By Bill Waltzek – CPT
We all know the following steps are important to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. But how often are you actually doing them? Below is a quick reminder of the 5 key factors to stay fit.
1. Nutrition – Eating healthy is one of the most important things you can do to lose weight. You will see a dramatic change in your body’s composition by focusing your post workout meal around lean protein and vegetables, along with starchy carbohydrates. If your goal is weight loss, you will want to follow this basic meal plan, and stick to a mix of veggies and protein the rest of the day. If your goal is to put on size, simply add more carbohydrates to your other meals. Always remember not to drink your calories. Stick with non-caloric beverages such as water and green tea.
2. Strength Training – While eating clean is the first step to helping you drop those unwanted pounds, you don’t want to go through all that effort and discipline and still be flabby. I call this the “skinny fat”- this is when the weight is going down but you still can’t get rid of the jiggle. By simply adding some resistance training to your exercise routine, you will build muscle and get that toned look that everyone desires. Strength training will accelerate your weight loss, because it extends the amount of calories that our bodies naturally burn after a workout. This happens because muscle weighs more than fat, and so the more muscle you have on your body, the more fat you will burn at rest. This post-workout “afterburn” is also called EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption). Movements such as Bench Press or Deadlift will give you an EPOC effect for about 48 hours after your workout. This means your body is still burning excess calories 48 hours after your strength training session!
3. Cardio – Another key factor to achieving total body fitness is cardiovascular activity. By doing some form of cardio, whether it’s biking, swimming, or running, you will increase your body’s ability to provide oxygen to your muscles, therefore allowing you to sustain a longer workout. Not to mention, the additional calories you will burn during a cardio session. By incorporating some cardio into your weekly routine, you will improve your body’s heart, lungs and circulatory system, among many other benefits to your overall wellness.
4. Recovery– After a grueling workout in the gym, your body has to rebuild. For maximum performance and continued improvement, it is very important to build an adequate recovery plan. Sleep, hydration, proper nutrition, and stretching will all help in the recovery process.
- Sleep: The best time to recover is while you are getting your Z’s. For best results, always try to get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep. If you feel like you have over trained, take a day off to rest. For “active rest”, try low-intensity activities such as a light bike ride, which also helps aid in the recovery process.
- Hydrate: Focus on getting approximately one gallon of water a day. The water intake will help flush toxins out of your body and aid in faster recovery time.
- Nutrition: A good mix of carbs and protein post workout is the best for recovery. Aim for a 2:1 ratio of Carbs to protein.
- Stretching: Prior to working out, you can use a foam roll to prepare the muscles, followed with a dynamic warm-up to get your entire body ready for the workout. After your workout, perform long static stretches for about 25-30 seconds each. Stretching will help your body reset to its natural position and leave you less sore for the coming days.
5. Get a Trainer – Most people have a hard time getting the results they are looking for on their own. Having a qualified trainer to provide you with the tools, technique and education to make you successful is one of the best ways to reach your goals quickly and safely. Schedule a training session today at www.forwardfit.com
Now go out there and incorporate these 5 factors to help you stay on track. Good luck!