by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Are you ready for shorts and tank tops? The early arrival of hot weather could have you squeezing into summer before expected. Try these methods to prevent waistline madness …
Take a firm approach to the new season! Commit to savvy beach-ready strategies.
Skip the Sweet Sips
Eliminate regular soda. Completely. A standard serving of soda is often equivalent to eating an entire candy bar. Studies repeatedly confirm the link between regular soda and heart disease, weight gain, and increased risk of diabetes. Regular soda adds more sugar to the American diet than any other single source. Other sweet drinks like tea, flavored coffee, and fruit juice should also be minimized.
A study was conducted of 810 adults between 25 and 79 years old. After 18 months, those who eliminated sweet drinks had greater weight loss than those who reduced food calories. With solid food, the body is better able to alert the brain when feeling full. This determination is not as obvious with liquids, which is why a supersized drink might not easily register.
For those who chug diet alternatives, research is mixed. A new study indicates those who consume diet beverages are less healthy than those who do not, but the impact is subtle.
The American Diabetes Association recommends consuming diet soda with an overall healthy diet as part of a weight loss/maintenance program. Although drinking any soda is not condoned, diet versions can be an acceptable alternative when dealing with weight issues. Of course, avoid pairing a diet soda with a bacon double cheese burger. What’s the point? If you must, have it with a salad (dressing on the side).
Forgo the Fads
Carb-free, detoxification, grapefruit only– trendy diets are consumed by scale-watchers everywhere. Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix to weight loss. Just like bellbottoms and ruffled shirts, these trends fade with their newness. Some fashionistas follow such diets just to be in vogue. It matches their latest designer sneakers, so to speak.
Studies prove the age-old best method for weight loss is simply to eat less calories and burn more. Any personal trainer will reinforce this equation. Increase your success by including mostly fruits and vegetables on your plate. Their typical high-water, low-calorie content is essential to dropping pounds.
Consistently Exercise Inconsistently
Be sure your workout includes a variety of cardio and strength training elements. Alternate intensity and exercises. This revs up your workout, burns more calories, and is easier on your heart. According to fitness experts, high-intensity workouts broken into two sessions are twice as effective as one low-intensity extended workout. Lift weights and follow up with a Group Fitness class for a winning combination. Rotate exercises during each session to allow muscles to work at their peak, rest, and work again. This simultaneously amps up your heart rate and your sculpting power.
Vary your method. Avoid working the same muscle groups at each session by changing your workout program on a daily basis. The Center offers countless options for exciting, effective exercise. Take advantage of the Aquatic offerings, Pilates studio, personal training support, and Group Fitness classes. Your mind and muscles will remain challenged for optimum results. This also prevents overstressing the body from continuously pumping out the same moves.
Refresh your playlist of songs. If you workout with a personalized music player, keep the tunes fresh for inspiration. The same exercise routine gets a makeover when done to a different tempo.
Form trumps intensity and duration. A poorly executed exercise is worse than doing nothing at all. It minimizes results and may lead to injury. Check yourself in the mirror, and ask a trainer or instructor to give you a once-over. Their expert insight might suggest slight tweaks that make a huge difference. As simple as which part of your foot takes on the body’s weight can affect different muscles.
The best fitness program for losing weight is the one you enjoy. If you don’t like your workout, you won’t stick with it. Experiment with different exercise methods. Choose several favorites and cycle them throughout your week. This assures commitment and a desire to excel. Interval training, which varies intensity and method, is best for burning fat and increasing endurance. And who doesn’t want a burst of endurance, especially during mid-afternoon in the rat race.
Your fitness routine is a work in progress. It should fit as comfortably as your workout gear. Each session’s goals should accommodate your personal needs at that moment. It might be a quick, high-intensity power session or a long, low-impact routine. The only aspect of a workout that should not change is its steady frequency. That is the key to weight loss.
Feel the Burn & the Increased Heart Rate
Make strength training double-duty as a cardio workout for optimum calorie burning. Weight training uses some fat for energy, builds other fat into muscle, and continues to burn fat at a higher rate for several hours post-workout. Personal trainers suggest:
- Circuit training: perform cardio and strength training exercises in quick succession at high intensity.
- Use multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Execute lunges, deadlifts, and squats. Speak with a personal trainer for additional suggestions.
- When ready, increase weights. Your body will accommodate by building more lean muscle tissue.
Keep a Journal
Research in the health sciences confirms journaling significantly improves weight loss efforts. Record exercises included in your routine. Note their success rate. Capitalize on those that are working; ditch those that are not. Part of a personal trainer’s responsibility is to assist clients in customizing just such a routine and tracking its success.
Keep a log of caloric intake and the food from which it derived. If potato chips prove to be a weak point, find a lower-calorie replacement of this crunchy craving. Perhaps ice cream appears too many times on your journal pages. Stock up on frozen yogurt and fresh fruit.
Track your workout hours, performance level, and nutrition. Be sure to note goals, and progress at obtaining them. Seeing your numbers improve– whether cholesterol, weight, or cardio stamina– fuels your fitness journey.
Have It Ready
Weight loss isn’t magic. Follow these guidelines. Ask for help when needed. And have your summer gear ready! Don’t let a misplaced boogie board or expired sunscreen delay your fun. Your body will be ready. Bring on the surf!
“Can Diet Soda Be Part of a Healthy Diet?” by Annie Hauser at www.everydayhealth.com.
“How to Lose 20 Pounds,” by Madeline Vann at www.everydayhealth.com.
“What’s the Best Exercise for Burning Fat?” by Paige Waehner at www.about.com.
Boogie boarder (introductory photo): By Makelessnoise at http://www.flickr.com/photos/makelessnoise/3112028919/
Soda: By Marcin Wichary at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mwichary/3564121630/
Weightlifter: By Jontunn at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jontunnell/4414501677/
Beach volleyball: By push …design http://www.flickr.com/photos/pushdesign/4681469680/