Get Healthy and Fit for Summer!

 Maybe you’ve been following a New Year’s Resolution to get healthier but the Easter holidays have thrown you off track, or maybe you just realized that summer is fast approaching and you aren’t quite “bikini-ready”.  Either way, we could all use some helpful tips to kick start our health and fitness goals.  I strongly believe that diet and exercise go hand in hand, so I’ll go through some tips for both.

 First, diet:

  1. Buy fresh ingredients.  Have you ever actually looked at the ingredients in some of the things you buy at the grocery store?  Many things have lots of preservatives and artificial components, and all though these make the product last longer, they probably make our lives shorter.  If you make your meals yourself with fresh, natural ingredients, they are guaranteed to be much better for you. 
  2. Plan meals ahead of time.  Choose one day a week to sit down and plan your meals for the week.  It may take a little more time and effort at first, but once you get into a routine it will be worth it.  So much of the time people end up going through fast food lines because they’re busy and ran out of time to figure out what to eat.  Decide which days of the week you have time to cook, and plan to make enough to have leftovers for the days you won’t have time. Plan your meals on the day you’re going to the grocery store so you can make a list of everything you’ll need as you’re writing out the meals.
  3. Eat 5 or 6 smaller meals each day instead of just 3 larger meals.  Eat breakfast, then snack, then lunch, then another snack, then dinner, then maybe one more snack depending on when you ate dinner.  When you allow your body to go without food for longer periods of time, you are much more likely to overeat at your next meal because you feel “starving”.
  4. Portion out your snack foods.  Look at the serving size for each snack item you have (baby carrots, wheat thins, cheese, goldfish crackers, etc.) and count out the right serving sizes to put in individual plastic bags.  That way when you sit down to eat a snack, instead of just eating unconsciously out of the box, you will be able to eat exactly one serving size without paying attention.

 Now for some fitness tips:

  1.  Find something you enjoy doing.  Try out some different classes at your local fitness center to find one you really like.  If you like sports, see if there’s a just-for-fun group near you.  If you’re crazy like me and like dangerous sports, call some gymnastics gyms in your area and see if they offer an adult class.  Exercise becomes an activity instead of a chore if it’s something you really love doing.
  2. Make goals for yourself.  Whatever way you choose to work out, it is important to set small fitness goals.  Maybe you want to be able to do x number of push-ups or run for a certain amount of time without stopping.  You are much less likely to get bored if your workout routine has a purpose.
  3. Come up with a few intense 5 or 10 minute workouts.  We all have those days where we either don’t feel like working out or we don’t think we have time.  Have a few short but effective workout sets written out and choose one on those days.  It’s a lot easier to get motivated to do a short workout, and it’s better than giving up on working out completely.
  4. Find some workout friends.  It’s a lot harder to bail on your workout when someone else is expecting you to be there, and friends make workouts go by faster!