When you ask a fitness expert, trainer or health professional advice on how to lose weight, what kind of response are you looking for?
Specifics on what foods to eat?
Specifics on what exercises to do?
How much cardio to add?
How many calories to consume?
What supplements to take?
I get this question ALL THE TIME, EVERYDAY from people I’ve never met and who have not shared a single thing about them with me.
“Anna, I want to lose weight. What should I be eating and what should I be doing for exercise”?
My initial thought is always, I know nothing about you?
The Blanket Answer is Irresponsible!
Sure I could make it easy on myself and use a blanket answer to offer some general recommendations but I find that extremely irresponsible and unprofessional.
I Need The Story Line
Before I make any recommendations I need to hear the fitness story line up till now.
- How long have you been overweight or unhealthy
- How long have you been eating healthy and exercising
- What have you been doing for fitness and for how long?
- What unhealthy or healthy habits do you have right now?
The problem is, I don’t have time to read every persons story.
It would take me hours to get through email.
However, the answers to these questions are so critical in knowing what steps are best to take next to help someone get healthier and stronger!
Here Is My Solution: 3 Phases of Fitness
So, after getting hundreds of emails and questions about general weight loss,
…and feeling torn between offering general advice or reading long emails to offer more accurate solid advice, I’ve come to this solution:
- I can teach my community members about the 3 major phases most people go through on their fitness journey.
- I can share my advice on what steps to take next depending on which phase you place yourself.
- We can both sleep better at night knowing we aren’t giving or getting general advice that doesn’t fit our needs and may cause more harm than good.
What Phase Do you Fit Into?
It’s similar to a woman who is 3 months pregnant, researching tips for exercise but not mentioning or including the fact that she is 3 months pregnant. Her body is in a very sensitive phase of pregnancy, she should be getting specific advice for her body at that time.
It’s no different from someone who is just starting his or her fitness journey.
Now, instead of asking, “what can I do to start losing weight”, we can be more specific by asking, “I’m in the beginner phase of my fitness journey, what can I do to start losing weight?”
My advice/tips for losing weight is much different for a beginner versus someone who’s been committed for 1 year to eating healthy and exercising. IT MATTERS!
…and everyone is at a different place or phase along their health and fitness journey. It’s almost impossible to categorize each individual person and offer specific advice as to what you’ll need to reach the next level of health and fitness.
However, I can get closer by understanding what phase of the journey you fit into.
Feeling Stuck, Frustrated and Uncertain?
Instead of offering specific advice, I’m going to share some broader ideas and recommendations that might lead you in a forward, progressive direction in case you’ve been feeling stuck, frustrated, uncertain or unclear about how to keep progressing.
I’ll break this insight and advice into a few different categories…some of you might fall somewhere in the middle of a category type, so then it will be up to you to decide what fits you best.
The 3 Phases of Fitness
The three phases I consider to be the most distinguishable along a typical fitness journey include:
The Beginner phase
The Committed phase
The High Performer phase
I’ll briefly describe each phase so that you can see what resonates with you and your situation best.
The Good and Bad News
Then, I’ll talk about the good and bad news that comes with being in each phase because no matter where you are on your fitness journey, there will always be challenges to overcome and advantages to be grateful for.
What to START and STOP Doing
In the end, I’ll share a few bullet points of what to START or STOP doing while in each phase so that you can get unstuck, motivated and continue reaching new levels of health and fitness.
Are you ready to explore what phase you’re in?
Phase 1: The Beginner
If you are in the beginner category, you have decided that it’s time to live a healthier lifestyle. You feel tired, overweight, unmotivated and unsure of what to do. You know that you have to start making some changes or it will only get worse.
The bad news: Everything will feel hard. You won’t enjoy the process. You’ll miss your old foods and habits.
The good news: Any healthy changes you make will provide quick results. You will quickly see some weight loss, have more energy, more positive mood. These results will help you to stay motivated.
What to START:
Start practicing the most simple healthy habits:
- drinking more water
- sleeping 7-8 hours a night
- eating more vegetables
- walk daily or exercise for at least 10 minutes a day)
What to STOP:
Stop practicing the most common unhealthy habits:
- stop drinking soda and drinks high in sugar (including some juices)
- stop eating fast foods or frozen dinners
- stop snacking on junk foods (candy, chips, donuts, cookies)
Don’t Feel Intimidated…Just Start
Most people in the beginner phase feel intimated to start their fitness journey because they read articles and diet programs that require them to go from zero to 100 in a day. I suggest going from zero to 10 in a day. It’s actually the hardest 10 you’ll ever work towards but after you get the wheels moving, it’s much easier to go from 10-50mph which is Phase 2, so don’t go to hard too soon but get started!
Phase 2: The Committed
When you enter into the committed phase you are now convinced that living a healthy lifestyle feels better and you know this is what you want for yourself. You might start adding some challenges into your routine and have a hunger for bigger and better results.
