ACHIEVE YOUR FITNESS GOALS - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Do you have desires to be more fit and physically in shape? Want to look better at the pool, or just be able to keep up with your crazy kids?
Whatever your reason is, many people want to look and feel better. But, the question is, where and how do you start???
In this post I will go over how to establish your goals and how to come with a plan that if you stick with it, it will work!
We all struggle with not having enough time in the day - everyone is busy!
Priorities are a must, and making sure you put what is most important to you first.
That being said, these steps will help you develop habits that will keep you on track and prepare you for a successful week without taking up too much time.
The main thing to figure out is what exactly are your goals. Do you have a certain amount of weight or body fat you want to lose? Are you trying to get stronger and put on muscle? How about wanting more endurance and stamina?
Getting into shape can be difficult and frustrating in the beginning. However, the more you stick with it, the easier and more fun it becomes! Fitness works by doing it consistently over time. It takes time for our tissue to adapt and for our body to become leaner and stronger. Stick with it for 3 weeks and you will see a HUGE difference that alone will inspire you to keep going! Enjoy the journey and don't rush the outcome; if you stay with it, you WILL see results.
What to do and When to do it:
1. Nutrition & Meal Planning - this is by far the most important part in order to see results. You cannot outwork a bad diet!
Be real with yourself and slow down on eating out, sodas or sugary drinks, and alcohol. You can lose a lot of weight just by cutting down on these drinks and cooking for yourself at home.
The best way to do this is be prepared. You can plan your meals out for the week by writing down what you are planning to cook each day, with ingredients prepared and recipes ready to go.
You can also pick one day out of the week to cook in bulk, and then divide up the food into meals put in Tupperware so that it is ready to grab and take on the go. This option works best for those with a super busy schedule and those who are away from home working in an office. There are some meal prepping services, but these can be expensive and I still think cooking for yourself is the safest way to go.
Download the Avatar Nutrition app to find your specific calories and macronutrient requirements. Logging your food will keep you accountable and on track to make sure you are getting exactly what you need without over-eating. Don't think of tracking as restrictive! With this method of flexible dieting, you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits into your numbers. This makes it super easy and takes the guessing out of it. At first tracking can seem overwhelming and annoying, but trust me it gets easy really fast. There are shortcuts to copy meals from other days, save recipes you use often, and even edit your fats to carbs ratio making it even more flexible to hit your numbers!
I have to mention here that under-eating is just as bad as overeating when it comes to losing body fat or gaining muscle. So don't just try not to go over in your food, but also make sure you are hitting your numbers in order to make sure you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to see results.
2. Walk - go for a walk every day you can! for 25min to an hour. This is a great time to also get the family outdoors or to spend quality time with your pet, loved one, or just yourself.
Walking is one of my favorite physical activities because it is something we should all be doing and all have access to. Getting outside with nature and the sun is beneficial to our mental health as well as soaking up the all great, Vitamin D.
This can be a great time to clear your mind or open yourself to deep thoughts without all of the usual distractions at home or in the office.
You can lose weight just by walking!! No need to count your steps. Do it for time, and enjoy the outdoors!
Change up the scenery by going to different parks or nearby hiking trails.
3. Strength Training - If you are serious about gaining muscle and getting more tone and definition, strength training is where it's at.
Strength training has many other health benefits than just looking better. Adding muscle to your body will increase your metabolic rate, which will help you burn more fat all of the time, it will also strengthen your heart, cardiovascular system, and bones.
This is personally my favorite form of working out! It also does wonders for your mental health as you take out stress on the weights, and feel accomplished every time you are able to lift heavier.
For strength training, begin with 2-3X/ week for about 1-2 months, then add in more days until you are lifting 5-6X/ week (depending on how serious your goals are).
For 2-3X/ week you want to do a push/ pull split ensuring you are getting legs twice a week: 1st day is full body push, 2nd day is full body pull, and 3rd day can be arms and abs. I like to add in walking or some cardio, and Yoga to the off-days in between.
Once you add more days to the week your split can be to focus on 2 muscle groups per workout: 1st day lower-body push with shoulders, 2nd day chest and triceps, 3rd day back and biceps, 4th day rest/ cardio/ Yoga, 5th day lower-body pull, 6th day shoulders and abs, 7th day rest/ cardio/ Yoga.
When starting out it is smart to work with a Personal Trainer who can teach you how to do exercises correctly to make sure you are getting the most out of them and are also limiting future injuries. If you do not have the finances to start with a trainer (remember it's just for a little while to learn proper technique), at least check out some educational videos on how to correctly perform the lifts.
Read more on my previous post about the benefits of strength training with supporting studies.
4. Cardio for Endurance and Stamina - start with something easy like walking every day you can.
You can change it up with other forms of cardio such as cycling, roller blading (have fun with it!), jogging, swimming, hiking, skiing, jumping rope, rock climbing, martial arts, aerobics classes, the list goes on... Find something you enjoy!
Being apart of a community or finding a partner is a great way to stay on track with cardio.
Cardio is another form of stress-relief, which will help your mental state.
To improve your endurance and stamina, I like the Fartlek method the best. It's easy to follow and is at your own pace. Using walking/ jogging as an example: in this method you would walk to warm up, then jog as far as you can until you need to walk again; you'll go back to walking until you feel ready to jog some more, and repeat. Easy method and it works!
Listen to music that inspires you and pumps you up!
PUTTING IT INTO A PLAN for the planners out there:
I like to use a good-old monthly calendar. They also have apps for this such as Habit Tracker.
Write down your starting weight and body fat percentage (you can get this from some at-home scales or from a local gym, supplement shop, or medical office). Taking before pictures is a great way to look back and see the progress you've made!
Start by planning out your meals. You can write these down or add them into Avatar Nutrition app, but make sure you have this ready to go and prepare the best you can before a busy week.
Write down the days you plan to do workouts or cardio (even schedule a time).
Once your month is planned out, you can use this calendar as an accountability method by checking off the days you completed your workouts or cardio and followed your nutrition.
Do a weekly or bi-weekly check-in with your weight and body fat percentage. Remember it takes time as our tissue is adapting and we are changing from the inside out. Know that it is not linear and your results should show over time. You should see a decrease in body fat/ increase in muscle gain overall at the end of every month. Expect to lose 0.5-2 pounds of fat per week on average.
This is also a great way to keep yourself in check. You WILL see results if you stick with your plan. So if you aren't losing weight, gaining strength, or seeing a difference, you can refer back to this calendar and ask yourself how well you actually followed through with your actions.