Fitness Tips

14 Simple Health & Fitness Tips


1. Don't be overly aggressive in the beginning. One of the biggest problems most people encounter when starting a fitness program is rapidly depleted motivation after only a few weeks due to an overly ambitious fitness plan. Two days per week of 20-minute low-intensity cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, biking, swimming); and two days per week of 30-minute light resistance training (using weights or resistance machines) is adequate in the beginning. As you become acclimated to the lifestyle "shift" you can add more days and get improved results. But beware: if you try to do too much too fast, you may end up quitting altogether. If you've tried and failed doing it alone, then I suggest you get a training partner or personal trainer who will help you sustain your motivation.


2. Don't waste your time working small muscles with isolated movements. If you don't enjoy doing resistance training or are pressed for time, concentrate on working the largest muscle groups with compound resistance movements. When I see overweight people doing wrist curls or lateral raises, I wonder why. It's generally just a lack of understanding of how their bodies work. Most people want to lose fat and tone and firm their bodies. The way to do that is to use resistance (weights or machines) to train the large muscle groups.

3. Always, always, always stretch. Stretching improves flexibility, blood flow, muscle recovery, low back pain and a host of other things. Additionally, stretching can prevent injury, make you sleep better and improve your performance in all sports. Always stretch, but be certain not to stretch cold muscles. You should always warm up before stretching. However, it is very important that you know how to stretch. Never bounce! Your personal trainer will show you the proper execution and timing of your stretches.

4. Never do a traditional sit-up. Unless you are super athlete with an incredibly well-developed midsection, sit-ups can lead to a strained lower back and possibly lumbar injuries. But it gets worse. Rather than hitting your abdominal section, sit-ups can shift exercise tension to your hip flexors - which defeats the purpose. There is so much misinformation about how to strengthen, tone and firm the midsection, it's almost frightening. Paradise Personal Training offers a balanced muscle approach to training the core musculature.

5. Set realistic goals. You must have tangible, quantifiable, short-term and long-term goals for your fitness program so you can gauge your progress. It's crucial to have a "baseline" before you begin, so you can measure success. Your health club or personal trainer can give you a complete fitness analysis (don't be shy - you need this) that will aid you or your trainer in developing a personalized fitness program which addresses your particular needs. Having goals, particularly short-term goals, allows you to track your progress and keep you motivated when times are tough and you don't feel like exercising. Keeping a journal of your cardio and resistance training workouts, as well as tracking what you eat is truly a fitness success "secret." Just remember that your goals should be realistic and attainable. The best way for you to understand what is realistic and attainable for you is to talk to a fitness professional - not to buy into the "hype" of infomercials, diet and fitness products that blatantly mislead.

6. Set exercise appointments with yourself. Use your day-timer to set appointments for exercise - and then stick to them. You wouldn't miss a business meeting or client appointment, would you? So don't miss your exercise appointment with yourself. Nothing is more important than your health. Nothing. Everything else will crumble around you if your health goes south. So make your exercise appointments a priority. If you find it difficult to keep these appointments, then consider hiring a personal trainer who will hold you to your commitment. When you have money invested, and someone waiting for you to show up - you are much more likely to actually show up!

7. Exercise with the correct form. Form is everything! So much time is wasted doing, at best, unproductive exercise, or at worst, dangerous exercise. Get educated on how to exercise correctly. And the absolute best way to do that is to hire a personal trainer to develop a program for you and then teach you what to do and how to do it right. Personal training does not have to be an ongoing process. You can hire a personal trainer for whatever length of time you need to learn the ropes. It could be five sessions or 5 years. It's completely up to you. Statistics prove that those who understand how to exercise correctly get better results.

8. Carbohydrate control is important. I'm not advocating the high protein, high saturated fat diet that you hear so much about (frankly, it's dangerous). I am advocating minimizing your intake of bread, pasta, rice, potato and of course, all sugary drinks. Carbohydrates are very easy to find and most people don't realilze they are eating that many. Additionally, carbohydrates are addictive. The more donuts you eat, the more you want. The bulk of your carbohydrates should come from vegetables and fruit. By the way, numerous studies have conclusively proven that the 1/4 of the population eating the most vegetables get half the cancer of the quarter eating the least!

9. Deep-fried food has no nutritional value! Almost every food, whether it's steak, chocolate or red wine, has some nutrients to contribute. But one thing is absolute: fried foods are garbage. Potato chips, French fries, onion rings, breaded chicken strips and all the rest of the deep-fried junk are loaded with saturated fat and calories. If you're trying to lose weight and/or reduce fat, simply eliminate fried foods completely from your diet.

10. Breakfast is absolutely the most important meal of the day. If you want to maximize your fitness results or fat-loss efforts, you've got to eat breakfast. Even if you don't exercise at all - breakfast remains the most important meal of the day. Your body has gone on average a period of 10-12 hours without any nourishment. Ideally your body needs food at least every 4 hours to maintain muscle tone. Think about this - if you skip breakfast you are eating anywhere from 2-4 meal in a 7 hour window of a 24 hour day.

11. Eat fat to lose fat. Healthy fats are necessary to your body for a bunch of reasons: regulating hormonal production, improving immune function, lowering total cholesterol, lubricating joints, and providing the basics for healthy hair, nails and skin. The singular distinction you must be aware of is the difference between healthy "good" fats, and dangerous "bad" fats. Your personal trainer can provide you with a simple diet program that will complement your exercise to help you live longer, feel better and boost your immune system. The bottom line is that your body needs good fats - and will revolt if you attempt to abstain from them - and absolutely does not need bad fats.

12. Don't make diet difficult. Simply eat smaller meals. Eat a blend of carbohydrates, protien and fat. Drink lots of water. Don't eat very much red meat, sugar or fat. Its not rocket science. If it helps, chart your food so you know what your eating. You can also make a weekly eating schedule to follow. The problems usually occur when you eat with no plan, then food just becomes a comfort and not for health.

13. Drink lots of clean water. Yes, I know that you've heard this over and over again. 75% of your body is water (even bone is more than 20% water). The recommended amount is 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight. I know a lot of people have heard to drink 8 glasess per day or 64 ounces. However, this does not take into account your body weight. Bigger people need more water, just like they need more food. When you are exercising, you need to drink even more. When you don't drink enough water, and substitute diuretics like coffee, tea and caffeinated sodas, you dehydrate your body, your blood doesn't flow properly and your digestive system doesn't operate smoothly (among other problems). Even a small deficit of water can radically affect how your body performs. A good rule of thumb: if you're urine is a dark yellow and/or has a strong odor, you're not drinking enough water. Drink up!

14. Eat regularly throughout the day. Fasting or overly restrictive diets will enable you to lose weight - in the short run. Because the weight you lose is primarily water weight and lean muscle mass. But in the long-run, it has exactly the opposite effect you want. When you restrict your diet, your body instinctively thinks it's being starved and shifts into a protective mode by storing fat. Energy expenditures are fueled by your lean muscles. Therefore your body fat remains essentially the same and you lose vital fluids and muscle instead. The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism becomes, and the less fat you burn. You should be eating three nutritionally balanced meals with 2-3 snack each day,This keeps your metabolic rate high, so you burn more at a faster rate.

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