By: Janine Serio
Everyone defines “physique” and “lifestyle” goals differently. It should be no surprise when we say they are extremely individual. From a desired body fat percentage and performance in the gym, to general health and wellness, these are all measurable ways to keep your physique goals in check.
Remember, there is no “one size fits all” plan and approach. It is through consistency, patience, and some experimentation that will guide you on the journey to unlocking your “unique physique.” This is about finding the healthy balance between “all” or “nothing” and living a lifestyle that is sustainable and effortless. In a world where there are new diet and exercise programs trending every minute, we have provided you with 4 “back to basic” approaches to start implementing today. As with anything, start small. Try one or two and see if you notice a change in your energy levels, hunger, cravings, sleep, and, of course, physique.
Oh, and remember, nothing happens overnight. Be kind and patient with yourself; a good rule of thumb? Implement for 2-4 weeks and then asses. This will give the body enough time to recognize the change and start putting it into action!
Let us know what you think! And, don’t forget, your FREE workout can be found below!
1. Heart Your Muscle-Friendly Fuel Sources…Say “YES” to Carbohydrates!
Yes, you read that right! It seems that every piece of literature you read is always suggesting to drop (starchy) carbohydrates to lose fat. Research does suggest that, for some, starchy carbohydrates may cause some metabolic disturbances in the fat loss process. Some of these reasons include food sensitivities and allergens to wheat products; ingesting too many CHO can signal the brain to overeat too many calories; and, for some, too many CHO can lead them straight to our sugar-laden foes.
But still, a calorie is a calorie, whether it comes from carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. So, wouldn’t it be fair for someone to make this claim…”If we only have to drop carbohydrates to lose fat, then we can eat copious amounts of lean protein and healthy fats and, voila, we are leaner than ever before!”
This goes back to simple math – calories in vs. calories out. We encourage you to focus on TOTAL calories rather than eliminating certain food groups. While we do not want you counting calories, aim to consume high volume, high fiber, low sugar carbohydrates, lean proteins, and a moderate amount of healthy fats. These foods will fill you up and automatically decrease your overall caloric consumption, without the feelings of deprivation.
Carbohydrates and proteins are your muscles post-workout BFF’s. This is the ideal time to replenish and rebuild; high quality nutrients such as starchy carbohydrates and lean proteins will do just the trick. Additionally, carbohydrates are the fuel for your workouts. They keep energy high and give you a clear, focused mindset. Investigate! Listen to your body…and give it what it wants.
Some of our favorite “starchy” carbohydrates? Oatmeal, oat bran, rice, quinoa, beans/legumes, sweet potatoes, and bananas.
2. Walk This Way
Our 2nd favorite approach is to lace up the sneakers and head outside (or on the treadmill) for some LEISURELY walking. No, not a power walk or a walk/jog combination. We mean the kind of walking that soothes the soul; decreases your stress levels; preserves your muscle mass (great to do post-workout); makes your metabolism happy; allows for recovery.
Ideally, you should strive to be active MOST days of the week. Remember, activity comes in many forms – not just “deliberate” exercise. Aim for 30-60 minutes of an effortless walking protocol, as many days as possible, and you will be amazed at the mind-body benefits. Beyond reducing cortisol levels, a leisurely walking program can help curb your appetite, reduce cravings, help you avoid over-training, reduce body fat, etc. It can be as simple as taking the dog for a walk, strolling with a friend to your neighborhood coffee shop, walking the trail, and so on.
It’s time to get your life back and forgo the endless bouts of cardiovascular exercise. If you are noticing that your hunger is through the roof, your cravings are all over the place, and your energy has ebbs and flows then you are, most likely, doing WAY too much on your favorite piece of cardiovascular equipment. Another sure sign? Your fat-loss efforts have stalled or have become non-existent.
Now, we are by no means telling you to stop everything you are doing, or give up any form of exercise that you love. We are simply providing you with the basic tools and techniques that MAY assist you in unlocking your fat loss potential, especially if you feel like a “hamster on the wheel.” If you feel “lean and mean” training for a marathon, and love the runner’s high you get when going the 26.2 mile distance, then keep it up. If your weekly cycle class is your only opportunity to get in a great sweat sesh, and connect with your gym peeps, keep it up!
3. Get Your Sleep On
Who loves to sleep? Insert: All hands should be raised right now! Who would love to be able to sleep but find it hard to fall asleep or even stay asleep most nights? Welcome to the light sleeper club. If you want to know what keeps me up at night, check out this post here.
It is no myth; sleeping may be one of the most important and significant components of reaching your desired physique. This may be the “missing puzzle piece,” especially if you feel your other areas of wellness are in check. Biofeedback cues are some of your best indicators when it comes to checking in with your body. If you are not getting the optimal 7-9 hours of sleep, you have trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep, another sure sign the metabolism is out of whack.
Sleeping is your body’s natural reset button, especially from a hormonal standpoint. Depending upon how much sleep you get, coupled with how sound of a sleep you are getting, it will directly affect the choices you make the next day. When sleep habits are out of sync, a multitude of factors may start to come to the forefront. You may notice fat loss efforts have waned; your cravings and hunger are through the roof; you feel anxious, depressed and are easily irritated; performance in the gym suffers and motivation decreases; activities that once felt effortless have become a struggle; etc.
