“Fitness is about so much more than exercise. It’s a catalyst for positive change, and it affects every aspect of your life.”
Motivation is probably the biggest obstacle we all face when it comes to sticking to a fitness program. Let’s face it, exercise and eating healthy is hard and exercise even hurts. When something causes us pain or discomfort, even though in the long run it makes us stronger and healthier, it’s human nature to want to stop. The key is to keep pushing forward towards your goal, and once you start seeing all the positive changes, you learn to break free of the limits you have out on yourself.
Everybody’s weight fluctuates on a day to day basis based on several factors – the main factor being water weight, especially in women. A woman’s weight can fluctuate 2-4 lbs. easily when your monthly cycle is approaching.
To save your sanity, it’s best to only weigh in once a week, or at the most twice a week. When doing so, ALWAYS weigh in at the same time each week, wearing the same amount of clothing. I recommend always weighing as soon as you wake up. Just jump out of bed, use the restroom and jump on the scale. Only thing to be aware of is if you ate a heavy meal or a meal super high in sodium the night before you can expect to be up a little in weight. But don’t worry, that gain is just water and should be gone by the next day. And without exception, ALWAYS WEIGH IN ON THE SAME SCALE. Every scale in the world will weigh you a little differently no matter what, so it’s super important to only weigh in on one scale.
So, to sum things up in a quick sentence. When checking your weight, always weigh in at the same time, on the same scale, and only do so once a week, but try and not do so the morning after eating a big meal high in sodium!!
Journaling is one of the best ways to help keep yourself motivated. I am not saying you need to write in a journal every day. Once every week or two write down 1 or 2 quick lines about how you’re feeling. Write the good and the bad. As you continue on your new fitness journey and motivation starts to fade, go back and read how you were feeling the first week you started. This will quickly refresh the memories of why you started and help keep you moving towards your goal without taking a step backwards. Remember, keep your eye on the prize and remember why you started!!!
Stop the All or Nothing Cycle
How many times have you started your new diet and exercise plan on a Magical Monday? The day when all new lifestyles are made. You have your meal plan. You’re cutting out sugar, carbs, gluten or (insert any food group or macronutrient here)! You feel like crap but if you can just get through the first few days you’ll be fine. You barely have the energy to work out but you force yourself to work out at least once, sometimes twice a day. You forgo rest days because more is better.
You make a few more Mondays and then….you binge. You eat so much of said restricted food that you’re more miserable than before you started and usually up a few extra pounds. You’ve ruined your new diet so why not eat whatever you want? And no point in going to the Genesis gym since you ate “bad.” Since that didn’t work you pick a new restrictive diet to start the following Magical Monday. Rinse and repeat for years until you are so frustrated you just give up entirely.
Stop living the all or nothing mentality! Very few (hardly anyone) people can stick to a restricted diet long-term. Learn to choose real food from ALL food groups and watch your portion sizes. Let go of thinking that perfection is necessary, or even possible, for weight loss and weight maintenance. Give yourself guilt-free permission to include controlled portions of treats as part of your weight loss program.
Chronic Stress & Cortisol
Cortisol…also known as the “stress-hormone” is what our bodies produce to deal with stress. It’s produced anytime the “flight or fight” response is triggered and allows us to rapidly respond. Once the response has happened the levels of cortisol drop.
But what about chronic stress?
Chronic stress is mentally taxing but it can even impact your waistline. When we are under constant stress our cortisol levels remain high. Studies show that elevated cortisol levels increase our appetite and cravings for sugary/fatty foods. This, on top of altering how and WHERE your body stores fat leads to packing on fat, specifically around the abdomen. So how do we fight it?
- A good night rest – A lack of sleep is stress to the body. Make sure you are getting adequate rest.
- A balanced diet – Complex carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats…all necessary to promote total health and combat stress.
- Keep moving – At first your body’s response to exercise is to increase its production of cortisol. However, regular exercise can change how your body responds to stress and ultimately leads to a reduction in cortisol production. This with the all the other added benefits of regular exercise…it should be a no brainer!
Losing Weight Is Challenging!
Our clients who are struggling to see results often tell me the same story: they have increased their exercise and decreased their calories, only to be frustrated by a scale that doesn’t budge. They might even gain weight! What’s the deal?
Don’t Under Eat and Over Train!
What’s Your Minimum?
Establish your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) either by standard calculation (http://myfitnesspal.com/tools/bmr-calculator), or based on your body composition. We offer a great tool, the InBody 570 that measures your total body composition and can help you determine your minimum caloric level. Don’t dip below this number! In fact, active adults should be eating roughly 200-350 calories above their minimum in order to build lean muscle.
Eat Every 3 Or 4 Hours
Skipping meals frightens your body into thinking you are going to starve. Try to eat every 3 or 4 hours, alternating between meals and snacks. Set an alarm to help you remember.
Balance Your Meals
Include sources of fibre, healthy fats and protein whenever you can. Fibber makes you feel full without piling extra calories into your belly. Complex carbohydrates like brown rice and whole wheat bread also help you feel satisfied longer. The best tool for success? Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time to stay consistent.
Sleep affects metabolism. It is responsible for hormonal imbalance and can decrease the number of calories your body burns while resting. Develop a sleep routine by finding ways to relax to ensure you get adequate rest each night.
Move Often And Strive To Build Lean Muscle.
Exercise stimulates your metabolism. When you incorporate strength training into your weekly routine, it packs on lean muscle, which increases your resting metabolism. The result? You burn slightly more calories even on days off.
