By Jaime Rice
As spring turns to summer, I have noticed more and more commercials and ads for getting the perfect beach body. Whether it be a 30-day challenge, 5-day diet detox, low-carb meal plan, etc., program after program promises to get you in the best shape of your life. My question is what happens after those 30 days? Or after that 5-day detox? Where do you go from there?
Far too often people look to these quick fixes to change their life and somehow alter how they look at food and exercise in general, when in fact all this is a fitness tease. Without proper tools to utilize after the program ends, one is inevitably set up to fail.
I am not saying don’t use 30-day challenges or any other challenge or diet, but simply use it as a jumpstart for a new healthy lifestyle or as challenge to yourself, if you feel stagnant in your current routine. Do not rely on it solely to change your lifestyle.
Here are some fundamental ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle that I have learned over my years of training. These tips can be tools for success to help you navigate your fitness journey.
Have a Defined Goal.
Clearly define what it is you would like to accomplish.For example, do you want to get better at Yoga? Lose 20 pounds? Run a Half Marathon? Compete in a bodybuilding show? Whatever you goal you have, define it!
Determine the time YOU need to achieve your goal.
Having a set amount of time dedicated to YOU and your fitness goal is a must. It is too easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and your health and training tend to be an afterthought. Especially if you are new to the whole fit lifestyle, developing a routine that is easy to stick to is almost as important as defining your goal.
For example if you have more time in the mornings, then take 30 min 3-4 days a week to devote to obtaining goal. Make this time as important to you as going to work.The more you do it, the more routine it will become and it will be easier to make it a lifestyle.
Have a Food Plan.
Now this is where it can get tricky. I am not saying to plan each and every meal for each and every day, but having an outline of what fuel you are putting in your body will help take the guess work out of what you will eat for lunch or dinner. It can be a simple outline.
For instance: breakfast everyday can be a carb source and a protein source, morning snack can either be protein source or a fat source. I realize to some this may be a foreign language to some, but there is an abundance of information available online regarding basic meal plans and foods to eat for various goals. Plus, we would be happy to help anyone with meal plans/outlines to fit their lifestyle and goals.
Enlist a Friend, Someone/Something to keep you Accountable.
A friend, husband, wife, mom, coach, etc. can be essential to obtaining and maintaining any goal, especially a fitness-related goal. Plus its much more fun to train with a buddy.
I notice many people have fitness challenges with co-workers. This is a simple and great way to stay on track and also have others hold you accountable.
Another simple tool is an app. I use My Fitness Pal to track my meals and workouts. Although it is only a guide for me, it makes me accountable for my meals. There is something about having to write down everything you eat that makes you think twice about what you are actually putting in your body.
Stick with it!!
I have heard numerous times that it takes 28 days to make a habit and I have found it to be fairly accurate. The more you make something routine, the likeliness of it actually becoming a way of life is increased. I can personally attest to this fact.
Now that the fit lifestyle is a way of life for me, I do not think twice about making sure I fit my training in during the week. Its for me and what makes me happy, therefore I make time for it. No matter how busy my day is, I will make sure I get 10 min of physical activity because its what I need to make me happy.
These five tools are all about planning and preparing to help aid in success. The more one plans for a certain goal the easier it is to achieve and stay on track.
Good luck! I hope you find YOUR fitness happiness!