Anyhow, todays topic - Intro to Health and Fitness. I have a lot of friends who are new to this realm, and have NO idea where to begin. Today I thought I'd write some tips that helped me on this journey.
1. What workouts should I do?
When I first started my fitness journey, there was no gym by me. I purchased INSANITY & P90X to do at home. After I started noticing some changes in my body, I decided to give running a try. I used an app on my phone to monitor my progress. Eventually I was getting better and better. I also found this website: http://www.dailyhiit.com/ that posts free workouts online. They are fast and very effective.
2. I have no time to work out.
I'm guilty of using this excuse. I later realized that I didn't MAKE the time to work out. A friend challenged me to write my daily activities down for a few days. After the first day, I realized I wasted too much time in front of the TV and my phone. Neither of those benefited my health. I decided to eliminate TV time until I was able to make a solid schedule. I encourage you to make a schedule! Just like I have a class schedule, I also have a block of time each day that is committed to my fitness. I also have Sunday evenings blocked off for meal prep.
3. Find workout friends!
I asked a few friends to join me working out. Before I knew it, we were making a pact to participate according to our schedule. If I was too lazy, I expected them to drag me out of my house by my hair. Having friends holds you ACCOUNTABLE. It also makes working out a lot more fun. :)
Remember: workout buddies can be ANY age, shape, size, color. Get a dog to run with! (or in my case, a nephew. haha)
Include your whole family and make it fun! When you raise your children in an active house, they realize the importance of exercise early on. It wont be such a chore for them to participate later on in life.
4. Meal Prep
This is where a lot of people get into trouble. By the time meals roll around, people are too starving to cook anything healthy. Instead, they choose fast and convenient meals. These meals come at a price though. Most of the time, they are loaded with chemicals, sodium, fat, sugar, and serve no nutritional benefit. I used to be one of these people. I read online (and used Pinterest!) to find out how to meal prep. Now, on Sunday evenings, I chop vegetables, cook lean meats, and prepare whatever I can for the meals during that week. This involves a lot of planning, but its definitely worth it. I actually get together with my friends to meal prep. Makes it a lot more fun. :)
I try to live by the saying: If I made it, I can eat it. SOMETIMES I cheat and have cookies, ice cream, fast food, etc. But please note that this is rarely. I try to keep my diet as balanced and healthy as possible.
5. Fuel your body right
After doing a lot of research, I realized I still was lacking nutrition. It was impossible for me to obtain the correct amount of vitamins and nutrients in a days time! Food today is prepared differently than what it was in the past. Its for this reason that I decided to supplement. I know a lot of people have their own opinions on the use of supplementation, but I believe its vital for proper nutrition. When using supplements, make sure that they are safe and effective.
I've tried a few brands before, but AdvoCare took the prize for being the safest out there. I started with the Performance Elite products, and have now tried just about everything they have to offer!
6. Track food
In addition to meal prepping and supplementation, TRACK what you consume every day. Most people have no idea the amount of calories they should consume in a days time. There are calculators and apps out there to make this extremely easy. I personally LOVE the Myfitnesspal app. I scan the barcodes on my food to ensure I'm not overeating or under eating. I don't use the app to obsess over the food I consume. Instead, I use it to be AWARE of what I'm consuming. Before using the app, I had no idea about the nutritional value of foods. Initially the app told me to consume 1200 calories. Understanding health/fitness, I realized this number is WAY too low. This would put my body into starvation mode. Because I'm extremely active, I bumped it up to 1700-1800 calories a day. If you're just starting, I can always help you find a correct range for you.
7. Monitor your progress
First things first, throw the scale out. I HATE THE SCALE! Too many people obsess over the numbers on the scale instead of using other gauges. I go by the way I feel, the way I look, Before/After pictures, body measurements, clothing sizes and % body fat.
These are comparison pictures from my 10 day cleanse. I weighed the exact same on the right as I did on the left, but I LOOKED and FELT better after.
8. REWARD YOURSELF
When I started, I created realistic goals. When I reached those goals, I treated myself. I started with fitness outfits because I don't know about you, but looking cute while I worked out gave me more motivation. (This was a gift from my darling boyfriend.)
9. Sign up for a competition/race
My brother convinced me to sign up for the Tough Mudder last year. If you know what this obstacle race is, its 10-12 miles of mud and rough terrain with military obstacles. I had to prepare a LOT for this race, but it was SO worth it. It kept me focused.. and LOOK! We did it!
10. Exercise your mind
Lastly, make sure you keep your mind in check. I'm a firm believer that happiness is not something that lucky people find, but its something thats CREATED. Do an emotional and spiritual check. Fill your life with things that make you happy and live for a purpose. Be inspired and then inspire someone else. Your life will be much more rewarding. :)