How to Create and Sustain a Successful Fitness Journey: Crucial Tips for Long-Term Success

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You’ve just gotten home from another long day, and it is time to get dinner ready. You look in the fridge, but nothing looks appealing. You search the cupboards but, again, nothing appealing in there.

Delivery? Fast food?

This is no way to navigate your fitness journey! Yes, fitness journey.

It is time to get serious about diet and exercise. It is easier than you think!

The first thing to understand about a successful fitness journey is that it takes planning.

Failing to prepare a plan is planning to fail. With the right planning, diet and exercise will become second nature for you.

We are here to help!

If you have a positive outlook on the fitness journey on which you are about to embark and the discipline required to never give up, you will successfully and dramatically improve your life.

The following tips are more of a road map for you to follow as you begin on your very own, tailor-made fitness journey. But it isn’t going to quick and easy.

If you’re committed to improving yourself, take action and remember, reading this article is the first step in improving your life!

Plan Your Meal Plan

Eating healthy is not only an essential part of your fitness journey; it can be really fun, too!

The problem is most of us are programmed from a young age to eat certain core foods. We are fed a diet of good or bad food before we even have a say in the matter. Now is your time to have a say.

And isn’t that why so many of us eat fast food and foods that are bad for our health? But the forefront in the battle of health and weight loss is diet, and it doesn’t take much to get started.

It is easier than you think. Lean meats, fish, fruits, and vegetables give you energy that no double cheeseburger ever will.

fish and  vegetables for a healthy meal

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The daily menu can include delicious, healthy foods such as:

  • Baked broccoli
  • Cutting boards filled with cheese, olives, honey, and steak
  • Ground beef
  • Fish filets
  • Cottage cheese with fruit and
  • Mega salads mixed full of onions, garlic, peppers and avocados

With the advent of apps and fitness trackers, it is easier now than ever before to track calories which can help you tailor your meal plan as you continue on your fitness journey.

Planning ahead is key. Take control of your life by taking control of your diet and exercise.

First, if you do not have containers for meal prep, go get some! This is an essential component of meal planning.

Once you have your containers, it is time to fill them!

meal preparation with brown rice, fruits and vegetables and nuts for a fitness journey

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Take some time to cook up some delicious, healthy food and separate it into the containers.

Whether you grab it on the go for work or prepare it at home, it makes eating healthy food much easier than digging through the fridge or ordering delivery. Without planning your meals, you’re left listless on the waters of indecision and will likely choose unhealthy options when you could have prepared delicious, healthy food to fuel your mind and body on your fitness journey.

 mcdonalds drive through along the road

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Once you get in the habit of preparing meals, you will likely develop a few new favorites that will keep your fitness journey on track.

Get Active!

Cutting caloric intake is the first step in getting into a happier and healthier lifestyle. Burning calories is the second.

If you have time to sit in front of the television, mindlessly consuming irrelevant commercials about furniture sales and television shows about the best barbecue in America, you have time to exercise.

Just like food, we are programmed on how to spend our time. Have you ever found yourself spending time on something but subconsciously wishing you were more productive? That is a symptom of being pre-programmed to do things you don’t even want to be spending your time doing!

After work, you may prefer to listen to music, play on your phone or talk to family and friends on the phone.

However, you can always find time for a quick set of pushups, sit-ups, or to go for a jog. And do not use your kids as an excuse.

Kids exercise without even realizing it!

Get outside and get moving, with or without your kids. Incorporate a workout into your daily schedule if you have to, perhaps while your kids do their homework at the kitchen table.

Maybe you’ve never led an active lifestyle. Well, prepare to get excited! There are many options which add value and years to your life.

Exercise means more than just going to a gym or jogging around town. Nearly every hobby imaginable constitutes exercise!

Your goal should be to find what interests you and, once you do, you’ll have a new passion in life, something which adds to the quality and enjoyment of your time alone or with family and friends.

Summertime can be a great time to get outside and exercise. But winter also offers a variety of cold weather activities which are great for burning calories.

Never Be Bored Again

You are your daily habits. How you spend your time says a lot about what you place importance on.

Take into consideration the fact that you are reading this article right now. You care about your health and are interested in doing something to get in shape.

Just reading this article is the first step in that process. You are taking the time to gain insight into diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.

But nothing about your current situation will change unless you change how you spend your time. Diet and exercise take time.

Start by planning how you will prepare to make a change. Plan your meals.

brocholli, bell pepper and chunks of meat for a healthy meal plan

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If you have not planned what to eat, when you are hungry you will settle for something fast, that’s why they call it fast food!

However, if you already have that salad chopped up and ready to devour, well, that’s even quicker than driving down the street for a greasy burger and fries.

