Lesson # 1: Plan Out Your Meals and Exercise Regimen Each Week

This is lesson one in a mini-series that I am doing about staying in shape: ideas for Soldiers.  I’m not a personal trainer or guru, but I do want to share the knowledge that I do have about eating and exercising.  I am in the middle of my own Health Challenge right now (August 2014) and I already feel like a new person.   That’s why I’m so inspired to write this mini-series.

The first lesson in this series is to plan out your exercise regimen and meals each week.  I learned a long time ago that if you don’t plan things out, they will seldom happen.  In the Army, we are taught that failing to plan is planning to fail.  As a result, we develop a plan for everything.  We do risk assessments, mission analysis, write OPORDs, have meetings and so much more.  We even create contingency plans for our regular plans.

Yet, when it comes to our own health many of us don’t have a plan.  We kind of take each day as it goes and as a result, we don’t always get the results we want.  I can speak from personal experience.  I am by nature a planner and doer, but for many YEARS I planned out everything in my life BUT my own health regimen.  Hard to believe, but it’s true.

As a result, I gained weight, had less energy and wasn’t in very good shape.  And I was never happy with how I looked either.  Fortunately, I decided to do something about it.  And as I mentioned earlier, I feel inspired to share my new knowledge with others.

In the paragraphs below, I want to share a few tips on what you should do to plan out your health regimen.

# 1 Write Down Your Goals – The first step is to write down your goals.  I’m a big fan of written goals.  I can speak from personal experience and tell you that writing down my goals have completely changed my life for the better.  If you’re going to start a new journey you need a destination.  Write down your one year, six month and one month goals.  These goals will be your destination.  How much do you want to weigh?  What do you want to look like?  How do you want to feel?

# 2 Develop Your Game Plan – Once you have your goals written down, the next step is to come up with a WRITTEN game plan.  This is when you might want to sit down with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist and come up with a specific plan that you can follow each day, each week, and each month.  You should know EXACTLY what you are supposed to do each day to reach your goals. The plan should be easy to understand and doable.  If it’s too extreme or too hard to do, you probably won’t follow through with it.

# 3 Get Organized – Your next step in the process is to get organized.  You should get a day planner or use a calendar on your Smart Phone or in Outlook to manage your health plan.  Try to keep everything in one place if possible.  There are even software programs and apps you can use online to do it.  I personally just use a day planner and that works well for me.

# 4 Plan Out Your Meals Each Week – Your next step is to plan out your meals each week.  This might sound difficult, but I can assure you that once you do this for a week or two, you will not revert back to your old ways.  If you are married, sit down with your spouse and come up with a meal plan.  What are you going to have for dinner each night of the week?  How about lunch and breakfast?  By planning out your meals you can save a lot of money and you can eat healthy.

# 5 Plan Out and Schedule Time to Exercise Each Week – The next thing you want to do is plan out your exercise regimen each week.  I like to do this every Sunday night.  Write down what exercises you will do on what days and at what times.  Follow the advice you got from your trainer and focus on certain muscle groups each day.  Mix in some cardio too.  Add all of this to your day planner so that you don’t forget about it.

# 6 Stay Disciplined – You are in the military so I know you have SOME discipline.  This plan will not work if you don’t stay disciplined and follow it through.  Make it a priority and it will happen.  Do it even when you don’t feel like it! Otherwise you will fail.  It won’t be easy, but nothing worth accomplishing is easy.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the first lesson for getting in shape is to plan out your exercise regimen and meals each week.  Set some goals, come up with a game plan and follow through with it.  Set a good time to exercise each day and determine what meals you will eat each day and when.  The more time you spend planning this out, the easier things will be for you.  And remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.

What are your thoughts?  Leave a comment below to let me know what you think!

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