Sunday, January 25, 2009

Five Tips to Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals This Year

The end of January will soon be upon us and you need to ask yourself one simple question - are you on track to reach your health and fitness goals for this new year? If not, don't worry (be happy) you can start right now! Here's how. This is the year that your in control. You may not be able to control some things (i.e. economy) but you can control how you look and feel. Follow my 5 simple rules and you will start to see a change in the way you look and feel.

1. SUFFICIENT SLEEP: work on getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Notice the word work.

2. DRINK MORE WATER: drink 2 large glasses of water when you wake up. This will help jump start your metabolism.

3. EAT BREAKFAST: never - I mean never - skip breakfast. No excuses! Think of breakfast as "food for fuel" to get you started for the day.

4. ELMO (Eat Little Meals Often): eat 4-6 smaller meals throughout the day. This will help to maintain optimal energy levels during the day and avoid low blood sugar mid-afternoon.

5. INCREASE EXERCISE: a minimum of 30-minutes most days of the week, especially strength training! The intensity level should be moderate to high intensity - enough to really make you sweat! "If your not sweating your not working hard enough."

Here is additional information on my 5 rules.

1. Sleep - it all starts here. If your not getting sufficient amounts of sleep you will not have the energy to workout. Think about all the late nights you've had and the extra calories that come with those late nights. YOUR ACTION PLAN: Avoiding late nights (this week) will decrease your overall caloric intake for the week. Also, here is a book you should read, The Promise of Sleep by William Dement, MD.

2. Water - your muscles are made up of approximately 72% water -you need it - drink it - if your exercising for 60 min. or less no need for sports drinks - water will do (avoid the extra calories). If your exercise is more intense, and your working out for 60, 90, 120 minutes - a sports drink may be necessary. One study that I looked at showed that drinking 16 oz. of water - first thing in the morning - increased metabolism by 29% for the three hours. Remember this about metabolism - Your metabolism is determined by gender, age, amount of muscle you have compared to body fat and the amount of exercise you do on a regular basis. Male's rates are higher than females because of testosterone levels (source: Ask the Dietitian). YOUR ACTION PLAN: Drink 2 glasses of water tomorow morning before you eat or drink anything!

3-4. Food -when I think of the meals that I will have on a particular day, I think largest to smallest. My largest meal of the day will be breakfast and the meals (in terms of total calories) will become smaller throughout the day. Your smallest meal should be dinner. Your lunch should contain about 25% of your total calories for that day. The problem with most people is that they skip breakfast and have a big dinner. YOUR ACTION PLAN: I want you to try to eat every three hours and see how you feel. For example, breakfast (7 AM), snack (10 AM), lunch (1 PM), snack (3:30 PM), dinner (6:30). After dinner try flossing and then brushing your teeth and call it quits on calories for the rest of the evening.

5. Exercise - the #1 reason why most people do not exercise is lack of time. So if you need to take a 15-minute walk or run at lunch, do a 30-minute Koko strength workout after lunch or a 20-minute body weight circuit before dinner - do so. You can break it up throughout the day - whatever it takes do it! Just be consistent. What I'm doing for the month of Jan. is a minimum of 30 min./day (see previous blog posts for ideas). YOUR ACTION PLAN: Exercise every other day this week.

If these 5 tips become "in-grained in your brain" for the next 4-weeks I guarantee that you will look and feel better! Remember, the key with exercise and following these "action plans" is to make it part of your day.

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