Strawberry Banana Apple Smoothie

strawberrybananapplesmoothieThis smoothie is so simple but so delicious. It only takes four basic ingredients to prepare, but it’s one of the best fruit smoothies I’ve ever had. Sometimes the best things in life are simple.

Strawberry Banana Apple Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 banana
1/2 red apple

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

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Wait! Why You Need a Warm Up Before Your Workout

It’s great you’re so excited and eager to get started with your workout, but you should never get right into your workout without going through a warm up session first.

What is a Warm Up?

A “warm up” is just what it sounds like – a period of time spent warming your body up before a workout. This warm up helps prepare your body for the activity it’s about to do. You shouldn’t just get up from sitting down at the computer and dive into an intense HIIT session, because that puts a ton of unnecessary stress on your body. It’s like going from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds and that is definitely not good for the bod.

It’s like going into surgery with a construction worker doing the job. Sure, it might get done, but it’s just not a good idea.

With a proper warm up, blood flow is increased, and your cardiovascular system is revved up at a gradual pace, so your body is prepped for the workout instead of just getting shocked right into it. When your body is warmed up before a workout, your muscles are looser and less likely to end up sore or injured at the end of your workout.

How Do I Warm Up?

To warm up, you can pretty much do anything you want, as long as it lasts at least 5-10 minutes and gets your body moving so your heart rate speeds up and your body is prepared for the workout ahead.

Dynamic stretches are best for a warm up session, rather than static stretches, because they help get your muscles warm and ready for the workout ahead. Save the static stretches for after your workout, helping your body relax and bring your heart rate back down. Static stretches help decrease muscle tension and increase muscle relaxation, making them the ideal choice post-workout.

The type of warm up you should do depends on the type of workout – whether cardio or strength training. Stick with similar exercises to those in your workout, but at a less intense pace. Obviously the more intense your workout, the harder workout you need, to get your body ready. For a lighter workout, such as one including only bodyweight exercises, stick with a more basic warm-up.

What if I Don’t Have Time for a Warm Up?

Look, it’s great you’re willing to devote time to working out, and everyone should, but if you’re “not able” to add an extra five or ten minutes onto the time spent here, you should get your priorities sorted out. The whole reason you’re working out in the first place is because you care about your body and want to be fit and healthy, and skipping your warm up is only going to have negative effects on your body, so it doesn’t make much sense to skip it just to save yourself a few minutes. If anything, if you really need to, take that time off the workout instead. A proper warm up and cool down is important to help you get results and to help prevent injury.

 

It doesn’t matter whether you have a cardio or strength training workout planned – you need a workout to avoid injury and maximize the results of your workout. There are absolutely no disadvantages to fitting a warm up session in pre-workout.

But, there are lots of benefits, including increased muscle temperature, increased body temperature, and improved range of motion.

It’s pretty simple – if you don’t have time to warm up, you don’t have time to work out.

You’ve Got it All Wrong: Why You Need to Eat to Lose Weight

Most people think you have to stop eating to lose weight, but that’s not the answer at all. In fact, if you try to avoid eating in hopes of losing weight and getting in shape, you’re sadly mistaken.

By not eating the necessary amount of calories each day, you’re not only going to lose most of whatever muscle you do have, but you’re also putting yourself at risk of nutrient deficiencies as well as other serious health problems.

Your Calorie Maintenance Level

Your calorie maintenance level tells you the number of calories you need to eat each day in order to maintain your current weight. You need to eat this many calories in order to keep your body functioning properly and neither gain or lose weight. Even skipping just 100 calories can significantly affect your weight and general health, especially over time, which is why it’s so helpful for most people to monitor weight and track calories and macros. This way you know exactly how many calories you’re burning each day and how many you’re taking in, and ensuring your body is getting the nutrients it needs to strive.

What Happens When You Don’t Eat Enough

Here’s what happens – when you don’t eat enough, your body enters a state of “starvation mode”, which can actually prevent you from losing weight. It won’t end up causing you to gain weight, so long as you’re creating a caloric deficit, you will lose weight.

