Do you know of something you would like to do? Like lose weight or get healthier or start exercising? To be successful at something you would like to achieve, it is important to make sure your goals are SMART.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.
For example, let's say I want to gain strength:
SMART goals bring structure and trackability to help you achieve your objectives. Instead of vague resolutions, SMART goal setting creates a set path towards your objective. Every goal or objective can be made SMART and then, as such, will be closer to reality.
Are you ready to get healthier but aren't sure where to begin? You don't have to start doing multiple workouts a day or go on a crash diet. In fact, you really shouldn't do either. Doing too much too soon is a recipe for injury and crash diets don't produce sustainable results. Whether you are looking to lose weight, change some health concerns like high blood pressure or diabetes, want to feel better, or all of these, you should start small. Getting, and staying, healthy is a lifelong thing. If you go on a diet for 30 days, severely restricting your calories, you will probably lose weight but what happens when you go back to your regular way of eating? You go back to the way you were when you were eating that way before! I've met with many people who lost weight with diet and exercise but as soon as they met their goal weight they stopped exercising and went back to their old eating habits. Guess what happened? They gained it all back. Making small changes to start, and progressing slowly, will help to create habits for the long term.
Here are a few small ways to start living healthier.
1. Start with reducing or swapping out one or two bad nutritional choices. For example, drink water instead of a sugary drink (pop, sweet tea, juice, etc.). If you can't bear to give up your drink of choice completely, start with reducing your intake. If you currently drink 4 pops a day, start drinking 2 pops and 2 bottles of water. It doesn't have to be complete cold turkey, unless that is what works best for you.
2. Start exercising by simply moving more throughout the day. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up every hour. Take a walk. Choose a time that is convenient for you to get out and walk (like after dinner, your lunch break or right when you wake up). Enlist a friend or partner to walk with you. Start with just 15 minutes a day and work up from there.
3. Eat real food. Cutting out all processed foods completely probably seems overwhelming to many people who are used to eating fast food and cooking/eating from packages. Start small here too by slowly adding in more meals and snacks with real ingredients. For example, eat an apple and peanut butter for a snack instead of chips. Start with one or two healthier meals each week and continue to work more in. Research nutrition and healthier recipes. It doesn't have to be complicated or hard but it might take a little time at first to learn what you like and what works best for your lifestyle.
Eating better and exercising more are key to living a healthier life. You don't have to take an all or nothing approach to wellness. Start with small changes, keep adding in more healthier habits as you go and you will start to see big benefits.
Me last year in Bora Bora drinking coconut water straight from the source
For most of the country, and here in Indiana, the temperatures this summer have been above average. Water is important to the body at all times, but it is especially important in warm weather to keep your body from overheating. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. There are more serious complications with severe dehydration. (Also, sometimes when you think you are hungry, you are really just thirsty!)
So how much water do you need? Studies vary and it depends on how active you are, your health and even where you live. A very general estimate given by The Institute of Medicine is 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women. This isn't too far off from the common advice of at least eight, eight ounce glasses a day. Obviously, the amount you need will vary from person to person and depends on how active you are that day and how hot it is. I think the eight glasses of 8 ounces is a good general rule for regular conditions and more than that if you are working out and/or it is hot.
Water isn't the only thing that hydrates but it is the best option. I'm lucky that I like water and drink it all day but I know some don't like to drink water. My advice, start with just two bottles of water a day - sip it throughout the day. You'll get used to it and maybe even feel more energy because you are better hydrated. If you really can't stand water, add some fruit to it to infuse the fruit flavor into the water.
If you are exercising, water is all you need if you are working out for an hour or less. If you are working out longer than an hour, or you will be out in the sun for more than a few hours, you might need something more than water that will help to replenish your sodium and potassium levels which are lost through perspiration. A sports drink is an option (please look for one without artificial sweeteners and fewer chemicals!!!) or coconut water is a great sports drink alternative. Coconut has fewer calories, fewer sugar, less sodium and more potassium than any sports drink plus it is all natural (make sure you look at the label if you are buying it packaged). Both sports drinks and coconut water have lots of sugar though so don't go overboard with either.
Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, teas, and colas, are not recommended for optimal hydration. These fluids tend to pull water from the body and promote dehydration. Fruit juice and fruit drinks may have too many carbohydrates (sugar), too little sodium, and may upset the stomach. If you're going to drink fruit juices while exercising, you may try diluting them with 50% fruit juice and 50% water first.
Adequate hydration will keep your summer activities safer and much more enjoyable.
References: The Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, WebMd
Have you thought about hiring a personal trainer but just aren't sure if it is worth it? Here are five reasons why it might be a good idea:
1. Motivation – Personal trainers wear many hats, serving not only as coach, but as an educator, confidant, role model and a major source of motivation and encouragement as well.
2. Consistency – Do you find it difficult to stick to your program? Scheduling regular appointments with a personal trainer helps eliminate any excuses you might come up with for not exercising.
3. Safety – Unsure about how to use the chest press machine at the gym or how to perform walking lunges without hurting your knees? A personal trainer will show you how to exercise safely (including which exercises to avoid) and instruct you on the proper and safe use of exercise equipment.
4. Individualized Instruction – What works for one person, may not work for another when it comes to choosing an exercise program. A personal trainer will develop the most effective program for you based on your fitness evaluation results and personal goals. Beginners in particular benefit from instruction on how to perform specific exercises and program planning.
5. Effective Workouts – Today's hectic lifestyles mean you don't have time to waste on ineffective exercise routines. Personal trainers help maximize your time by providing workouts designed to meet your goals quickly and efficiently.*
Contact me if you have any questions or are ready to get started!
*From ACE Fitness Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer