Ah, New Years- that magical time when people resolve to change something in their lives for the better. Some people vow to quit smoking, others to spend more time with loved ones, but without a doubt... the most popular New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Most folks start strong by hitting the gym, cutting calories, and investing in new workout getups. However, it seems like many people can barely get through their first week of a new regime. The main reasons for this one week flameout are personal accountability and lack of motivation, but a close runner-up is the lack of easily available equipment. So in an effort to help keep you and your resolution in shape, I am here to tell you a few tips to keep your heart rate up, and a few items that might help to keep you on track towards a healthier you.
1. Exercise Equipment
One thing that used to trip me up on my running schedule was the weather. I would get ready to hit the road for a quick 5k, but rain or chilly temperatures would give my inner lazy an excuse to skip a workout. The good news is that Best Buy has some affordable options to bring your run home. Treadmills like the Pro-Form 590 T are a great option in case the weather is a little too extreme. If you have knee issues (like me), an elliptical like the Horizon Fitness EX59 might be a good choice. Both of these units are reasonably priced as far as home exercise equipment goes.
Before I became serious about fitness, I was like many others who laughed at workout programs like Pilates or Yoga- that is, until I tried it myself. I found that while I might be able to bench press my body weight, I could not hold a warrior pose for more than 10 seconds without falling over in pain. After a few embarrassing sessions, I started to feel the benefits of Yoga. Strength, flexibility, balance- all greatly improved after just a couple of classes. I could feel muscles I didn’t even know I had after a while. With proper breathing and focus, a Yoga session can feel like meditation. For those who might not feel up to a long run or weight training, it is a great alternative to help keep a balanced fitness program. Yoga newbies out there should know that we carry the GoFit Yoga Kit for $29.99- It comes with the Yoga mat, foam block, strap, and a poster to hang where you please. I recommend picking up one of these before your first session.
The dark passenger for many on the fitness bandwagon is the overarching temptation to indulge your taste buds with junk food. I know from experience that eating like a rabbit for a few days can give one a serious bloodlust for a juicy steak or bacon cheeseburger. While it is well known that fruits and vegetables are essential parts of healthy eating, even the strongest willed dieter can get quite bored of the… let’s face it- bland food. The good news is that there are options for you to keep a happy palete while maintaining a healthy diet.
The first step for dieters is to make sure you have a solid blender. Protein shakes and smoothies will be replacing a lot of your meals as your routine proceeds. You will need something powerful and easy to maintain- I recommend the Oster 10 speed blender as solid blend of price and power. Priced at about $50, it comes with a strong motor that will crush ice and just about any fruits and vegetables. My favorite night time meal replacement is to use frozen strawberries, a banana, milk, ice cubes, and a scoop of whey protein to make a delicious smoothie that is low in sugar but high in nutrition. You will find that adding ice and water into the mix will not hurt flavor, but will help fill you up even more.
Next, invest in a juicer. While I have not given them serious personal effort, there are lots of health experts like Jack LaLanne who swear by the power of the juice diet. I purchased one myself because juicing is a fantastic way to get a lot of vegetable nutrients without having to stuff yourself with leafy goodness- I try to replace 2-3 meals a week with a tall glass of vegetable juice. Many good units are available on BestBuy.com from $60- $200.
4. Helpful Tips:
Don’t drink alcohol- A single pint of red ale can contain up to 400 calories and lots of carbohydrates. The same can be said for mixed drinks- they can contain LOTS of sugar. If you cut out the booze, you can cut potential pounds from your waist line.
Eat your veggies- Try to replace a meal a day with raw vegetables. Unprocessed vegetables contain the purest energy and nutrients you can find. Because they are also filled with water, a plate of uncooked vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, you can fill your stomach for a quarter of the calories you might get from other sources- you can also feel much better in the process.
Eat meat sparingly- There is a reason why a steak tastes so good, it is supposed to be a rare meal. As we evolved, we grew our taste buds to desire the foods that would best to give us energy and strength. Red meat contains lots of fat and calories that would have been very valuable for hunter-gatherers in the ancient past, but can lead to obesity in our convenient modern civilization. Try to make sure your meat consumption is relegated to skinless chicken breast, or fish. Our diets should be primarily vegetarian, but if you can’t give up meat entirely- try to make sure it is very few and far between when you do partake.
Get your heart moving- The average person should make sure they get at least a half hour of vigorous exercise a day. Ideally, one should have an hour or more of elevated heart activity in order to maintain healthy metabolic functions. Find a way to set aside an hour to work out a day- if you don’t, you might end up regretting it as you get older.
I hope you get some useful information from this. While I am not a certified fitness or nutrition expert, I have a lot of experience from my own attempts to get in shape. Like many people, my weight has gone up and down over the years, mainly because I lose focus on maintaining a routine and diet. As of this post, I am well into a strong fitness campaign that I started on the first of the year. Using the equipment and tips in this blog- I have lost 15 pounds in the last 6 weeks, and I hope to be down a total of 30 pounds by May. Someone else in my family has had some struggles with her weight as well. With this information, she has dropped a total of 70 pounds in the last 6 months. While our results might not be typical, I just want you to know that dedication and proper knowledge can make fundamental differences in your life. Good luck and keep the heart rate up!