So, you’ve decided to get fit. You’re running every day or working out at the gym. Be sure the rest of your daily routine supports your workouts. Fitness needs to be put in the context of overall self-care.
Be sure you are eating the foods that support your workouts. If you are exercising for an hour or two a day, you need good carbs in your diet. These good carbs come from raw fruit, whole grains, sweet potatoes, and nuts.
Avoid deep-fried food and excess starches. They pack on the calories that you were hoping to lose, and weigh you down, making you tired and less willing to put on your sneakers for your next workout.
Exercising burns a lot of protein, so be sure you are getting plenty of unprocessed chicken, turkey, and fish that is steamed or roasted, not fried. Some exercise gurus swear by whey protein. Add some non-fat yogurt and egg whites to your diet to substitute for hamburgers and steaks.
Avoid processed sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, opt for smoothies made with frozen bananas, peanut butter, and a little unsweetened powder cocoa. You can add protein powder to these drinks if you need it.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol depletes the body of energy and fluids, both of which you need for a successful workout. Tobacco damages the lungs which are also vital to the success of your fitness routine.
Get plenty of rest
Exercise taxes your body, and sleep restores it. Without enough sleep, your workouts could get downright painful and laborious. Sleep also heals sore muscles and joint pains that can occur due to exercising vigorously.
How much sleep do you need? The National Sleep Foundation says that adults and young adults need seven to nine hours of sleep. Some people in this age group will need as much as ten hours of sleep.
The norm, unfortunately, is to get less sleep than we need. To avoid sleep deprivation, make sure to reserve your bed only for sleep. Too many other activities, like reading, watching television, and sending emails, confuses the brain about just what, exactly, the bed is for.
Avoid eating anything heavy before you get into bed. Also avoid using your computer, tablet, or smartphone for at least two hours before bedtime. Science has found that sending and receiving emails, when you should be getting ready for bed, can cause insomnia.
Keep your workouts fun and varied
Once exercise becomes a chore, you won’t want to do it. Keep workouts fun by doing things you want to do. Take weekend hikes in the nearest state park, go swimming in the ocean, or join a volleyball team.
Get your dog involved in your workout. Take him on runs and long walks. Your dog will love it as much as you do, and the bond between the two of you will grow stronger.
Join a group of other people who like the same things, whether that’s dancing, hiking, or skateboarding. When you add the opportunity to socialize, exercise becomes a lot more exciting. If you don’t look forward to working your muscles, at least you can look forward to seeing your friends.
Exercise is great for you physically and mentally, so keep up the good work. But make sure the rest of your lifestyle supports your workout. By eating right and getting enough rest, you’ll be able to maximize your fitness routine.