Get Lean and Be Healthy!

Choose exercise you enjoy and vary activities.  Variety will keep you motivated to exercise more often. Plan for activities you can do indoors in the winter. Choose low impact exercise that lowers your chances for injuries and will keep you on the move. The more activity you can add to your schedule the quicker you will see changes.  Remember to balance your program with cardiovascular, strength and flexibility exercises.

Morning exercise starts your engine!  Studies show that increasing your metabolic rate first thing in the morning helps with calorie burning throughout the day!

Increase your exercise time by working out twice a day.  For example, exercise first thing in the morning and add an evening workout three times a week. Try a combination that will work with your schedule. Keep your primary exercise time, which includes resistance training, to 30-60 minutes.  Add an additional 20 minutes of aerobic activity to boost your day and watch your body transform! What’s better than an evening stress break to release the tensions of the day and keep you metabolic rate charging up a few hours longer? Try a morning wake up call by moving your body and see how great your day unfolds. 

Try an interval workout that combines strength training and aerobics. The key is to keep moving throughout the workout. Combine body sculpting with weights and a fun light impact cardiovascular workout. You can jog, jump, punch, pump and kick to your favorite music! You will burn lots of calories the safe, fun, quick and easy way!

Hire a certified personal trainer to baseline your body fat and help evaluate your exercise program! Once a month is plenty to keep you on track. Choose a partner that can push you and help keep your workouts on track. Work as a winning team to motivate each other.

Drink a lot of cold water. Research shows that cold water requires energy to warm to the core body temperature, burning extra calories.  Good hydration has also been proven to aid in fat loss.  One of the best ways to get rid of excess water retention and digest your food is to consume a lot of water.  Have available convenient chilled bottled water that you can carry with you. Keep refilling your sports bottle with chilled water all day. Set your sights on approximately one gallon of cold water a day based on your activity level. You will take a lot of visits to the rest room, yet another way to keep your body moving!

Lose fat and maintain muscle by eating 5 to 6 small meals a day. Try three main meals with 2 – 3 lighter snacks by eating 200-400 calories per meal. Your calorie intake will vary based on your activity level. Do not overeat! Your body will store the extra calories as fat. Never let yourself get too hungry or weak as the body may go into starvation. You will lose motivation and won’t have the energy to exercise!

Be aware of your total calorie content daily. Bring a small note pad that will fit in your purse. When you commit to writing down everything you eat during the day, you eat less. If you can’t sleep at night, count calories instead of sheep! Calorie counting will help to keep you on schedule but may seem too time consuming. Try it for at least a week to document how much you are actually eating.  Then on a monthly basis take a 2 – 3 day food inventory to make sure you are following your plan.

Review with a nutrition counselor your food balance and calorie consumption. Keep your meals balanced with low fats, proteins and carbs (20/30/50 for athletes). Different balances are more effective based on your activity level. If you hit a plateau, try cutting 100 – 200 calories per day.  If you normally eat 1800 per day cut back to 1600-1700.  Stay at that level for 1-2 weeks. Let your body get used to consuming fewer calories before considering cutting down any more. This may be all you need to break a plateau. Evidence shows that if you cut calories in large increments (over 500) at once you will actually slow down your metabolism as a protection mechanism. Your body goes into survival mode lowering your metabolic rate making fat burning impossible! Free yourself from the low calorie or fad diets. It has been proven that this temporary way to lose weight actually causes you to lose lean mass! There went all your hard work with strength training and the hours building your winning figure!

Say no to snacks or samples that can throw your diet way off. Even free food calories count! Chew sugar-free gum to stay satisfied without eating. Try no calorie drinks with meals or as a snack. Stop after you have eaten a healthy meal. Eat baby carrots in the grocery store, if you are hungry.

No empty calories allowed! Fat free crackers and cookies are too high in sugar and keep the body from burning fat.  Replace with an energy bars or a small piece of fruit.  Cut back on high calorie carbs like bread, bagels and pasta, especially in the evening. Instead eat potatoes, yams and steamed vegetables.

Change your activity regularly. The change is a great way to wake up your body and mind. Go for a walk in the woods, to the beach or hike the mountains on the weekend.  Add faster pace intervals, like jogging, to your walking program. Add intensity to your weight training program! Remember change is good, but not too much all at once.  Give your body and mind plenty of time to adjust to changes. You will learn what works for you.

Find a support system! Family, friends or your dog can join you! Surround yourself with the positive support you will need to keep moving your body! Agree to meet in a convenient place for activity instead of eating.

Keep track of what works and then make small gradual changes in diet or exercise program. Start making moderate changes up to six months in advance and then gradually boost the intensity as your goal gets closer. You should be in full swing at three months from your goal.

Use positive visualization daily!  Post a picture or a positive affirmation on your mirror. You will get what you ask for! If you think you will always be overweight and out of shape you probably will be. What you conceive you will achieve! Use affirmations like: “I am lean, light and healthy.” Let go of old negative thought and a replace them with new positive beliefs.

Choose a mentor or role modal that is realistic.  Even a picture of you looking lean will work. Go for your own personal best.

Have a purpose for your plan.   A fitness competition, vacation, reunion or job opportunity!

Consistency is the answer!  It takes about 21 days or 4 weeks to incorporate a new habit.  Stick with it and you will be surprised by how your body and mind will respond.  Remember to reward yourself when you meet your short-term goals along the way! Remember every day is a new day starting right now!

How do you know if your efforts to getting lean are working?  Your clothes will feel looser in the waist, legs, hips and buttocks. Yeah! Be aware of how you feel. You may want to journal or share this great feeling! You will feel a boost of energy, more confident and attractive. You will notice life is lighter and easier. Your success will keep you positive about your goals.

Reward yourself with a new outfit that shows off your fit and healthy body.

Patti Joyce, Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor,  has been teaching for over 23 years and is certified by American College of Sports Medicine , National Strength and Conditioning Association and American Council on Exercise. She specializes in designing fitness programs that are tailored to the individual client needs.  Get started today call Patti (502) 303-6777