10 Best Bod Diet and Exercise Tips
Summer is almost upon us and with it vacations, beach days, pool parties and generally wearing less clothing. Whether you want to look good enough to impress or just feel more confident here are some tips to help you be your best. Hopefully you already follow a healthy lifestyle, but even if you are a beginner these tips will get you on track quickly.
1) Set Realistic Goals.
It is easy to allow oneself to overestimate results and underestimate how long it will take to achieve those results. Set smaller easier to reach short term goals. When you can reach these goals it will bolster your resilience to continue on your path. Willpower is absolutely key. Sometimes long term goals on their own can feel daunting. All these smaller goals are only part of your ultimate goal, so basically you are taking and thinking about one step at a time. Remember not to overreach on your exercise commitment either. If you find it’s too difficult to stick to the schedule it might give you reason to stop. Start with less, when you can do this, you can add more.
2) Do Resistance Training.
Often people will shun weights etc. in favor of cardiovascular exercise when trying to lose weight. There are 2 myths usually at work here, that you will look bigger and that cardio burns more fat. Though cardiovascular exercise burns plenty of calories now you don’t get much after burn (calories burnt after exercise ends). Resistance training taxes the body in ways that make the body have to go into overtime rebuilding itself. This causes calories to be burnt even after exercise ceases (after burn). Resistance exercise builds muscle which has a higher metabolic rate thus increasing caloric burn further. Muscle is also denser than fat so not only will you be pound for pound smaller, but also tighter and more toned looking. Unless you are on performance enhancing drugs you will never put on more pounds of muscle than pounds of fat lost, so as long as you are dieting you will lose inches of girth. Aim for 2-3 times per week.
3) Embrace Interval Training.
To enhance weight loss or rather fat loss there should also be a cardio component to your exercise regimen. Several studies have proven that interval training (periods of high and low intensity) is far more effective at burning off fat than moderate prolonged cardiovascular exercise is. In fact it’s 3 times more effective and in usually half the time. The reason is high intensity training will induce your body into releasing hormones that will cause the cells to release more fat. To use this training method properly start with a 5 minute warm-up then do 1 minute at a pace higher than normal followed by a minute of slow recovery. Continue for 20 minutes of intervals and finish with a 5 minute easy cool down. As you get into better shape increase the speed of the fast portion of the interval, but keep the slow recovery the same. Fast is characterized as not being able to converse during it and slow as being able to have a conversation. If you are of good health and fitness the speed portion of the interval will essentially become a sprint over time. Aim for at least twice a week.
4) Variety Is the Spice of Exercise.
If you have been on the same exact exercise routine for more than a few weeks without adjustments then your results are already hitting a plateau. Once your body gets used to doing something, anything it becomes more efficient. When it comings to burning fat you don’t want efficient. The best remedy is to change your workouts often, training smarter. I try to change at least 20% of each session from the previous one for my clients. Change the resistance, change the reps, change the pace; in fact change the exercise. Pull-ups instead of pull-downs, push-ups instead of chest press, lunges instead of squats; you get the idea. Change is good.
5) 40-30-30 Diet.
There are many diet ideas out there, but if the diet is too restrictive or feels unnatural to you then sticking to it becomes less likely. I like to fit my diets to my client rather than the other way around. As a basis I like to start with a 40-30-30 plan. That means 40% carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, legumes and some whole grains, 30% from fats particularly healthy fats like avocado, nuts, olive oil and salmon. And 30% from leaner proteins sans processed meats. You have to eat fat to convince your body to release fat in sizable amounts and it keeps appetite in check. Protein helps rebuild your body especially with exercise and satisfies hunger longer. Carbohydrates fuel your body activities so you have the energy you need. Excess carbohydrates will store as fat and cause you to crave more. In short term cases you can restrict carbohydrates further, but you should always return to a more manageable lifestyle plan.
6) Keep a Diet Journal.
The single most effective diet tool that has proven effective across all diets is a diet journal. Maybe it’s having the extra information, maybe it’s the shame of realization of what you ate or maybe it’s the hassle of writing it all down. Whatever it is studies show it works, so do it. And don’t leave anything out, not even if it’s just a bite. If you are too busy to write it down now then take a picture of it and write it down later. I’m sure you can find a couple of minutes in private to do this. You can use an app and even track the calories, I usually don’t. I just have my clients track the items they ate and approximate quantities. This is usually quite effective. On the rare instances it’s not we track calories or grams of each protein, fat, carbohydrates, salt and fiber.
7) Breakfast the Most Important Meal.
While you sleep your metabolism tends to slow down. If you consider that the 2 most common ways to spark metabolism are eating and exercise consider also that neither happens during sleep. The word itself breakfast tells you what it means break fast. Research has shown that people who eat breakfast are leaner and healthier than those that don’t. Breakfast can help you keep from overindulging later in the day and more likely to make better meal choices. A balanced breakfast that includes adequate protein and about a third of your daily fiber requirement is ideal.
8) Post Workout Meal.
Okay, so let’s say you’ve gotten the handle on your exercise routine. You’re doing all this effort to be your best, but all that effort puts new requirements on your body for recovery. Now you need to give your body the nutrients it needs to that end and this is why this is the second most important meal this is your post workout recovery meal.. There is a magic 1 hour window immediately after you exercise when your body will scarf up carbs and then take them to your muscles to replenish muscle glycogen. If you are craving carbs this is the time to consume them no matter how simple they are. The ideal ratio is 4 grams of carbohydrate to every gram of protein with very little fat. So, let’s say you’re going to have a chicken breast in this meal; that would be about 25g of protein. To make this meal ideal you would also need to consume about 100 grams of carbohydrate. Pasta or rice would fit the bill nicely. The key to this magic window is to consume this meal within 1 hour of exercise cessation. After that less of the carbs get to your muscles and are more likely to store as a fat.
9) Get Enough Sleep.
Sleeping is when the body and the brain go into overtime repairing and rebuilding and replacing. Within an hour of falling asleep the brain goes into a delta wave pattern and the pituitary gland releases Growth hormone. HGH along with IGF-1 is needed for muscle growth and repair along with increasing bone density and strengthening connective tissue. Trust me you want this. There are those who claim to only need 6 hours of sleep at night, but in studies exhibit symptoms of sleep deprivation. Aim for 7-8 hours a night and try to keep to a schedule.
10) Be Mindful.
Reducing stress can have profoundly positive effects on your health. It can also affect your body fat levels. Stress causes increased cortisol levels which in turn increases abdominal fat deposits. A simple way to reduce stress is mindful meditation, just a few minutes a day can do wonders. Mindful eating, mindful walking and mindful breathing are all examples.
The final step is getting started or for those who already have a routine to re-access your efforts. Hopefully these 10 tips will help. Remember, even the longest journey starts with the first step.