So… you are ready to make a change. You are ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle and have the fit body that comes with it. GREAT! The problem is that effort has to come first and the results a little later. Delayed gratification is not something that many people are good at anymore. If you can make the commitment for 90 days, we can change your life.
The outlined here can be done by yourself, but most people are not self-motivated to keep to the plan on their own. Classes are really good for accountability and ensuring you do the correct exercises safely in your workouts. Personal training is the absolute best way to make it happen but can be cost prohibitive. When the going gets tough, your trainer or classes can make the difference between shopping for fun new clothes or telling people that you tried it once but didn’t finish. Don’t make things harder than they have to be… find classes or get a trainer.
You are going to be exercising for roughly 60 minutes a day, 2-3 days a week for the first four weeks. No excuses! For many people twice a week is good for the first couple weeks. Put it on your calendar and make it happen somewhere in your day. These workouts are not just running a 12-minute mile on the treadmill. These workouts need to be 50% cardio and 50% strength. Workouts are changed up every time! Different order, different exercises different pace and with different intervals. This is where a personal trainer or good classes are extremely helpful.
Begin cutting back on the junk food. Sodas, snacks, desserts, eating out, bread and alcohol are the big ones. Start out by cutting however much you would normally eat by half. You can stop cold turkey but you may end up VERY grumpy. You are already going to be sore for exercising, so you might want to have something to even out your mood. Each week cut your consumption of these foods by half until they become a special treat for you instead of something that you eat each day or without thinking. These extra calories can sabotage the best exercise plans.
Rest is just as important as your exercise. The increase in activity will require additional rest as well. Rest means sleep. 7-8 hours each day is ideally where you want to be. Too little rest can lead to injuries, time off from your workout plans and possibly disruption of your day to day life. This can be difficult, but good planning can give you more time than you thought possible. The first month will be the hardest on your body; this is why you exercise only two times a week initially, your body will need the rest time. Remember that most of the healing from your workouts is done while you are sleeping. The more sleep you get, the more throw your recovery will be each day.
Start eating the foods that help your body. We suggest that you find 4-5 recipes that are healthy and make that your starting point. You can expand your range of meals from this point. Make your lunches (and more if possible) for the upcoming week over the weekend while you have discretionary time. Place them in the refrigerator where you can just grab one and go or warm it up. This convenience will pay off BIG! Because of the increase in activity, you are going to need good fuel for your body; otherwise, you will be VERY tired.
Month number two is the time to increase the training workload. Up the intensity in your exercises, stay for 60 minutes but do exercises with a purpose. This is why we like to exercise for a time period; increasing the intensity is very simple without overdoing it. You should be exercising 3-5 days a week, adjust your workout schedule with your soreness and fatigue. Remember to keep changing things up every time.
The junk food should be at a minimum by now. Your appetite should be large also; eat good healthy snacks during the day. Not just celery sticks. Fruits, mixed nuts, a protein bar, dried fruit are all good. Do a google search and start picking out things your enjoy. Keep in mind that this is a snack, not a meal.
Month number three is where things can actually happen! Start looking an activity you didn’t think you were capable of doing or might never do. Doing these things with a friend adds to the enjoyment and helps with getting out of your comfort zone. This is in addition to your normal workout schedule. You don’t have to be first or kill yourself with this, one activity per week will be fine. Sprint triathlons, bike rides, hiking, 5K runs or longer, sporting activities like kickball, basketball, Spartan races, swimming etc. You don’t have to make these things a permanent fixture of your life but try them out, if you don’t like the activity look for something else. One activity may lead you to something you really enjoy. Remember… you are making a 90-day commitment.
You can begin to change the makeup of your workouts in month three. If you enjoy the cardio part more, do 70% cardio and 30% strength. Change is good as long as it isn’t radical, don’t move to a 90% and 10% ratio. You can begin to make changes that maximize your enjoyment of the workouts.
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