January 15, 2014

Enhance Yourself: Allis Alley Fit Tip of the Week

                                  Photo credit: Google images

Have you been keeping up with your New Years resolutions? I'm here to tell you it's ok if you haven't. That doesn't mean the whole year is a wash it just means you have to start over on your resolutions. The most important thing you can do is to keep going and never ever give up!!!!!!!! Like I have said before just make small changes to see a big difference. 
Here's what you can do to enhance the new you this year. Adopt a few new good habits to get started and continue to add more once the first ones stick. By consistently making a handful of small changes you can accomplish just about anything you put your mind to. You could loose up to 20lbs in six months time. A lot of New Years resolutions vow to loose 20lbs in the first month or two of a new diet. That is nearly impossible to do without starving yourself or going on some extreme diet. Even if you decided to take some drastic measures like that, the likely hood of keeping the weight off is slim to none. To loose the weight and keep it off you have to start small and go slow to see the best long term results. So how can you loose 20lbs in just six months? What good habits will you need to adopt along the way?  For starters, try to swap something unhealthy with something healthy just once a day. 
For example swap out one can of soda each day for 12 oz of water.  Research shows that drinking one can of soda, which can add an extra 150 calories and 40 grams of sugar, doesn’t make the stomach feel full so all those empty calories are worthless.  Why not swap those sabotaging sodas with H2O?  You don’t have to give up soda.  In fact I do not want you to if it is something that you enjoy.  I just want you to make smarter choices once a day or at least every once in a while. 
 Another good habit to adopt, especially if you enjoy alcohol a little too much, is to cut back on your drinking.  Drink 3 days a week instead of 7.  The problem with alcohol is that it can add up to 2lbs a week if you have 2 or more alcoholic beverages a day.  Did you know that the average restaurant glass of wine is around 250 calories, sweet alcoholic beverages contain even more.  Think about it, 4 days of wine can add up to 1000 extra calories which can be 15lbs a year if continued at this pace. It is only 4 days a week; allow yourself to drink on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but go dry from Monday through Thursday. Not only will you cut a substantial amount of calories out of your diet but you will sleep better and you will appreciate that glass of wine all the more because you waited for it. It becomes a little reward for working so hard all week. If you don’t drink soda or alcohol then these habits do not apply to you.  
 So what are some other good habits to enhance the new you? Add some extra physical activity to your routine or switch up the physical activity you are already doing. For example, challenge yourself by doing at least one interval workout a week. Interval training alternates high intensity cardio like high knees, burpees, or sprinting with low intensity cardio like speed walking or jogging.  I like to alternate with 30-50 seconds of high intensity cardio with 20-40 seconds of low intensity cardio for 20-40 minutes at a time. Research shows that interval training can burn up to 36% more body fat than doing other types of cardio at a continuous brisk pace for the same amount of time.  Along with interval training try adding 30 minutes of weight training for every 30 minutes of cardio that you do at least one day a week. A lot of women still hold onto the idea that they have to kill themselves with cardio and do little to no strength training tolose weight. It is true that cardio burns more calories than weight training but only in the short term, whereas weight training gives you a long term metabolic raise. You can burn up to 100 extra calories for up to 3 days after a weight training session. For every 3lbs of muscle you gain you can burn up to 120 more calories a day. So here is what I advise you to do to enhance the new you this year. Swap out half of your brisk steady cardio with interval training and add weight training to the other half of your workouts.  I promise you will start to see big results in a relatively small time.

Once you have mastered these good habits try to adopt a few more.  Adopt good habits like getting 8hrs of sleep a night and going to bed and waking up at the same time 7 days a week. This will improve your overall sleep quality which will lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and effects the hormones Leptin and ghrelin (Appetite controlling hormones). Another good habit is to pick up meditation.  I am not talking about the mantra chanting kind, although that is wonderful too.  I am talking about the deep breathing and relaxing kind.  Once a day for 3 minutes a day you should practice deep breathing.  Just three minutes a day is enough to lower stress levels and lead to a healthier and happier new you. I think you get the picture now, small changes = big results.  My challenge for you today is to adopt just one good habit and make it stick. Do not add another good habit until the first one has become routine and a part of your life you do not plan on giving up. Changing yourself at a slow pace is the best way to see lasting long term results that will lead to a lifetime of good habits and a healthier new you.


Tune in next week for another self enhancing tip to improve your life!

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