With the arrival of Spring, you’re starting to think ahead to Summer. You’re ready to shed those bulky winter clothes and slip into shorts and swimsuits–but you’re worried that the remains of too many holiday parties are still hanging on your hips.
Spring is the perfect time to get moving again–why not take advantage of the next few months to get your body fit and lean for summer?
William Smith, MS, NSCA, CSCS, MEPD, recognized authority on fitness and exercise and author of numerous publications, offers these tips for those who desire safe, effective weight loss.
1. START MOVING
That’s right. Get up and get yourself moving, whether it’s walking, swimming, biking, or running. Try to do at least 15 minutes a day of aerobic activity. It is essential for good health and will burn excess calories.
2. GET OFF THE SCALE
Americans are notoriously obsessed with body weight. Weigh yourself once and measure against the BMI (Body Mass Index). Then put your bathroom scale in the closet for a few months. Scales can be inaccurate, misleading, and a psychological deterrent to your success.
3. TARGET FAT AND FAT WILL LOSE
Excess body fat is a killer. Learn how to measure and manage your body fat percentage by using body fat calipers. Body fat measurement is a more accurate indicator of health and wellness than weight alone.
4. DO IT FOR THE HEALTH BENEFITS
Shift your fitness focus to your health, not just your appearance. You can add years to your life and reduce major health risks by following a sound nutrition and exercise program. And you’ll look better and feel better too!
5. AVOID “GET THIN QUICK” SCHEMES
If it sounds to good to be true, it is. From “fat burning” diet pills (dangerous) to electronic ab stimulators (really!), the promise of results without effort is just a marketing gimmick designed to reduce your wallet–not your waistline.
6. CUT OUT THE SODA AND SAVE
Soda adds useless (and expensive) calories to your diet. Just drinking water rather than soda can put an extra $2-$3 in your wallet each day. Over one year, that adds up to over $1000 saved. And 100,000 fewer calories consumed!
7. BE ACTIVE… BE SMART
Proper diet and exercise go hand in hand. One without the other is a recipe for failure. Just because you walked for 30 minutes doesn’t mean you can reward yourself with a pint of your favorite ice cream!
8. REDUCE THE CALORIES
Americans take in too many calories. Period. From super sized meals at fast food restaurants to enormous servings at our favorite steakhouse, we are on the receiving end of an abundance of calories. Weight reduction is a caloric formula. Calories in (through eating) versus calories out (through activity). It’s that simple. Stick with smaller portions.
9. STRETCH YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS
For many of us, winter is a time of sedentary living. Now that you are ready to commence a plan of exercise, make certain you stretch your muscles for at least one whole week before starting. This way, your muscles will be ready for exercise and you’ll be less sore.
10. TAKE IT OUTSIDE
Enjoy yourself now that Spring is here. Get outdoors. Go hiking. Ride a bike. Make delicious, healthy meals outdoors, too. Try salmon and vegetables on the grill instead of the usual burgers and hotdogs.
WILLIAM SMITH, MS, NSCA-CSCS, MEPD works for a nationally recognized healthcare system in the New York metropolitan area providing health and wellness services. His focus is in special populations and how healthcare providers and fitness professionals can work more closely together.