It is common over the winter months to gain a little weight. The days are cold and dark, and we just don’t get as much activity. It’s one of the reasons that many local fitness clubs and training studios usually launch some type of Spring Weight loss, Cleanse or Makeover Challenge. At our studio, we have many clients that use our annual Spring Makeover Challenge to help shed that extra winter layer and focus on their health. Participants are assigned to teams and we all compete against each other to see who can ramp it up and achieve the best results. There’s nothing like a friendly competition and peer pressure to do what you need to do to reach your goals.
Although the principles to fat loss and healthy living are pretty simple, there can be many different approaches that can produce great results. The key is finding the program that works best for you that allows you to adhere to the program. With that said, there are typically a few key principles that would be consistent with any type of program and if you focused on these, you would experience some pretty fantastic results.
Nutrition Is At Least Half the Battle!
Drink at least 80 ounces of water each day. Drink water before and with each meal and snack
Lean towards more vegetables and fruit.
Eat 8-10 vegetable and fruit servings each day. Go local and organic as much as you can.
Eat a balanced diet that is high in fiber content.
Every macro-nutrient is critical including protein, carbs and fats. They all play an important role in optimal health.
Plan your meals.
Remember that portion control is critical to a makeover challenge
Fast for 13 hours per day.
Avoid eating anything 3 hours before bedtime and allow about 13 continuous hours per day with no food intake. So, if you stop eating at 7pm, your next meal will be at 8am.
Eliminate any unhealthy temptations….
from your environment (work, home, car) and replace with healthy alternatives that make adhering to a nutrition plan easier.
Plan to grocery shop…
at least once per week to stock up on healthy choices and fresh fruits and veggies and take the time to prep your meals for the week.
Exercise – Move Your Body!
Get the heart pumping.
Exercise aerobically 3-6 days each week for 20-60 minutes each session at various levels of intensity. Sometimes go hard and fast (1-2x/week), other times moderate intensity and duration (1-2x/week) and other times long and slow (1-2/week). Activities like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, hiking, stair-climbing, or Group classes will do the trick.
Incorporate strength and muscle workouts a minimum of two times per week. One set of 8-15 reps of a variety of exercises for 20-60 minutes is perfect! Movements like squats, lunges, step ups, burpees, pushups, pullups, core conditioning and other functional strength moves are great.
Stretch and release.
Finish each workout with some release and lengthening to assure we maintain our mobility and flexibility and help to prevent getting injured which can put a damper on our progress.
Lifestyle – Set Yourself Up For Success!
Maintain a more active daily lifestyle.
If you start moving more in your life, then you won’t have to spend hours in the gym every week! Consciously choose the more active option whenever you can!
Get enough sleep.
(7-8 hours per night). Sleep is when your body recovers and repairs. If you do not sleep enough, you will not be prepared for each workout session and you will not function optimally. Plus research suggests that a lack of sleep triggers appetite and fat gain.
Control and manage your stress levels.
Identify your stresses. Outline methods that help you to reduce your stress and practice them regularly. Stress is also linked to increased appetite and weight gain.
Complete an online (or paper) activity and nutrition log….
every day and submit to someone to review (a trainer, a nutritionist, a friend)
Do a daily or weekly weigh-in…
and monthly measurements to help to monitor your progress. It helps to hold you accountable.
Enrolling in a local Spring Makeover Challenge or even starting a competition amongst friends, family or co-workers can really help you commit to doing what you probably already know you need to be doing to improve your overall health and fitness.
If you would like to join our Spring Makeover Challenge, click here for more details.
Yours in health & fitness,