3 Easy Steps to a Fitness and Weight loss Plan

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I love making plans. Whether it’s a 6 month training plan for an event or meal and workout plans for clients. I love it all.

I realize that not everybody is so hot on developing plans. Especially for things they find difficult such as diet and exercise. This simple system will help you out.

Creating a plan serves two purposes.

1. It gives you something to follow so you don’t’ have to make daily decision.
2. Writing something down creates a commitment to yourself and makes your goals real. It is tough to take a goal serious when you don’t have a plan.

When it comes to weight loss and fitness plans, keep it simple when you first start out. In fact, the more weight you have to lose and the worse your habits are, the more simple your plan can be.

If you look at your diet and see that you eat fast food 5 days a week. Your first plan for eating can be to replace the fast food with something better such as a Subway sandwich or meals you create yourself.

Likewise, if you are completely inactive, it is pretty simple to increase your fitness by adding a few activities. So your first plan can start with No fast food, replace with Subway and walk 5 days per week for 40 minutes. You will want a few more items but that is a great start.

As you get closer to your weight or fitness goal, you will have to become more specific with your plan. When that time comes, you will likely be more motivated and knowledgeable which will make your planning easier. But at first, keep it simple.

The key to a simple plan is to look at your current lifestyle and eliminate a few negative behaviors and replace them with a few positive behaviors.

Here’s an example. After an injury that sidelined me for 6 months, I put on weight, lost muscle, range of motion and cardiovascular fitness. It got pretty bad and I had to get going. But I wasn’t really needing an intricate plan. I just needed to take action. Here is what I put together.

I broke it down into 3 behaviors or steps.

Things I won’t eat: Look at your diet and choose 2 or 3 things that you will eliminate.
Things I will eat daily: Pick 2 or 3 healthy items to put into your diet.
Things I will do: Add 2 or 3 new behaviors that you will do.

Here’s what I did.

My health plan January 1st to January 31st

1. Things I won’t eat 

• Potato Chips (my nemesis. I love salty crunchy anything)
• Store bought cookies
• Cheese
• Anything fried (Also an evil love of mine)

2. Things I will eat daily
• Breakfast
• At least 1 completely vegetarian meal
• 1550 to 1900 Calories
• 70 oz water

3. Things I will do
• Exercise 6 days per week (2 before work on Mon, Tue- 2 after work on Wed, Thur – 2 on weekend.
• Run 4 days per week (Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun)
• Lift 3x per week (Mon, Wed, Fri)
• Log food (daily as I eat)
Schedule the “Things I will do” or you will find yourself short of your goals come the end of the week and that can derail your efforts.

Simple, right! It’s not detailed or complicated. Notice that I didn’t say how far I will run or long I will workout. That will come later once I get into a groove. Don’t add pressure to a new routine. Making changes is tough enough.
The purpose of my plan was to get me going in the right direction. No paralysis by analysis. And it worked.

Duration of Plan:
At the top of my plan there is a starting and ending date. This is important. At the end of the time frame, I will make a new plan and evaluate how I did with this one. Keep this time frame between 3 weeks and two months. Any less won’t produce any real results and any more and you risk doing something that isn’t working or plateauing with your weight loss and fitness improvements. Some things will stay the same and some items will change. Just keep it simple.

Need some help. Contact us below.

As always, your comments and questions are encouraged.

Eric Soderlund
TruChoice Fitness & Nutrition
www.truchoicefitness.com

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4 Steps to go From Funk to Fit

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Between torn ligaments in my knee a strained bicep and a broken toe, I had been sidelined for nearly 7 months. In that time I put on weight, lost muscle and my cardio fitness level had become non-existent. Not only that, mentally, I felt like my 45 year old body would never be fit again. I felt horrible physically and mentally. 

Now what?

This series of events brought me to a place I had not been before. I felt old and weak. I went from competing in distance triathlons to not being able to run more than a mile. I had to make a plan that would get me moving again.

Here are some steps I took that can work for you too.

