As we continually strive to increase our strength, lose fat and improve our physique, we work hard to develop healthy habits we can maintain. Going to the gym and avoiding the drive-thru can help us achieve our fitness goals. However, it takes more than eating better and exercising to see results. Take the following three components into consideration and be mindful of each.
1. Nutrition. Let’s focus on “having” diet, rather than “being on” on diet. Your diet should be nutrient dense and in alignment with your goals and lifestyle. When it comes to weight loss and bodybuilding, I prioritize protein. Protein (chicken, egg, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, whey powders) helps build and sustain muscle. The more muscle you have, the more efficient your body is at burning fat. From there, I focus on complex carbs (sweet potatoes, oatmeal, grains, vegetables). Keep processed foods and sugar to a minimum. They spike your insulin levels which can leave you feeling hungry shortly after you eat. Consistently high insulin levels have also been tied to obesity and other diseases. Healthy fats are also integral to a balanced diet. By including fats (peanuts, coconut oil, nut butter, olive oil) in your diet, you will also ensure satiety.
2. Activity. When it comes to training, I like to encourage “peaks and valleys.” You might not do a kick-a$$ interval routine 7 days a week, but some HIIT mixed with strength training, stretching, jogging and bodyweight strength work provides the variety your body, and mind, needs. Cardio is important for losing fat and improving for maintaining muscle mass and burning fat 24/7. The more muscle you have the more efficient your body is at burning calories throughout the day. Also, remember to stretch!
3. Rest. If working out is good for me, I might as well do more of it, right? Well, yes and no. If you go from 2 weekly workouts to 5, great! If you go from 2 weekly workouts to 7, not so great! While it depends on the type of training you are doing, it is not advisable to log endless hours at the gym day after day. Our bodies adapt physically to the pressure we place on them. However, if your stress level (physical and emotional) is high and the hours you sleep are low, this could delay (or inhibit) your progress.
Be patient. Your fitness program should be attainable and sustainable. All good things take time. For information about my 8 Week Online Fitness Program, click here.