting specific muscle areas, it takes so much more time to go through all these exercises in one session.
If your goal is to get fit quickly, it may be more useful to choose calisthenics exercises that target multiple large muscle groups in your body. Calisthenics exercises are ultimate time-savers because they are multitasking routines that use bodyweight as resistance to make you stronger. They can save you a lot of time especially if you are always in a rush.
Since calisthenics exercises only uses bodyweight, you don’t really need a fancy gym membership or a dedicated space to start. You can do these bodyweight exercises anytime and anywhere so not only are you getting stronger, you save time and money, too!
Calisthenics will also help you become leaner without muscle imbalance because your entire body is getting a workout. For example, a push-up will not only target your biceps and triceps, it also trains several muscles at once including those in your chest, abdominals, hips and legs. Other popular calisthenics exercises are burpees, pull ups, squats and jumping jacks.
2. Stop Making Excuses
This is probably one of the most important techniques to get you to your goal as quickly as possible. There is really no valid excuse to miss your workout unless it’s a life and death situation. Nor is there an excuse to prefer junk food over a well-balanced nutrient dense meal.
Of course nobody’s perfect so you’re going to be forgiven for that one single time you overslept and snooze your alarm, but when the cancellations become alarmingly higher than the times you actually showed up in the gym, then you have a problem.
What’s worse is that a lot of people justify excuses as valid and are in denial that they are making one. Not acknowledging these excuses stops you from overcoming them. So, before you start your fitness journey, why don’t you write down all the excuses you’ve made or will probably make? Seeing these in black and white will help you recognize potential hurdles in the future.
Once your list is written down, go a bit deeper and try to find the reasons that trigger these excuses. Try to eliminate these triggers by finding a solution in advance. For example, if your excuse for not going to the gym in the afternoon is that you’re always tired after work, switch up your exercise schedule during mornings or on your lunch break. Or if you find it hard to eat healthy at lunch because you don’t have time to pack your own meals, subscribe to a healthy delivery that can supply your meals every day.
Another popular excuse is lack of budget to go to the gym which is no longer valid because there are so many exercises you can try out at home at zero cost! You can read online resources, and watch videos in order to learn new exercises. Of course, you can always do the classic bodyweight exercises that even kids can manage like jumping jacks and push-ups. Doing even a few minutes of these calisthenics exercises at home is much better than lounging on your couch while snacking on chips.
Keep this excuses list always handy and visible, so the next time you find yourself making one of these excuses, you can smartly catch yourself before making them again.
3. Schedule Your Workout
“I’ll go tomorrow” or “Just today…” are very familiar phrases heard from almost everyone who cancels a workout. The problem is that the promise of going tomorrow or not missing another workout is usually seen unfulfilled.
Lack of time is one of the top deterrents why many people miss a workout. Squeezing in an exercise session can be difficult especially with the many demands you’re faced with, whether at home or at work. For one reason or another, many people always find something more important to attend to or to prioritize.
One useful solution to this conundrum is to make time for exercise, instead of finding time for it. The difference is that you have to consciously plan ahead and treat your exercise session as an important appointment you cannot miss. Choose a time most convenient to you and block that for yourself. A great start is to schedule at least an hour of exercise three times a week. This will help you develop exercise as a habit instead of a chore.
4. Prepare Healthy Meals In Advance
As you grow older, your metabolism also slows down so it is not as easy to burn those five slices of pizza, three doughnuts or that bucketful of chicken wings. A lot of men often think that they are immune to beer bellies until they see theirs in front of their eyes!
For most men, one common problem is the easy availability of healthy food especially for those who live alone. If you share the same problem, a great tip is to prepare your meals in advance. Plan your healthy menu and cook your meals for the entire week in one go.
Always choose whole foods when you’re preparing your meals. A great balance of protein like fish, chicken and lean beef, healthy carbs, and fats will get you closer to your goal. Avoid empty starches like white rice, breads and regular pasta. Instead, replace them with healthier carbs that are packed with fiber and protein such as quinoa, chickpeas and lentils.
Invest in a nice lunch box or a glass container, it’s not only great for you but also will decrease the amount of trash you would produce by eating out.
You don’t need a Michelin star or any complicated cooking techniques to do this. Cooking clean, healthy meals is much simpler than it seems. You can try baking, grilling or steaming your meats and vegetables – all easy cooking methods that even you can do! Don’t forget to use different spices to flavor your meals so you don’t end up with rubber-tasting chicken.
Lastly, Portion your meals in different small microwavable containers that you can store in your freezer. When meal time comes, it will be much quicker to just reheat your food than trying to order takeout.
If you find yourself eating in a restaurant, don’t give in to that junk food craving. There are many delicious yet still healthy options like lobsters and filet mignons. Expensive you say? Don’t worry, you’ve saved enough money from not buying doughnuts, burgers and nachos that you can actually afford these premium menu items!
5. Always Challenge Yourself
Being complacent will get you nowhere. If you’re on a deadline to transform your body, you have to constantly push yourself to work harder and beyond your perceived limits. Don’t be discouraged by thinking something is too hard for you. If you just open your mind to possibilities then you might be surprised at how much more you could do!
But in doing so, don’t try to skip some steps because that might lead you to injury. Make sure that you learn the proper form and techniques because not doing so will only stall your progress instead of accelerating your gains.
A safe way to test your limits and help you gain gradual strength is progressive calisthenics. This practice involves constant repetition of relatively easy exercises which will increase in the level of difficulty as you progress. This progression is designed to test your functional strength, balance, endurance and stability while training different muscle groups. Progressive calisthenics will also ensure that your body can handle the pressure of the exercise before you moved towards an advanced move.
Let’s be honest, there’s really no shortcut to a fit and healthy body, but following these tips will ensure that you get to your goal as quickly as possible, without any detours!