The issue here is that this starvation response will cause serious problems. That includes slowing down your metabolic rate, which is the last thing you want to do if your goal in the first place is losing weight. It can also result in binge eating, because it causes intense hunger cravings, which means you’ll probably end up taking in more calories overall than you should be, so you end up gaining weight and completely missing your goal on this one.

The Right Way

If your goal is to lose weight, and there are many people out there right now who have that as their goal, don’t clutter your mind with all the different diets, trends and tips out there. There’s just one piece of information you need to know – to create a caloric deficit.

The only way you can lose weight is with a caloric deficit, so you’re taking in fewer calories than you’re burning each day. Just remember not to be drastic and stop eating altogether. You should only eat 500 fewer calories than your calorie maintenance level at the most in order to safely drop those pounds over time. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Even without any exercise at all, you would lose weight so long as you have that caloric deficit. Of course, with regular cardio and strength training exercise fit in, you are not just going to lose weight, but also get in the best shape of your life and eventually build muscle if that’s your goal. (Once you reach your desired weight, you can simply start eating those extra 500 calories a day so you’re fulfilling your daily calorie maintenance needs, and you can more effectively build muscle once you’re out of that deficit.

So in closing, remember that it is absolutely essential that you eat enough. If you don’t, you are wreaking havoc on your body and in particular, destroying your metabolism. You will not achieve your goal of weight loss simply by starving yourself of calories. Your body needs a certain number of calories to stay healthy, so make sure you meet those needs. The only way to safely lose weight is by knowing your calorie maintenance level, and then simply eating 500 or fewer calories than that number.

Even if you have struggled with your weight all your life, or have a lot of weight to lose and you’re worried it will never happen, it’s important to realize that anyone can lose weight and get in shape. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you weigh, what you do for a living; as long as you know what you’re taking in and putting out in terms of energy (calories) each day, you can drop that weight and get in the best shape of your life.

Fun, Fresh Fruit Salad

The warm weather is right around the corner, and there’s nothing that screams “sun and fun” to me more than a delicious fruit salad. Look tasty? It takes only minutes to make, and even the kids will dive right in with no complaints.

Fun, Fresh Fruit Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

2 kiwi, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 cup raspberries
1 cup purple grapes, sliced in half
1 cup green grapes, sliced in half
1 orange

Directions:

1. Combine all of the fruit in a large serving bowl.

2. Drizzle the juice from 1 orange over top of the salad.

This two-step fruit salad is not only gorgeous to look at and super easy to prepare, it’s also full of vitamins and nutrients like dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C, manganese, and potassium. Enjoy!

Compost it Up: Why Having a Compost in Your Home is a Great Idea

compostThere are lots of easy ways you can make life easier on yourself and respect the planet you live on at the same time. I mean, it does let us live and breathe, so it only makes sense we would want to take care of it, right?

One of the simplest things you can do is start a compost. Don’t worry, it’s really easy.

What is a Compost?

Before I started a compost in my own home, I have to admit, I thought it was only really useful if you were planning on having your own garden (something that is definitely currently in the works, mind you) but there are actually lots of reasons why you should have one in your house.

Yes, compost helps improve soil conditions which means it can help your flowers and vegetable plants grow strong and healthy, but it also helps in a number of other ways.

Why Should I Compost?

By composting, instead of taking up space in your weekly garbage haul, all of the discarded food waste such as peelings and cores can be added to your compost. This saves you money, but also prevents unnecessary additional waste from ending up in landfills. All around the world these landfills are filling up, because let’s face it, we live in a disposable society. From getting the latest model of television and cell phone every year to emptying your closet every year to fill it up with the latest designer clothes, it’s no surprise that we’re quickly running out of places to dump our loads of trash.

By composting, you’re helping avoid these landfills from becoming even more overfilled, and what would otherwise be nothing more than waste can be used for valuable purposes, namely being used as high quality compost in parks, gardens and other areas so you’re actually helping benefit the planet instead of harming it.

Composting is basically nature’s way of recycling, and it is the most sustainable option for managing organic waste. All you need is a compost bin and you can get started. After making your favourite smoothie or curry recipe, instead of tossing all those leftover food bits into the garbage, simply throw them into the compost instead. Seems way too easy, doesn’t it?

