Those body camouflaging sweaters, sweatshirts and coats won’t be there to help cover that new winter weight forever. Summer is on the way and with it comes all manner of tiny clothing - shorts, tank tops, swim suits, etc.! Season changes are a great time to get us back on track with our fitness goals.
To help give some inspiration and real-world tips, I sat down with Kelly Murphy. She’s a Registered and Licensed Dietitian (RD, LD) as well as a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Below are her top tips for getting fit for Summer (and beyond)…
1. What’s your get fit goal?
Job one: identifying what you want! Kelly says, “You have to figure out your goal. So often, people tell me they want to lose weight. I always check to see if that’s their REAL goal? Later it comes out that they want to be able to run a 5K, fit into ‘those’ shorts at the back of the closet they haven’t worn in 6 years, trim down for a reunion, look better in their clothes, get stronger. Whatever it is, just be real with yourself and take the time to identify your real goal.”
2. Make a plan based on your goal
Kelly advises, “Once you know the goal, determine the steps to get there. I can’t emphasize this enough: you MUST write it down. For instance, ‘I’m going to work out X times per week for XX minutes. I’m going to eat at home more and dine out less. I’ll cut out or cut back on drive-through food. I’m going to eat X servings of fruits & veggies and cut out junk food, etc.’ Some people will tell me they had a ‘bad week’ and I always ask what made this week worse than last week. You can’t say you had a ‘bad week’ if you don’t have a planned ‘good week’ to compare it to.”
3. Measure your progress
Have you heard the saying, “What gets measured gets done”? I think Kelly would agree: “Put on the swimsuit you’re trying to get into for summer and take a picture every week, or do a regular review of your body measurements. It’s important to measure your progress consistently based on the goal you set. If you want to fit into a new swimsuit, don’t get on a scale to determine your progress because that number has nothing to do with your goal. Don’t be discouraged if your progress isn’t as fast as you originally hope and plan. As with any plan, you’ll have to shift your actions over time and every inch of change will get you closer to your goal, so be patient.”
4. Get an accountability partner
I walk with some neighborhood friends every morning. Can I tell you what would happen if I knew they weren’t going to be at my door at 5:30am tomorrow morning? ZZZZZZ
Kelly notes, “Find an accountability partner! You need someone who’s consistently encouraging you when you have a bad day or week and want to stray from the program.”
5. Move it!
We all know it’s important to exercise and get your heart rate up. All the research says it’s necessary for weight loss, improves sleep, boosts energy, combats health conditions and diseases, and more. But do I have to kill myself? Kelly advises, “No. You should get to the point where you can’t hold a conversation if you’re exercising side-by-side with a partner.” Kelly also notes, “Find an exercise activity you like. If you hate it you’ll eventually stop doing it, but exercise should be lifelong.
There are SO many great ways to exercise these days, so don’t settle - finding things you like is a must so you'll keep doing it. If you’re crunched for time, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT).” There is research-based evidence that short, intense exercise can produce similar fitness benefits as those produced through longer, less intense workouts.
6. Try some tech
If it’s been a while since you focused on improving your diet and exercise, you might try some of the apps out there. Below are a few that Kelly suggests to all her clients…
- C25K or Couch to 5K – this is the easiest program to get beginners from couch potatoes to 5K distance runners in 8 weeks. It works for a wide spectrum of people and allows you to go at your own pace.
- IntervalTimer – this handy little app helps you set your own work and rest periods during workouts for interval training of any kind. Whether you’re into cycling, running, lifting weights, stretching, boxing, MMA or especially HIIT, this interval timer will prove to be an invaluable asset to you.
- MyFitnessPal – this is a free online calorie counter that allows you to track nutrition facts quickly and easily for over 2,000,000 foods. Kelly warns, “Don’t focus solely on counting calories. It’s imperative to have exercise as part of your lifestyle whether you’re trying to drop pounds or not. Also, calorie counting isn’t an exact science, so don’t be obsessive about it. Make sure you’re looking at the vitamin and mineral content of your intake, too - like potassium, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, so you can see if you are regularly meeting your needs or not.”
7. Eat your veggies!
In 2013, a Center for Disease Control (CDC) report found that 22.6% of American adults eat less than 1 veggie per day. As a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, you might guess that Kelly has some thoughts on this topic. “It isn’t just about the mix of carbs, protein, and fats. You really need the vitamins and minerals, too. I look at it as a bike. The carbs, protein and fats are the wheels, handlebars and seat. But the vitamins and minerals are the nuts and bolts that hold it all together. If you don’t get enough of the nuts and bolts, your bike is going to fall apart a mile down the road. And, you won’t lose weight because your body isn’t working efficiently.”
8. Stretch it out
Do you stretch before and after a workout? Kelly says, “One of the biggest mistakes most people make is not stretching enough. It’s a hidden gem, and it’s really important. As you start working out and moving more, you’re going to get sore and your muscles may become imbalanced. When that happens, you could start compensating and you may start walking funny without even realizing your body is moving incorrectly. Eventually, it can lead to injuries. Be sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds to loosen up muscles to help prevent future injuries!”
Now it’s your turn! Have you tried any of these tips? Are you going to? Comment below to let us know or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.