Plus 4 Tips to Living a Healthier Life
Hands up if you’ve already thought about the summer months rolling around and the extra few pounds you’d like to shed before shorty-short season arrives?
Spring has sprung and with it, the sometimes too desperate plea to the fitness gods to get into “the best shape ever.” But can you really get into the perfect beach-ready shape with only a few months–maybe even weeks–left to transform?
Sure. You can 1. Pick up heavier weights. 2. Eat cleaner (notice I didn’t say “less”). and 3. Add some extra HIIT work to your routine.
If you’re lifting heavy weights, eating optimally–meaning the right amount of food your body needs to perform its best without eating too much–and you’re adding some serious high intensity cardio to your lifting routine, then your summer bod is well on its way…even if you’re just starting out. (If you have no idea what you need to eat, check out this post.)
Hard Work = Results
But lifting heavy weights is hard. Performing intense cardio is even harder. Saying no to summer burgers and fries, a chilled moscato, or sweet sangria isn’t the best part of your day. So we opt for easier, right? Quicker fixes and faster results!
If it’s fast and easy, it’s not worth your time.
Getting ready for summer should not be a quick fix. You know what I’m talking about. Hands up again if you’ve seen someone market a quick, get in shape, ready for summer game plan that guarantees to help you drop weight, tone up, and fit into that bikini you’ve been eyeing all season?
Here’s the thing. A quick fix might actually work. But only for a short period of time. And chances are, they’re more likely to work for people who haven’t been working out for long or who don’t know much about fitness or nutrition. You see, anything that’s “new” will work for a short amount of time. If you haven’t been working out a lot and suddenly you start, of course you’ll see change! Will it last? Not always. Your body really likes to adapt to whatever stress you’re putting it through, so it’s going to adapt to every thing you do. This just means that over time, you’re going to have to work harder and harder for results.
For example: you’ve been overeating this past winter and skimping on cardio? Ok, take this 30-day challenge that cuts your calories in half and makes you run a mile and do 25 burpees every day. Of course you’ll drop weight! You were over-eating before! But what happens when you plateau or reach your goal weight?
A couple things.
If you plateau, that means you have to change something again so that your body will respond positively to the new change. If you had slashed your calories from 1800/day to 1200/day in your 30-day challenge, how are you going to change your diet now? Drop to an incredibly unsafe 1000 calories? Do you know what most people do? They slash calories and work out even more. And do you know what happens to people who don’t eat enough and exercise too much?
They gain weight. The body starts storing cells because it doesn’t have enough energy to burn.
And what happens if you actually reach your weight goal? Too many people celebrate their goal weight with things like mimosa brunches with the ladies, summer bar hoppin’ with the bestie, and day drinking on the beach. All very fun things to do. But up until you reached that fantastic goal weight, you were slashing calories and working hard. Now? You’re there! You did it! And if you ease up just one little bit, guess what? All that weight is going to come crashing back. And perhaps faster than ever.
If you reach a goal weight, you have to work really hard to maintain it. Finding ultimate health is a lifelong path you’re on…it’s not a shortcut to a side street with a dead end.
(Any of this sound familiar to you? Read more on metabolic damage here.)
Quit Quick Fixes
Spring shouldn’t be about a quick fix diet that will get you into a summer bikini. Sure, you can cut back the carbs a little bit the week before your beach trip, but thinking that you can eat what you want all winter and just “drop the weight” before summer is not a healthy mindset. Not to mention that the older you get, the harder this practice becomes.
I think it’s time that we break the cycle of “dieting for summer” and focus more on becoming healthier each and every day.
Most people think that being “healthy” means “going on a diet” and eating nothing more than salads and grilled chicken 24/7. But being healthy is about consistency, patience, dedication, and balance.
Health means consistently making better food decisions. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that a grilled or baked is better than fried and breaded. A baked potato is better than fries. Whole wheat is better than white. Fruit is better than cupcakes. Just using common sense consistently can make a huge difference when trying to live a healthier life! Be consistent in each choice you make every day. The more choices you make, the easier choosing the healthy option becomes and your confidence is boosted each and every day.
Health also means being patient–with yourself, your friends, and your family. It takes time to make big changes in your life. You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if you’re consistent and you’re patient (aka–not looking for the quickest fix) then you will find better health. Your friends may not understand your changes and some people (you’d be surprised how often it happens) may even make you feel guilty for skipping the office donuts. Be patient and not only will your health flourish, but others will come around and ask for advice when they see your success.
Health means dedication. You dedicate yourself to a fitness plan. You dedicate yourself to the gym or your at-home routine at least 3-5 times a week (whatever works for you right now in this phase of your journey). You dedicate yourself to food-prep and healthy buying–not splurging on the crap food because you went to the store unprepared. You dedicate yourself to foods that fuel your lifestyle with as many healthy foods as you can find. You dedicate a board to Pinterest recipes if you must–and you eat a variety of new foods each week.
Health also means balance. You don’t ever want to restrict foods or become overly obsessed with the gym. Restriction leads to binge eating disorders (not to mention weight gain, feelings of guilt and depression) and becoming too obsessive with your workouts can lead to injury and imbalanced hormones. Don’t eat ice cream every day, but do have some–once or twice–on your beach vacation. Don’t have wine every night but maybe save a glass for Friday. Take a day or two off from the gym each week to recover and don’t forget to stretch, work on mobility, and vary your fitness by going on hikes, rock climbing, walking the beach, picking up an extra yoga class here and there. Fitness and food should be balanced in your new healthy life.
The Total Package
If you can make consistently good decisions, be patient with your progress, dedicate yourself to a healthy lifestyle, and find balance within all–you will never need a quick fix to prepare you for beach season. You’ll live an overall better quality of life and set examples for your friends and family to follow.
Stuck without a workout plan? If you’re a bit Type A like I am, you enjoy following plans and programs. I can’t just “go to the gym,” ever. I need a program to help me get stronger, better, faster–whatever the goal may be.
I’ve put together a new 12-week workout program that combines all my favorite things: powerlifting, OLY lifting, gymnastics, and interval conditioning. The workouts shouldn’t take longer than 45 minutes each day and the combination of lifts + conditioning will make you stronger, leaner, faster, and more powerful. The workouts are for the intermediate to advanced lifter, however they can be modified to meet your needs. And the best part about the program is that when you’re done, you can start over! Compare your progress and watch your strength and cardio grow!!
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This week’s Strong Figure Conditioning Workouts:
(PS–if you’re just looking for some extra calorie burning conditioning to add to your programming, add our weekly SFCWs to your plan!)