After just a couple of days, I was amazed by the size of the compost pile already, and it really made me realize just how much of a difference this makes by one person alone using a compost, let alone if we all took that step and started composting.

So it’s literally this easy –

1. Get a compost container. You can usually use any container you want, but your city services likely offer one along with a start-up package if you’re interested in finding out more about getting started with composting.

2. Know what can and can’t go in the compost. Your intentions are good, but if you’re not composting the right things, good intentions are pretty much all you’ll have. The amount of things you can compost is pretty astounding – everything from banana peels and egg shells to hair clippings and newspaper. Here is a broader list of different items you can compost. Most food items can be composted, other than dairy products, oils, meat, fish and bones.

3. Know when to have it ready. In most cases, there are local compost pickup services offered, so it’s just a matter of being aware of your particular composting pickup schedule. This is likely on the same day your garbage and recycling gets picked up, but if not you can always contact your city services department and inquire there.

So it’s literally that easy. Three basic things to know, and you can start composting in your home. These are just a few basic tips to help you get off on the right foot, and it’s definitely a great step to take. It’s important to do everything we can to take care of the environment, and composting is good for you and the environment.

Do you compost already? If not, do you plan to start?

Progress Pics: Why They’re Important

zoolanderProgress pics are an important part of helping you achieve your fitness goals. You can take them whenever you want – I usually try to fit in doing it around the first of every month, just to keep the pictures evenly spaced apart, to better see the progress I`ve made from one month to the next.

Try to remember to take the pictures in the same (or a similar) outfit without a distracting background, so it`s easier to compare them and to focus on what you`re actually trying to focus on, which is the physical change in your body since you started working out. The best idea is to wear a bathing suit for this picture (you may not want to and you may want to delete that picture right away but DON`T!) so you can get the most accurate, full view of your body. If you wear capris or a hoodie, you’re obviously not going to see the major muscle groups you’ve been working so hard on. So while you may not be thrilled about that bikini photo now, think of how awesome you’ll feel when you take the same picture six months from now. If you keep working hard and keep taking care of your body, the changes you see by then will be drastic.

Properly tracking your progress is always important, so you can see how far you`ve come and give yourself more motivation to keep at it, keep working hard and continue to strengthen and grow as a person. You can track as many measurements as you want – and you should – but the saying is true that a picture says a thousand words, and looking at pictures of yourself then and now is one of the best ways to see how far you`ve come. It also helps you figure out which areas you’re doing well on and which you need to work on.

Also remember that scales don`t tell the full story. especially over those first few months. Pictures never lie. You can see almost instant changes when you start working out (along with eating properly, of course) or at least within just a couple of weeks, and you can tell if you`re seeing the changes you want in your body, especially if you have specific problem areas. Even after just a few sets of progress pictures, you will definitely be able to see how your body is transitioning.

It’s definitely a great method of motivation, so you can see how far you’ve come, and have picture proof of the amazing changes you’ve made in your body. When you start to actually see yourself losing that fat, building muscle and getting stronger, I’m telling ya, it’s a pretty incredible feeling.

Remember, you don’t have to show these pictures to anyone else if you don’t feel comfortable. This isn’t about showing off, it’s about showing yourself what you can do, how far you’ve come, and keep yourself motivated to see how far you can go. Even after getting in shape, these aren’t pictures I would just post randomly everywhere. These are pictures for me. And it’s not about vanity, just as I don’t think it is for someone who is truly interested in getting healthy and being fit. Sure, you change your body for the better and look incredible, but what it’s really about is building strength, amazing yourself with what you can do when you put your mind to it, and about transforming yourself into the brightest, most dedicated, amazing, best form of yourself you can be.

Mom? Mom? Mom? Tips for Working Out with Kids

If you’re a mom, you understand the title of this post without me having to say another word. (Usually when you do finally answer “What?” they forget what they wanted to ask anyway…ironic?)

Either way, the point of this post is to talk about kids. They are amazing, incredible, wonderful, hilarious, adorable, fun, funny, the best part of your day every single day – but of course you want to be the best parent you can be, and that means spending a hell of a lot of time caring for those kids instead of spending that time on yourself. This can make it really difficult when you’re trying to stay in shape. Yes, it definitely makes it harder. But it doesn’t make it impossible.

