Time sure does fly. Seems like yesterday I was thinking summer 2017 will be my fittest ever. I’m going to run more miles and lift more than ever. Well, here we are and it hasn’t yet happened. I’m not fretting though, because my rational mind says “this is not a race, it’s about being healthy.” However, my vain mind says, “I want to wear a two piece and turn heads.” Okay, I digress. If you are having those same thoughts, no worries, there are a few ways to satisfy both concerns and achieve summer fitness.
- Goals – Set just a couple small realistic goals like committing to doing cardio 2-3 times per week for 30 minutes or going to the gym 2 mornings before work or 2 evenings after work. Don’t worry about getting in those jeans from homecoming 5 years ago. Don’t start reminiscing too much just yet.
- Commitment – Seriously think about activities you will actually commit to doing. If you have a history of taking classes and leaving before the end this may not be the time to try something new. Start with walking, running, biking or a cardio machine at the gym. Oh yeah, move fast enough to get your heart rate going. If you are 10 minutes into your workout without one bead of sweat, stop and hit the reset button.
- Move – Now is a great time to add strength training since you are all set with a schedule and cardio activity. I assure you that you will not bulk up like that lady on the front of a muscle-building magazine who looks like she could possibly lift a tiny house. Keep in mind you are focusing on working towards a healthier lifestyle not changing careers to be a professional body builder. Fellas, strength training requires a little more than going to the gym and isolating your workouts to chest and biceps. Nice pecs and biceps are great, but total wellness is the main objective.
- Diet – Let’s talk about that taboo four letter word–DIET. It is critical to take your diet seriously in order to improve your total wellness. I’ve heard many times that health is 80% diet and 20% exercise. Since I know you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, trust me when I tell you that it is true. Through trial and error over the years and a few pounds later I am a believer. So you get the point. Exercise is important, but it doesn’t substitute for a good diet.
- Patience – This is by far the most important fitness tip. BE PATIENT. This did not happen overnight and it will not reverse overnight. Just because you worked out, ate clean, went to bed, woke up and still can’t fit in those jeans, it doesn’t mean positive things aren’t happening. Stay the course! Fitness is not a fad. There is more to it than a colon cleanse, wearing a sweat suit or taking diet supplements.
Off To a Great Start
Although summer is here it’s not too late to start. The reality is this race was never about anyone else but you. The moment you realize you are only competing with yourself is when you make the greatest strides.
Let’s revisit tip number 1. Set small realistic goals. Instead of cutting out all sugars, fried foods or junk food, think about what you seem to indulge in more. Is it soda, wine, pizza or cake.? Cut back from several times per week to maybe once per week. If you find yourself eating out several times per week for lunch, consider taking lunch except on Fridays. Make more meals at home. Change the way you cook from frying to baking. Most importantly watch your portion size. If you aren’t sure what one serving looks like visit ChooseMyPlate. It is an excellent source of information to get started. Don’t be so hard on yourself, there is always more to learn.
It’s okay if there are some missteps along the way. Some days seem damn near impossible to put one foot in front of the other, let alone workout and eat clean. Don’t stay stuck on the days you skipped a workout or ate too much cake. Simply learn and move on from it. Remember that fitness is about more than wearing a two piece or showing off pecks. Staying focused will keep you on the road to being fit for summer and beyond.