Fitspiration, For Real.

All fancy workouts, clean recipes, and images of perfect bodies aside; this post  is a list of what I have learned to be some important factors in maintaining a healthy fitness lifestyle. I’m no expert, but it is amazing what one can learn through just a little research and self education.

Fitness and nutrition is extremely popular right now and the market is saturated with an overwhelming amount of information. With that, there are tons of misconceptions and unnecessary products being marketed. I have taken some of the most talked about fitness and nutrition information and dug out “the real” to share with you.

Cardio:

Cardiovascular exercise is great for improving your heart health, increasing your metabolism, and yes losing weight. A big misconception (one I once had myself) is that cardio is the major key to weight loss. But the problem with doing mostly long sessions of cardio is that your body equates that level of activity with weight loss and you have to maintain it to keep it off. The minute you slow up on the cardio, your weight loss will slow up. The real key is a combination of some cardio along with strength/weight/resistance training, a healthy diet, and consistency. Don’t shy away from the weights, weights will help you maintain nice toned curves and build muscles. The more muscle you have the less fat.

Lifting Weights (women):

Lifting weights will not make you bulky! Your “gains” will obviously be relative to what your fitness goals are and the methods you use to obtain them, but lifting weights can help you get your body lean- faster! Incorporating a combination of low-weight/high repetitions and heavy-weight/low repetitions into your weightlifting routine will give you a well rounded combination of muscle endurance (low/high), the ability to build new muscle tissue, and strength (heavy/low). And trust me, you want to build new muscle tissue because it aids your metabolism (muscles require calories for fuel) and lean muscle mass takes up way less space than fat, hence making you lean and toned.

Not Eating After Dark:

The time you eat has nothing to do with how your body stores fat. Your body stores fat based off of what you eat and how much you do/don’t eat of it. So either you are taking something in in excess or not having enough of something else. If you are depriving your body of a balanced diet, it will store fat WHENEVER you eat because it’s not sure when you’ll fuel properly again.

No Days Off:

You seriously need a day off. Rest days are important to the recovery of your muscles and achieving the results you desire. When you workout you are actually tearing down the muscle and it is during recovery (or rest) that you gain…well, your “gains”. Working the same muscles, ligaments, joints, etc. without allowing them to rest not only stunts your growth but puts you at high risk of injury. It is suggested, however, that you take an “active” rest. This could be a stretching session or a walk, just make sure it’s not as intense as your normal workout.

Supplements:

Supplements are to be used to supplement something in for added benefits. You do not NEED supplements of any kind. I’m talking pre-workouts, protein powders, BCAA’s, Glutemine, etc. Everything that supplements provide for you can be obtained through nutrient-dense food. Supplements will not work with a poor diet (this goes for bad eating habits and diets that are not well rounded nutritionally), if your diet and training is not well balanced, you are wasting your time and resources on this stuff.

You should not be replacing meals with protein shakes or using the powders as your main source of protein. Protein shakes are good for quick muscle recovery after a workout but you could just eat whole carbs and a protein and keep it moving. Speaking of carbohydrates, they are your friend (in moderation of course..balance). They are the bodies primary source of energy. A bowl of oatmeal, a piece of whole grain toast with banana, or any whole carbs will give you all the energy you need to bust out a workout…no pre-workout required.

Smoothies:

Smoothies are a great source to get your daily dose of fresh fruits and vegetables, plus they are a quick and easy breakfast or snack option. Smoothies can also be a healthy addition to your diet, but you have to be careful with what you add. Loading your smoothies with additives such as flavored milks and way too many servings of fruit can take your smoothie from a healthy choice to a glucose sugar bomb! The ideal smoothie will have a balance of protein, fat, and  fiber. This combination will not only keep your smoothie healthy but it will keep you full longer.

One serving of protein + One serving of fiber + a ton of green stuff + 1/4 cup of fruit + Two tablespoons of fat + liquid (unsweetened nut milk or water) + a super food = The ‘Be Well’ Smoothie by Kelly Leveque.

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