Do you want to improve the quality of your life? Do you want to look and feel better than you have in years - maybe better than you ever have before? Do you want to protect yourself from disease and injury? And do you want to live a longer, more vital life?
I'm confident that you answered YES! to each of those questions, just as the hundreds of individuals I've counseled, coached, and trained in my career as a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Rehabilitation Specialist.
I'm now going to reveal to you the 16 essential strategies that have enabled my clients to achieve the health and fitness goals they always wanted!
16 Essential Weight Loss and Fitness Strategies
1. In the beginning, your fitness program should not be overly aggressive. One of the biggest problems people encounter when starting a fitness program is rapidly depleted motivation after only a few weeks due to an overly ambitious fitness program. Attempting to do too much too fast is worse than doing nothing at all! Because then you feel like exercise is too hard and it's just not for you.
Start out slow, maybe just shooting for 1 or 2 workouts a week. Once you have successfully added that to your normal routine, then attempt to slowly add to your fitness program. Plus, most people don't need to exercise more than 3-4 times a week. That doesn't mean you can't exercise more; it's just not necessary.
2. Always have a detailed plan! In order to reach your health and fitness goals, you must have a road map to follow. I can't stress this enough. If you are unsure of how to put together a fitness plan, or if you're uncertain of the effectiveness of the one you have, I highly recommend you consult a professional fitness trainer. With a well thought out plan you are much more likely to be successful!
3. Set realistic, attainable goals. You must have tangible, quantifiable, short and long-term goals so you can measure and assess your progress. Too many people have totally unrealistic expectations of what to expect from an exercise and nutrition program. The best way for you to understand what is realistic and attainable is to talk with a fitness professional - not to buy into the "hype" of infomercials and diet and fitness products that are blatantly misleading.
4. Keep a journal! This is one of the most important things you can do. If you're not tracking what you're doing, how will you know what worked? There are quite a few great exercise and nutrition logs I've come across. You should keep track of all your exercise and also each day's food intake.
There's a company called NutraBiotics that makes a great 90-day journal that can be used to track strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and daily nutrition.
5. You must be accountable! Set exercise appointments with yourself if you're not working with a personal fitness trainer. Use your appointment book to set aside times for exercise, just like you do for meetings or events. Don't let things get in the way. Nothing is more important than your health! If you don't have your health you can't effectively do anything. I often have mothers tell me that they can't find time to exercise because they have to take care of their children. I have 4 daughters myself, and a baby on the way, so I know exactly how hard it is. Whatever your situation is, making the commitment to exercise and your health IS possible, and very important. Plus, it sets a great example for the children!
6. Remember the benefits of exercise. Being physically fit affects every aspect of your life: you sleep better, eat better, love better, overcome stress better, work better, communicate better, and live better! Remember how good it feels to finish a workout, and how great it feels to meet your goals!
7. Exercise safely and correctly. So much time is wasted doing, at best, unproductive exercise, or at worst, dangerous exercise. Educate yourself on how to exercise correctly. The best way to do that is to hire a personal fitness trainer. It could be for just a few sessions to learn the basics, or it could be for a few months to learn everything. It's completely up to you. But statistics prove that those who understand how to exercise correctly get better, faster results. And that's what you want, right?
8. Enjoy your exercise! For example, if you hate doing strength training, try to find ways to make it more enjoyable. Circuit training might be a more fun and exciting way to fit this important part of fitness into your program. The key is you should enjoy it, and if you don't you need to look for other exercises or activities to replace whatever it is you don't enjoy.
If you don't enjoy it, how do you expect to stick with it?
9. Make time to stretch! It has so much benefit and takes very little time. So many people suffer from various aches and pains of which most can be eliminated by basic stretches! Try to spend at least 5 minutes after each workout stretching.
10. Don't think you need to exercise 5 days a week! I touched on this earlier. Many people feel they're getting fat because they're not exercising. Totally not the case! Exercise is not the answer! It's all in your eating habits. However, exercise can aid in burning body fat, plus there are numerous health benefits. Think of exercise as a bonus.
How many people do you know who exercise 3-5 times per week, but still fail to meet their weight loss and fitness goals? I've met hundreds!
First look at your eating habits, such as: when you eat, what you eat, how much you eat, where you eat, and how often you eat.
11. Never skip breakfast, or any meal! If you want to maximize your fitness or fat-loss efforts you've got to eat breakfast! So many people skip breakfast, and it's the worst thing you could ever do when it comes to fat-loss. Skipping meals throws your blood sugar all out of whack and it sets you up to store your next meal as fat, almost guaranteed!
12. Eat fat to lose fat. Healthy fats are necessary to your body for numerous reasons: regulating hormonal production, improving immune function, lowering total cholesterol, and providing the basics for healthy hair, nails, and skin.
The key is to eat the right types of fats. The "good" fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and avocados, to name a few. The "bad" fats are partially hydrogenated oils, and trans fats. Most processed foods contain large amounts of these bad fats.
13. Drink plenty of fresh, clean water. Yes, I know that you have probably heard this one over and over again. But there's a reason for that - it's that important! The recommended daily intake of water is 8 glasses, or 64 oz. You should even be drinking even more if you are active or exercise regularly.
And no, soda, juice, coffee, and tea DON'T count! Nearly every chemical process place in your body, takes place in water! Proper blood flow and digestion are both affected by how much water you drink, and poor blood flow and digestion can be linked to numerous health conditions.
14. Stabilize your blood sugar! If you want to burn fat and prevent your body from putting it back on, you must stabilize your blood sugar. In order to do this you need to eat small, balanced meals or snacks every 2-3 hours.
Fasting, skipping meals, and overly restrictive diets will enable you to lose weight - in the short run. The weight you lose is primarily water weight and muscle tissue, and in the long run has opposite effect of what you want. When you restrict your diet, your body instinctively thinks it's being starved and shifts into a protective mode by slowing down the metabolism and storing nearly all calories as body fat. Plus, losing muscle tissue is the last thing you want to do. Muscle burns calories, even while you sleep. You should be focused on increasing, or at least maintaining muscle tissue.
15. Focus on increasing muscle tissue. As I mentioned previously, muscle burns calories, so if you want to increase your metabolism, you have to increase your muscle. The best way to do that is with progressive strength training. That doesn't mean you have to join a gym, buy expensive fitness equipment, or follow some bodybuilding workout program; it simply means you need to challenge your muscles! You can do that at home in just 15-20 minutes, 2-3 times a week.
16. Get the help of an expert! Obviously, meeting your health and fitness goals is important to you, so why not eliminate the guesswork and start seeing the results you have always wanted? With the help of a qualified professional you can!
If your car breaks down, where do you take it? Mechanic, right? How about if you have a cavity? Dentist. So why is it that so many people attempt to solve their health and fitness problems without consulting an expert? I don't know exactly, but I encourage you to make the investment in yourself- in your life- by hiring a professional to educate you and help you meet your goals.
So there you have it. The 16 essential strategies for an effective weight loss and fitness program that will have you looking and feeling great!
Jesse Cannone is a certified personal trainer and author of the best-selling fitness ebook, Burn Fat FAST. Be sure to sign up for his free email course as it is full of powerful weight loss and fitness tips that are guaranteed to help you get the results you want. www.guaranteed-weightloss.com
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