Likewise, with exercise. You do not need a gym membership to get active. In fact, a gym membership may be a waste of money if that is not your style of exercise.

In fact, like many people, you may not enjoy going to the gym. Develop a plan of attack. Figure out what type of exercise you enjoy and research what it entails.

Early morning runs or bicycle rides are great ways to get your day started.

You give hours a day to other people. Shouldn’t you give at least one to yourself for a bit of exercise?

So instead of sitting around being “bored,” developing interests which will prevent you from ever being bored again.

This is the difference between couch potatoes and people who are living their best lives.

person sleeping on a couch

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Take the mountain bike out in the rain. Get wet! It’s not like it’s going to hurt you!

Go for a hike when the leaves turn yellow, red, and orange. Enjoy the cold upon your face.

two men hiking in the forest to get fit and healthy

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Plan a trip where you can engage in your passion somewhere new. Imagine sending pictures of yourself to family and friends hiking the Pacific Northwest!

You will never be bored again if you are constantly filling your time with fun activities and planning healthy meals.

Small, Medium, or Large?

Now that you are on your way to a healthier diet (lower caloric intake) and a healthier lifestyle (burning those excess calories), let’s talk about portion control.

Are your eyes often bigger than your stomach?

Portion control can be a problem for many and, once you accept it, it is easier to opt for less when you are being sold more.

Sure, there are times for celebrating all that gastronomy has to offer. There are times to enjoy food and drinks, but it shouldn’t be on a regular basis.

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A summer barbecue, Thanksgiving, seafood at the beach, but your daily intake, especially for lunch, should not include gorging on such delicacies as three pounds of chicken pot pie at the local diner or a large number 2 from the drive-through window.

Cutting out breakfast is a great way to reduce calories. Really. There’s no reason to start the day with so much food! And for the record, cured meats are terrible for you!

cured meat hotdogs are not included on a fitness meal plan

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Some prefer a bottle of water and something small to get their day started. A banana is quick and easy and leaves you feeling satisfied. Choose a few staple items you enjoy eating, and you will continue being successful on your fitness journey.

Soup and salad is a perfect combination for lunch and, after a morning of water and smart eating, will leave you feeling charged to take on the rest of your day.

pitcher of water with lemon cuts for a fitness snack

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For many, dinner isn’t easy. You are in a rush after school or work and probably do not want to take the time to cook up a healthy meal.

But again, mixing in a cheese board with olives or a salad is a great way to reduce the size of whatever you are having for dinner. This is why drinking water and snacking on fruits and vegetables is so important; you are not left starving and wanting to gorge on unhealthy food when it is time to eat.

cheese and other dairy products for fitness

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And here’s a newsflash, folks. If you are burning calories and consuming less throughout the day, you can afford the opportunity to cheat sometimes.

It only becomes a problem when we consume more calories than we burn and our bodies store the excess as fat. It is as simple as that! Isn’t that why you are on your fitness journey in the first place? Lose weight, get strong and enjoy being healthy!

Let your friends and family know you are on a fitness journey, so they do not expect you to join them for wings or pizza.

Calibrating expectations is a great way to ensure your success. Otherwise, those closest to you may unintentionally push you off course.

Also, no more eating out of emotion or eating bad things because you think you deserve them. You don’t.

That thinking is self-sabotage and will ruin any chance of success you have on your fitness journey.

person hiking on a mountain as part of his fitness journey

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When confronted with the choice of small, medium or large, decide with your fitness journey in mind and choose a smaller portion. If you get hungry later, have a healthy snack and be proud of yourself for being disciplined enough to make healthy decisions.

The Future Awaits

Setting goals is a great way to track the progress of your successful fitness journey.

goals for a fitness journey

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Look at the big picture and set weekly and monthly goals. You are not going to transform yourself overnight.

The future awaits! And it can be as much of a success or failure as you decide.

Likewise, plan your meal plan and exercise with the seasons.

Maybe you love running outside but not so much when it rains or snows. Knowing what to do for exercise when it rains or snows can keep you on track.

Implementing a game plan for rainy days can be fun, too!

Maybe you have some extra space in your apartment or home which would be good to arrange a yoga mat or some free weights.

Having the option to exercise in your apartment or home is a great alternative to feeling you need to go to a gym or get outside just to burn some calories.

Again, planning is crucial to success.

Be Accountable

The benefits of having a fitness buddy can help motivate you and keep you accountable to someone on your fitness journey.

A fitness buddy can also help you develop good strategies to help each other stay positive and on track.

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You do not have to go it alone, and you should not!

Ask a friend or family member to join you for a walk or a healthy lunch.

Talk about what you are doing for exercise and what you are eating, and you will find people around you who are interested in the same things you are.

old couple still strong for a hike as a result of their fitness journey together

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Another great way to find a fitness buddy may be found online. Look for groups open to the public who schedule hikes or bike rides in your area and get involved!

