Everyone seeking to enjoy more tone to their arms, thighs and mid-section loves a fitness challenge at the beginning of summer. But by now, as August and the back-to-school dates approach, most inconsistent exercisers have forgotten about challenges or diets and are gearing up to resume hectic lives that spiral downwards towards the holidays where everyone over-eats and then laments in January that they need to lose weight by summer!
To those of you guilty of the above cycle, I say get off the hamster wheel and try an end of summer challenge – or as I prefer to call it Fall Fitness Challenge. So if you’re ready to get in-shape and/or want to stay in-shape even though summer is waning, here’s my recommended challenge, in 5 simple steps:
1. Drink 8 LARGE glasses of water starting with first thing in the morning and ending with before bed.
2. Spend 1 hour 4 x a week getting and maintaining your heart rate between 135-155 bpm. It’s your choice how you do this, it can be cardio classes, videos at home, a rapid-paced weight routine at the gym, swimming laps, riding a bike (outside or stationary), walking up hills (treadmill or outside), or even playing a sport. It’s one hour per day people – I guarantee you can find the time!
3. Set a goal of one of the following choices and work your way up to achieving the requisite number in one consecutive session: 300 crunches; 100 push ups; 100 squats; 50 pull ups, 50 burpees, etc., or two or more of these options for a more aggressive fitness challenge. Frame the goal(s) in one-two month increments. In other words, decide how long you’ll give yourself to be able to perform the required number work daily/weekly at increasing your strength and stamina until you achieve the goal.
4. Commit to eating 5-6 small meals a day, within little to no processed ingredients (i.e., cereal, crackers, cookies, chips, etc.) . Practice weekly menu and food prep, and allow for one or two meals where you do not over-eat, but allow yourself to enjoy more caloric and/or processed foods & liquids.
5. Spend 10 minutes a day practicing slow meditative-style breathing, and if you average less than 6 hours a night of sleep, commit to adding at least 30 more minutes. Your body will need the extra rest if you’re doing items 2 & 3.
I recommend starting on the target date of Tuesday August 1st to begin this challenge, and keep me appraised of your results.