While New Year’s has come and gone, so have many fitness resolutions. You can lose those frustrating pounds and inches without an expensive gym membership. Here’s a simple guide to getting into shape (other than round!)
What do you need to get started?
Staying motivated in the beginning can be difficult unless you have a support system in place. Find a friend who’s willing to go walking or biking with you. Someone who will listen when your legs ache but will remind you how great you’ll look in that bathing suit this summer. If you don’t want to tell your friends (perhaps you want to “WOW” them), find some online support. You’ll find hundreds of free forums on weight loss, bodybuilding, etc.
You need to set a goal for yourself. Maybe you have a pair of jeans that you want to fit comfortably in, perhaps you envision yourself a particular weight or size. If you’re severely overweight, set smaller goals, say losing 25-40 lbs. Give yourself a period of time to lose it, 10 or 12 weeks. To succeed in losing weight or inches you must have a goal. Without a goal, you’ll lose motivation. Without motivation- you’ll be sitting on the couch munching chips and ice cream.
Before you begin, use a fabric measuring tape to take your body measurements. There will be days when the scale doesn’t budge at all, but if you’re tracking your inches, you’ll definitely continue to see progress. That’s one of the best motivators to keep you going forward.
You’ll need a notebook divided into 2 separate sections, 1 for a daily journal entry, another for food diary. Each day, write a couple of lines about your day, what worked for you, what didn’t work- how you felt (in general). Where you frustrated? Tired? Full of energy? This may not seem important, but it will help you to recognize patterns. Whether you eat out of boredom, or if you eat from stress due to work-kids-household chores, etc.
Yes, I said it, the dreaded EXERCISE. (Say it yourself, out loud, it kind of feels like swearing doesn’t it? ) I am a firm believer in finding fun in what you do. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, you’ll surely quit. You’ll need to choose a couple of different types of cardio exercises. (If you pick just one, chances are, you’ll get bored with it.)
Here are a few examples:
- Biking- stationary or not
- Horseback Riding
- Skiing (Cross-Country, Downhill, Water)
- Dancing – dancing is a fantastic way to exercise without feeling like you’re exercising
Play fitness bingo! Set your goal, pick 1 row, 2 rows, or more, how many can you complete? Maybe you’re totally BOSS and you can fill the whole board.
Create an Inexpensive Home Gym
My home gym consists of a 40lb set of dumbbells, a body ball, an inexpensive stationary bicycle, a timer, a fabric measuring tape, and a stereo.
Some refer to this as bodybuilding, but many women avoid lifting weights because of fear of “bulking up”. The truth is muscle burns fat. You need healthy muscle to burn off the fat that has accumulated in your body. In order to get that “toned” look that most people desire, you’ll have to do some strength training.
All you need to do is design a simple work-out plan. The key, for me, in designing a work-out plan, is to divide up individual muscle groups when working out. I like to work out certain muscle groups, for instance, abs & obliques in one day, giving them at least 2 days rest in between workouts. This allows for the muscles to have time to heal.
In each case, I track the number of repetitions that I do, as well as the number of sets. As I progress, I increase the number of weights in each set.
I listed this last for several reasons. While you can slim down long term on food alone, you’ll have far better results if you incorporate exercise as well. Second, many people think that eating healthy costs more money than eating poorly. Your body is a fine-tuned machine- you need to provide it with fuel but on a limited basis.
After all, if you’re overweight, your body has an abundance of existing fuel it needs to burn off first!
Massive Progress, Minimal Effort – I.F
What does that mean to you? It means you should be consuming a decent meal once or twice per day, rather than 3 big ones. This keeps your blood sugar levels (and insulin) even throughout the day. If you are the type of person that needs to see immediate results to stay motivated cut out the 3 biggest culprits: sugar (of all kinds), grains (of all kinds), starchy vegetables and fruit. (Sorry, they’re mostly sugar too!)
I discovered a wonderful thing called Intermittent Fasting which simply allows the body to burn off excess body fat, which is exactly what your body is designed to do. When you’re not eating, you’re fasting.
Your body has two states, a “fed” state, and a “fasted” state. When your fed, your insulin levels are high (storing energy/fat), when you’ve fasted, your insulin levels are low (burning energy). When you fast for longer periods, your body burns the stored fat for energy, rather than storing fat.
Here is my Fasting/Eating Schedule:
16 hours fasting /8 hour eating window (1pm-9pm)
18 hours fasting /6 hour eating window (3pm-9pm)
16 hours fasting /8 hour eating window (1pm-9pm)
20 hours fasting /4 hour eating window (5pm-9pm)
This means that I ONLY eat during the feasting window from 1 pm-9 pm, 3 pm-9 pm, or 5 pm-9 pm depending on which day I’m on. The ONLY thing I consume during the fasting window is water, black coffee (NO sweetener, NO cream of ANY kind). That’s it. Literally NOTHING else. No vitamins, No BCAA’s (which do break your fast because they create an insulin response), NOTHING else.
This doesn’t mean that you eat the whole time, I generally consume one or two meals (at most). When you break your fast always eat until you are satiated. You should have lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fat (such as avocado).
If you consume anything that creates an insulin response during the fasting period, you have STOPPED Fasting, that is to say, your body is no longer burning energy, it is now STORING Energy.
Opt-out of simple carbs and opt-in for complex carbs! I know getting started can be tough, but I lost 100 pounds, so can you.
Cheap Food Ideas:
- Veggies- this time of year the prices of veggies plummet, take the time to blanch and freeze them for later this fall and winter. (lettuce, cucumber, celery, broccoli, bok choi, Choi sum, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, spinach, zucchini, kale, mushrooms, green beans, sweet peppers/capsicum )
- Eggs- excellent protein source, easily digested, dirt cheap and can be prepared in a huge variety of ways
- String Cheese – excellent as a quick snack
- Cottage Cheese (full fat)
- Cream Cheese is cheap- mix up some easy fillers- for example, cream cheese- minced onion- baby shrimp- seasonings- mix well, serve in celery, in lettuce wraps or low-carb tortillas.
- Lean Meats- beef, chicken and game meats- grill them!