The bad news: Your results start to slow down. You won’t lose weight as fast and you’ll get frustrated by the scale. You’ll start to seek new fitness and nutrition habits, find new ways to lose weight, start restricting calories. You’ll begin to resent being healthy because it starts to suffocate your lifestyle, you obsess about your progress and always question if you are doing the right things.
The good news: You are coachable. Becoming committed to a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy for everyone but now that you are here in this phase, you are open to learning and understanding your health and fitness more than ever. You can choose to block out all the noise and quick fix solutions to learn the strategies and lifestyle habits that allow you to live your healthiest life for the long run.
What to START:
- Start looking at your health from the inside out: weight and appearance is not the sole indicator of health. Gut health, digestion, how often you eliminate, skin, sleep, stress just to name a few.
- Introduce a healthy cleanse or detox to your health regimen. (Email me about my upcoming 21 Day Ultimate Reset Cleanse: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Start eating foods that are higher in nutrient value versus focusing on calorie count: Less is not always better.
- Add variety to your exercise: If you exercise for the same amount of time at the same intensity everyday, your body will either get burnt out or stay the same. Recovery is just as important as Intensity.
What to STOP:
- Stop looking at the scale everyday: it’s messing with your mind and taking away your personal power.
- Stop criticizing what you don’t have or things you do wrong and start focusing on the progress you’ve made and all the good habits you’ve acquired.
- Stop reading diet books trying to find a cure and start researching the healthiest foods on the planet and add them to your diet.
- Stop listening to your friends latest diet plan and start paying attention to how the foods you eat make you feel.
- Stop searching for the quick fix and start embracing the lifestyle
- Stop questioning if you’ll reach your goals, start believing it will happen.
Most People Give Up
Being in the committed phase is the most challenging and this is where most people fall off track or give up. I’ve based my entire Sexy Confident Woman Formula Course to support a person in this committed phase who is ready to reach Phase 3: The High Performer.
Don’t Take This Lightly
Do not take my suggestions on what to start and stop doing in this phase lightly. They are more powerful than you realize and will truly help you break through to next phase of optimal performance.
Phase 3: The High Performer
The High Performer has developed a lifestyle routine that provides them with optimal energy, strength, productivity and mind management. They don’t just love feeling their best, they can’t imagine living any other way.
The bad news: Most people think there is an end point to the health and fitness journey but when you become a High Performer, it’s very clear that it takes continuous practice and dedication to live this type of lifestyle.
The good news: When you reach this level of health and fitness, you have developed the habits and behaviors to sustain this lifestyle for the long run. It no longer feels like work, it has become a part of who you are and what you do. Therefore, chances are pretty slim that you will ever go back to living an unhealthy lifestyle again.
What to START:
- Add some high performance habits to your daily routine such as journaling and 10 minutes of mediation.
- Focus a great deal on the quality of your sleep. Not just sleeping 7-8 hours but shutting down all screen devices 30 minutes before bed to prepare the body for better quality rest time.
- Add more recovery elements to your routine (foam roller weekly, stretching daily, massage monthly, aromatherapy, epsom salt baths)
- Invest in coaching and personal development courses to continue growing and to sustain a high performance mindset.
What to STOP:
- Stop multitasking. Set aside block time for exercise, work projects and family so that you can be more present, effective and productive in your daily tasks and interactions.
- Stop neglecting personal needs and relaxation for professional demands and a desire for success. The only way to truly sustain a high performance lifestyle is to take more time for self and have increased downtime so that you can operate at higher levels than most who are under stress or fatigue. Doing more doesn’t necessarily mean your getting more done.
Don’t Get Too Comfortable
High performers may never go back to old unhealthy habits but they can certain acquire new ones if they aren’t careful. Adopting these high performance habits and practicing them daily will ensure a happy, healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. It’s not easy to reach this point but it’s not impossible either.
Now, It’s Up To You!
Now that you’ve read through each phase described above and some recommendations, you have some homework to do!
- Choose what phase closely represents where you are today.
- Circle what recommendations you need to START and STOP doing for that appropriate phase, depending on your current habits and behaviors now.
- Take out your calendar, phone or planner to set reminders as to when and how you will implement those new recommendations into your daily schedule. ( if it doesn’t become real, it doesn’t happen)
- If you are looking for resources or tools to guide you with some of these essential habits and behaviors, I would love to make some appropriate recommendations:
- Beginner Phase: Download all three of my FREE Small Steps Planners
- Between the Beginner Phase and Committed Phase: Discover my “First Steps to Fit and Fearless” program.
- Committed Phase: Join my next “Sexy Confident Woman Formula” Course.
- High Performer Phase: Join my High Performance Coaching Mastermind Course (12 Week Program includes Live Retreat)
I can’t wait to see you launch forward in the next phase of your fitness journey now that you have several actions steps and tools to help you make SMART moves that fit you best!