Hard Body: Shut up and pump

By: Rick Andreoli

“Muffin tops are hot,” you try convincing yourself after seeing your reflection in the mirror one sad post-party morning. It doesn't work. Within seconds promises emerge: eat less, drink less—a lot less— and work out more. “Yes!” you think. “I'll be thin enough for the White Party…” And then a hangover wave hits, you crawl back into bed, turn on Food Network and order pizza.

Whether you’re working out for the first time or pushing past a plateau, “Getting in shape is hard work,” acknowledges Toby Johnson, a trainer and co-owner of Easton Gym in Los Angeles. “If people aren’t enjoying it, getting the endorphin rush, or finding validation for their work, then it’s easy to fail.”

True enough. And while not everyone wants a party boy clone body (not that we'd ever kick one out of bed), being healthy and taking care of yourself is important. So here are some hints on turning your fitness resolutions into a reality.

  • Find the right space. Every major city offers plenty of gyms at varying price ranges. Try some out. Experienced muscle studs may need a change to re-energize themselves, while newbies who find a comfortable, encouraging space are less likely to quit.
  • Marco_paris_28_20100225_1470854642 Find a motivator. I want a hot body and good health, you think. Well, sorry kids, but if wanting something provided results we’d all have 12-pack abs, eternal youth, and a 12-inch dick (but not necessarily in that order). So hire a personal trainer who will push you to achieve goals and charge you for a session if you flake (money is a powerful motivator). “If you can’t afford a trainer, a workout partner is a great tool to keep you in the gym,” Johnson says.
  • Find attainable goals.
    Pick something reasonable, like working out 3 days a week, losing weight, or building muscle mass. “This is especially helpful if you’re just starting out,” Johnson says. “Once a goal is attained it’s easy to set more interesting goals and keep going.”
  • Find new interests.
    Marathons, group cycling, or sports leagues help you be physical, meet people, and add new fitness elements into your routine; they can also cost less than a full-blown gym membership. Outsports is a great resource for finding local groups or promoting your own.
  • Find variety. Studies of post-pregnancy women have shown that they can quickly return to their healthy body weight if they vary up their workouts. The same concept applies to anyone. If you want to tone up or lean out, lift weights, jog, do yoga—whatever—just introduce variety into your fitness life.
  • Find the right diet.
    Experts say that diet influences 70-80% of your body composition. “But there are quality of life issues,” adds Johnson, explaining that if a diet makes you miserable, it may not be right for you. “Try a few diets until you find one that works and gives you a lifestyle you want to live.”
  • Find the time. I’m busy! Girl, we all are, so drop the excuses and make time. “If you’re too tired to hit the gym at night, make the mornings work,” Johnson advises. “You can also go at lunch or find a gym that’s open until midnight. Even a half-hour workout is better than eating a cupcake.” 
  • But what if I fail?
    You may. And it’s not the end of the world. Like with diets, there is no “right” fitness resolution, so try multiple gyms, trainers, and classes until you create a plan that works for you. Just keep trying! You may think you hate running or boxing, but different classes and instructors can often turn an old hate into a new passion.

The bottom line with all these tips is to make a decision, schedule it into your life, and stop trying to convince yourself that muffin tops are hot. Unless you're a bear, in which case you should totally rock the top.

Images courtesy of Men Machine.