Summer is officially just one month away, and if you’re anything like the average Aussie, that means right about now the panic will start to set in. Now as you know, I don’t believe in extreme dieting or getting ‘beach body ready’ – I try to be more focused on being healthy and happy. But I totally get that you want to kick off summer feeling as fit, healthy and strong as possible! That’s why I’ve put together my top five tips for anyone who wants to get healthy and take their training up a notch over the next 31 days.
Walk Every Single Day
Put aside 30-45 minutes every single day to go for a brisk walk. The details of when/where/who-with are completely up to you – the most important thing here is the consistency. Walking is a lovely, gentle form of exercise that has been proven to improve cardio fitness and reduce the risk of chronic disease. It’s also great for weight loss, and will help tone your butt, legs and tummy. But most importantly, walking is an incredibly powerful mood lifter, known to increase energy release endorphins. Personally, I know I do some of my best thinking when I’m walking or running… I’m just waiting for someone to come up with technology that allows me to download my thoughts directly onto a computer.
Ditch the Added Sugars
If your idea of ‘getting healthy’ includes weight and fat loss, it’s time to get serious about added sugar. You may think that the muffin you treat yourself to once a week ‘because it’s Friday’ isn’t too bad, but let me scare you for a moment: a McCafe chocolate and coconut muffin contains 2020kj (that’s 484cals), a whopping 32g of fat, 27.8g of sugar and 377mg of sodium. You may not go to McCafe, but the muffin you’re eating probably isn’t much better. And if you’re currently patting yourself on the back because you don’t eat muffins, sit back and think for a moment… what about the brown sugar you put on your oats in the morning, the teaspoon in your morning coffee, the nightly glass of wine, the tomato sauce on your sandwiches and the dressing on your salad? If you want to get get healthy, you need to get serious about added sugar, because it all counts.
Commit to a Fitness Plan
It should stretch you, but not break you. Consider a mix of HIIT, weight/strength training, cardio and at least one session per week of restorative training, like yoga. Focus your high intensity sessions on big compound movements that use lots of muscle groups, for maximum effectiveness. If it’s an option for you, consider joining a group or hiring a personal trainer – having someone to motivate you is a huge help when you’re trying to get results in a short period of time.
When you want to get healthy, working towards something specific is so much easier than working towards a vague shadow. My recommendation is that your goals should focus mainly on fitness-related improvements, but if weight and size reduction is important to you, then by all means include them as well. When I’m running my 8-Week Challenges, I like to do a mix of aerobic and strength endurance testing. Some simple tests you could do at home include: maximum amount of pushups/sit ups/squats you can do in a minute; wall sit/plank hold; 1km time trial (run/row)/5km bike ride.
More Greens + More Water
Green vegetables pack a pretty serious punch – full of iron, folate and fibre, plus a whole bunch of vitamins. Start increasing the amount and variety of greens you eat at each meal (and make sure you’re not overdoing it on the carbs, fats and proteins) and you’ll feel the difference. Same goes for water – to get healthy – and stay healthy – you should be drinking around 2L each day (or enough that your urine is a pale yellow colour). A well hydrated body tends to foster more energy, clearer skin and even aids in weight loss.