Additionally, optimal rest and recovery is directly correlated to your sleep patterns and stress management. In an effort to better your sleep habits, decrease your cortisol levels, and heal your metabolism, you must make YOU a priority.
So, are you wondering how you can work on getting MORE sleep?” Here are some great suggestions we borrowed from our friends Dr. Jade Teta & Dr. Keoni Teta of Metabolic Effect. These are some easy, effortless,suggestions to create the optimal sleeping environment:
1. Keep calm & COOL…try setting your bedroom temperature to 68 degrees F. If too warm, sleep will be interrupted.
2. Sound machines…a little “white noise” anyone?
3. Make your room as dark as possible; have you ever tried blackout shades?
4. Step away from your cell phone, iPad, Kindle, digital clock, etc. Research suggests that the electromagnetic radiation from these devices stimulates the brain and, therefore, has a hard time shutting down for the night.
5. Create a nightly ritual; for example, a clean, fat-loss friendly dinner, hot shower or bath, a good book, relaxation/meditation techniques, and even a little lavender oil has been known to help too!
6. Possible nutrition changes…avoid caffeine after 12:00 pm, avoid alcohol, add some clean, starchy carbohydrates (they release serotonin and lower cortisol levels), and/or add some lean proteins and healthy fats closer to bedtime.
Remember, these are merely suggestions to help get your sleep back on track. Try a few out and let us know if (and what) works for you! 🙂
4. Stop allowing the numbers on the SCALE to define “WHO YOU ARE!
For all of our scale lovers out there, it is time to find “IT” another home. Besides, especially for our fashionistas/design gurus, there is nothing more unattractive, bulky, and downright ugly (even the streamlined modern ones) than the gloom and doom of the scale.
Stepping on the scale once, twice, or even multiple times a day does not jive with the practice of living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. This is a learned behavior and too much of an “all-or-nothing” approach. We have all been here…we step on the scale upon waking, so hoping for a “lower” number, and, depending on what the number on the scale reads it will, ultimately, determine the kind of day you will have.
Happiness overwhelms you when the number reads low, even if (underlying) it means hard earned muscle was lost OR maybe you were holding on to less “water weight.” On the flip side, disgust and disappointment take over when it reads high. “How can this be, I have eaten three meals per day of lean protein and vegetables, and have done 2+hours of cardio 5 days in a row!”
Are you ready for some “scale changers?” We are not reinventing the wheel. These are ALL points we are positive you have heard and read before. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder…
1. It’s true, muscle weighs more than fat and will absolutely show a higher reading on the scale. This is a good thing! The more lean muscle mass, most likely, your body fat is decreasing. Remember, though, an increase in muscle mass does not necessarily mean a 10-20lb difference on the scale. If you are working toward this kind of goal, it will happen over time, most likely months. The increase we are referring too can be anywhere from .5-2 lbs, give or take.
2. Water, water everywhere! Research shows that we can retain anywhere from 5-7 lbs. of “water weight” throughout the course of our day. If we are staying on top of our hydration and fluid consumption then this is especially true. Some other factors? Salty foods, traveling (i.e. flying); muscles recovering from a hard workout; etc.
3. Instead of the scale measuring your progress, what about using your clothes as an indicator. How do they fit and feel? Comfortable? Loose? Tight? Overall, how do you feel? Lean? Fit? Energetic? Let these help you guide your journey! Trust us, you will FEEL so much better and, with the scale stress gone, you may notice a difference immediately!
4. One of our favorites, Dr. Jillian Teta, creator of “Fix Your Digestion” recommends paying attention to your energy levels, skin/complexion, and digestion. All of these play a factor into your overall health and fat-loss efforts.
5. Finally, remember that just because you may be reading a low number on the scale does not mean you are at a decreased risk for health issues. “Skinny” does not mean healthy. The more body fat you have (take our example with a grain of salt), the more you are at risk for certain health risks such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, etc.
NOW, for the REALLY fun stuff!
Are you ready for a workout that will push you out of your comfort zone (safely, of course)?
What about a workout that will leave you feeling breathless but hardly defeated?
The best part? What about a workout that will have you finished in under 30 minutes – from warm-up to cool-down.
Well, do we have your attention? While this workout is not “for the faint at heart,” it can be modified according to your fitness level. For the 2 Health Nuts, this has been our style of training over the past couple of years and, let us say, it has been a total game changer! This has been especially important since our schedules have gotten tighter, and our window of time for working out is getting “leaner.” You will not only get time back on your side but you will also be getting the best of both worlds – cardiovascular and resistance training. *Just a reminder, as with any of the content we provide, please make sure you consult your doctor prior to participating in any intense, physical fitness.
Alright, we ready? Here you go! A little metabolic conditioning that can be done at the gym, in your home…virtually, anywhere! Click the link below!
Do you want more? Get our FREE “21 Day Fitness Blueprint” HERE – 5, fast, intense, and effective Body Weight workouts that will have you more motivated, a regained love of fitness, and time back on your side! Theses workouts can be done ANYWHERE, ANYTIME and will have you finished in under 30 minutes!