Start Off Slow: Don’t kill yourself in week one. This is a mistake physically and mentally. At TruChoice, we ease our clients into their routines. The first step is to identify strengths and weaknesses and then prepare your body for your new efforts. Focus on range of motion and balance exercise for a few weeks before you push harder. With lack of use, muscles shorten and joints stiffen. Give them some time to get back in action. If you start off too aggressive, you are less likely to stick with it.

Combine Strength With Cardio: There is no need to spend 30 minutes strength training and then another 30 doing cardio when you can combine the two and be done in 30 minutes. Circuit training, using your own body weight is a great way to gain strength and improve your cardio. You can do it anywhere with no equipment. This isn’t just for beginners. You can get in amazing shape and never touch a weight or step foot on a treadmill with circuit training.

Rest your body: It is so easy to overdo when you are first starting out. Give yourself 2 days of rest between workouts for the first 2 weeks and after that you can workout every other day. Don’t work out when you are still sore from the last effort and don’t work the same body parts on back to back days. This is a great way to get yourself injured. Your muscles must heal in order to get stronger. Also, if most of your body feels great but your shoulder is sore, give it some extra time to recover and work out want feels good. Your body is a chain and only as strong as its weakest link.

Get Some Help: Look, When I started TruChoice Fitness & Nutrition, I didn’t do it on my own. I know fitness and nutrition but there were many things I didn’t know about starting a business. So, I got on the web and searched, I spoke with people that had started their own business, I hired a business coach and had someone build my website. I didn’t do it alone and if you’re not sure of what to do regarding improving your fitness from where you are now, Google, ask and hire. You can start with me.

If you have questions regarding how and what to do, go to www.truchoicefitness.com and contact me direct. No charge!

As always, your questions and comments are encouraged.

Eric Soderlund
TruChoice Fitness & Nutrition

Take Your Health Back

Can You Exercise the Weight off?

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When people learn that I’ve started a company designed to help people prevent or reverse lifestyle conditions such as Pre-Diabetes through weight loss and activity, they often have a story or question for me, which I always enjoy.

One comment that I frequently get is “I walk every day but I am actually gaining weight”. This comment then provokes the question, “Can you exercise the weight off”? Let’s look at some numbers.

In 60 minutes, a person weighing 200lbs will burn approximately:

320 Calories walking the dog
360 walking briskly
364 calories biking leisurely
700 calories biking vigorously
720 jogging a 12 minute mile
900 jogging a 10 minute mile

(Of course these are estimates but close enough for my point)

It takes 3500 additional calories (calories consumed vs calories burned) to gain a pound and the same amount of a calorie deficit to lose a pound, 3500.

If you are eating enough to gain 1 pound per week, which is an additional 500 calories per day, you would have to walk for 10 hours per week or run a 10 minute mile (which is fast for an inexperienced runner) for 4 hours per week just to break even.

Now double those numbers in order to lose 1 pound per week. 20 hours of walking!

So the answer to the question for most of us is “NO”. You can’t continue to eat poorly and just walk or jog the calories off. You need to combine sensible activities with an appropriate meal plan. You need to know how many calories you should consume and then track those calories.

I am certainly not implying that you shouldn’t exercise. Exercise does assist in losing weight and diet alone will not increase your fitness level. It does nothing for strength, bone density or cardiovascular improvements. It doesn’t release endorphin’s that make you feel good or accomplish any of the other things that being physically active achieves.

The goal shouldn’t just be to weight loss. The focus should be on health, physical, mental and emotional. And that requires balance of life. If you want to lose weight, focus on making good decisions for yourself. Eat well, stay active and take time for self.

If you have more questions on Pre-Diabetes, weight loss or increasing your fitness, go to:
www.TruChoiceFitness.com

As always, your questions and comments are encouraged.

Eric Soderlund

Truchoice Fitness & Nutrition

Fitness From The Inside Out

TruChoice Weight Lifting Tip – Don’t Rest When You Rest

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I went to the gym this morning. A bit later than normal but I made it! Today was the beginning of phase 2 of my weight training. I follow a practice called periodization when I put my plans together. Phase 1 was designed to prepare my muscles for phase II. I am coming back from an injury so I wanted to make sure I did several weeks of light lifting to begin with. This let me know where I was physically, identified problem areas and helped me regain range of motion.

