When I was shopping in Kohl’s the other day, I noticed that shorts and swimsuits are already making their appearance on the racks. It’s still chilly outside, but everyone’s anticipating summer. And, as I was passing by, I heard a woman tell her friend that there was absolutely no way she was even trying on a swimsuit until she lost some weight and felt better about her body.
That got me thinking about what it really takes to tone up and slim down before the warm weather gets here.
A lot of people feel stress and urgency about getting fit when they see summer is just around the corner. And that leads to bad decisions that set them up for failure. Like starvation diets. Exercising too fast and too hard too soon. And worst of all, setting themselves up for unrealistic goals.
If you’re feeling that way, don’t fret. Take a deep breath and look over my 3-step plan below. By taking the time to plan before you start, you can enjoy a healthier, fitter you in less time than you think…
Step #1 – Set Your Goals for Fat or Weight Loss
The first step in creating a fitness plan that works for you is to set your goals. After all, you have to know where you’re going if you want to get there as quickly as possible.
Get a journal and write down where you are today. What is your weight? Your percentage of body fat? You can determine this using a scale at home that measures both your weight and body fat.
Here are a range of body fat percentages for comparison:
- Top female athletes: 15 to 20%
- Fit women: 21 to 24%
- Healthy/acceptable: 25 to 32%
- Overweight: 33% plus
For men those numbers are different:
- Male athletes: 6 -13%
- Fit men: 14 to 17%
- Healthy/acceptable: 18 – 25%
- Overweight: 26+%
Now, take your measurements and write them down. Measure around your waist, hips, thighs and upper arms.
Next, write down what your big goal is and set a date for achieving it. And, don’t forget to break that big goal down into smaller goals so that you can see the progress more quickly. For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds by the end of June, maybe you could set a five pound goal for May 1st.
Step #2 – Choose an Eating Plan
The next step is to pick an eating plan that will help you reach your fitness goals. Whether you decide on the Mediterranean diet, Paleo, Ketogenic or a host of others, the only thing that really matters is that it’s one you can live with.
That’s because Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that the secret to making any diet work is sticking to it.
And whether you choose to go low-fat or low-carb, the most important thing to remember is to cut out the processed convenience food. That includes the pre-packed so-called health foods. Choose real, whole foods instead. Be sure to diet in a way that doesn’t make you feel hungry or deprived. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to be able to stick to it for the long run.
Step #3 – Add in Exercise
Exercise is a vital component to any fitness plan. But, if you want to stick to it for the long-term it’s important to start slow. Even a few minutes of activity each day can make a big difference without overwhelming you so much that you give up.
Try adding simple one-minute cardio intervals to boost your metabolism. Do short strength-training sessions or take a walk after dinner. As you adapt to the increase in activity, you can add more bit by bit.
Consider this easy peasy push-up workout for your whole body…
Rebounding, if you have joint problems…
And anyone can firm and burn in 12 minutes a day.
Editor’s note: One of the worst things you can do when trying to lose weight is follow outdated diets and weight loss protocols. Stop counting calories. Stop eating low-fat. And stop giving up dessert! You can attain your best health ever, without extreme diets, dangerous pills or brutal workouts. Learn how in The Part-Time Health Nut! Click here for a preview…
- The Fit Woman’s Guide to Body Fat — oxygenmag.com