Fitness Goals To Live By
We all know how it goes sometimes, we start a new year’s workout routine, and then all of a sudden it’s June and we haven’t hit the gym in a minute. We rationalize though, it’s been a hard year, the job got busy, the family needed help, maybe we’re a little worried about the pandemic. There’s a silver lining though, and with that optimistic attitude we can take on new challenges and goals for ourselves. The core message to remember is we start where we are now. Don’t push too hard, and don’t give up before the results set in.
This is very important, we need to have a routine, and to stick to it. Whether you decide working out is best for you in the morning, mid-day, or at night, remember to be consistent. Getting into a repetitive routine will help our motivation, and will help our bodies best heal and reap the rewards of exercise.
Mix it up
Changing up the workouts, or even cycling through a variety of workouts will help our bodies best grow and progress towards our goal. Our bodies get adjusted into a sort of “muscle memory” cycle of repetitive workouts. This can have a negative effect by missing some muscle groups. Changing up the workouts would look like having a day dedicated to abs and arms, and another day for legs. On those days you have a set workout regime or machine you use at a gym. After a few weeks of using a specific workout or machine, find another variation or increase the weight or intensity to give your body something new.
Make a goal
This is important in many aspects, because if we know what you’re working for it’s easy to plan a routine. Without a goal, it can be easy to lose focus or motivation. Additionally, having a goal will best help you mold and create a workout plan best suited for that specific goal. Remind yourself each day of your goal, to keep the goal fresh in your mind, doing this will help you see results faster and prevent burnout.
Keep progress records
This is the next step in the perfect workout plan, keeping progress pictures or records can help with many aspects of your routine. This is helpful because it can increase your motivation to see results. These results may be that you have noticed increased weight, duration, or intensity of the workout over time. Other results may be more physically evident if your goal was to lose weight, or tone muscles. Now, let's get started on some good workout regimes.
Get a workout buddy
Having somewhere there with you to push you to exercise can be motivating and push you to challenge yourself. Working out with a friend will help you keep your schedule and make you accountable to each other. If you couple this with keeping progress records you could have your friend encourage you to push yourself harder each time, improving your endurance, length, and intensity of your workout.
Great Exercise Options
The first element in a good workout plan is starting your workout with stretching. This is a good way to warm up your muscles, prevent injury, and cut fatigue post-workout. Additional stretching after the completion of your workout is also very beneficial.
Push-ups are a great way to work out your core muscles and are a workout that can be done from home. The exact muscle groups being exerted here are your shoulders, arms, chest, and core. These are a great way to measure your baseline and to gather an understanding of where there’s room for improvement. Just make sure that you’re using the correct form.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This is a bit of a newer topic in the workout realm. HIIT is a revolutionary way to get quicker results by working out smarter and harder. This involves pushing yourself to the max for up to 60 seconds, then having a quick cool-down period before returning to the 60-second max push. An example of this would be doing circuit training of 30-20-10. The first 30 seconds would be an exercise of moderate intensity, then 20 seconds of high intensity, and 10 seconds of extreme intensity. Followed by 1 minute of active recovery. Active recovery would still involve moving, which could be jogging, stretching, anything that is low intensity. While this sounds extremely simple, it is very effective if carried out for 20-40 minutes a day. The options for HIIT vary depending on the amount of time you have to dedicate to the workout.
Swimming is a great full-body workout that is fun for many. Considering the weather is warming up, this is a great way to get your cardio done! Find a beach, gym, or pool and swim laps. This cardio exercise is a must-add to your workout routine.
Free weights, dumbbells, and bars are a great way to spice up your workout routine. These can help with your goal of toning muscles and can even help with focussed weight loss. The important thing to remember is to not over-exert. You can easily injure yourself if you attempt to lift weights that are too heavy. Take it slow, make sure you’ve got the right form, and don’t forget to breathe.
We’ve already covered the significance of push-ups so now we’ll touch on pull-ups too. This may sound like a daunting task to achieve, but it is something that anyone can work up to. Pull-ups can strengthen your neck and back muscles which will take some of the stress and pain off your shoulders and neck. Make a goal of accomplishing 1 pull-up, then push yourself to 5.
