Increase your fitness for a better life

Combine what you want – with what you love

The easiest and most sustainable way to form a good habit – is to combine it with something you already love doing.

Take working out for example. If you’re just starting out with your fitness program it might seem hard to form the habit. Working out 30 mins every day, one hour three times a week – whatever your current goal is, it might seem challenging.

But now consider this: Your could take an activity you already love doing – and combine it with your workouts.

This might make it a lot easier to incorporating them into your daily routine – and you might even come to see them as part of a reward or indulgence you allow yourself every day… How? Let me explain…

A little story of how to form good (workout) habits easily

The reason I started working out regularly years ago, and still love doing it every day of the week, is very simple:

I scheduled the workouts in combination with something I loved doing.

At that time I was going to a small gym with a friend once a week. The “gym” was actually a small room at our local track and field club – and it consisted of a few weights, mats and two ancient machines. Nevertheless, we had some fun there – we mostly had it to ourselves, brought our own music and made the best of it.

After following this weekly routine for a while, we agreed that we both wanted to work out more often. The only thing was – we didn’t really want to spend more time in that dimly lit space that was hot in the summer, cold in the winter and more than a bit dusty.

So we decided that we should meet up at my place for a change and use the living room. We would do more body weight exercises due to the lack of equipment, and incorporate the dumbbells we had.

All you need: A unique motivator

What would turn out to be the most important motivating factor though, leading to years of regular workouts, was something we came up with by chance:

At that time, we were both very much into the TV action series “24”.

So the idea was: On each meeting we would train for at least an hour and, as an added bonus, would watch an episode of “24”.

A second motivator: We agreed to cook up some pasta after the training as a reward.

These two motivators turned out to be the best idea ever. They contributed by far the most to my mind associating workouts with fun.

Due to this, I now have a routine of working out almost every single day. Here’s why:

I realized that working out while watching my favorite series made me really enjoy the whole process.

As for the variety of exercises

Although we only had a living room, a few dumb-bells and two mats, we quickly found enough ways to work out in those simple surroundings:

Squats, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, abs workouts, biceps and triceps exercises using the dumb-bells – there was enough variations for a home workout.

Motivator No. 1

As we watched “24” we didn’t even realize we were working out longer than we had anticipated. Time flew by! At the end of our workouts (mostly, when we started getting hungry) we often realized that we were already way into the second episode.

Motivator No. 2

Talking about hungry: Our second motivator was the pasta dinner we had agreed to cook up – and boy was that delicious after the workout. So this too contributed to us looking forward to each workout session.

The bottom line

In total we had come up with TWO motivators: Watching the series while working out, and having some delicious food afterwards. Those two things were indeed such a big thing to look forward to that we agreed to meet at least 3 times a week from that moment on – and we did.

When the “24” season was over we switched to “Prison break”, and later to other series or sometimes movies (think “Die Hard”, “Bourne Ultimatum”, “The Expendables”, “R.E.D.” or other action stuff).

To cut a long story short – we created our own better life full of workouts and healthy food – and you can do it too:

Combine workouts with something you look forward to!

No matter what you’re into – find your motivator!

You’re investing the time anyway, so why not combine something that’s good for you with something you really like.

Motivators for you

These might be
  • going for a run with your dog (or your neighbor’s)
  • working out at home while watching your favorite TV series or movie
  • training with a friend, your lover or someone you are fond of (remember, who lifts together stays together)
  • watching a movie on your phone while on the treadmill or on the bicycle ergometer
  • scheduling a delicious meal after your workout
  • going out for dinner as a reward
  • etc. etc.
You know yourself best – so be creative with your rewards!

Want to lose weight and burn fat fast? Start working out!

Why does working out make so much sense?
“The more muscles you have the more calories you burn”
Every muscle cell needs energy. Muscles burn energy with every move you make. Even more so when you do heavy manual work, go for a run, work out or run and play with your kids or your dog.
Play more & get slim
Did you ever notice how slim kids and dogs usually are? What do you think the reason is? They never stop playing and running! Why not follow their example!

You are burning calories all the time

It’s as simple as that: Muscles need energy. Your body burns more calories the more you move around during the day, go for walks or work out – even while breathing.
Also, the more muscles you have, the more energy they need – and thus, the more calories your body burns.
The necessary energy is provided by your body – it converts the available energy sources so that your muscles can use them. These are very complex processes, involving, among tons of other substances, the macro nutrients we ingest: carbohydrates, fats and proteins – and the products that our bodies convert them into.

Too many carbs = body fat

In a (very) simplified way, you could say that
  • the primary source of energy your body uses (because it’s the easiest to transform) is derived from the carbs you eat, broken into glucose
  • only when there is no more energy left from transformed carbs (glucose), the body switches to other energy sources (preferably body fat)
  • all the excess energy your body doesn’t need right away (e.g. when you consume more carbs than necessary) is stored for a “rainy day” in fat cells
What this means is: As long as you give your body lots of carbs, it will use them until all the currently REQUIRED energy is provided – and convert the EXCESS energy into body fat!
On the other hand, the good thing is: When you take carbs out of the equation (or reduce them significantly in your diet) – your body HAS to switch to burning fat.

Burning fat while you sleep

The good thing is: Your body needs energy all the time. This process even takes place while your body rests – all day and all night!

Would you rather burn carbs or fat?

Where does the energy come from? Your body uses the most readily available energy source to meet that need. Primarily that is carbs or sugars, secondarily it is body fat or protein.

Use night-time wisely for fat-loss

The simple carbs (sugars) we consume during the day are broken down and transformed into glucose and finally energy. This energy is then used up until no more glucose is left in your bloodstream.
That is exactly where we want to go as the body then starts to draw energy from other sources – e.g. body fat!
Normally we don’t eat sugar-rich foods while sleeping (except for those of us who might be sleep walking to the fridge).
Therefore, the carb (sugar) supply in our blood stream should be depleted at some point during the night.
The body then starts getting the necessary energy from its fat deposits. This is exactly what we want (at least I do – I’m guessing you want it too).
TAKEAWAY: Building muscle will increase the amount of energy your body needs and thus burns. This in turn will at some point lead to depleted glucose levels, followed by the conversion of body fat into energy.
So the more muscle you have, the more fat you will burn – even while you sleep.