This is YOUR year, set yourself up for success. We have all heard that losing weight and “getting healthy” requires more than just exercise. The biggest hurdle that many of us face is changing our diet and finding the time to do so.
So, how is it done?
The answer…..Meal Prepping!
Meal prepping is not one-size fits all but it can be summed up into several steps:
Plan – decide what you are eating for that week. Be sure to include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. You do not have to make every meal but I recommend prepping the ones you know are the hardest for you to stay on track. For me, that is lunch and snacks because I am never home. If you are always running late in the morning, maybe a prepped breakfast is what you need. If you get home and are exhausted at the end of the day, have your dinners ready. For all other meals you can cut down on prep time by having it all ready to go; pre-cut vegetables, pre-cook grains, etc.
Shop – with your list in hand, hit the store. But only buy what you NEED and what foods will keep you on track. Buying the same thing may seem boring but remember that you can get plenty of variety by changing up your spices, vegetables and cooking methods.
Cook – with your meals in mind get out the ingredients you need. Also, make sure you have adequate storage containers ready (those kids seem to run away). Try and multitask. Have one thing in the crockpot, vegetables roasting in the oven on one rack and a protein baking on the other. On the stove, get your water boiling for a batch of rice or beans or boil some eggs.
Assemble – once it’s all cooked and cooled down it’s time to portion it out. Keep in mind your goals when bringing it all together. Fill your containers with your prepped meat, veggies and whole grains being sure to pay attention to serving sizes. Close the lid and separate them in the fridge so you know what is what and when it’s to be eaten.
I hope these steps give you a good idea of how to manage your time in the kitchen and that you use them to make this year successful! Of course if you have any further questions ask any of the Personal Trainer Cumming GA and we will gladly share how we personally prepare for the week. Below, I am posting several of my favourite things to prep so you can have several ideas.
Roasted Sweet Potato ‘Fries’
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
- Olive oil spray
- Spice of choice
Peel and cut potatoes into 1/4 inch thick strips. Lay flat on a baking sheet (I line w/foil so I don’t have to wash it), spray with olive oil and sprinkle with spices. Place in the oven at 425 until soft…15-20 minutes.
Fajita Chicken & Veggies
- 2 frozen chicken breast
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 onion
- 1 Tabs taco seasoning
- Optional, small can of tomatoes or green chili
Place the chicken on the bottom of the crockpot, sprinkle with the taco seasoning. Slice the pepper and onion and place on top of the chicken. Cook on low….time depends on crockpot and available settings. When it’s done, the chicken will easily shred.
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 1 Bouillon cube
Add one cube (any flavour) to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Rinse the lentils until water runs clear. Add the rinsed lentils to the boiling-flavoured water. Stir. Let the lentils cook at a med-low temp for 20 minutes and then drain.
Baked ‘Boiled’ Eggs
- Preheat oven to 325
- Place raw eggs into a muffin tin.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
If you want to peel them immediately, place the baked eggs into a bowl of ice water to cool and the shell will easily come off.
Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
This is a salad dressing but I love it so much I will use it on veggies or chicken and fish too.
- 2 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Table spoons Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbs honey
- 1/4 tsp garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbs olive oil
5 Tips for Starting a New Fitness Program
If you have been thinking about starting a fitness program and haven’t exercised on a regular basis in quite a while, here are 5 tips to help you get started. These tips will also make getting started easier and give you a better chance of sticking to your new program long term.
1: Start Slow
As someone new to exercise the last thing you want to do is go into your first day/week full speed. This is one of the biggest reasons people quit working out. They go too hard too fast and are so sore they hate it. You should leave each workout that first week thinking you have more in the tank. If you stop before you reach total exhaustion, you will feel the workout over the next couple of days, but you will not be miserable, and you will want to come back the next day. So always err on the side of stopping too soon that first week.
2: Warm Up Then Stretch
Always warm up!!! This gets the blood flow going and prepares your body for the upcoming workout. Also, always stretch after your warm up. You should never stretch a cold muscle, this can actually lead to injury. Think of a muscle like a rubber band. If you put a rubber band out in the cold, then stretch it quickly, it breaks quickly, but if you put a rubber band out in the heat then stretch it, it will stretch much farther before it snaps. Your muscles work exactly the same way.
3: Keep Things Fresh and Don’t Get Caught Up In One Type of Exercise
There is an ongoing battle about what is better for you, Cardio or strength training. The answer is simple, it’s BOTH. Be sure to get good strength Personal Training in to strengthen your muscles and bones, as well as good cardio for heart health. Plus, by switching it up, you won’t get bored near as quickly.
4: Know Your Limits, And Use Proper Form
When you are new to exercise and strength training, always start with a very light weight you know you can do. It’s better to start light and move up, than start too heavy and injure yourself. Also, if you don’t know the proper form, ask someone. Every gym has trainers or staff that can demonstrate proper form of most exercises. And if possible, hire a fitness professional for at least a few sessions to give you one on one attention to make sure you understand all the basics. The more you know about what you’re doing, the better chance you have at sticking to your new program for the long term.
5: Know When to Rest
This is key. Gone are the days of “if you are sore, then go to the Gyms in Cumming GA and work it out”. That does more harm than good. We have to listen to our bodies. If you are sore from a workout, don’t go in the next day and work the muscles that are sore. Remember, muscles have to recover to rebuild stronger. If you work a sore muscle, all you are doing is breaking down an already broken down muscle. Rest and recovery is just as, or more important than, exercise. So listen to your body, and if everything hurts, take a day off. The average adult only needs 3-5 hours of exercise per week.