Tip #1 – Don’t be overly aggressive in pursuing your goals. A big problem that a lot of people run into when beginning a fitness, nutrition or exercise program is experiencing a rapid decrease in motivation within the first few weeks due to an overly aggressive plan. Often the goals (working out 5 days a week and strength training 3 days a week) are a little too much if you’re new or just getting back into your workouts. Set small but attainable goals (cardio 3 times per week for 45 minutes and strength training 1-2 times per week), and make this the basis of your fitness foundation.
If you’ve tried before but not achieved the success you desired, I would strongly suggest you hire a certified personal trainer who will help you stay on track, stay focused on your goals and keep you motivated.
Tip #2 – Lift weights to decrease excessive body fat. Cardio is not necessarily king when it comes to weight loss. Using the proper amount of weights that are heavy enough to challenge your muscles will take you even further in attaining your fat burning goals.
Tip #3 – Increasing your lean muscle is actually good for you! I’ve met so many women who tell me they want to lose weight and body fat, but they don’t want to lift heavy weights and “bulk up”. I’m going to tell you right now that for the vast majority of women, “bulking up” is nearly impossible and most women are not genetically designed to have large “bulky” muscles due to restrictions in muscle building hormones.
Muscle is what protects your bones and internal organs. On top of that lean muscle lies a layer of body fat. So if you are “bulking” when you workout, it may be due to not changing your diet, eating improperly and adding extra fat to your body, not adding lean muscle. Keep in mind, the more lean muscle that you have, the more calories you’ll be able to burn and keep burning, even at rest!
Tip #4 – Nutrition is 80% of your results! The old saying “You can’t out exercise a bad diet” is so true. Commit yourself to an 80/20% nutrition program for great results. If you find that too much of a challenge start with 75/25%. Making any positive changes (however small you may feel they are), is a step in the right directions to achieving your personal goals!
Tip #5 – Hydrate for results, hydrate for life! Whether you’ve been hearing this forever or if this is the first time: Hydrate, Hydrate, HYDRATE! Drinking plenty of fresh water every day will keep you optimally hydrated. We lose fluids continuously from sweating, breathing, urine and bowl movements and we must replace it for good health. When the weather turns warmer, staying hydrated, especially for older adults and children is more imperative as often their sense of thirst may not be as sharp as it was or could be. Remember your body is over 60% water, so keep yourself and those you love hydrated!
Tip #6 – Tell others! Let others within your inner circle know what you’re doing and what your goals are. Good, supportive and positive friends and family members can help you stay on track and lend you a supportive hand when you need it the most.
Tip #7 – Keep moving! Engaging in 30-60 minutes a day (4-6 days a week) of cardiovascular activity (walking, jogging, aerobic classes, swimming) is a great stress reliever and helps to clear your mind. Getting outside for some fresh air will help you to achieve your goals in less time.
Tip #8 – Mom and Dad were right! Vegetables are good, no make that great for you! From your dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli, collards), your pale greens (cauliflower, jicama, cabbage, your reds and oranges (peppers, yams, carrots, beets, squash) and your purples (egg plant), vegetables should make up a large bulk of the daily food you consume. Whether steamed, baked, sauteed or eaten raw, vegetables are low-to-no in fat, low in calories and are very filling.
Tip #9 – No more excuses! Yes, we all have them: birthdays, holidays, get-togethers, parties, pot-lucks, I’m sad, I’m depressed, I’m happy, and the list goes on and on. If you’re going to have that slice of cake, have it with no regrets and no guilt because you didn’t “have” to eat it. You “chose” to eat it, in spite of what your brain was saying.
We all do this (some more than others), but feeling guilty or mad won’t change what has happened or what you’ve eaten. So put the guilt down, get over it, think of what you could do differently in the future if this situation arises again and move on!
Tip #10 – Be loving to yourself. You’re going to have days when you don’t feel like exercising, or you may want to have that extra scoop of ice cream. It’s okay, just get back on track with your goals as soon as possible. Often the goals that we set for ourselves in the beginning are not the goals that we still want to have further into our journey. Revise your goals to suit your current needs and go from that point on. Life is a fabulous journey so make sure you live it well!