The more people you meet who are also on a fitness journey, the easier it will be to remain committed to the goals you have set for yourself. Don’t be afraid to share your struggles and successes with people you meet.

You may just end up finding another fitness buddy!

Begin Where You Are At

It sounds simple, but for many, it is hard to get started.

Accept that you are a work in progress and begin your fitness journey where you are at.

That’s right! You do not need to be a fitness fanatic or be in perfect shape to feel good about making healthy decisions.

We are not all training for marathons or to climb Mt. Everest.

mount everest covered with ice during the day

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Something as simple as walking on your lunch break creates a healthier, more active lifestyle which promotes a successful fitness journey.

Be Realistic

Unrealistic expectations about your fitness journey can lead to disappointment and failure. So set realistic goals which are easy to achieve.

If you are not currently exercising, do not plan on exercising twice a day, seven days a week.

Not only will you disappoint yourself if you fail to meet your very high standards, but your body will also eventually need a break.

Start with small, attainable goals and build from there.

Attaining your small goals will also help you feel more confident when you begin increasing the frequency of your workouts.

Know What You Do Not Know

It is important to know what kind of exercise will be most beneficial for your fitness journey and also what will not.

We all know people who have purchased bikes or kayaks only for them to collect dust in the garage or to be sold at a garage sale.

Write down what you do not know and then set out to find answers. Do you have bike trails in your community? Where are they located? Do you have great hiking nearby? Where at and what skill level is required?

Do a little homework before you invest in a new bike or an expensive set of hiking boots.

This way you will avoid the garage full of broken dreams, and you’ll save money too!

three men doing a backpacking adventure hiking on a hill

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Track Your Progress

Knowing how to track the progress of your fitness journey is a great way to stay on track.

As previously mentioned, the advent of apps and fitness trackers now makes it easier than ever before to track your exercise, which can help you tailor your fitness journey to your specific needs.

The more you pay attention to what foods you are consuming and how many calories you are burning, the more inclined you will be to maintain progress.

Gadgets and apps, not your thing? Think about buying a planner or calendar to use to schedule and keep track of meals and exercise.

A meal plan is an excellent way to pair your planning with tracking your progress and will keep you on track.

As endurance increases, you will begin burning more and more calories. Consider changing your diet when this happens.

Just like a budget helps you make a financial decision, tracking the progress of your fitness journey will empower you to make the right decisions regarding food and exercise.

Whether you decide to use an app, fitness tracker, or calendar, you will see the data behind your weight losses or gains.

Knowledge is power!

Feeling Overwhelmed?

It is OK!  We’ve all been there. Knowing where to begin if you feel overwhelmed is essential to a successful fitness journey.

With so much noise coming from all different directions, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

Disconnect from the noise and grab a pen and paper. Start by writing down what you want to change about yourself. Is it weight loss? Lower blood pressure? Perhaps you just want to be more active.

Knowing what you are looking for will help you better navigate your fitness journey. And don’t just accept every piece of advice you receive from your friends and family!

Pick an exercise that is aimed at the results you are looking for and research everything you can about it until you can decide if it is right for you.

target dart board with pin on bull's eye

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The key is to do your research and know what it is you are looking for.

The purpose of your fitness journey will guide you as you decide which physical activity will yield the results you are looking for. Is it cardio? Weight lifting? Only you will be able to decide what is best for you!

Find a source you trust for information about diet and exercise. Inundating yourself with any and every source of information will, of course, leave you feeling overwhelmed.

However, with a source for information you can trust, you will streamline all the outside noise while reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Again, planning can help you feel more in control of your fitness journey.

Develop a plan, get started, and stick to it and soon, instead of feeling overwhelmed, you will feel in total control of your fitness journey.

Not Getting the Results You Want?

Knowing what to do when you are not getting the results you want will save you from giving up on your fitness journey.

But remember, this takes time.

It is also why it is important to track your progress.

Knowing what you are eating and what you are doing to burn calories will help you decide if you should maintain your current plan or modify it.

woman with her personal trainer inside the gym for her daily exercise

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Do not rule out seeing a personal trainer or medical professional to gain valuable professional insight into why you may not be seeing the results you want.

Many gyms offer access to dieticians and/or personal trainers who are knowledgeable about how to see the changes you are working for.

Supplements may also be something you’ll need to consider. And not performance enhancing supplements.

medications and supplements recommended for your fitness journey

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Consider natural, holistic supplements you can add to your food and drinks in order to increase the nutrition you are receiving. Some quick research will reveal what is best for you and the direction you want to head.

Giving yourself time is key to realizing the gains or losses you expect to see. Set a timeline, follow it and if you do not see expected results, change your approach with the advice of a professional.

