Did you make a new year’s resolution when you rang in 2016? Was it to get fit or lose weight? Here are 5 tips to help you keep your resolution:
1. Find a partner!
Having an accountability partner when trying to make a lifestyle change is always very helpful! You have a built-in work out partner, as well as someone who you are accountable to so you cannot make excuses! You can help motivate and encourage each other…maybe even challenge each other. Knowing that someone is waiting on you for that way-too-early 6 am run or dreaded after-work gym session will help persuade you to show up and not stay in bed or make another excuse.
2. Start small!
No one expects you to walk into the gym on day one and compete in the CrossFit Games or bench press your body weight. You have to work up to those things. It may not even be a good idea to start with free weights or the circuit machines at the gym…depending on just how out of shape you are J. Starting with a bodyweight workout challenge or even a resistance band workout may help you stick with it instead of giving up because you are way too sore to continue…or God forbid, have injured yourself. Do NOT compare yourself to anyone else! Do NOT try to compete with anyone else! You must go at your own pace to get the results you want.
3. Warm up & cool down!
It is never a good idea to start a workout of any kind without a good warm up. Whether it is a brisk 5-10 minute walk before you start your morning run or dynamic stretching before Zumba class…a good warm-up helps loosen up your muscles, increase your heart rate and reduce injuries. According to the American Heart Association, “a good warm-up dilates your blood vessels, ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It also raises your muscles’ temperature for optimal flexibility and efficiency. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart. Cooling down after a workout is as important as warming up. After physical activity, your heart is still beating faster than normal, your body temperature is higher and your blood vessels are dilated. This means if you stop too fast, you could pass out or feel sick. A cool-down after physical activity allows a gradual decrease at the end of the episode. It’s good to stretch when you’re cooling down because your limbs, muscles, and joints are still warm. Stretching can help reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to muscles cramping and stiffness.”(http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Warm-Up-Cool-Down_UCM_430168_Article.jsp#.Vo6JdG9IgaI)
It is important to hydrate in your daily life, but even more so when you are working out. Your body is made up of mostly water…and practically every function of your body requires water. If you do not hydrate properly, your body will take water from wherever it can get it to run the bodily functions needed to keep you going. Your intestines hold quite a bit of water to keep you regular. So when you do not supply your body with new, clean water, it will take the used, unclean water from your digestive tract to fuel your body. Does that sound healthy??? Drinking 1oz of water per pound of body weight per day is the recommended amount of water needed to stay hydrated. It may be necessary to drink more if you are burning more energy by working out. A good way to make sure you drink a lot of water is to carry a water bottle around with you…or if you are really serious about it, make one of these:
5. Diet…or more accurately…EAT HEALTHY!
The word diet has a stigma attached to it. Diets, in the vast majority, DO NOT WORK!!! In order to change the way you eat, you must change your lifestyle! If your lifestyle does not change, any weight that was lost will just come back. First, stop eating fast food! That’s a big part of it. Yes, it’s easy, fast and cheap…but that combination does not always lead to success. You cannot expect to look like a million bucks when you eat from the dollar menu. I’m not saying that you must eat only organic fruits and vegetables, but being cognizant of what you are fueling your body with can help change your opinion on food. There are so many healthy recipes available online that you will never run out of good choices. Second, if you have a family, include them in the lifestyle change so that you are not tempted to eat junk with them. If the whole family eats healthy, the whole family gets healthy. Sugar-free popsicles and Jello are great alternatives to candy, cookies and ice cream when you get that sweet tooth. A great guideline to follow is high protein, high vegetable, low calorie, low carbohydrate and moderate fruit intake. If you can follow these tips, you should be able to watch the pounds melt away.