So often I hear people say that since they had kids they haven’t had time for their workouts, or they find themselves overweight because they are eating the same things as their kids instead of taking time to make their own meals. I’m no perfect parent and far from it, but I do go after what I want and don’t make excuses for things, and this is definitely one example where this rings true more than ever.

Kids should not be a reason for you to not do something good and positive in your life. Instead, they should be one of the biggest reasons for you to do it. Yes, being a mom is an around-the-clock job, but if there is something you really want, you find a way to make it work instead of making an excuse for why you can’t.

With proper planning, you can find time to fit in your workouts through the week just as easily as you find time to catch up on the latest episodes of The Real Housewives of Atlanta or The Walking Dead. And there’s absolutely no reason you should be dealing with weight issues as a result of “snacking on the kids’ meals” – if you’re feeding them junk that would make you overweight, do you really think you should be feeding it to your kids?

Now is the best time to teach your kids lifestyle habits they will keep with them forever. Prepare them healthy, nutritious meals, and you can enjoy cooking and eating healthy together. Remember, things you teach your children now will last them a lifetime, so make your life lessons count. Teaching a child to eat fast food and junk food and they will likely carry these habits with them into adulthood.

As I’ve said many times before in many different posts, Sunday is usually my day of choice for taking a bit of time to myself to plan for the week ahead. From birthday parties to school meetings, keeping up with blog posts and designing for my activewear line and the million and one other things I have to get done through the week – I use this planning time to make my week count, and it makes me feel enthusiastic and eager for the week ahead instead of overwhelmed and exhausted.

If you’re struggling just to find 20 minutes to rest when you’re busy with kids and life (we all feel like this sometimes) I’m telling you – planning and preparation will make all the difference in the world. At least then you can schedule in that 20 minute nap, even if you do get woken up by that baby cry over the monitor as soon as you close your eyes. Look, like I said, it’s not going to be easy, but it is going to be worth it.

Many times, my workout soundtrack has consisted of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” or “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” but you know what? I dealt with it. Sure, it’s not as great as listening to Meshuggah or Mastadon cranked full blast (of course I’m getting the kids to love them too) but if it helps me keep up with my workouts and keep the kids happy at the same time, it’s a done deal.

Of course it depends on the ages of your kids, what you do for a living, and all those other personal factors that come into play, but the moral of the story here is that even with little ones running around the house, there’s no reason you can’t fit in time to take care of yourself. In fact, after having kids it’s even more important to eat right and stay active, because you’ve gained weight during pregnancy which can be difficult to get off, along with the hectic life of being a new mom and barely having time to get showered and dressed in the morning. You want to put your children first and you definitely should, but that doesn’t mean you have to forget about yourself. Being overweight and unhealthy is only going to make you feel sick and bad about yourself, and this will affect your mood and attitude with your kids, even if you don’t want to admit it.

As a mom, there’s no one that compares in terms of how proud you should feel. I mean, come on, you created a human being inside your body and brought it into this world. Even rocket scientists can’t complete with that. You’re amazing! The same goes for the guy parents out there. You’re doing an amazing thing and you should feel damn impressed with yourself. Just don’t use kids as an excuse for why you let yourself go. Staying fit and healthy is not only beneficial for yourself, but also means you’re setting a great example for your little ones. One of the most important things you will ever teach your children besides being confident, kind to others, and respecting the world we live in, is to take care of their body.

So just remember, even as a busy mom, there is always time for working out and being healthy. The most important things to remember are to plan and prepare, whether you decide to take one evening a week to do it, or just a couple minutes a day, whatever works for you.

Never forget how important exercise and a healthy diet are, not only to you but to your children as well. You’re their number one influence and role model, so make it count and set a good example for the most important people in your life.

Stick with it, even when you’re having a bad day or if you’re not losing weight as quickly as you would have hoped after having your little one. You just created a human being so give yourself a break, just remember how good being fit and healthy makes you feel and it will be a huge motivator for you to get back in shape.

