By Amy Lewis
Photos By ChiChi Ubiña

If I had to rank my level of fitness on a 1-5 level, I would give myself a solid 4. I desire to be at a 5, but I should never break the glass ceiling. Do better, be better, perform better and compete with one person, yourself. That will determine your level. As you embark in your training in the next few months, I think it’s important to look at what level/category of fitness you would like to achieve. Then begin your training immediately and end indefinitely.

Level 1, You are in procrastination mode. You keep making excuses why you will not start exercising and eating right. Your priority to work out is at the bottom. Honestly, you would rather clean your closet than go for a walk. You know I am right. I will tell you, for anyone to move out of level 1, it usually takes a health scare. What’s important for this person is just to do something-nothing crazy. No one expects you to run a 7-minute mile, but interval walking is incredible and costs nothing. Purchase resistance bands for at home. They are easy and efficient. You can do duck walks, leg lifts, pull aparts, etc. Making a schedule and sticking to it is all it takes. Diet is important as well. If you can make a conscious effort to avoid sugar and white flour products and eat at least 3-4 small meals a day, you will have a lot more energy to get started. Starving yourself is silly and a setback. Metabolism slows down, you develop bad breath, hair and skin suffers. This is not an attractive look.

Level 2, You are 3 months in. You have been consistent, but you have not lost any weight. It’s time to start pushing a little. Add 1 or 2 more days of exercise. Get out of the house and explore other workouts. There is something for everyone. The best thing you can do now is try to make friends in whatever exercise program you find. It’s healthy for the body and mind to have others around that you like and share a common interest with. Eating is always the same. You have one cheat meal a week. Lastly, if you can afford it, now would be a good time to consider a personal trainer to help you tailor problem areas and add new challenging workouts.

Level 3, You are 1 year in, and you did it. Exercise is now a natural part of your life. You follow a schedule and have made friends. Maybe it’s still hard to break the barrier of what your ultimate goals are. However, you have improved blood flow, lowered your risk of disease, have a stronger immune system, your heart beats more efficiently, and so on. Here is an excellent opportunity to try new types of exercise. And try them all! Everyone is different. You never know, you just may have an inner cross-fitter in you that you never knew existed. This is an amazing time for you. Think about adding supplements to improve muscle endurance. It’s a proud moment for you and an accomplishment.

So why am I a level 4?-because as amazing as I felt at level 3, I pushed the envelope-developed muscle, did something almost unnatural at the age of 40. I got better, felt better than I felt in my 20’s. It still blows my mind. I almost wish I had this mentality when I was playing sports…unstoppable. But there is something about being more mature and wiser that I could look ahead and kill it. Maybe it’s a little arrogant of me, but I work incredibly hard-really really hard. If I can give my children now what I wish I knew then, that would be an accomplishment. So why never a level 5?- because we all need goals. This is something I learned from my good friend and fitness influencer, Dan Calabrese. Having a goal will give you drive and push you. What a positive way to think! Thank you, Dan. So let’s get on it. Figure out your level and level up. No better time than now.