We all want that killer Instagram body, but let’s face it working out is hard work!
Here’s the truth – there aren’t any shortcuts and no magic pill that can replace a good old sweat session. The market is flooded with pre & post workout food supplements and the next must-have 20 minute program that’s going to change your body in just 4 weeks – sound familiar?
With everything in life, there needs to be a balance – healthy mind, good nutrition and appropriate activity to suit your capabilities with realistic goals. In my opinion, feeling great should be the real reason to get active not to be skinny. For the beginner who is still on the couch toying with the idea of exercising, here’s my two cents:
First change the mind, then the body
Your first activity session is probably not going to be the most enjoyable, but I can promise you starting-off is the hardest part and once you’ve found a routine and stick to it you’ll reap the benefits and feel amazing – increase in energy levels, improved sleep, reduced stress, higher self-esteem, lower blood pressure, strengthened heart as well as a more toned and trim body. That sounds great to me!
Pick something you enjoy
A change in lifestyle should be a positive experience, there’s no point exercising and hating every minute of it. Pick something you enjoy doing and build onto that…start slow, each week push yourself a little further. Here’s the catch, consistency is key – start moving and keep moving, just 30 minutes of moderate* exercise 4-5 times a week is all you need to see results.
[* moderate-intensity physical activity, a person’s target heart rate should be 50% to 70% of his or her maximum heart rate]
I’m a big fan of mixing-it-up, to keep things exciting and to ensure a full body workout.
Ideally, your workout should include a mix of aerobic, strength, balance & flexibility exercise. This doesn’t mean doing separate workouts but finding a program that covers all in just one workout.
I adore Jillian Michaels; she has loads of 30min online workouts available to give you a great overall workout (at different levels of intensity) in the comfort of your own home. Trust me, her routines work every part of your body and even muscles you didn’t know existed! And I love her hard-ass approach (LOL)! To prevent injury, do not skip the warm-up and cool down and don’t fast-track to higher workout levels.
Don’t chase numbers on the scale
In fact, throw the scale away! Focus on a healthy lifestyle and how that makes you feel physically and mentally…the way you feel in your clothes will speak for itself. It’s quite common to “pick-up-weight” once exercising – that’s a good thing, it shows fat is being converted into muscle.
If you are burning more calories, you are going to feel hungrier. It’s important to listen to your body and eat when your body is asking for nutrients. Make sure you are fueling-up with small regular healthy meals/snacks throughout the day and don’t fall into the trap of missing breakfast – it really is the most important meal of the day. If you slip-up and eat that chocolate which just happened to fly out the cupboard into your lap, forgive yourself and carry on – we aren’t robots. Having a cheat day is okay. And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
If you are working out regularly and feeling a little depleted, chances are your diet isn’t meeting all your nutritional needs. Here’s my top pick of supplements that are performance and recovery game-changers:
Let’s start with the basics! People that lead active lifestyles need even more nutrients than the average non-active person. For the human body to be at peak performance on just a normal day it must be given the full spectrum of vital nutrients. Viridian – Sports Multi offers athletes and those we are regularly active an excellent high potency multivitamin and mineral formula to be on-the-ball during normal daily activities, as well as get the best out of their fitness routine.
Whether you’re training for a competition, simply wanting to support an active lifestyle or looking to be on the best road to optimal health, upping your daily intake of omega-3 EPA+DHA is vital. Omega 3’s are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that facilitate the recovery process after a strenuous activity and also eradicate that post-workout ache that leaves you limping for 2 days! Nordic Naturals – Ultimate Omega offers a EPA-rich fish oil so athletes get all the health benefits of omega-3 EPA+DHA, which helps lower inflammation and aids in recovery.
Glutamine is an amino acid that’s produced naturally by the body, and then can be extracted from the muscle during an intense workout. The more glutamine you get into your body the more muscle you will retain and faster. Glutamine is found in foods such as nuts, fish, ted meat, beans and other fatty foods. If just the thought of eating a thick steak post-workout makes you feel a little queasy, a good Glutamine supplement such as Sfera– L-Glutamine will be an effective way to up your levels.
Most of us know that we need calcium to build bones, which is only one of several minerals needed – Magnesium is just as important. If you are suffering from muscle tension, restless legs or joint pains Magnesium may be your answer. Magnesium is found in green leafy veg, quinoa, nuts and seeds, legumes, bananas, avocados and raspberries. I make conscious effort to load my diet with leafy greens but I still do suffer with muscle spasms especially after a strenuous run, Good Health – Cramp and Muscle Relief has really helped me personally with muscle recovery. Mineralife – Magnesium is another good clean source for getting your daily Magnesium.
If you are needing an anti-inflammatory, as the Magnesium is not enough to manage any post workout pain or stress then Lipolife – Turmerease is the clean go to! A recent independent laboratory study, showed that Lipolife® Turmerease Cureit® Curcumin has been found to be 16.73 times more bioavailable than any other Curcumin product on the market. That’s huge! Almost 17 times greater bioavailablity! Is there any reason that we should still be using anything else to manage pain?
If all you are after is an improved overall state of well-being not the six-pack, then these supplements are still worth investigating, and take a look at the non-exercise specific options e.g. general but quality multi-vitamin, fish oils etc. If your diet is at its optimum, I’d say less is more when supplementing, but we lack many minerals in our soils and cannot get the levels of Omega3 that we require from diet alone.
So now… slowly move away from the couch, switch off the telly, toss the potato chips in the trash and put those sweat pants to good use!
Analita Farelo (VitaSoul Blogger)