Get help, whether that means seeking advice from a personal trainer or nutritionist (you usually don’t need to hire someone full-time to guide you through this process, but if you’re not sure what you’re doing, it can definitely help to have someone there to offer their personalized expertise and help you get started) to getting together with friends through the week to try new healthy recipes or go to the gym. Support is everything and will definitely help you stay focused on achieving your fitness goals.

No matter who you are and whether you have just one little one at home or almost enough to start a baseball team, showering your kids with love and compassion is always number one, but there is always time to take care of yourself too. It’s just a matter of finding the will and the time to stay fit and healthy. Figure out what works for you, but just make it work.

Top 5 Reasons You’re Not Getting Results in the Gym

One of the most difficult parts of getting fit is finding the motivation to do so. Whether you have never worked out before in your life, or you used to and are just getting started again now, getting your mind into the game is the first and most important step. Once you have that out of the way, it’s all about keeping up with your workouts and staying on track with your diet.

Of course what you’re most eager about is starting to see the changes in your body when you look in the mirror. But what happens when the days go by and these changes aren’t happening? You’re eating right, getting off your butt to work out every day, why aren’t you seeing results? Well, there are a few likely reasons why you’re not getting the results you were expecting.

You’ve Hit a Plateau

One of the most likely reasons you’re not seeing results is because you’ve hit a wall, or a plateau as it’s more commonly referred to in the fitness world. It’s pretty simple – you need to challenge your body if you want it to adapt and improve. If you’re using 20lb dumbbells and you’re able to complete your full 3 sets of 10 reps in your workout without exhaustion, your muscles are already strong enough to handle this weight, so you’re not challenging them anymore.

The easiest way to fix this is to increase the amount of weight you’re using. Start with an increment of just 5lbs to start, to prevent putting too much strain on your muscles, so you’re now using 25lb dumbbells, challenging your muscles again and forcing them to work harder to lift the weight. There are other ways to challenge your body too, such as increasing the number of reps or set sin your workout, or by changing or even just switching around the order of some of the exercises in your workout. Variety is always key when it comes to making progress in the gym, so never get stuck in a rut.

You’re Trying to Do it All on Your Own

It’s great to be knowledgeable, to have will and determination and want to do things on your own, but if you’re just getting started, it’s usually best to get the help or advice of a professional. Instead of coming up with your own workout plan, stick with a proven workout plan that is specifically tailored to your needs as a beginner. You have no business doing certain exercises or overtraining your body, and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing if you just take a wild stab in the dark at this.

With the right program – one that includes the right exercises with sufficient frequency and recovery – you have the opportunity to make incredible progress. As you continue progressing, when you have more experience and your form is solid, you can start implementing your own changes into your routine and taking things more into your own hands. If you’re just getting started, you probably don’t have much of a clue what you’re doing and it only makes sense that you would want guaranteed results by getting help, instead of trying to do it all on your own.

You’re Eating Too Much

Eating too much food is a surefire way to prevent results in the gym. No matter how hard you push yourself with those squats and deadlifts, you simply will not get results if you’re not eating right. The phrase “you can’t out train a bad diet” is absolutely TRUE. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat your favourite snacks or treats, but you need to be aware of how much you’re eating. You can’t lose weight if you’re eating more than your daily calorie limit, and you can’t gain weight if you’re eating less than your daily calorie limit. You can actually eat pretty much whatever you want, as long as you’re tracking your calories and meeting your calorie needs.

If you want to see changes in your body and let the time and hard work you’re putting in at the gym show through, you need to eat the right foods. Start meal planning and tracking your macros, to ensure you’re getting lots of variety and all the lean protein, carbs, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals you need in your diet. Without this, you won’t gain muscle and lose fat like you’re trying to.

You’re Not Eating Enough

This may seem strange considering the last point, but it’s true. If you’re not eating enough food, you could be stalling your progress in the gym. Your body needs food for energy. Calories from food give your body the energy it needs to make it through those kickass workouts. If you don’t get enough protein, you can’t build muscle or hold onto the muscle you already have. Protein also helps with satiation, helping control your hunger so you can stick to your daily calorie limit.

