This is what my drill sergeant would yell at me day in and day out. After all these years, I still try to live by this mantra. Don’t make things too complicated. If you’re working out consistently (5 times per week), getting some cardio in (20 minutes), lifting heavy things (20 minutes of varied strength work per body part per day), and eating well, you will lose weight. I don’t care what the cardio is. I don’t care what the strength exercises are. As long as you’re consistent with all of these things you’ll have the body you want in no time.
What’s the very first thing I tell my clients when I meet them? They must keep a food journal if they want to work with me. It’s imperative! Did you know you’re 50% more likely to lose weight if you write down what you eat? 50%! To me, that’s a no brainer. My favorite food journal app is MyFitnessPal. Not only do they make it easy to log your food, but they also give you a macro breakdown for each day.
Although I don’t believe in fad diets (especially the ones that have you cutting out or severely limiting certain macros), I do believe in “dieting” for a short period of time as a jump start. Let me be clear here. I don’t believe in fad diets! Never have, never will. What I do believe in is using certain healthier diet plans to help get you started. Think Paleo or Vegan. Even something like nutrisystem or Jenny Craig.
Water is what we’re made of. It constitutes over 60% of our body. Wouldn’t it make sense to consume as much water as possible? Did you know that if you’re dehydrated by as little as 1% your physical abilities will drop by as much as 25%! So, if you’re looking to hit your workouts with any amount of seriousness, I say, drink up. As a general rule, try to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day.
“But Josh, water is boring”. Yes, water CAN be boring so I’ve listed 10 ways to make water less boring:
Cucumber (Cools and hydrates)
Fresh Mint (Freshens breath and treats nausea)
Chia Seeds (Strengthens teeth and bones)
Lemon or Lime (Boosts immunity and prevents colds)
Aloe Vera Juice (Relaxes and relieves stress)
Ginger (Aids in digestion)
Herbal Tea Bag (Relaxes and relieves stress)
Berries (Promotes beauty and prevents oxidation)
Cinnamon (Regulates blood sugar and reduces cholesterol)
Honey (Helps prevent cancer and infections)
Please, please, please stop drinking your calories! It’s too easy for extra calories to sneak into your day. Over time those sugary calories add up. Avoid sweetened iced tea, sweetened coffee drinks, soda, juice or juice drinks, and gatorade and other sports drinks. The average American drinks roughly 200 calories per day. Multiply that by 365 and that’s 73,000 excess calories every year!
Do you frequently miss your workouts because your motivation wants to stay under the covers where it’s nice and warm? My answer is sleep in your workout clothes! I love this one and often do it myself. Getting ready to go to the gym is sometimes half the battle. By spending the night in your workout clothes, that part of the battle is done. Not only that, but because you don’t have to change, you’ll be able to get a few extra minutes of sleep in. You’re welcome;)
If it’s in your house, chances are you’ll eat it. Do a full kitchen cleanse and ditch all of the unhealthy snacks. Once you’re done cleansing, go out and buy some healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, rice cakes (great with healthy almond butter topped with banana slices), nuts (in moderation), etc. Snack on these and thank me later.
I know this one sounds obvious...and it is. But, it’s extremely important so I wanted to mention it. This is not about perfection. If I ask someone what their goal is and they say “to avoid all junk food”, I cringe. You don’t have to avoid ALL junk food...that’s unrealistic. What you do have to do is start off by eliminating 30% of the junk food you consume. Each week up that percentage by 10%. Over time, not only will you learn small tricks to avoid junk food, but more importantly, you’ll start to lose that sweet tooth.
It would be downright wrong of me to leave out a tip for great looking abs.
Slow and controlled. Abs should never be rushed. Using momentum means your abs are getting less work. Try taking a full second to come up into your crunch, then hold it there and focus on squeezing your abs as tightly as you can for another full second. The way down should be a full second as well. Slow and controlled.
One of the keys to weight loss is keeping your metabolism high. The higher your metabolism throughout the day, the more calories you’ll burn. One of the best ways to up that metabolism is by working out. I know, I know, there are days when you just can’t get to the gym...something comes up at work...sick child has to stay home from school...no motivation...it happens. Don’t completely write off your workout though. A quick 10 minute workout is enough to bump that metabolism up. Grab a spot in your living room and cycle through 25 reps each of your 5 favorite exercises. Before you know it, your heart rate will be up and your metabolism will be doing it’s job of burning calories.
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