Stop procrastinating. from Your Fittest Summer Ever
Your Fittest Summer Ever
It doesn’t have to be a Monday or the first of the month for you to get started. I know what the “I ate a piece of cake and already ruined ‘being healthy’ for today so I might as well start tomorrow” mindset is like. It’s nonsense though. Let go of that “all or nothing” attitude. No matter what your goal is, the next choice that you make can be a positive step towards reaching it— regardless of what you did over the past week, day or few hours. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t eat a perfect breakfast, or if you skipped the morning run you had planned or if you snuck in a Snickers bar after lunch. Let go of it and focus on now. There’s no point in saying, “I’ll start over tomorrow,” when the perfect time to start is this very moment.
Indulge without going overboard.
Summertime surrounds us with ice cream, barbecue foods, beer and all other types of treats that we tend to consider “off limits” while we have health and fitness goals in mind. But part of leading a healthy lifestyle means being able to enjoy your favorite foods (even if they aren’t a part of your diet plan or are considered “unhealthy”) without feeling guilty or shameful. Honestly, what would summer be if you couldn’t enjoy an ice cream cone by the beach? Just remember to practice mindful moderation.
Toss the gloss.
OK, I’m not saying you have to cancel all of your magazine subscriptions. After all some do make for a great poolside read. But do take all of the advice that they offer and (the photo-shopped) photos that they present with a grain of salt. If you read about a workout plan or diet tip that works for you, that’s great; make it a part of your plan and turn it into a habit! Just remember, magazines like to market diet and exercise methods as “quick fixes,” but in reality there’s no such thing. If you want to reach your fitness goals it’s going to take more than 10 minutes of exercise or one week of dieting.
Make a plan.
If you’re serious about exercising more, then you need a workout calendar you can commit to. I know, summertime is about being carefree, but getting fit requires commitment, which means exercise shouldn’t be left up to chance or done only when you “feel like it.” Before you make a plan, you’ll need to set a goal. Your goal can be anything from being able to complete 20 push-ups to running one mile without stopping or losing a certain amount of weight. It doesn’t matter what you’re setting out to accomplish but stating your goal is the first step to coming up with a plan. After you know exactly what you’d like to accomplish you’ll want to create a workout schedule. Treat your workouts like important business appointments. You probably wouldn’t cancel on your boss or a client just because you “didn’t feel like it,” so try creating that same mindset for yourself when it comes to completing each of your workouts.
Be carefree about calories.
Instead of thinking about your workouts in terms of burning calories, try focusing on the physical aspect of the exercise. Shift your mindset from, “Five more minutes will burn X more calories” to “Five more minutes will take me a half of a mile further than yesterday.” If your goal is to lose weight keeping track of your calories and energy balance could be helpful tool. (See: How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose Weight?) However, calories aren’t an exact science (See also: Are Cardio Machine Calorie Counters Accurate?) so don’t let them take complete control of your efforts. At the end of the day focusing on the progress of your performance and abilities will boost your confidence and make working out more fun.
Move more every day.
I get it; the summer totally encourages us to lie around lazily. Moving more is almost counterintuitive. A hot, humid day could turn even the most active exercise enthusiast into an air-conditioner-loving couch potato. But if you want to improve your fitness this summer, you’ll have to get up and move more. That doesn’t mean you can’t sneak in a quick nap at the beach or by the pool (arguably one of the most enjoyable aspects of summer), but it does mean that the majority of your time should be spent seizing every opportunity for activity. If you’re at the beach, go for a swim; start up a Frisbee game; walk along the shore; build a sandcastle—the opportunities are endless. And for the days when real life is getting in the way of your summertime fun, here are five ways to move more every day.
Take the Stairs
This tip can be stacked in the same category as taking a walk. We know you’ve heard it too many times before, but we still think it’s worth repeating because taking the elevator is just way too easy. We challenge you to make a commitment to taking a few extra steps every day by opting for the stairs any time you have the choice between stepping up and standing still. (This applies on the way down, too!)
One of the most effective ways you can make eating healthy easier is by cutting down on the amount of meals you eat out. Of course, preparing your own meals that can be carried on-the-go requires a little bit of extra effort, but it also means having more control over what you eat and having the advantage of being able to control your portions and choose more nutritious foods. Many people who consider themselves a part of the online fitness community participate in what’s known as #MealPrepMonday. The idea is to pre-prepare your meals at the beginning of the week so that you can easily grab them and go on busy days. Of course, meal prep doesn’t have to happen on Mondays and a less time intensive version of this habit might be simply preparing a healthy lunch for yourself the night before or packing a cooler of healthy snacks and picnic provisions before a trip to the beach.
Invest in tools that making healthy eating easy.
For the times when you are eating at home, working with kitchen tools that make cooking easy can make creating healthy meals a much more enjoyable experience. After all, who ever wants to spend hours slaving over a hot stove, let alone in the middle of the summer? One of my favorite kitchen tools is Calphalon’s Multi-Pot Steamer, which is great for cooking any kind of vegetable quickly!
Pay more attention to your measurements.
For those with weight loss goals, it’s important to remember that the scale isn’t always the most accurate way to track progress. Your weight can fluctuate based on a number of different factors unrelated to fat. Plus, if your exercise routine includes strength training and you’re building muscle, even if you’re body fat percentage is decreasing your weight could still increase. Instead of paying too much attention to the number on the scale (which might start to get you frustrated if it won’t budge), try using a measuring tape to keep track of your measurements like the circumference of your waist, hips, thighs, arms and neck. You might be surprised to find that you’re losing inches even if your weight isn’t changing.