In January, many of us make our resolutions to get healthy again after some overindulging during the holidays. Below are a few suggestions to get started on a plan that will stick. It is important to know that in order to get in shape a good plan consists of eating healthy, cardio, and weight training. All three things together lead to a healthy lifestyle and weight loss.
There are so many fad diets out there, which makes it overwhelming when you are trying to decide how to eat. The truth is, you don’t need to pick a specific diet plan to lose weight. The most important factors are making sure you have all the proper nutrients in your meals and portion control. The proper nutrients include protein, vegetables, and fruits. Try to avoid GMO’s, processed, and fast foods. Another suggestion is to use your weekends to plan all of your meals for the week. Planning ahead can help to limit eating out and control what you are eating. For more help please consult a dietitian.
Prior to working out it is important to warm and prepare your body. Using the foam roller to help loosen up your muscles is a great way to accomplish this. Please refer to previous blog posts for tips on using the foam roller. We also recommend a functional warm up instead of stretching. A functional warm up is a specific movement pattern that will turn on the muscles you need to properly do a movement. Warming up by firing up the muscles you will be using will help you during your workout and improve recovery.
Cardiovascular exercise is defined as any activity that increases the body’s demand for oxygen. That can consist of running, walking, rowing, or playing a sport. Sometimes it is difficult to incorporate an hour in your day for working out. There is definitely room for creativity when it comes to your daily cardio. For example, playing with your children or taking your dog for an extra long walk are good ways to incorporate cardiovascular activity into your daily life.
Another good way to lose fat is through High Intensity Interval Training workouts or HIIT. These incorporate short intervals of anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods. It provides improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning. These sessions can last from 40-50 minutes. Please refer to a fitness specialist for more information to know what is right for you.
Building muscle can help to increase the body’s basal metabolic rate, which promotes long term fat loss. It can also elevate metabolism for several hours following the workout, which promotes fat loss. Beginners can easily use gravity and their own body weight during workouts. Squats, lunges, calf raises, and push ups are good examples of exercises using body weight. Below are pictures of a few of these exercises to help you get started. Remember that form is the most important thing when performing these. Improper form can lead to injury or working out the wrong muscles. Think quality over quantity.
Inner Thigh Squats
- Place feet shoulder width apart with your toes pointed out at a 45 degree angle. Weight should be placed through your heels.
- As you begin to squat, bring your hips back like you are sitting in a chair that is too far behind you. While squatting, try to move your knees out.
- Go as low as you can, then push back up through your heels, repeat.
Up and Down Lunges
- Start in a split stance [one foot in front and one foot behind] bring back knee towards the floor so both legs form two 90° angles, hips slightly higher than knees, weight through the heel of the front foot.
- Bring back knee towards the floor so both legs form two 90° angles with your hips going straight down to the ground.
- The front knee should move forward as little as possible and should never pass the toes.
- Drive hips straight back up to come out of the lunge.
Remember to set realistic, attainable goals. You can set small goals that lead to an overall goal, but it is important to set achievable goals so that you don’t get discouraged. Getting healthy can be difficult but it is possible! Stay positive and don’t let yourself get discouraged!