Periodization is critical to prevent injuries and maximize results. That’s another blog. Today I began to increase the amount of weight I lift, added another exercise per muscle group and separated upper and lower body routines. This is a much slower paced workout than before when I was doing SuperSets and combining upper and lower body workouts into one session.

The good part of my Phase II plan is that I will be adding lean muscle/bulk to my frame (Ladies, this doesn’t mean you will get huge and dude like so yes this type lifting is for you also). The negative, to me at least, is that there is a lot of “down time” between sets. When you lift heavy weights, you need to allow for your body to replace the ATP in your muscles cells before you begin your next set. This will take between 1 ½ to 3 minutes. That can be a half an hour of sitting on your rear looking at the TV or listening to tunes.

So what can you do with this time?

STRETCH! If you are like me, you neglect this very important aspect of fitness. Lifting weights, running, riding your bike or whatever you do consistently will shorten certain muscles. Sometimes they are the muscles that you are working and other times they are muscles getting ignored. When muscles shorten, they tighten. This can lead to injury and loss of range of motion. Both of which decrease performance and cause pain.

So while I sit and wait for the muscles that I’m working to recover, I stretch other muscles. Sometimes I stretch something that is feeling tight and other times I stretch the muscles that I will work next. I’m not a fan of stretching the muscles I am working at the time. I don’t feel this is the best way to let them recover. I will however lightly stretch a muscle I’m working if I feel a little twinge and I want to see what’s up with it.

By stretching in between sets, I stay moving, save time and get a good 20 minutes of stretching in that I would not have done otherwise! So move while you rest and get more out of your weight sessions.

As always, your comments and questions are encouraged.

Eric Soderlund
TruChoice Fitness & Nutrition

Hurt So Good, That Natural High

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Did you know that the running high is real? And it’s not just for runners!

It is a fact that when we push ourselves physically, our body releases endorphin’s that help with the discomfort and act as sort of a reward for your efforts. I personally have enjoyed this feeling hundreds times and now miss it when I can’t regularly workout.

The key to releasing these endorphin’s is pushing your body to an uncomfortable level. So walking or jogging at a comfortable pace won’t do it. Neither will lifting weights at a slow pace. To trigger this chemical treat, we need to push our aerobic capacity. Here are a few activities that will do it.

Interval training: This is when you push yourself hard, rest, then do it again. Here’s an example.

Go to a track at a school or find a flat path. Run or walk as fast as you can for 1 to 2 minutes, then walk slowly until your breathing is normal and repeat. Do this for 20 to 40 minutes depending on your fitness level. Never push yourself to the point of dizziness or to where you are out of breath for more than 20 seconds or so. This can also be done on a bicycle, stationary bike, treadmill, elliptical or rowing machine.

Hill Workouts: Go to a neighborhood or trail system that is hilly and walk or run at a pace that pushes your cardiovascular limits. Work hard for a 5 to 10 minutes then ease up a bit. This is similar to intervals but the efforts aren’t as intense and the rest periods aren’t as easy.

Circuit Training: This is a great use of time and a great way to get those endorphin’s released. Find 5 to 10 exercises that will work your entire body. One exercise per muscle group. Do light weight or better yet just use your body weight and do 12 to 15 reps of each exercise. Move from exercise to exercise with as little rest as possible. By the time you finish the last exercise you should be physically tired and out of breath. Rest until your breathing is normal and repeat. Work up to doing 4 circuits.

By pushing yourself, you will get fit, feel great and get the added bonus of that “Runners High”. Always consult with your physician before starting a new workout program and ramp up slowly. Starting off too fast can cause injury or just be so uncomfortable that you will view it as a negative, especially if you haven’t done much working out before. Once you’re in a routine for a few weeks, it gets much easier and your will be able to push yourself further and longer.

Get out, move that body and feel those endorphin’s flow!

If you have questions or comments please contact me at weightloss@truchoicefitness.com

Eric Soderlund
TruChoice Fitness & Nutrition

Fitness From The Inside Out