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Monday, January 17, 2011

7 Steps to Achieving Your Fitness Goals

To keep up with the theme of sticking with your New Year's Resolutions, I am going to outline seven steps you can take to achieve your fitness goals...regardless of what your goals are. Should you choose to lose weight, build muscle or just stay in shape, these seven steps will help you achieve those fitness goals.
Step #1 - Plan Goals
It is important to start with a set of long term and short term goals to work toward. Some long term goals are to run a marathon, enter a Figure contest, do a photo shoot, the good old ‘getting married’ wedding goal and even to lose a certain number of pounds or inches. Short term goals would be a pound per week or an inch per month, wear a certain item of clothing within a month or two, and lift 3 lbs more in a certain exercise or muscle group within 3 weeks. Figuring out your goals and setting them is what your mainstay will be. You can and probably will adjust them as you go along because results usually bring new goals!
Step #2 - Benchmark Progress
Before you begin you will want to take photos to show your ‘before’ body and use this to compare to later photos (usually monthly) so that you can view changes as they occur. Along with the photos which are usually front, back and side, you will want to take some measurements around your right arm, chest, upper and lower thigh and along your waist at the smallest circumference as well as along the belly button area. Usually a seamstresses measure tape works best because it is cloth and you can get this at any dollar store. You want to ensure you get the tape equal all the way around so you need someone else to take these for you. Make sure to date these figures and take them monthly on average to view your results and compare. If things are going as planned this will also help you see you need to adjust.
Step #3 - Plan Training
With a little research or the help of a trainer you can plan out your training weekly, monthly and up to your goals with small progressions in cardio and weights.
The goals you have will dictate the training you need but you can work with planning certain areas you wish to focus on but also make sure to work out the whole body at least once per week. Include the cardio, warm up, cool down and stretching so that you are covering all bases. Keeping a log of what you do will assist you in watching the progress and also help if you need to get advice since trainers work best with previous info regarding your exercise and diet history. Extra activities can add up so make sure to log them as well with dates, times and intensity.
Step #4 - Examine Diet
Logging your diet can really help show you where you need to make changes. Key points to consider are meal frequency which should be every 2-3 hours, meal quality which should include proteins, fibrous green veggies, orange veggies, limited but whole clean carbs such as tubers, brown rice, oats, yogurts, beans and high protein breads, some fruits although the type can affect sugars in your system and fats which should be things like seeds, nuts, avocados, olives, coconut and their respective oils.
Step #5 - Water
Eight glasses of water per day really is not sufficient but seems to be a minimal goal because people are so bad at getting their requirements and instead choose coffee, juice, pop and electrolyte drinks.
I say aim for 2-3 liters per day because if you are exercising a bit and eating right then you will need this amount especially if you drink fruit juice or coffees! Fat loss, skin health and overall wellness depend on this.
Step #6 - Convenience over Inconvenience
Make things simple for you. At first you may be overwhelmed with all the info you need to know but eventually it does become a lifestyle change and habit so you have to work slowly toward these changes pegging a few at a time as you get used to things. Carry nuts, fruits, health bars (watch the nutritional values here or make some yourself), water and pre cooked meat balls or chicken breasts or tuna so that you have something healthy at all times you can get into. Prepare foods a week ahead and freeze what you can.
Keep a towel and workout clothes handy, so if you drive keep them in the trunk or ready in a bag. Keep your workout pre-planned and written in a schedule so that you have an agenda and it is easier not to sway and miss training but also keep a home workout back up plan by keeping a ball and a band at home at minimum.
Step #7 - Sleep
The last component that most people ignore is sleep. I know it can be hard with the reality of work, kids and our busier than ever lives of the year 2011 but there must be stress put on these healthy aspects of our lives for the benefit of living a quality life. Seven hours average is really ideal and if you need to workout naps then do so but best is to go 7 hours straight if you can. Eating right and training right will induce proper sleeping habits! Scheduling things and being organized will only boost this!
For more information on how to achieve your fitness goals check out and she'll get you started on the right track!

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