By Dana Neve, fitness coach, Get Your Rear in Gear Ask the Trainer contributor
Temperatures are rising, ice and snow are melting, greenery is sprouting, birds are chirping, air conditioners are running . . . however Spring harkens in your area the trend is clear, we ARE saying good-bye, farewell, so long, don’t let the door hit you in the rear,… adios to winter! Spring is here! It is a time of rebirth and renewal. What better time is there to make the commitment to GET FIT? Don’t put it off until tomorrow or next week. The time to get healthy is now.
So you might need a little motivation, right? Well, I have found the perfect person to motivate you. Stop what you are doing, get up, and go look in the mirror. That’s your motivation. Do it for YOU! As with anything that you are going to be truly successful with, you have to want it. And to want it, you have to know why you want it. Fitness isn’t about having a ripped body or the body fat percentage of an elite athlete. It is about total body health. The benefits go far beyond a fitness model physique. Working out doesn’t make you a “fitness freak.” Are you a teeth-brushing freak? No. You brush your teeth because you want to keep them as long as you can and want to protect yourself from disease. The same is true for your body. Consider looking great an added bonus!
There are many benefits of exercising regularly. It is the best anti-aging “product” on the market! You will have better overall health, it reduces risk of heart disease, stroke and many cancers, increases bone density, helps prevent type 2 diabetes, manages stress, improves mood and self-esteem, you’ll have more energy and look and feel better in your clothes. What more motivation do you need?
Now you are ready to make the commitment. Where do you start?
There are two parts to overall fitness: nutrition and exercise. Nutrition is 80% and 20% is exercise. Those numbers show how important nutrition is to your results. You cannot out-exercise a bad diet!Start with eliminating these four things from your diet: (1) hydrogenated oils; (2) white sugar; (3) refined flour; and (4) chemically laden foods. Basically whole foods in their most natural form are the best.
Make sure you eat small meals every two to three hours. You will never be “starving” and you are constantly fueling your body, which speeds up your metabolism. Have a craving? Save it for the weekend as a treat. That doesn’t mean go on an all out binge. It’s a “treat” not an entire weekend “cheat”. Also, drink lots of water. The amount varies among individuals. A good formula is to take your body weight and divide it by two – that number in ounces is how much water you should drink a day. Drink it ice cold if you can. The body has to expend the energy to warm it to match your regular body temperature, so you’re actually burning extra calories!
Now it’s time to get moving! Make exercise a regular part of your life just like eating, brushing your teeth, or taking a shower – not something you try to fit into your day. I schedule my workouts on my calendar as an appointment that can’t be missed. Determine what time of day will work for you. I am not a morning person, but sometimes I get up at 5:30 a.m. to workout because that is the time that works best for me that day. Think of it as if your life depends on it… because it does. Exercise at least six days a week. But don’t just lie around on your rest day. Find some activity that gets you moving. Go for a swim, walk the dog, or take a family bike ride. Make it something enjoyable.
Your exercise routine should include both cardio and strength training. There are two types of cardio: slow and steady or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Slow and steady cardio is typically long duration (45 min to an hour), low intensity, burning fat not carbs, and preserves joints. These exercises include walking, running, and swimming, to name a few.
I am a big fan of HIIT, which is shorter in duration (20-30 minutes), burns carbs first then fat, ramps up your metabolism throughout the day, involves explosive movements, and sprinting. It is the best way to burn body fat, maintain lean muscle and boost metabolism for days instead of minutes. It is also the best use of your time if you want to get super lean in a short period of time. HIIT can be applied to different exercises like running and cycling. Use a 2:1 ratio of rest and high intensity. For example, if you are running then you would sprint as hard as you can for one minute and recover (slow pace run) for two minutes – then repeat the cycle. Most importantly, figure out what you really like to do because if you’re not enjoying it you will not stick to it!
As for strength training, there are many exercises that use your own body weight to build muscle. Push-ups, crunches, reverse crunches, tricep dips, and squats are just a few. Adding strength training to your workout is essential to your overall health and should not be skipped.
Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bring your workouts outside! Run around the lakes, bike on different trails, rollerblade or play tennis. These are all great ways to enjoy the outdoors and all that summer has to offer while getting your “exercise on.” Now you’re ready to put on that swimsuit and dive into summer with a fit and healthy body and a lot more energy!
Dana Neve is a New Orleans native living in the Twin Cities for the past eighteen years with her husband and two teenage daughters. She is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, runner, fitness coach, motivator, speaker, avid spectator of her kids’ sports, and has been a guest speaker on the radio. Fitness has always been a part of her life, but it wasn’t until 2000 that she became passionate about it. After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and having a negative reaction to the medication prescribed, she decided to control the symptoms with exercise and proper nutrition. The results were life changing and it has become her mission to help others lead longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives through fitness and nutrition. She coaches people around the country developing nutrition plans and recommending workout programs for her clients, while motivating and supporting them along the way. She is dedicated to helping people achieve their goals and would love to help you too.