You’re Expecting Too Much Too Soon

Or maybe patience is your issue. It would be nice if we could end up with chiseled abs and glutes-to-die-for after just a couple of workouts, but unfortunately, that just aint gonna happen. It takes time and hard work for you to see significant changes in your body, so you need to stick to it. Don’t just make health and fitness a fad in your life, make it a habit, a lifestyle choice that you’re going to keep for the rest of your life. On a positive note, think of it this way – you’ll feel so much better once you do get to that point (and it will happen if you keep it at it) because you actually had to work for it. You have to earn that body, but it will be the best reward for hard work you’ll ever get.

If you think you’re not getting the results you’re expecting, these are the most likely reasons why. Everyone is different, but we are all guaranteed to get results if we eat right and follow an appropriate workout plan suited to our fitness goals. So take time to plan ahead each week, so your meals and workouts are all set up and ready to go (this not only helps save you a ton of time and hassle through the week, especially if you live a busy, hectic life like most of us do, but because it makes it easier on you, it’s great help for staying motivated and sticking to it) and you give yourself the best chances of success.

Strength Training: How Long Until I Start Seeing Results?

strengthOne of the biggest workout mistakes people make is giving up when they don’t see results fast enough. I know it’s hard when you’re putting your all into your workout every day, and you’ve been sticking to it and doing your best, and a whole four days in you don’t see the ripped abs and plumped up booty you were hoping for.

It’s important to realize that you are simply NOT going to see dramatic results in days, no matter who you are. Think about it – it didn’t take your body days to get into bad shape, so it’s not going to take days to get it in good shape either.

Everyone is different, and you may notice someone else’s results long before your own. Working out with a friend and they’ve lost 10 pounds and look fab and you still feel like you’re getting nowhere? Remember not to compare yourself to others and to just stay focused on yourself and your own goals.

With strength training, one of the most likely reasons you’re not seeing results is because you’re not challenging yourself. Progressive overload is the key here. It’s necessary in order to build muscle. If you’re lifting weights that are too light, you’re not challenging your muscles and as a result, you won’t continue to get stronger. You won’t make any more progress. That means no consistent gains in muscle mass. It’s that simple.

In order for your muscles to grow, you need to almost constantly increase the demands you are placing on your body. You can do this in a number of different ways. The most common way is by increasing the amount of weight you’re lifting, for example switch from 40 lb dumbbells to 50 or 60 lbs when you no longer feel challenged, or adding a couple 10 lb plates to your barbell.

There are other ways you can force your body to improve and adapt, so you can continue to gain more muscle and strength. Changing the number of reps and sets in your workout is a simple way of keeping your body challenged and preventing a plateau. As long as you’re constantly making your body work harder, your muscles will need to keep up and your fitness will only continue to improve and advance as a result.

There is no exact answer to how long it will take you to start seeing results from your workouts, but typically, you should start to see small changes in your body at least within four weeks. If not, chances are there is something you’re doing wrong. Whether you’re taking in too many calories, not taking in enough calories, overtraining; there are various possible reasons you’re not getting the results you should be, but the most important thing is to ensure you are doing things right, and then stick to it. Go over your diet and fitness plan and make sure everything is planned properly, with realistic goals. The good news is – as long as you’re doing these basic things right – with an implemented effective workout routine and clean diet, you WILL see results, no ifs, ands, or butts (except a nice one of your own) about it.

If you’re not seeing results, try tracking your calories. You may be taking in more calories each day than you realized and this could be stalling your progress. Make sure you have proper form with your exercises during every workout, not just to ensure you get the results you’re after, but also to help prevent injury. Of course with strength training, make sure you’re using enough weight that you’re actually challenging yourself, a weight that is light enough for you to handle, but enough that you feel like you couldn’t do another rep at the end of your sets. Then, once you’re no longer challenged, increase the weight, and so on.

The most important thing to remember is that results will come, and you will be so glad you stuck to it. A year may seem like a far time off from now, but by the end of that year you can have your body completely transformed, and that is a pretty incredible thing. Keep challenging yourself, feed your body wholesome, nutritious foods to fuel it and give you energy to keep up with your workouts, and your strength training workouts will help you achieve your best body, inside and out.

