It’s the fourth and final week of #SelfImprovementMonth, and I am so incredibly proud of everyone who has been reaching out to me, sharing their goals and lifestyle changes! Let’s keep kicking major butt with week four: Movement.
*Bead of nervous sweat drips down temple* You mean like, including actual exercise?
You got it! This week I’m your drill sergeant and you’re my new recruits. Welcome to the toughest week of your life.
Okay, so maybe not that insane, but I am going to offer some exercise secrets to get you back on track with your fitness goals. No fitness goals you say? Let’s start there!
Are My Fitness Goals Realistic?
A few things to remember when considering working exercise into your routine is what type of goals to set, and asking yourself if they’re achievable. Wanting to lose a little weight is great, but having that goal and actually following through are two different things, so let’s set you up for success.
Exercise takes commitment. Exercise takes time. Can we say that once more? Exercise takes time and commitment. These also happen to be the top two barriers that my clients say have been holding them back before they start their program with me.
The thing that surprises my clients most though, is when they realize that it’s not about how long you exercise, but HOW you exercise.
FIT SECRET… If you’ve reached your mid-30’s and beyond, it is actually going to work against you to try to work out hard for 60-minutes, five times a week. Adding more stress to an already stressed body does more harm than good. The stress increases the hormone cortisol, making that belly fat not willing to budge. Remember how important stress reduction is from Part 1?
So, start by making your fitness goal based on what time you can realistically give to exercising and where your fitness level is.
Level 1: You’re a beginner and are just warming up to the idea of movement. Start with some walking. Begin with 20-30 minutes a few days a week, working up to daily walks.
FIT SECRET… I can’t stress how important walking is as we age! It reduces stress, helps maintain weight, decreases your risk for disease, and improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels, just to name a few! It is the least intimidating exercise there is, and if you do it outdoors you may soak up some healthy Vitamin D, as well!
Level 2: You can handle walking, but are looking to tone up. This is a good time to add 2-3 days of strength training (just 25-minute sessions will do it).
FIT SECRET… Girls, lifting weights will not make you bulky! In fact, the more lean muscle you gain, the more body fat you are able to burn without cutting calories. Strength training and good nutrition are keys to toning up and looking fit. And don’t forget, resistance training with weights or even your own bodyweight is also especially important to strengthen your bones and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
Level 3: You’re walking, getting in consistent strength training, but would like to amplify your fat loss. This is a good time to add some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) 1-2 times/week. Think sprint, stair or plyometric intervals for up to 20 minutes.
Just think… If you were up for a 20-minute walk five days/week with three days of strength training, you are only looking at about 3 total hours a week!! That is only 2%; yes TWO, of your entire week. That’s doable, right?
Even within your level, I like to set a bare minimum that I’ll achieve each week even on my busiest weeks. If that number is one walk or whatever, something is better than nothing and it keeps you in the “game”.
You’ve most likely heard me talk about this before, but studies like ones done by James A. Levine, MD, PhD, of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, and Nutrition at Mayo Clinic Rochester, have demonstrated that NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) has a significant impact on how lean a person can be.
NEAT involves all of the activity that is not considered a workout or exercise. This looks like walking around while talking on your phone at work, fidgeting, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, stretching while watching TV, walking to and from your car in a parking lot, standing vs. sitting at work, cooking, vacuuming, and picking up the house to name a few. The more NEAT you put into your day, the more calories you are burning without even realizing it.
FIT SECRET… NEAT is one of the easiest types of movement you can include in your day, and allows you to burn anywhere from an extra hundred to an extra thousand calories a day, depending on your occupation.
So if you tend to sit most of your day, try to include some of the ideas above or set a reminder on your phone throughout the day to take standing or walking around breaks.
Don’t Forget to Have Some Fun!
Who said exercise had to be all work and no play? Feel free to incorporate some of your favorite hobbies into your workout! Put on your favorite playlist, dust off your bike and pedal away! Go for a hike on a sunny afternoon, or challenge a friend to a round of tennis.
Whether you belong to a fitness facility or exercise in the privacy of your own home, the options you have to get your sweat on are limitless. From swimming to yoga, Zumba, Pilates, cross-fit, weights, and much, much more! Exercise all depends on your time management and willingness to make the first steps toward your most beautiful YOU!
If time is your barrier, let me pass on some advice from my mom, Sherry…. “Use your time wisely.” I bet you could do a workout during 30 minutes of watching your favorite TV show.
Again, I am beyond amazed with how many of you have dove right in to Self Improvement Month and are coming out on the other end feeling just that – improved! Keep that momentum going!
Let’s get FIRED UPP,
P.S. It is the last week to save nearly $50 on the Fit, Fueled & Fired Upp Healthy Lifestyle Blueprint. This special pricing only happens twice a year! You’ll get full access to my app in this 14-week self-guided, online coaching program for less than $25/week. I will show you how to implement a healthy lifestyle step-by-step and hopefully drop a pant size or two while doing so just in time for holiday season. Quick and guided workouts (<30 min.), nutrition, mindset, stress and sleep help are all included! It’s time to be the best version of YOU!