Health: Finding Your Balance

I’ve gotten a lot of questions regarding health and fitness. I’m definitely not a body builder, but I’m conscious about my health and I genuinely enjoy working out. I find joy in doing different things with my nutrition, switching up my exercise routines and seeing my results. I find thrill in the discipline and commitment it takes to be healthy.  I’d like to preface this post by saying I am not a certified personal trainer nor am I a nutrition specialist. I know what works for me and I understand the basic concepts of fitness and health. I hope that this post, along with future fitness posts– can serve as a general guide to living a healthier life.

Lots of people assign percentages to their diet and exercise by thinking it’s 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent exercise– sure, that thought process could work for some people, but I think that ratio could vary depending on if you’re a beginner, or if you’re more advanced when it comes to nutrition and exercise. If you’re still learning, I definitely recommend focusing more on gaining nutrition knowledge because what you eat builds the foundation for your results (both inside and outside). Here are a few tips to helping you get on your way to improving your diet:

  • DO NOT skip meals: I can’t stress this enough! You should be eating five small meals a day
  • Cut down on processed foods: a lot of foods we eat contain chemicals as part of the food processing procedure and our bodies aren’t made to break down those chemicals
  • Portion control: Understand what a serving size is. If you’re enjoying a meal out with family and friends, ask for a “to-go” box and split that meal in half for later or share with a friend
  • Spend time in your produce aisle: the fresh fruit and veggies in your produce section contains foods that are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and cancer fighting compounds
  • Cut down on animal fat: I personally don’t choose meat as part of my diet, but if you eat meat, choose leaner cuts, skinless poultry and non-fat or low dairy products

If you’re a beginner, it’s very important to get a grip on nutrition because you need a solid foundation for your fitness routine. No matter what you do, you cannot work out to balance poor nutrition.

For those who are more advanced in training and have a good knowledge of diet, I think it’s more important to focus on training. It becomes more imperative that your routines are intense and it’s just as important to switch up your routines to maintain your body. Here are some ways to keep your body on its’ toes during your workouts:

  • If you’re weight training, lift what’s comfortable for you: Don’t get me wrong, your workouts should burn and they should burn more and more with each set– but that’s the thing, you need to pick a weight that’s heavy enough to push you to the point of muscle failure, but your weight also needs to be do-able for YOU so that you can complete all of your set.
  • Remember, it’s not a competition: Just because someone else is in the gym lifting a weight you wish was easier for you, doesn’t mean that’s where you need to be at that moment. It takes time and practice and muscle training to move up to a higher weight. Don’t be discouraged and focus on you
  • If you’re gonna do a workout, do it correctly: Anyone can grab a weight and throw it around. Your reps need to be paced and concentrated. In your mind, focus on the part of your body you’re working on and really flex that part of your body when you’re lifting your weight. This is how you gain real strength and build good, quality muscle
  • Add variety to your workouts: Include some high intensity workouts in your weight training and don’t forget about cardio. Try attending a couple of the workout classes at your local gym like kickboxing or boot camp. I also recommend picking “heavy days” and “light days.” This means– lighter weights, more reps and sets, heavier weights, less reps and less lets.
  • Add some caffeine before your workout: studies have shown that 200-400 mg of caffeine before your workout increases fat burning and endurance

With all this being said, YES you can have the donut but you must first EARN the donut! Remember– it’s called a cheat MEAL, not a cheat DAY. Determine your fitness skill level and find your balance. I hope to post more tips like this in upcoming blogs. As always, thank you for your support!

Happy training! –Candice XOXO

candiceannc

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