|Posted on September 5, 2013 at 8:00 AM|
Summer is coming to an end and for many of you that means returning to some sort of a regular routine. That includes a regular fitness routine. Maybe you've fallen of your fitness program a little (or a lot!) and you want to get back on plan. Thinking that you are starting over can feel daunting and overwhelming, so, instead, think of coming back on plan as more of easing back into your routine. In this post, I will share some easy to implement strategies to get you back on track to achieving your fitness goals. To make the transition even easier, instead of adopting these tips all at once, just adopt one habit, practice it for a couple of weeks and then adopt another one. This is far less overwhelming and you're more likely to stick with it and make continued progress!
Here are some guidelines to get you started:
1. Add in more protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables into your diet (and you will naturally reduce your starchy/sugary carbohydrate consumption). Most people eat WAY too many starchy and sugary carbohydrates (sodas, candy, chips, grains, pastas, breads, etc). One way to naturally reduce the consumption of these particular carbohydrates is to eat more of the other lean-eating-friendly macronutrients. Choose from lean protein sources such as lean cuts of beef, chicken, bison, fish, eggs (and, if you tolerate it well, dairy). If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, check out last week's post Plant-Based Diets: Vegetarians vs. Starchatarians for protein guidelines and suggestions. For healthy fats, choices include avocados, olive oil, organic and minimally processed nuts and nut butters. Eat lots of vegetables and some fruits. There are lots of choices for you here, choose steaming and sauteeing with non-stick spray when cooking them or eat them raw in a salad (green smoothies are a quick and easy way to incorporate vitamin, mineral and fiber rich green leafies and some fruit into your diet). I am a big proponent of eating organic, minimally processed foods whenever possible.
2. Eat every 2-4 hours. It's easy to get caught up in your busy day and forget to eat. The problem is that by the time you do remember to eat, you are famished and want to eat everything and eat well beyond the point of satiation! Eating every 2-4 hours will help keep hunger in check and keep fuel flowing in your body. These don't have to large or complicated meals. One of my favorite go to in a pinch meals is a protein bar (I love Quest bars) and a handful of almonds. When you are short on time, or away from your kitchen when it's time to re-fuel, this is a great alternative to not eating or, worse, eating fast food! Keep these protein bars and nuts in your car, desk drawer, purse or wherever you might be when it's time to eat.
3. Exercise for 4 Minutes. Most people think they don't have enough time to exercise. The truth is, it's something that we must make time for. I find the best way to get some exercise in quickly and with desired results is to do some form of high intensity interval training (HIIT). It can be done anywhere, anytime and with no equipment! One of my favorite forms of HIIT training is called Tabata. It's 4 minutes of intense training and it's fat-burning effects keep on giving long after the workout is done! If you like the sound of this and would like to learn more about (and do!) tabatas, you can download a copy of my 15 Minute Fat Burner Workout when you subscribe to my free newsletter here. Keep in mind that "high intensity" is relative to your body, so what is high intensity for one person maybe someone else's warm-up and vice versa. Start where you are and progress from there, the good news is that it works no matter what fitness level you're starting from!
Pick a strategy and get started! One good practice will lead to another and before you know it, you will be back on a regular fitness program and on your way to achieving your fitness goals!