by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director
There is no denying that spring is here and if you are like many of us who pack on a few extra pounds in the winter….otherwise known as the “winter coat”…it’s time to Shed the coat and get ready for sunny skies and summer time! Check out our Adults and Kids Fitness Classes at Fun & Fitness Gymnastics and these helpful tips:
- Change your lifestyle.
When you go on a “program” to lose weight, you may set yourself up for failure. A program implies an endpoint, which is when most people return to their previous habits. If you want to lose fat and keep it off, make changes that you can live with indefinitely. Don’t over-restrict calories, and find an exercise program that adequately challenges you, provides progression and offers sufficient variety so that you can maintain it for years to come.
- Drink more water.
Water is the medium in which most cellular activities take place, including the transport and burning of fat. In addition, drinking plenty of calorie-free water makes you feel full and eat less. Drink at least 1 ounce of water per 2 pounds of bodyweight a day (that’s 100 ounces for a 200-pound person). Keep a 20-ounce water bottle at your desk, fill it five times a day, and you’re set.
- Consume fewer calories than you burn.
To figure out how many calories you burn a day, calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)—the number of calories you burn daily doing routine activities, not including formal exercise—using this formula: RMR = bodyweight (in pounds) x 13. Next, determine how many calories you burn through exercise—a half-hour of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise burns around 350 calories in the average man, and a half-hour of lifting burns around 200. Add your RMR to the calories you burn in the gym, and keep your daily calorie consumption below that total.
- Reduce starchy carbs.
Consuming too many starchy foods, such as potatoes, rice, pasta and breads (especially at one sitting), provides your body with more than it needs for energy and glycogen stores; anything left over will be stored as fat. You don’t have to eliminate starchy carbs completely but you should really cut back on them when trying to shed body fat. Limit total starch servings per day to 3-5, where a serving size is one cup of pasta, rice or sliced potatoes.
- Limit sugar consumption.
Taking in simple carbs (sugars) right after weight training replenishes muscle and liver glycogen stores, but excess sugar consumed at other times will be stored as fat. Satisfy your sweet tooth occasionally, but try limiting your intake of sugar to fresh fruit. Replace sugary beverages like soft drinks and juice with water, coffee, tea or diet soda.
- Eat 5-6 small meals a day.
Dieters often decrease the number of daily meals in an attempt to reduce calories—a big no-no. If you eat six meals a day versus three with the same total calories, you can lose more fat because more meals burn more calories by increasing thermogenesis, the production of heat, in the body.
- Increase vegetable consumption.
Vegetables are nutrient-dense, meaning they pack maximum nutrition value with minimal calories, leaving you more full on fewer calories. Consume five servings a day of veggies, whether as a snack, on a sandwich or on the side of a chicken breast. Order your next burger with fresh vegetables instead of french fries.
- Consume 25-35 grams of fiber a day.
Fiber lowers insulin levels—along with total calories. Fiber absorbs water and takes up more space in your stomach, fighting off hunger pangs, too. Fiber rich foods include bran cereal, oatmeal and beans. Check nutrition labels for fiber content.
- Eat more healthy fats.
Healthy fats are totally underutilized by individuals trying to shed body fat. You have to reduce calories to get rid of body fat, but you don’t want to cut out healthy fats completely. Fats take longer to break down in your stomach and help control blood-sugar levels, leaving you more satisfied and reducing your cravings. Include avocados, fatty fish, olives, nuts and seeds, and oils such as olive, flaxseed and canola in your diet.