The Importance of a Proper Fitness Plan

One of the worst things you can do if you’re trying to get fit is go into it blind. Yes, giving up the junk food and couch marathons to start eating nutritious foods and being active is a great idea no matter what, and you will feel and look better almost instantly, but for the best results there’s much more to it than that.

Putting some time into planning is really important, but it’s important because it allows you to do a few things in particular which are going to be detrimental to your success.

Get Educated

Before you can do anything, you should get more educated on the topic you’re dealing with. It’s good to listen to experts you trust, believing in what they say and choosing to let them guide you through the process, but no matter what it is you’re dealing with, it’s always immensely helpful to become more educated yourself, so it’s easier to understand. In this case, the most important issues to familiarize yourself with are food and exercise.

Don’t try to take on everything alone. As a beginner, it’s best to seek the advice of professionals so you can learn the ropes and get started right, so you’re giving yourself the best chances for success. In particular, find a proven beginner’s routine and stick to it, instead of trying to create an over-the-top routine for yourself. You need to learn perfect form for the different exercises before taking on a too advanced plan. Even if you have all the motivation and eagerness in the world, you’re not going to do yourself any favours by trying to take on too much too soon.

Set Your Goals

By taking time to plan, you can set your goals and have a much better chance of actually reaching them. It’s never easy to make progress when everything is cluttered and confusing. So make it simple. Write down what you want, and then work on it. Every single day. Make your goals clear, what it is you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there, and then stick to it. It’s really as easy as that.

Create a Schedule

We all lead busy lives, some busier than others, but no matter who you are you can always find time to do something if you’re willing. By creating a schedule, you not only ensure you can fit in your workouts according to your own timetable, when it’s most convenient for you, but it also makes it easier for you to stick to your plan and not forget about workouts or procrastinate, figuring you’ll just start your workouts next Monday or next month instead. You have your guide, you know when you’re supposed to workout, and it’s pretty simple – either you do or you don’t. Just as with anything else, from your son’s soccer games to your hubby’s band practices, you can organize things around your workouts so you can stay fit and feeling great.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to devote this much time and effort into something, I’m going to make damn sure I do it right. Why guess at everything and just hope for the best when you know you can get guaranteed results? It just doesn’t make any sense. Especially when it’s not even all that much time and effort you need to devote anyway.

Stay on Track

On top of all this, a proper fitness plan will also give you something to stick to, so you can stay focused and stay on track. It’s hard to monitor your fitness progress or know how much you’re eating unless you have it all planned out and you’re actually keeping track of it all. That’s why an app like My Fitness Pal (my personal fave, but there are many other similar apps and programs out there to choose from) is so great, because it allows you to write down all of your food intake and exercise through the day, so you’re accountable for everything you’re doing each day and can’t deny when you skip a workout or pig out and double your needed calories for the day.

 
You don’t need to spend weeks putting planning time in. All it takes is a few minutes a day, or get it all done in one day (I usually use Sunday afternoons to do this, instead of sitting around watching Batman cartoons and chillaxing, I sit around watching Batman cartoons and chillaxing while writing out my meal plans and workouts for the week) if you want so you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the week. When you keep track and know exactly how much calories you’re burning each day and how many you’re taking in, you are GUARANTEED to lose weight, stay at your current weight, or gain weight, depending on your fitness goals and daily calorie consumption.

Of course, if you do stay on track with calories, you’re eating right and getting your exercise in, and you’re still not seeing the results you want, the only answer is that either you’re not tracking properly and there is something you’re not factoring in (maybe you’re forgetting to add in certain foods through the day like the olive oil you’re using to fry your veggies, or the 5 tablespoons of Frank’s hot sauce you add to your everything) or you’re overestimating your calories burned during exercise, or there may be a health condition at play. Certain health issues such as hypothyroidism can affect weight and stall fitness progress. Although this usually isn’t the case, if you think there may be a condition like this at play, it’s always important to talk with your doctor.

Remember, the most important thing is that you’ve finally decided to get started. You’ve taken that first step, and you should feel great about yourself, even if you’re nowhere near the finish line. The first step is always the hardest and you’ve already accomplished that. Now you just need persistence to reach your goals, and consistence to stay there.