There are no rigid rules to follow, but these are the guidelines I try to live by when it comes to my fitness and health. You can use these to get started on healthy changes or even just as motivation!
Water First Want to feel a change quickly? Always choose water first! Most of us don’t drink enough and our bodies are dehydrated which leads to a lot of yucky feelings. If the first step you take to better your health is upping your water intake then it’s a good one!
Plan it Out I get that not everyone wants to meal prep – but it is important to have a plan so your day doesn’t become a free for all. Think about where your schedule for the week will take you and then think about what kind of foods you could easily have on hand to make eating healthier easy. If you just wing it all the time you’re more likely to find yourself at the vending machine, drive through window or grabbing some item that resembles “food” from a convenience store.
Do More Than Cardio A knee-jerk reaction most people have to fat loss is to start doing endless cardio sessions. And while cardio is good, it is not a miracle workout. Cardio will lead to weight loss but it will not change the overall shape of your body. The focus should be on fat loss (aka keep or improve muscle mass while losing body fat) since this will lead to a significant change in body composition. The best formula to lose fat but improve body shape is to eat well, focus on strength training and add in cardio for heart health.
Eat to Fuel, Not Starve Yes, the whole “you need to burn more calories than you consume” concept is true to an extent, but starving yourself to meet crazy calorie restrictions is not going to go well. Eating too little will completely slow down your progress. Stop falling prey to the low calorie extremes – you’re not a mouse, don’t eat like one. If you’re going to workout, you NEED to fuel your body and fuel it well!
Quitting is Not an Option You can fail a million times. You can fail at 9:00am and then again at 1:00pm. You can fail every couple of months and start over for what seems like the 100th time. But you cannot quit. It is not an option to give up on your journey to being heathier. Pick yourself up every time and move on – that’s how the path to success is carved. Do not quit.
It Must Be Challenging in Order to Work You can keep chugging along slowly on your elliptical while reading a book if that’s what you enjoy but only doing that and expecting to get significant results will prove disappointing. In order to create change, it has to be challenging sometimes. You’ll have to sweat and be out of breath! In order to get results, you will have to push yourself regularly beyond a comfort zone – you can do this by increasing the intensity of your workout, the frequency or duration. Be sure to mix it up every so often to give your body the challenge it wants and needs.