Since I started personal training, I've learned that getting in shape is definitely a process. I've also found that the best way to accomplish your goals is to attack the process systematically (step by step). What we've decided to do here at Semper Fitness is take you on a journey through the physical fitness process. We intend to attack it systematically. This series of articles will guide you through all aspects of the physical fitness process. During this series, we will cover such things as getting started, motivation, workout plans, nutrition, anaerobic versus aerobic and much much more. Let's get started.

In order to get started with the physical fitness process, you must first make a decision. You must decide whether you really want to make the change. Are you tired of the way you feel? Do you want to have more energy? Are you tired of the way you look? Do you really want to feel healthier? Once you've decided in your mind that you want to make a change, you have to make a commitment. You have to tell yourself that there will be no excuses. You have to say to yourself that no one will stop me on my quest to a healthier life. Now that you've made the commitment, It's time to start planning your program.

The first step in planning your program is to figure how much time you can allot to your workout plan. Are you able to workout two, three, four or more times per week? Also, how much time do you have to workout? Can you work out for 30 minutes or more per day? Once you've figured out your time management issues, it's time to set your goals and get your tools of motivation.

When it comes to setting goals, you have to set realistic goals. A realistic goal would be something like "I would like to lose 30 pounds in six months". An unrealistic goal would be "I want to lose 30 pounds in one month. You can expect to lose approximately 2-3 pounds per week on a good physical fitness plan. Don't get me wrong. I have seen people lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. Think about some of the people you went to boot camp with. However, we want to lose the weight gradually and we will not have a drill instructor (D.I.) hovering over our shoulders 24 hours a day.

Once you've set your goal, take a picture of yourself in some form fitting shorts or something that accents your physique (fellas no shirts). I know that this is going to be painful, but believe me, it works. Take the picture and put it in a place that you will be able to look at everyday. When you have those days that you don't feel like working out, take a look at the picture. It will motivate you put on those exercise clothes and work out. Other ways to help motivate yourself are to let other people know that you are on the quest for physical fitness. Tell your friends to help you as much as possible. When they see you picking up that second helping of cheesecake, they'll remind you of your quest. Finally, when it comes to staying motivated, try to get a partner to work out with you. A partner will motivate you on the days that you don't want to work out and vice versa.

Now that you've set your goals, taken your picture, told your friends, and gotten a partner, you have to do some personal preparation. Get yourself a good pair of either running, walking or cross trainer shoes. This depends on what type of exercises you are going to do. I suggest some running shoes because you can walk in them and do other aerobic type activities as well. Next, get yourself a little notebook or logbook to monitor your progress. In this notebook, you are going to put down your goals, current weight and if you choose, the measurements of your waist, chest, abdomen, arms, thighs, neck, etc. You can also use the book to take notes in. Of course, you are going to need someplace to workout. This could be a local gym, your basement, an extra room in your house, a field or wherever you wish.

After you've done all of your preparation, you're ready to get to the meat and potatoes of the process, nutrition. Next article we'll discuss what to eat, how much, when and how to cook food to make it lower in calories and fat. Until next time, stay pumped, stay motivated and OO-RAH!

Semper Fidelis!