Planks are a great abdominal exercise that strengthens your core muscles and can burn about 3 calories a minute. Adding a yoga mat, or a softer cushion under your arms can help prevent discomfort in the arms and elbows area. An important reminder for planks is to make sure your body is straight and flat, with no arching of the back, and assure you aren't tilting your head up during the exercise. If you have to start small with 30-45 second reps of planks work towards a goal of 1 minute, then 3 and push yourself to 5 minutes.
Thinking of taking the elevator? Try taking the stairs, or park in the back of the parking lot and walk further to the store! Maybe take a short walk outside during your lunch break or pace around your home instead of sitting on the couch. Have a gym or treadmill, spend some time on your feet, walking and running is a great way to get cardio in, and to warm your muscles up for more rigorous workouts.
In the USA, on average Americans drink about 2.5 cups of water a day, leading to 75% of us having chronic dehydration. This leads to fatigue, soreness, headaches and can be associated with weight gain. Upping your water intake, and cutting out sugary drinks is key to better health. Increasing your hydration is linked to better concentration, memory, and higher metabolism. Additionally, it will assist your immune system!
It is recommended to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, for adults. This may be a hard task to accomplish for most. We may rationalize that we’re too busy catching up on work, social media, or the next episode in our binge series. If you’re like 27% of people, you struggle to fall asleep. You may find some benefit in finding a good routine. Starting with making sure you don’t consume large amounts of food or caffeine before bedtime, and avoiding screen time. Additionally making sure the bedroom is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature can assist in your rhythm of falling asleep. Lastly, consistent exercise daily has been shown to yield better, deeper sleep.
Intermittent fasting has quickly become a popular method of weight loss and diet. This practice is linked to a variety of health benefits. Some of these benefits include an increase in weight loss, brain function, energy, and focus. It has also been studied to have a cleansing effect on the body and to assist with cellular repair. There are some precautions to this practice, intermittent fasting is something that takes a great deal of willpower and motivation. Due to its nature, if not followed correctly it can lead to binge eating and overeating. Finally, what is intermittent fasting? This is a diet that includes periods where eating is allowed, followed by a fasting period, then it repeats. For example, a popular schedule that is followed is called the 16/8 method. In this method you would fast for 16 hours, only having water or black coffee, followed by 8 hours of eating normally. Another popular fast is called the 5:2 diet. The 5:2 diet is where you would eat less than 500 calories for 2 days during the week and eat normally the other 5. This type of diet can be structured with your workouts, to ensure you are eating after your workouts!
Mindfulness means taking some time to focus on the good side of life, and to change your outlook to a more optimistic perspective with gratitude. There are many benefits to be found with this practice. Starting with the more obvious mental and emotional benefits, mindfulness is linked to a reduced level of stress, and a better ability to cope with stress-inducing events and triggers. Additionally, mindfulness is a technique that is therapeutic for those struggling with depression, anxiety, and conflict. Moving to the physical benefits of mindfulness, this helps with stress, sleep, and blood pressure.
Watch what you eat
Food is very important, what we put in our bodies will determine what we get out of them. Eating the right amount of protein, fiber and nutrients are vital to good health. Watching calories, sugar and fat are key to avoiding weight gain and fatigue. Our bodies need the energy we derive from food, this is even more important if we are actively exercising and exerting ourselves. A quick google search will show you there are multiple opinions on when to eat, how to eat, and what to eat. However broad and displaced the voices are, there is a consistent theme among all of them. We need to watch what we eat. Most dieticians agree that protein is a key element in any diet. It is the building block for energy replenishment, muscle building, and even bones, skin, and hair.
Where we get this protein is also important, foods like meat and cheese are high in protein, but eating too much of these foods isn’t good for you either. Some better alternatives for protein include peanut butter, whey protein, pea protein, and especially oats. Now that we understand where we should be looking for our protein intake, the only hard part for many of us is taking time out of our busy schedules to cook meals that are sufficient for what we need.
Fortunately, there are many options available for high protein, flavourful and healthy ways to get the nutrients we need. The best part? These take minutes to assemble the night before and are ready for you to grab and go in the morning. Introducing Oats Overnight, a high-quality protein option with a variety of flavors, protein bases, and combinations. You just need to open the pouch, add your choice of milk, and store it in a fridge.