3 Easy Things to Focus on if You’re New to Health & Fitness

3 Easy Things to Focus on if You’re New to Health & Fitness

By Taylor Noriega, NSCA, Pn1, CPPC

3 Easy Things to Focus on if You're New to Health & Fitness

You want to start getting in shape, but you’ve never set foot in a gym before or tracked a single calorie a day in your life!  Where do you start?  Let’s go over some basics. 

When it comes to any goal in health and fitness, 3 things are key: quantity, quality, and consistency.  In nutrition, quantity is going to determine your total body weight, quality determines your health, and consistency determines your success.

What’s the easiest way to get started AND make sure you’re hitting those key concepts?  Below are 3 easy things to focus on:

First, focus on the quality of your food.  You can start seeing weight loss and feeling an improvement in sense of well-being by just increasing your consumption of whole, fresh foods and decreasing processed foods; mostly because this guarantees an increase in protein and fiber and a decrease in sugars and processed oils.  This also leads to an increase in micronutrients, which benefits both general health and long term weight loss success.  Have you heard of the 80/20 rule or the term, “flexible dieting”?  These notions help put into perspective the balancing of “healthy food” and “junk food.”  You can still enjoy things like pizza and ice cream once in a while, but it shouldn’t make up a majority of your daily dietary habits.

Second, focus on protein rich foods.  A multitude of things start happening when you first increase your proteins.  Usually there’s an increase in muscle mass, especially if you’re entirely new to both nutrition and strength training.  Muscle is calorically expensive for your body, which means the more of it you have, the higher your BMR (basal metabolic rate).  Increasing protein can also help manage the total amount of food you consume throughout the day as it is very filling and takes more energy to digest.  This ends up impacting the quantity of your caloric intake.  But the other benefit of protein that people don’t typically talk about is the fact that our bodies run off thousands of enzymatic reactions EVERY DAY.  What are enzymes made out of?  Protein.  Getting more protein means you’re getting more amino acids, and amino acids aid in the efficiency of running metabolic reactions…in turn, this helps improve your sense of wellbeing and increases your energy levels.

Lastly, focus on the easiest habit change(s) you can make.  Don’t drastically turn your life upside down for the sake of immediate results.  Remember the fable, “The Hare and the Tortoise”?  ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ – the slower the better.  Start with small, easily to incorporate changes in your daily routine, because new habits that are easy to stick with create consistencyConsistency, that’s your key to success.  Starting with one or two changes at a time will also help keep things simple.  It’s a marathon, not a race.  Keep building more habits on top of the solid ones and see how much of a difference it makes in a year…then two years, and so forth.  And, before you know it, you’ve not only reached your goals, but you’ve done so in a sustainable way that you can continue for many more years to come!  That’s how you build a lifestyle around health and fitness.