3 Suggestions to Help You Make Fitness a Priority Again

Taylor Mungie and Ashli Arrisola stretch before the Trails of Hope 5K run.
Taylor Mungie and Ashli Arrisola stretch before the Trails of Hope 5K run Feb. 22, 2014, at Belton, Texas. (Sgt. Samuel Northrup/U.S. Army photo)

Here is a question about falling out of your fitness routine and trying to get back in the groove after a long break.

"I am 46 years old. In my 20's and 30's I worked out at the gym faithfully. But, somewhere along the way I stopped going to the gym. Now I am not overweight. But, not comfortable with the weight that I have gained. The metabolism has slowed down. So my question to you is, at this stage of the game, what really will work?"

Oh, yes -- the transition from having not exercised in 10 years to getting started. Where do you begin? First of all, do not start off where you left off 10-20 years ago. Common sense should tell you not to do that.

I would focus on three things. The first two require little effort but will help you gain energy to exercise, help you recover from exercise and help you lose weight. The third is just to get moving again.

1. Water consumption

Consume 2-3 liters of water a day. Depending on your weight, I would increase water up to a gallon, even if you are more than 200 pounds. I drink at least a gallon of water a day, but I exercise a few hours a day, too.

2. Food intake

For a system to help increase your metabolism, see the "Summer Lean Down Plan." Email me at stew@stewsmith.com, and I will send you an updated version with more than 30 more food options to help you eat to lose weight, not diet.

3. Stretch daily

Stretch daily for one week. Then start moving for one month; add something simple to your routine, like walking. Try mixing in jogging (not too far) and continue daily stretching. This will help you get the body in a habit of fitness.

After a month of light to moderate movements and stretching, you'll be ready to go. Too often, people jump right into lifting heavy weights or running three miles a day, and next thing you know, they are injured or are so sore that they cannot function. You can avoid all soreness if you stretch daily and slowly build a foundation of fitness over the course of one month.

The "45-Day Beginner Program" (PDF) does just that. Just today ,I had a gentleman email to say that he is about to go on the 45-day intermediate plan and has lost more than 20 pounds. He also increased his push-ups from five to 35 in less than 40 days.

For February-March 2006, buy any 45-day plan and get the next level for free. I will email it to you with your order receipt. See the Military.com Fitness eBook Store for more information.

Most of this weight loss is water retention the body was storing due to actually not drinking enough water. Once you give your body 2-3 liters of water a day, your body will release retained water. I have seen bloated clients lose up to 20 pounds in one week by just adding water.

If you have heard rumors about getting ill or dying from drinking too much water, see the article I wrote about it last year. It occurs but only in extreme heat and extremely prolonged exercise/work, where you sweat your electrolytes out and replace them with just water. See "Can I Die from Drinking Too Much Water?"

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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