Everyone is constantly looking for a way to lose weight or improve their bodies. Whether it is the latest fad diet or pill, very few people achieve the results they desire. The key to developing your best body shape is to create healthy eating and training habits, not through a quick fix. This expert advice for a 6 week diet and regimen are designed to develop healthy habits which not only provide immediate results, but are sustainable so that you can continue to improve your fitness level for a lifetime.
Start every morning by drinking 8 oz of cold water. Not only are you typically dehydrated after sleeping all night, but this will wake the body up and get the chemical reactions going. Water is needed for most functions in the body, including delivering oxygen, digesting food and chemical reactions. It helps get rid of waste and regulates temperature. If you experience dehydration of only 1 -2% of body weight, it can reduce strength and endurance and cause the body to work less efficiently. 5 (8oz) cups is a good starting point to consume each day.
Protein is the forgotten nutrient among many women. Protein is needed to build muscle, for growth and repair, and is even used to produce certain hormones such as insulin. Ideally you would want to consume one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Thus, if you weigh 120 pounds, you would need to consume approximately 120 grams of protein per day. This may sound like a lot, but if you are eating a balanced diet, then this will actually average out to be 25-30% of total calories consumed
After genetics, such as body shape, the next most important factor for weight control is nutrition. Nutrition is about eating real, natural foods. This doesn’t mean that you need to follow a fad diet, which you may have tried many times with no success. But, it does mean making healthier choices. Clean eating means consuming foods that have fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Foods such as lean meats (chicken, fish, turkey), vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, leafy lettuce) and nuts( almonds, cashews) are great choices. Foods such as macadamia oil, avocado, and sardines are great sources of omega-3’s. Fruits such as blueberries. strawberries, and prunes are good sources which are less sweet than most fruit.
Weight training will not build bulky muscles, but will give you a shapely, lean body and turn up the fire on your metabolism. If you are a beginner, you can workout 2-3 times per week and work up to 4-5 sessions per week. Focus on compound movements such as the bench press, squats, and pull downs because they burn a lot of calories and work several muscles at one time. Weight training circuits may be the best method for beginners.
This type of training works by varying the intensity and/or effort of your work and rest intervals. A Cardio interval workout is usually performed on a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, or even by running sprints. The benefit of interval training is that you can cut your workout time significantly, making your workouts much more efficient and effective. Interval training is great for burning a significant amount of calories in a short period of time and you continue to burn calories when you are done with your workout. This means you no longer have to spend hours on a treadmill or bike to burn bodyfat.
Breakfast is just as important as the other meals you eat. You may think that skipping breakfast will save calories for later in the day, but this may lead you to overeating later in the day. Eating every 2-3 hours beginning with breakfast will help keep your appetite under control. Breakfast is also vital for fueling your body for the work it will do during the day, including your workouts.
Since the 1980’s there has been over 500,000 food products introduced in the US. These foods are full of processed fats, sugars, preservatives, and over 3,00 chemicals which the body was not designed to process. Processed have become staples in our diets because of their lower costs and their convenience. However, processed foods contribute directly to inflammation in the body, as well as increase in risk of obesity, high cholesterol,and heart disease.
How many of you wake up every morning and begin your day with a weigh in? Does the number on the scale influence how you feel for the day? The truth is that scales are relatively meaningless when it comes to weight control. The scale doesn't know if it is weighing fat, muscle, or a cupcake. The problem with focusing on weight alone is that it has nothing to do with body composition (fat to muscle ratio). You can actually gain muscle/ lose fat and the scale can show a weight gain, yet your body composition has improved greatly. It’s ok to weigh initially, so you can estimate your caloric needs, but then the scales should become an afterthought.
One tendency when starting a workout program is to do too much too quickly: Don’t try to participate in a weight and cardio interval routine everyday. Your body needs recovery between these workouts, so try to limit them between one to three times a week on nonconsecutive days. Less is more when you first start. Learn your fitness limits and then work towards increasing them. Also, don’t forget the importance of sleep and proper nutrition in recovering from your workouts.
The tendency when trying to lose weight is to starve yourself. This is the worst thing you can do for your body. When you don’t eat, your metabolism slows down and your body actually holds onto stored fat. When you don’t eat a minimal amount of calories, your body will break down your hard earned muscle for energy. So rather than having a lean sculpted body, starving will create a body with less muscle and the same fat. I call this Skinny Fat.
While the advice here may seem simple, it does require a change in perception regarding how we eat and how we exercise. Fad diets simply do not work, and eating processed foods will cause much more issues that just weight gain. Eating clean, healthy foods will improve your health quickly and drastically. This includes adequate protein to build and repair newly built muscle.
Exercising properly will also jump start your body on the road to improved fitness. You don’t need to spend hours on a treadmill or bike, but rather hit those cardio intervals to boost your metabolism and keep it raised long after the workout. Finally, don’t forget to incorporate a weight training program to build a lean muscular and healthy body that can last a lifetime.
More expert advice about Exercise and Weight Loss
Photo Credits: Track path at Tanjong Rhu across the Singapore Indoor Stadium by Flickr: William Cho; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com