As we roll into spring, we are well past ringing in the New Year, and the myriad of resolutions that typically come with it. Getting back into shape? Starting an exercise routine? Losing weight? Do any of these sound familiar?
If you’re struggling to keep your New Year’s resolution to begin living a healthier lifestyle, consider these exercise tips from our health and wellness experts, Mari Weisman and Marianne Impal.
Fuel your body to get the most out of your workout. While you do not want to eat a big meal before a workout, consider eating a little fresh fruit – such as half an apple or a banana – before you begin. Fruit is full of healthy, natural sugars that can boost your energy dramatically during your workout. Plus, if you regularly exercise without eating first, studies show that your body burns calories from muscle, not fat.
If you’re sweating hard and doing a lot of cardio work, take care to replenish your electrolytes both during and after your workout. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, have the right electrolyte balance. And coconut water, which has gained popularity recently, is a well-balanced, natural choice.
After you exercise, try to eat a small snack within 30 minutes of finishing your routine. If the purpose of your workout is to build muscle, make sure that this snack is high in protein — an essential building block for muscle growth.
Try interval training. Experts agree that interval training is the best way to both boost your metabolism and change your body. Mari suggests working out hard for 1-2 minutes and then taking a 30 second break, repeating the same exercise four or five times with a 30 second break in between, and then change exercises.
For example, do 1 minute of burpees, take 30 seconds off, do another minute of burpees, another break, etc. After four or five rounds, change to 1 minute of pushups and 30 seconds off. The exercises don’t need to be fancy – good old fashioned planks, push ups, lunges, burpees, and sit ups – are all you need, as these exercises will work all the major muscle groups.
You can even add cardio work into the mix: 1 or 2 minutes of running on the treadmill or fast pedaling on a stationary bike followed by 30 seconds off, repeated 5 times. Switching between cardio and weight training is a great way to keep your heart rate up and build endurance.
If you prefer group classes, make sure to change it up. Try not to do the same type of class day after day. First, you will most likely get bored, making it more difficult to motivate. Second, your body will get accustomed to the workout, which will cause you to plateau more quickly and will require much harder work to see results.
If you have the flexibility, Mari suggests shaking up your routine: take a weight training class on Monday; a cardio class, such as Zumba on Tuesday; take Wednesday off in order to give your body time to recover; on Thursday, do a spin or boxing class; and then go back to weights on Friday. Mixing it up will keep you interested. It will also create the best challenge for your body. Push yourself to try new things. You never know what you’ll end up loving the most!
If you’re on the treadmill, use your whole body. A lot of people enjoy using the treadmill for their cardio exercise. If you prefer the treadmill, then make sure that you are getting the most out of your workout on it. Marianne says to make sure that you don’t hold on to the side rails during your workout. The best way to get a workout on the treadmill is to let go: get your heart rate up and get a better workout by walking at a fast pace with your arms bent at waist level or higher with a soft fist and pump your arms while walking. This will both help to raise your heart rate and to whittle your waistline.
Don’t forget to weight train! Weight training is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle. Not only does it strengthen joints, thereby preventing injuries, it also builds muscle mass and increases metabolic rate — both keys to burning calories. Plus, since muscle burns more calories than fat, the more muscle mass that you have, the better easier it is to lose weight.
Products we love that make exercise and a healthy lifestyle that much easier:
Body by Vi Protein Shake: Getting a nutritious breakfast high in protein can sometimes be challenging, particularly if you’re also getting little ones out the door to school or rushing to get to work. An easy and versatile breakfast solution is a protein smoothie. The Body by Vi protein shake offers lean protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It also is gluten-free, lactose-free, non-gmo, and kosher. Kits4kids.myvi.net
The GLO Bag: If you’re exercising at a gym, it’s important to have a gym bag that fits all your equipment. The GLO Bag is the ultimate gym backpack. It keeps everything separate and accessible. It also can stand or hang in most gym lockers. The GLO Bag has two shelves that create three compartments. The bottom compartment is intended for shoes and has vents for air circulation. The middle shelf is for the Glo Cosmetic Bag and/or Wet Bag (perfect for dirty clothes). The upper compartment is enclosed in mesh to keep everything in its place and is a good spot for your clean clothes. There is also a convenient cell phone pouch on the backpack strap and a water bottle holder. theglobag.com
Cle-A-Porter: Don’t let your keys get lost or lost in the shuffle, in your bag, or at the gym. Cle-A-Porter’s key chains keep your keys easy accessible and safe in your bag or where ever you decide to loop it. Made from a beautiful leather in several fashionable colors, this key chain allows you to easily attach your keys to bag straps, wrists, hooks, etc. cle-a-porter.com
BBolder Headbands: There is nothing worse that getting hair in your face while exercising. Bolder Band Headbands are thick headbands that can be worn is 6 different ways and actually hold your hair back. Designed by a cross fitting/running mom of three, these versatile bands come in several different patterns and are made from an absorbent and machine washable material. They are even available custom order. bbolder.com
Our fitness experts:
Mari Weisman is a preschool teacher, a mom to three very active boys, and a certified Les Mills BodyCombat instructor. She teaches her students how to punch like a boxer and kick like a black belt in Karate. Prior to getting her instructor certification, Mari spent five years as a participant in Body Combat and Body Pump classes. If she could, she would spend all her free time at the gym!!
Marianne Impal is the founder of Rae Cole Girls, an organization devoted to the development of positive self-esteem in adolescents through physical movement. She also is an independent promotor for the Body by Vi Challenge.
Photo by photostock, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net