Get Fit & Be Happy! Experts Reveal their Top Tips to Get in Shape

get in shape

We all know what it's like to be stuck in a rut. Eating one doughnut too many and planning unnecessary house cleaning and DIY jobs ahead of exercise. Don't worry, you're not the only one who does this!

To help get motivated and learn some tips on how to get started on the road to fitness we've asked some of the top fitness and health bloggers their best tips to get in shape.

1. Start with the smallest steps possible. When it comes to health, it doesn't matter what you do for a week, a month, or a year. It matters what becomes your lifestyle, so when you're trying to get there, be patient and build a strong foundation, instead of trying to, say, lose 30 pounds or run a marathon just a few months after you get off the couch.

2. Change just one habit at a time. There are a few exceptions, like if your health is in a dire, urgent situation. But if it's not, you're better off taking on just one change at a time, so that you don't burn up all your willpower trying to tackle multiple habits. So for example, if I were starting from scratch I'd spend a month changing my diet before I tried to add a fitness component to my lifestyle.

3. Focus mainly on diet, and eat whole foods. I tend to believe that most of our health problems have more to do with the way we eat (which for most people doesn't resemble the diet that even our grandparents ate) than with how sedentary we are. Certainly exercise is important, but I think there are bigger gains to be realized from dramatically altering what we eat (and returning to a diet based on whole foods, most of which should be plants) than from taking on an ambitious new health program.

Matt Frazier 
NoMeatAthlete.com                 

1. Cut all drinks besides water and tea. Pu'erh tea is fabulous for weight loss. Drink it a half hour after eating.

2. Incorporate more strength training in to your workout routine. Shoot for at least three days a week.

3. Add protein to each meal like eggs or Greek yogurt. Also, add chia seeds to your breakfast (oatmeal, smoothie, yogurt). They're awesome for weight loss and filled with fiber!

Lauryn Evarts 
TheSkinnyConfidential.com                 

1. Start Slow: I've encountered it again and again, stories from people talking to me about how they have started a journey towards getting fit only to become frustrated and quit not long after beginning. A mistake I see a lot of people making is taking on too much at once. Start by making small changes and acknowledging that it's a process and it will take time and effort. Focus on where you are in your journey as opposed to how far you have to go.

2. Record It: Learning to write things down can have a bigger impact than you may realize. If you have a problem with over eating, start learning to record what you eat so you can hold yourself more accountable. Write down and schedule your workouts, but also keep a diary of how you felt during your workouts. Losing weight and or becoming fit is as much a mental obstacle as it is a physical one. You may be surprised about what you learn about yourself along the way.

3. Be Consistent: Consistency is key! Your health and fitness are a product of your overall workouts and eating habits. Progresses towards great fitness, health, and or weight loss are made over time and being consistent is the way to get where you want. Don't skip a workout just because you feel that you didn't have enough time to devote to an extended workout on a particular day. Those small workouts and changes will add up to big results over time with dedication

Amanda Fraijo-Tobin 
FridayLoveSong.net                 

1. My 3 pieces of advice are to understand that progress will take time, plan, and don't give up. As much as you may want to achieve your ideal body within the next week, it just won't happen.

2. It takes time and patience to get there, but if you stick with it, you will see progress over time- even surprising you sometimes! It is also important to plan. Plan your workouts, plan your meals, plan your days. This will ensure you are getting in the workouts you need and are planning your days around what needs to get done at the proper times.

3. And, stick with it. It will be tough at times, it may seem like you just aren't making any progress, but I promise that over time, if you stick with it and keep your goals in your mind, you will get there. When you fall, get right back up and keep on doing what you are doing, don't fall even further down by giving up. Stick with it!

Brienne Peers 
LeanCleanAndBrie.com                 

1. Set a goal that you can work towards over about 6 weeks -- like being able to walk for 1 mile -- and make a plan to build up for it -- like walking 10 minutes 3 days/week, then 15 min, then 20, then adding a 4th day, etc.

2. Track your efforts and your progress. Even if you don't stick to your plan 100%, you will reach your goal if you keep trying.

3. Enlist a friend for support. A friend who can join you is great, but on-line friends can cheer you on too.

Coco 
got2run4me.com                 

1. Slow and steady wins the race! Don't expect to exercise for an hour on the first day if you don't typically exercise. If you start off going for a walk and only being able to do 5 minutes during the first week, take pride if you're able to increase your stamina and walk for 6 minutes/ day the next week!

2. Stay positive. Focus on the good--- the improvements you're making. Be proud that you're taking the steps to improve your health and get in shape. Don't allow negative thoughts to come into your head-- get rid of them by turning them into positive thoughts. For example, instead of saying, "I'm in terrible shape, I get tired after 10 minutes." Turn it around by saying, "I'm going to do this and get better and better. I'm not sitting on the couch and I'm doing this, so it's a huge accomplishment!"

3. Load up on vegetables. They're a dieter's dream come true-- low in calories, packed with fiber and nutrients they help to fill you up while keeping you lean. This is one of the reasons we wrote The Nutrition Twins' Veggie Cure! Steam them and mix them right into the sauce of your meal (don't add oil or butter which will significantly increase calories).

Tammy and Lyssie 
NutritionTwins.com       

1. Figure out your WHY. Is it to be steong enough to reach a certain goal? Is it to overcome a fear or emotional hurdle? Is it to do everything you can to stay healthy for someone you love? Very rarely is wanting to be fit simply about wanting to wear a smaller size. When I started running longer distances it was because I needed to reduce my stress and anxiety so I could be a better mother. I knew that by scheduling my workouts I was doing what was best for me, and for them. Picturing me being the best mom I could be for my girls kept me motivated.

