I don’t know about you but these International athletes inspire me to be a better version of myself- to work harder, train better, eat cleaner. I thought it might be a good time to revisit my fitness plan and help you with yours. When making a plan, it’s all about simple, mindful decisions, and reasonable goals. Before we get to the nuts and bolts, let’s talk gear.
Where do we start? Let’s talk about some helpful tools to get started. You’ll need the appropriate gear and a means to track your progress.
I am instantly renewed with a fresh pair of running shoes. I can’t wait to slide those neon, leopard print sneakers onto my feet and see how they move. If you are trying to start a new fitness plan in the shoes you wear to mow your grass, I’d consider heading out to a sporting goods store immediately.
And while you are out, grab some new shorts or tights, a couple of tanks and a sports bra or two. Get them in your current size so you don’t feel like a stuffed sausage and work toward the smaller size. When I am in-between sizes, I hit up Old Navy or Gap Body for their excellent prices on athletic wear. I am a sucker for a sale so I love to shop in those types of stores for my transitional active wear.
I happen to love wearable activity trackers. They give excellent information about my daily activity and specifically to my workout. I have owned many brands of heart rate and activity trackers but I believe a good beginner tracker is the Fitbit Charge HR. The ease of use and the downloadable app make for a simple user experience. An added bonus- no chest strap- as your heart rate is measured through your wrist pulse. You will find yourself pushing through sedentary times in your day to reach your weekly goals.
Proceed with Caution: Don’t allow yourself to become obsessive about the goals or miles or minutes of movement. If your watch is making you feel guilty about missing a goal, take it off for the rest of the day and allow your mind to refresh.
What’s Next? The Easy Fitness Plan!
When I am trying to get my body into a more healthy state, I mix up strength training and cardio and I ALWAYS use stretching exercises before and after my workouts. You can often avoid injury with proper warm up and stretching every time. Foam rolling looks odd if you have never done it, but it works wonders to help your body recover from the strenuous work you are doing throughout your new plan.
To lose fat and build muscle, I MUST lift weights. No way around it. When I can’t afford one-on-one training from a pro, I love Group Fitness classes that have strength training involved. This will probably work for you too! Here’s why- when you find a good instructor, she or he will TEACH you proper form and how to successfully lift weights. When you take a class, you are in a safe environment that promotes growth and learning. Find a fitness style that works for your body and mind. Once you get comfortable in one type of class, try something new and explore how your body reacts to different fitness disciplines. Yoga on a surf board is next for me!
Cardio has the good reputation of being the best fat burning exercise around as long as you are using it wisely. Think about your heart rate spiking up to the point of not being able to have a conversation and then allowing it to drop back into a lower zone where you could chat during exercise. Continue that exercise at different levels of intensity for a specified amount of time.
Low Intensity – There are plenty of ways to get to the HR range like walk/running. Every 3 minutes of your walk take your brisk walk up to a 1 minute jog. Do that for 30 minutes in Intervals.
Mid-High Intensity – If you are taking a kickboxing or dance fitness class and your HR raises up too high, grab some water and find a low jump rope movement until your HR comes back into a more comfortable pace.
High Intensity – HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are short, fast-paced and incredibly effective to take your heart on a roller coaster ride.
Your activity tracker will teach you how to check and measure your heart rate and manage when you pass through the fat burning phase and into endurance training.
Sleeping in Makes you Skinny.
Getting around eight hours of sleep may seem like a dream to you, but in that time, your body has the ability to rest, recover and lose weight! So plan an earlier bed time and hit the snooze button once more.
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat—56% of their weight loss— than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass. (They shed similar amounts of total weight regardless of sleep.) Source: www.health.com
Abs Are Made in the Kitchen.
Diet is EVERYTHING. Like a luxury vehicle uses superior fuel, you must fuel your body with clean energy. If you follow a fitness plan and still eat overly processed food lacking nutritional value and full of sugar and ingredients you cannot recognize, your results will suffer. That seems harsh but it is true. Find a clean eating plan that you can commit to and make positive changes inside your body and out.
When you are ready to commit to your new plan, expect to get side tracked and miss a workout or two. It happens to me and it’s okay. You can always start fresh tomorrow and giving yourself room to take a misstep is healthy and totally normal. In the end, you are working toward positive choices to change the health of your body. Those choices have lifelong, positive side effects of happiness, joy, self-confidence, longer life span, improved intimacy, less depression, better skin, and healthier weight. If the incredible athletes competing on TV don’t inspire you to be more active, hopefully that list of wellness benefits will!