Does being fit and healthy mean you need to join a gym?

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Stairs
[Being fit and healthy for some people means just being able to walk up stairs again]

When many people say “I need to get healthy” or ” I need to get fit” they automatically assume that means an expensive gym membership and lots of trips to the gym. But that’s not necessarily true.

First we have to define “get healthy” or “get fit”.

For many people that just means losing a bit of belly fat and not feeling out of breath when going up the stairs at work.

For others it means looking like one of the guys or girls on the cover of fitness magazines.

Let’s look at the 2 opposite sides:

Increasing general fitness

If your goal is to lose some fat and generally improve your health then you definitely don’t need visits to the gym. You need the following:

  • Lose fat. You need to find a way to eat less than your body needs so your body has no choice but to start using it’s fat stores.
  • Add some resistance work. Either bodyweight training or just using some dumbbells at home will be all you need to ensure the weight coming off is from fat and not both fat and muscle. 1-2 times a week will be enough.
  • Move more. Start walking more and taking the stairs whenever possible. Consider using a pedometer to track how much you are moving each day and aim to gradually increase it.

Following the above will ensure steady weight loss and if you have never worked out before you will see a little muscle growth.

That’s all you really need to increase your general health and get fitter.

Now let’s look at the opposite end:

I want to look like a magazine cover model

First you have to understand that cover models don’t look like that every day. They have to plan weeks in advance for the shoot to ensure they bring their fat down and lose any water weight. Then they also have lighting, professional photographers and photoshop editing on their side. So what you are looking at isn’t really reality.

But if you want to challenge yourself to looking like a model for a day or two then you have to make a plan:

  • Steadily bring fat down to as low as possible. One diet style may not be enough to take you all the way.
  • You will need gym visits to fully work your muscles, ensuring no muscle lost even when very lean. Also gives a chance to work on any weak muscles, to bring them up to the right level.
  • A trial run will be useful as getting the timing right nutrition wise, as the actual day can be very hit or miss.

Then there’s everyone in between:

People in the middle

You really have to judge yourself just what you want to achieve. If you have the right equipment then you can workout at home and get great results. Great results can even be achieved using body weight workouts alone, although not quite to bodybuilder standards.

A great plan is to take one step at a time

If you have never worked out before then concentrate on losing a bit of fat whilst doing a little bodyweight or dumbbell work at home.

If you enjoy it then take it to the next level and concentrate on getting stronger.

Once you are lifting respectable weights decide how you want to proceed. Do you want to get really lean? Get bigger muscles? Get stronger? This is where it’s best to stop and think about what you want to achieve. Don’t just follow any program you see. Make sure the workout program you choose will help you achieve what you want.

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