One of the few things you have control over in life is your attitude! Strive to have positive, realistic goals as a way of life. You can do anything with the right attitude.
12 Tips for 12 Weeks
Summer is coming…
There is still plenty of time to get in shape before bathing suit season is upon us.
The List Magazine recently asked me for some expert advice to help shed winter-weight and get beach-body ready for the summer.
Here’s what I told them:
The Right Attitude
No surprise here! One of the few things you have control over in life is your attitude! Strive to have positive, realistic goals as a way of life. You can do anything with the right attitude.
Another Cor-ism: Consistency is the key to success. Even on the days when you don’t feel your best, get your workout in anyway! Once you’re out and moving, you’ll feel better. Approach all that you do with the attitude that you’ll give it your best.
Get Enough Protein
Muscles need protein, so be sure to consume plenty of high-quality protein from sources such as lean meats, fish, chicken, eggs, and avocados. To my Vegan friends and students, this is even more critical. Make sure your diet is rich in plant-based proteins.
Include Good Sources of Carbohydrates
Many have the impression that carbs are “bad.” This is not true for all carbs! The “bad” carbs are mostly found in processed foods that are loaded with sugar – avoid these. However, “good” carbs are absolutely essential, providing the energy your mind and body need to function at their best. Good carbs include foods like roasted, grilled, or steamed vegetables and garden salads. Be mindful of what type of, and how much, dressing you use – avoid those with added sugar.
Balance Work, Stretching, and Meditation
I always tell my students, “A balanced body is an injury-free body!” Your core is at the center of it all – it’s vital to keep it strong. Work your abdominals several times a week. I recommend planks – they’re simple and effective. Keep in mind that to achieve a truly powerful core, you must have a strong upper and lower body. Equally important is making time to stretch your hard-working muscles and relax your hard-working mind. Your body does so much for you; it only takes a few minutes every day to show it some love with a few well-deserved stretches and quiet meditation time (I get mine while baking!)
Build muscle! Working with weights is crucial for strength and bone density. You don’t need to lift very heavy weights – you can use lighter weights and still achieve a strong body. Additionally, muscle tissue is metabolically more active and burns more calories than fat tissue. The more muscles you have, the more calories you burn while doing nothing.
Get Your Heart Pumping
Good choices for cardio include: sprinting, cycling, stair climbing, fitness classes, and vigorous walking – do all of them, some of them, or mix them up. Moving is essential! Confession: cardio work is, and always will be, my favorite workout. I recommend cycling if you aren’t able to run or walk.
Go Easy on the Alcohol and Sugar
I will never say, “Do not drink.” Just keep it moderated. I frequently enjoy a glass (glass, not bottle) of good red wine at dinner. Regularly indulging in an entire bottle of wine, or several mixed drinks (usually loaded with sugar) can certainly contribute to not being able to lose that abdominal fat. It’s also critical to eliminate as much sugar from your diet as possible. Read labels – you’ll be shocked to learn how much sugar is added to processed foods!
Meal Prep in Advance
Eating right often requires a lot of prep time. I find the best approach here is to make enough food for a few days. This allows you to have a healthy lunch and dinner readily available, so you’ll always know what you’re eating.
Get Adequate Sleep
You will not be optimizing your workouts if you are sleep deprived. The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, but adequate sleep is defined as 6 – 8 hours per night regularly. It’s important to understand what your body requires and to make sure you get enough. Never pass up the opportunity for a quick mid-afternoon power nap if you can squeeze one in – even 15 minutes can be beneficial.
Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, adequate daily fluid intake for men is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters); and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. This recommendation includes fluids from water, other beverages, and food (about 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food). If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to replace lost fluids. It’s important to drink water before, during, and after a workout. I drink electrolyte enriched water to replenish myself after vigorous workouts. (Essentia and Core waters are good choices.)
Train with a Buddy
Most individuals do best when they are accountable to another. Working out with a friend can really help keep you on track. Whether you meet at the gym, or to walk, run, or cycle, develop consistent meeting times, so it becomes a true routine, something you find yourself looking forward to. When I’m not teaching classes, I love to walk with my friends. We are loyal to each other and our conversations make the time pass quickly.
Have a Wonderful Spring!
About the Author
Corinne Brown is the co-founder and co-owner of Fitness Incentive.