Summer is a season full of fun sports and outdoor activities, plus it’s just around the corner! If you’ve been procrastinating on that new fitness or diet plan, now is the time to start! Often people jump straight into a heavy workout and strict diet plan. Although you might be motivated enough to stick with it for a few days, it’s usually very difficult to go from no fitness routine to a very tough one. In the end you’re left feeling defeated. Here’s a plan with just a few simple routine changes that will help you feel strong and healthy for the summer.
Restrict, don’t eliminate
I know what you’re thinking: you don’t want to give up your favourite late night snack. The good news is that you don’t have too! All we suggest is that you have limits. If you’re the type of person who can eat a bag of chips in one sitting, choose a portion that is reasonable, and decide on a day that you are going to allow yourself to eat them. For example, I’ve got a sweet spot for dark chocolate. Instead of eating a chocolate bar a day (which I could totally do) I allow myself one square a day that I eat after dinner. It is much more reasonable and practical to allow yourself small portions to satisfy your cravings.
Smaller, more frequent meals
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are obviously the most common times to eat a meal. What if I told you that you could eat twice as many meals and it could improve your health? It’s true! Start your day off with a large, healthy breakfast within an hour of waking up. After this, eat a small meal every three hours until three hours before you plan to go to sleep. This keeps your energy high and your appetite satisfied, preventing indulgence. This is especially important if you are working on a fitness plan as well. You don’t want to go to the gym full of food, but also not on an empty stomach. Waiting a long period of time to eat can also cause fatigue which creates a lack of motivation to workout.
There are thousands of diets and cleanses out there meant for weight loss. How many times have you heard of someone going on a strict diet that cuts out a food group and then once they go back to eating regularly they gain everything back – and sometimes they gain even more weight than what they had at first. Your body has a ton of functions it completes on a daily basis, and it is your job to give it the proper nutrients for it to do so. The four food groups are grain, dairy, fruits/vegetables and meat. Each food group makes an important contribution to your body and it is important that all four are included in your daily diet. When you’re reaching into the cupboard for a snack ask yourself, “What food group is this is?” If it doesn’t fit in a food category, it’s probably not a good decision for a snack. For more information about the food groups, recommended portions and what foods qualify, click here.
Water, water, and more water!!
Water is a critical component of the human body. Our bodies lose water everyday through natural bodily functions such as urination and sweating. It is extremely important we replenish this loss. If you are exercising, water becomes vital. Water works as a natural cooling system for your body. If you workout without water your body struggles to balance its temperature. Water also carries oxygen to your muscles which is imperative when working out. Drinking water is a simple task that benefits your body in countless ways.
Know your goals
Before you begin a workout plan a fitness schedule because you need to decide what your goals are. Not all workout routines end with the same results. For example, if your goal is to lose fat your workouts will be cardio based. If your goal is to get your muscles defined you’ll need to include more weight lifting exercises. Goal setting also helps motivate you. Having an activity you want to participate in, a photo you want to look like, or a sport you want to improve on are all goals that you can focus on during your workout when you’re wondering why you would ever want to put yourself through this pain.
Know your limits
Over exercising does exist and it is not good for your body. There is a difference between pushing yourself to be stronger and pushing yourself too far. It is important to challenge yourself, but it is just as important to know when to stop. Allow yourself a rest day each week for your muscles to recover and body to regain its strength. Not only is over exercising damaging to your body, it will also case you to burn out faster. You will begin to dread going to the gym and lose motivation.
If you follow these tips with some time, motivation, and dedication you will be feeling stronger and more confident than ever! Remember dieting and working out is meant to enhance your body, not punish it. Your only motivation should be to make yourself healthy and to feel good about yourself. Remember to drink your water!