2. Set two types of goals: Long range and short range. What is a your end goal? Plan out what needs to be done each week in order to reach that goal. Make a detailed plan. Each week post the week's plan in a prominent place. When I train for a race I plan my runs at least 6 months ahead. Even so I need to take things day by day, so I look at my plan for the week and work to check items off my list day by day. On days that I am tired I often make a goal to put my workout clothes on. Once they're on I make another goal to go outside. Once outside I make a goal to run one mile. I always allow myself the choice to ditch the workout but I build in mini steps to ensure I am pushing myself as much as I can. I very rarely don't end up running the original distance I had planned on, but I cannot tell you how many days I didn't think I could do it until I was halfway done.

3. Find your people. There are groups out there for every type of fitness need - in person or online. Finding your people means obtaining support, encouragement, training tips and accountability. If the group you find isn't inspiring you or making you feel stronger, ditch it and find another group. There IS a group of people out there who will help you reach your goal and make you feel like a bad ass in the process. Don't settle for less.

A Morning Grouch 
AMorningGrouch.com

1. Make sure you break it down into smaller, attainable and REALISTIC goals. Starting a fitness plan to do a huge athletic endeavour in a very short timeframe or solely to look like a celebrity or fit in an item of clothing isn't always the best approach and often leads to setbacks or failure.

2. Don't compare yourself to others because you are a unique and wonderful individual. Seriously... just look at what you were able to do last week/last month/last year as your barometer of progress instead of focusing outwardly at others. And be nice to yourself during this time (and always)... if you wouldn't say something to a friend, then don't say it to yourself.

3. Find time to enjoy the process. Being so regimented that you can't enjoy time with friends/family or if you need to isolate yourself to accomplish your goals, that isn't a healthy approach. Yes, there will be painful workouts or hard adjustments... but finding the humor in a situation and a way to smile will help immensely.

Jill Whitaker 
JillWillRun.com

1. Take it slow! Have fun and push yourself a little bit, but don't go crazy trying to do everything all at once. Focus on making small changes and build from there.

2. Make walking a priority. Walking is a fantastic way to exercise! If you focus on tightening your abs as you walk, you can get an extra workout from it, too. (Build up to getting 10,000+ steps of walking in each day as your goal over time.)

3. Focus on lifestyle adjustments. Try standing at your desk instead of sitting, and take the stairs instead of the escalator. Do a few jumping jacks, push-ups, or crunches throughout the day when you need a break from work. Every bit counts and it can really add up, especially if you are new to exercise!

Sagan Morrow 
SaganMorrow.com

1. Find something you truly enjoy doing. For me, it's running and skiing. For you, it might be something else. If you don't know what you might enjoy doing to get and stay fit, try lots of different things and see what feels right and what's fun for you.

2. Set goals you can achieve and keep setting new goals as you keep progressing.

3. Be consistent. Stick with it and mix things up with other types of exercise to keep it all fresh.

Wyatt Hornsby 
NoLimitsEver.Blogspot.com

1. First, stop feeling desperate and relax.

2. Second, ask yourself what kind of activity you most enjoy doing (in my case, it's walking around New York City).

3. Third, do it. Then whatever you are doing will be enjoyable on its own.

Marion Nestle 
FoodPolitics.com

1. Find an exercise you LOVE. You don't have to run or do yoga or Crossfit - but you do have to move to get fit. Try different exercises until you find one you like and do it. I don't think exercise should be work, it should be fun!

2. Build in accountability. Seek advice and support. Join a club or a dance class or recruit a friend to sweat with you. It's always more fun with friends and will help keep you accountable.

3. Eat well. Fuel yourself with healthy foods that you like. A big part of fitness and weight loss is what you eat - so that aspect can't be taken for granted.

Monica Olivas 
RunEatRepeat.com

1. Be consistent. You don't have to do the exact perfect workouts, you just have to pick workouts that you will do (and work hard at) consistently over the long term.

2. Be compassionate with yourself. You will fall off track, you will mess up, you will plateau and sometimes you might even take a step backwards. That's all perfect. Having compassion for yourself and your journey will get you through all that and let you get back on track. It's the big picture that matters, and being kind and understanding with yourself keeps you from have an "all or nothing" mentality that inevitably ends up being "nothing."

3. Focus on the process not the outcome. Find ways to enjoy the process. That will keep you motivated, make sure your results are sustainable, and drastically improve your quality of life along the journey. Also, letting go of a "perfect" outcome lets you recognize and celebrate all your small successes along the way, helping you enjoy the process even more!

Jesse Kneeland 
TheKneelandsBlog.com

1. Do sprints or HIIT. If you do make it to the gym and want to get in a quick but effective cardio workout, consider doing sprints or HIIT (high intensity interval training.) these two types of training not only burn more calories during the workout, but also during the “afterburn”.

2. Combine fitness with fun. The whole reason we strive to be physically fit is so we can enjoy our fitnessoutside of the gym. right? i mean, you aren’t training on the treadmill or the lat pulldown machine in order to use that fitness within the gym walls. combine your free time with fitness-based activities!

3. Pat yourself on the back. YOU ARE TRYING. you are working out when you can. that is a lot more than a lot of the nation’s population. i’ll be honest—the majority of my acquaintances (not on blogs—but in “real life”) don’t work out. ever. at all. so if you are getting a workout in even 2 or 3 days a week, pat yourself on the back. you are doing better than most people.

Janetha Gallegos 
MealsAndMovesBlog.com