Getting fit is not an easy task and staying fit is a challenge for both you and your man. But believe it when they say that once you see the results, it becomes an addiction. Identity is offering you a list of 11 tricks and tips that will help you start a healthier lifestyle, maintain it and get the most out of your exercising routine.

1. Set realistic goals

“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable.” — Denis Waitley

Do not be fooled with the enthusiasm of the first week or two; take it slow with baby steps and aim at increasing your healthy behaviours. Setting idealist goals will only leave you frustrated when you’re unable to meet them. This one thing at a time strategy will take you further than you’ve ever expected.

2. Build a habit

According to S.J. Scott’s book ‘Habit Stacking’, 40% of our daily performed actions are habits and not decisions. Start with some 15 to 30 minutes of working out almost every day of the week. Try to exercise at the same time every day so that it becomes a regular part of your routine while choosing a suitable time and place. And always remain flexible; like if you miss your 20 minute walk one day, take the stairs instead of the escalator.

3. Find your own motivation

But on the other hand, try to find a motivation to get you started. Prepare a playlist of motivational music and with your favourite songs, use audio books or even talk to your fitness buddy for encouragement; anything that will make you move your bottom off the couch and start working out again.

4. Have a fitness buddy

Choose someone you like, whether it’s a friend, a relative or even a work colleague, with the same purpose of building a healthier lifestyle. Encourage each other and work out together. The emotional support and encouragement are as important as the actual exercising. And chances are higher to stick to your routine if you have company.

5.The choice of activity is key

Make sure to choose an activity you really enjoy doing. There are unlimited ways to get fit, so if you hate the gym, it’s fine. You just need to know what you enjoy doing the most and start from there. Make it fun and avoid exhausting and boring activities. That way exercising will be something you look forward to, not something that you just have to get over with.

6. Save time and build muscles

Your weight workout should be under 60 minutes, since after one hour your body starts to produce more of the stress hormone which can have a blocking effect to your muscles building. So if you want to grow muscles, you need to keep it fast. Muscle growth is reduced by too much heavy training. Additionally, you may want to save cardio after your weight routine or even do it on a different day.

7. Prepare your meals ahead, always

Exercising never starts the minute you start to actually work out, but the minute you wake up. To increase your body’s productivity prepare your meals with the right food at the right times. Eating slow-digesting carbs before your workouts like whole grains, oatmeal and sweet potatoes make you burn more fat not only during your workout but also during the day. For 4 hours before workout, avoid higher-fat meals such as fast food and include a green salad in your last meal before the workout.

8. Never force it

Yes, you’ve read it right. If you are not in the mood for working out, just don’t. Try to be active in other ways during your day. But forcing yourself to work out while you’re too tired or don’t feel like it will create an inner feeling that this is something you MUST do. And this feeling will only leave you discouraged.

9. Caffeine is a great booster

Working out is a stressor that increases your cortisol levels. Drinking tea can largely help in keeping this catabolic hormone lower after workouts. Thus, it clears the path to greater growth. Moreover, to have caffeine one or two hours before working out increases the fat-burning and boosts the endurance of muscle pain.

10. Follow post-workout tips

After the workout, you need not only to enhance the ability of your body to grow but also to get ready for your next workout. Stretch after your workout since muscles are best stretched when they are warm. With your body trying to replenish glycogen stores and rebuild muscle, you have to re-fuel with nutrition full of protein and carbohydrates.

11. Celebrate your achievements

In order to do so, you need to track your progress. Write down your activities on a calendar, document the distance and time your workout took, and describe how you felt after every exercising session. Set some milestones and reward yourself for achieving each one of them.

Last but not least, you need to be patient. To be fit is a state of mind; it’s rather a way of living, not a temporary way to have the perfect body or to build muscles.