You may also need to come to terms with the fact that you may not be working hard enough. Getting in shape is hard work, and it doesn’t happen quickly.

Whether you are trying to lose weight or make gains, it takes a lot of work!

Do not expect to see results immediately. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself. You will do just fine as long as you follow your meal plan and stay active.

You have to be willing to work harder than you have in the past if you want to achieve the results you are looking for.

And remember, the harder you work, the faster you will be able to see the gains you worked so hard to achieve. But you must put in the time.

Tailor Your Time

It is important to know how to make a game plan that works for you. Only you know your schedule, and so it may not be a good thing to plan exercise at certain times of the day.

This is where it also helps to have a fitness journey calendar.

You can block out time which is already committed to work or other obligations, leaving free time to be scheduled for exercise or meal planning.

If you “chunk” your time, you will be able to realize the full benefits of exercise.

This involves setting time aside where you do nothing but what you have reserved the time for. So, when you are working, you are doing nothing else. And when you are exercising, you are doing nothing else.

This isn’t a time to be thinking about work or how you should not have left the office five minutes early to get in that run.

Exercise is not only good for the body but the mind as well.

Learning to disconnect can be an invaluable as well as a therapeutic form of destressing.

Take time for you!

You’ve heard the saying, “your actions inform others how they should treat you.” Well, taking time for yourself tells everyone around you that you value and respect yourself and they should too.

If you fail to tailor your time, you will fail to curate your fitness journey to the requirements of your schedule.

This is why planning is such a crucial part of successful dieting and exercise.

Having a schedule will also force the other parts of your life around your fitness journey. Take control of your time, and you will take control of your life!

Make time for yourself, and everything else will make time for you.

Learn to Love Your Body

It is important to learn to love your body.

The happier you are with your body, the easier it will be to stay committed to your fitness journey.

Sure, we all have things we would change about ourselves if we could, but somethings that make us who we are should not be changed.

woman smiling while looking at herself in the mirror

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Learn to love yourself for what makes you unique. Improving your health is a great way to do this. Just beginning your meal plan and choosing a few exercises will get your mind in the right place to make substantial gains.

A fitness journey is a sure sign of self-love. Care enough about yourself to make healthy decisions and create healthy habits.

You may also need to buy new clothes to accommodate the weight you have lost or to accommodate the gains you have made.

Use this as an opportunity to improve your confidence in yourself. If you look good, you will feel good.

It is a very positive cycle!

Your fitness journey will yield benefits you can’t even imagine as you begin working towards your goal. Remember, the most successful people all have their own way of staying sharp. You are now a shark in total control of your methods to gain confidence and stay sharp!

Developing a positive self-image is magnetic, and people will tell the difference in the way you carry yourself.

Poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to the development of unhealthy feelings including depression. This is why so many successful people devote their time and attention to diet and exercise.

Focusing on your own wellbeing is essential to becoming the person you want to be.

And let’s be honest, you can’t be good for other people if you are not being good for yourself.

Your fitness journey will impact the lives of people you interact with on a daily basis simply because of the positive feelings you will achieve by improving your nutrition and physical wellbeing.

Healthy Fitness Journey Habits

Variety is the spice of life! Accept that you can try new foods and exercises all the time without the need to like or enjoy everything you try.

Meditation and yoga are two great ways to maintain a happy, healthy outlook on your life as well as your fitness journey.

women doing a yoga exercise to get fit and healthy

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But it is not for everyone! It is okay if you do not enjoy what everyone else is doing as they navigate their own fitness journey.

Find what works for you! This is not a one-size-fits-all game plan.

The more you integrate healthy fitness journey habits into your daily life, the more you will find yourself thinking about your health and wellness and the sooner you will see results.

man expressing success and happiness

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Consider subscribing to magazines focused on your areas of interest. Follow diet and exercise pages on social media. Put health and wellness in front of you as much as possible.

Also, get in the habit of having healthy food prepared in advance so when the time comes to eat, you can have healthy food fast.

It is All in the Mind

Remember, your fitness journey is as much about what you do as it is about how you think.

It is all in your mind!

This is where discipline comes in. Be disciplined enough to turn your newfound interests into habits, and you will find it is much easier to exercise and diet on your own terms.

For many people, eating healthy and getting exercise is a chore. But for many more, it is essential to their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Which type of person do you want to be?

After turning a desire into a habit, you will place greater significance and priority on taking time to improve your life through diet and exercise.

group of women working out to get fit and strong

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Stay positive and surround yourself with people with similar fitness journey goals.

You can do it!

Believing in yourself is half the battle. Taking consistent action is the other half.

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How to Create and Sustain a Successful Fitness Journey: Crucial Tips for Long-Term Success
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