Often it’s the smallest of changes that deliver the largest rewards. This is true in life as well as when it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals. I’ve talked many clients down from the “I’m going to do a 7 day juice fast”, “I’m only going to do cardio for the next month”, and a number of other ledges over the years. Why? These are not things that encourage lasting changes. Although I understand wanting a jump-start, the reality is that real sustainable results come from small changes practiced consistently over time.
I have compiled a small list of things that will help put you on the path to success. Pick one that resonates with you to implement and see how your results begin to change!
1) Move and move often. We should all be getting at least 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week. You can of course do more, but 30 x 5 should be your baseline. Ideally this is a combination of strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular conditioning for a well-rounded program. Make the most of your time and optimize results by learning your heart rate training zones.
2) Eat more veggies. Sounds simple but many of us are still not getting enough. I am a big fan of jump-starting the day with them to take the pressure off meeting daily requirements. Think eggs/omelets with spinach and peppers for breakfast or adding spinach/kale to your morning smoothie. It may alter the color, but you’ll hardly notice the taste if you mix it with the right fruits. Another simple goal is aim to eat double the veggies you are already taking in. Try it for a week and see how you feel.
3) Write down your food. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again, I’m certain). Whether your goal is weight loss/gain or just improving overall health, there is no replacement for the good old food diary to get you really honest with why you aren’t seeing results. Some cite that it’s ‘hard’ to do, but find a system that works for you and stick to it. The rewards are plentiful! There are a number of free online sources as well as good old pen and paper.
4) Vary your workouts. Cross training works. I see so many people doing the same routines for months, years, and wondering why their bodies don’t change. We can take it back to the definition of insanity, as this applies to the body as well. If you keep doing the same thing over and over in the gym, it is unrealistic to expect a different result. The human body is an amazing machine and will adapt to all that we ask it to. If you want the best results, play with repetitions, sets, exercises, activities, and even the time of day you train. This will keep your body guessing and keep your results moving forward. If you’ve been training hard for months on end, throw in a week of complete rest to shake things up. You’ll come back stronger!
5) Learn to embrace discomfort. Pushing your boundaries in the gym by lifting heavier, interval training, or even stretching more will not only make you fitter physically, you will also tap into an internal strength that stays with you in your day to day. So, get used to the last few reps of your exercise being hard to complete… your lungs bursting at the peak of your intervals (within safe heart rate zones of course), the pain of the foam roller as it moves over your tight muscles AND embrace some muscle soreness post workout. Breaking down the body (within reason) is part of the gym process and proper rest and fuel will ensure you build it back up stronger than before! Please note that I said discomfort, NOT pain. Discomfort can be overcome with mental discipline, focus, and encouragement, pain is a sign to stop and seek counsel (Dr, Physio, Chiro, etc). Learning to differentiate between the two will ensure safe and effective workouts.
I’m curious to know what you will chose to implement and how this will start to affect your every-day life. This is my passion and what I live for, so if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!