Ever sat down to eat a food, but you didn’t quite know what utensil to use? It was almost the type of food you need to use a spoon for, but there were certain elements that required the use of a fork.
Enter the spork.
Necessity, the mother of invention. – Plato
The spork was officially invented in 1996 saving us the terrible trauma of selecting between a spoon and fork. Now, you could have both. The perfect tool for gobbling down massive amounts of dead animal flesh and Chipotle. It’s brilliant. The spork is a prime example of how someone saw a need and created a tool that fulfilled that need.
Sporks Are Everywhere
Seeing a spork the other day started me thinking about having the successful tools in other areas of life (exercise and weight loss specifically). There are certain tools that make tasks just plain easier. For instance, have you ever tried to change a flat tire without a jack? It would be a pain in the ass. There are tools that make living a healthy lifestyle easier. These tools help you make the right decisions and keep you honest when you do. Without them, losing weight would require a lot more work.
A great example of a tool that changed the course of history is the tire. The tire changed how we interact, how we experience life, who we see, and how we see them. Families could move across the country and still catch up every few years. Having the right tools around can make a task easier for one person, but a complete bear for those that don’t. These tools aren’t a necessity. It’s nice to have a can opener when you have a can of tuna, but a rock certainly could do the trick.
So, what are the tools needed for a successful exercise and weight loss plan?
A great invention for dieters would be a refrigerator which weighs you every time you open the door. — Anonymous.
The easy answer would be to say it depends upon the person but that’s just not true. There are certain elements of a plan that make individuals successful. That’s the idea of having tools around – they are performance amplifiers. They get you from hitting the gym twice a week to four times a week. They keep you from eating fast food and make sure you’re getting quality sources of protein and vegetables. These tools keep you on the wagon and motivated.
Tool #1: A Support System
A support system is your backing of individuals you can turn to when you’re falling off the wagon. They celebrate your triumphs and help pick you back up after your failures. Family members are good because they (usually) have your best interest at heart, but friends that are currently going through or have been through the same process are key as well. Without a steady support system, it’s very tempting to skip out on the gym or eat a piece of ice cream cake. If your support system isn’t strong, the likelihood of you achieving your goals narrows quite a bit. Trainers act as a type of support system. We listen, we help, and we keep you on track.
A good support system never criticizes. Instead, they point out areas of improvement and help brainstorm suggestions on how to improve those areas and make you better. I hate when I hear that a significant other blasted one of my clients for not losing weight or for pigging out on ice cream. When was the last time yelling actually helped. Around never. Instead, show a deep interest in helping the other individual and brainstorm a solution.
If you don’t currently have a support system, find one. Even just having an online support systems works. Sign up for Fitocracy and join some groups. Go to your local gym and join a running group or just make friends and talk to people. The more help you have keeping you going, the better.
Tool #2: An Environment That Works With You
If your environment isn’t conducive to a successful fitness venture, good luck. It’s going to be much harder to succeed. Your environment includes everything you come into contact with on a daily basis: your car, your house, your friends, your music, your clothes. You may think it’s silly, but when people are attempting to really keep themselves motivated on a fitness routine, it helps to buy a new wardrobe. If you’re going to be kicking it at the gym four days a week, you better be comfortable in what you’re wearing.
Keep this Kitchen clean…..Eat out! – Anonymous
One of the first steps in being successful with a fitness regimen is making sure your environment supports the lifestyle you want to lead. This includes getting all of the bad stuff out of the fridge and stocking it with healthy alternatives. I know it seems excessive, but make sure you enjoy the atmosphere in your kitchen. Repaint the walls if you don’t like them. You’re going to be preparing meals in there and you need to enjoy it. Do the dishes and clean your kitchen so you can hop right in and cook when needed. Buy tupperware that’s actually clean and easy to use so you pack lunches. One of the best investments I ever made was picking up a set of glass tupperware. It lasts for a long time and it’s easy to clean. Make a separate drawer for clothes you want to wear to the gym so they are easy to find. Load your iPod with your favorite tunes.
It doesn’t stop with the “things” surrounding you. Make sure the people surrounding you are supportive as well. Let them know you’re trying to make a life change. Post your goals on Facebook or Twitter. Tell your co-workers so they don’t tease you when you’re eating a salad for lunch.
These are all steps to make your environment supportive of your lifestyle.
Tool #3: An Outlet For Stress
Chances are – you’re human. You have stress in your life that’s going to make you slip up and fall off the wagon. The support system should be in place to help get you back up, but you need an outlet to blow off steam so you don’t take it out on everyone.
The gym is a popular outlet for blowing off steam by throwing up some heavy weight, but you need another outlet outside of lifting, running, and jumping to be successful at your health regimen. Find something that allows you to relax. Something that at the end of the day, you can sit down and have that “Ah…..” moment. It could be reading, walking the dog outside, sitting and enjoying fresh air, puzzles, a bubble bath with wine, writing, the list goes on and on. The gym shouldn’t be the only place you can go to get rid of the stress of work and life.
Tools are meant to make a job or task easier. They don’t replace hard work. Even with the wheel in place, we still have to get up and drive the car. The tools above make living a healthy lifestyle much easier, but they don’t replace the act of actually going to the gym and working out. Make sure you have the proper support systems in place, an environment that works for you, and an outlet to stress. These tools will help you be more successful along your journey.
What tools do you need to stay on track? Is it a friend or even a kitchen utensil that just makes eating healthier so much easier? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below!