Bathing suit season is upon us – which means it’s time to begin taking your fitness routine seriously.
General Manager at Fitness Connection, Mike Mak, stresses the importance of taking care of yourself and being realistic with what we can achieve over the summer months. He often has clients who dedicate all of their time to getting in the best summer shape, then neglect their fitness regime and end up failing to achieve the fitness level they want.
Naturopathic doctor Carol Morley adds it’s important to feed and nurture yourself properly when trying to achieve a toned body.
“If people are embarking on anything new, I usually suggest they try and do some good baseline stuff and [take] a quick look at dietary [nutrition].”
She said many of her clients complain of low energy levels, so she suggests people have their iron and protein levels checked before embarking on an exercise regime.
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Mak and Morley offer these tips for those looking to follow a fit and healthy lifestyle this summer.
1. Set realistic goals
“I see people often have high expectations, and [they’re] often unrealistic,” Mak said. Make sure to set goals that are both short- and long-term. It’s great if you want to lose 20 pounds in two months, but is that realistic according to your schedule?
2. Get into a routine
In addition to scheduling your workout, you must plan your meals and sleep. “You want to make sure you are trying to eat at the same time every day, and also sleep at more or less the same time, making sure you get that seven to eight hours to make sure that your body is fully restored,” Mak said.
Morley agrees and warns the summer is a popular time of year to fall off track. “On the weekends, people are out and about a little more, so make sure [you] try to stick to a routine as much as possible.”
3. Prep your meals
People rush out of a workout hungry and grab a bite of whatever is convenient — and that may not necessarily be healthy. In order to avoid temptation, prepare your meals ahead of time. Mak dedicates Sundays for his meal preparation. “I cook all my meat, I make a big pot of quinoa or pasta, and I sort everything,” he said. “Then I put it into containers and have it in the fridge and it’s ready to go.”
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4. Have a balanced diet
It can be impossible to eat healthy all of the time, so rather than drive yourself crazy about it, get in the habit of having a balanced diet. It’s OK to indulge once in a while at a barbecue or have a beer on a patio, but it’s important to limit yourself.
“You want to cheat, but you don’t want to de-rail yourself,” said Mak, adding it’s a good idea to give yourself a break once a week. “You want to allow yourself to eat what you want to keep your sanity.”
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5. Enjoy what you do
Make sure you enjoy the workouts you do. Trends like yoga, Zumba and crossfit might work for a little while, but if you don’t like what you’re doing, the routine’s not going to last very long. Mak compares working out to your job. “If you don’t like going to work every morning, you won’t stay there very long!”
6. Stay hydrated
If you often take your workouts outside, Morley said it’s important to drink water. Your body requires more water while it’s in the sun, so keep a bottle of water close by. You want to help your muscles work and avoid getting any life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.
7. Sun safety
Soaking in the sun while exercising outdoors is always fun, but you must protect yourself. The Canadian Cancer Care society has released new sun safety guidelines that say Canadians must be extra careful in the sun from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition, SPF 30 is now the minimum protection you should be using.