10 Helpful Hints For Women: Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life

Dr. Dawn Cadwallader
Written By: Dr. Dawn Cadwallader
April 27th, 2014
Updated: June 13th, 2020
Categories: Articles For Women
24.8K Reads
Bikini and figure competitor veteran Dr. Dawn Cadwallader presents 10 tips that will help you stay on track and get into the best shape of your life at any age. Really!

After competing in my last bikini competition, someone commented on how good of shape I am in for my age and asked me to share how I got to where I am now.  It then hit me that I’m in the best shape of my life at age 43.  Being the leanest I have ever been in my life, I realized that I’m now leaner than I was even when I was ultra-thin.

Here are my personal keys to getting in the best shape of my life:

Hint #1 - Set a goal

By setting a goal, the mission becomes real and determination gets higher.  Personally, I began my journey by deciding to do my first figure competition.  You may have a marathon you want to run, an event coming up that you want to look your best for, a competition you want to enter, or maybe you just want to get into shape.  Pick a date and make it your goal.  Write down your goal and start planning your action steps and you will begin the process.

Hint #2 - Decide your "why?"

There’s no better way to reaching an ultimate goal than to have a well determined, “Why?”  Is it that you want to get healthier?  Lose weight?  Put on muscle? Get stronger?  Whatever your reason, make sure it is for you, not for other people.  Write out a clear statement and put it next to your goal.  Having a purpose for all of the hard work you are about to put into your physical body will make it that much easier.

Hint #3 - Get a support team

The mistake I made as I prepared for my first competition was that I didn’t want anyone to know what I was doing out of fear of failure.  At first, I didn’t tell anyone because I truly thought I would back out.  When time got closer, I decided that I had better tell my close friends and family so that they could support me and hold me accountable.  By getting supporters, you will have a reason to stay on track.  And, if you don’t, they will be there to help you get back on the proverbial wagon if you fall off.

Chest Dips

Hint #4 - Invest in you

Getting into the best shape of your life could potentially be free or it could be expensive, it all depends on what your goal is.  You may merely just need to invest the time.  You might need to buy workout clothes, running shoes, a gym membership, pay an entry fee, and/or purchase a competition suit.  Just remember that you are investing in yourself and decide that you value yourself enough to spend the time and money.

Hint #5 - Mentally prepare yourself

Getting yourself mentally prepared to invest the time and money and do the work it’s going to take is the most important step towards any goal.  I find that taking time each day to meditate and visualize myself reaching my goals is incredibly helpful.  You can listen to motivational CDs and read books that may help you get your mental attitude to where it should be.  It will only increase your chances of being successful.

Hint #6 - Do what you like

Having been a person who grew up not liking any kind of sports or exercise, getting into the best shape of my life seemed impossible.  It may take trying many different things to realize that there actually is some physical activity that you thoroughly enjoy doing.  Hiring a personal trainer, trying different fitness classes at the gym, or even starting a sport you never thought you would enjoy, might make getting into shape more fun for you.

Hint #7 - Don't get frustrated

It doesn’t happen overnight.  Getting into shape has its ups and downs.  The best way I have avoided the frustration game is by hiring a coach to help me keep on track and to give me feedback.   As with many others, I tend to be my own worst enemy.  Having unbiased feedback from another person can keep you from falling into a trap of self-doubt and frustration.

Hint #8 - Track your progress

Keeping a food diary, taking weekly pictures, and monitoring things like body fat and weight can be helpful.  I don’t recommend weighing yourself more than once a week.   Too much focus on the scale has been my downfall and has kept me from making progress in putting on size and getting stronger.  If you view the scale and your body fat together as a measure of gaining lean mass, you will be better off.

Hint #9 - Reward yourself for your achievements

It may be challenging not to reward yourself with food treats for achievements you have made.  Some better choices for rewards are things like new outfits, makeovers, mani/pedis, massages, spa days, vacations, or even something as small as a bubble bath every night.

Hint #10 - Be accountable for you

Grocery shopping, meal planning, food preparation, and scheduling your exercise time can be exhausting within itself.  Just remember that this is your journey and nobody else’s.  You can’t expect your significant other, family, and friends to understand how much time and dedication is involved in the process.  If you have help from others, just be grateful for anything they do to support you.   If not, don’t be angry.  Unless someone is on or has taken the same path to fitness as you are, they will never understand what you are going through.

Getting into the best shape of your life can be challenging.  If you decide that you are going to make it enjoyable along the way despite the struggles you may have, it will be easier.  Once you get there you will look back and be proud of all of your hard work.  Hopefully, your journey will never end, as mine hasn’t.  And you will believe that you can always be stronger, leaner, and healthier.  Good luck!