A life without goals is like a ship on the seas without a map. If we don’t have goals and targets in life how do we know which way we’re heading? Goals and targets give us something to aim for, they help steer us in the right direction, and they help raise the bar so that we’re able to really fulfil our current potential. We should all have goals and targets in life, whether they’re career-related, relationship-related, or perhaps most commonly of all, fitness-related. It’s no surprise that so many of us are seemingly obsessed with our weight and how we look. We spend hours upon hours constantly obsessing over calorie contents, fat content, and whether or not we should eat and drink certain products. We all have different health and fitness goals in the process. Some of us want to lose weight and clear up our diets for medical reasons, some of us want to lose fat to look better, some of us want to get fitter and healthier to help with sporting performance, and some of us just want to look and feel better about ourselves. Whatever our goals and targets may be, one thing that we can all agree on is that reaching them is most certainly not easy. To help keep you on the right track and on target to reach your health and fitness goals, here are 5 diet and fitness tips.
Read nutrition packaging and labels
If you are making a conscious decision to get fitter and healthier, perhaps by trying to lose a little fat or simply get more nutrients into your body, reading the nutrition labels and packaging on the foods and drinks you purchase is absolutely essential. We should know roughly how many calories we require each day, and if we don’t we can easily figure it out by performing a simple search online. In order to lose weight we need to create a calorie deficit so we consume less calories than required. Reading the packaging on food and drink will help keep you on track as you can keep track of how many calories each food contains. As well as that, you can work out other macronutrients such as protein, fat, and carbohydrate content as well. You can even read the ingredients to find out whether the foods are natural or whether they contain artificial ingredients.
Workout with a training partner
Regular physical exercise makes up an important part of any healthy living program yet at times we can find it pretty boring and may sometimes struggle to find the motivation to get off the sofa and hit the gym, especially after a long day. If your motivation levels are lagging, you may want to consider finding a training partner to exercise and workout with. Working out with a training partner will help provide extra motivation, it will help make things more fun as you’ll have somebody to talk to in-between sets, and it will also help encourage you both to push yourselves even harder than usual. Training with a friend or family member will help keep the pair of you focused, it will help keep you safe, and it will also force you to push yourselves as you can spur each other on offering words of encouragement and advice. Another benefit is that it holds you accountable because if you are thinking of not working out, you will not only let yourself down, you will let your training partner down as well. An added bonus is that training with a partner will help add a competitive edge which also increases productivity.
Keep your cardio simple
Cardio is an important part of any healthy living routine yet one common mistake that many people tend to make is trying to make things too complicated. They may read articles online, aimed at seasoned athletes and people with years upon years of experience under their belts, and try to develop these suggestions themselves. In reality, to help stay on track, unless you do know what you’re doing and are relatively fit and healthy, your cardio workouts should be kept as simple as possible. Forget about confusing phrases such as “maximum oxygen consumption” “rest pause training” “HIIT” etc as although beneficial, they aren’t always practical for inexperienced individuals. In reality, something as simple as going for a walk each night, cycling to work, doing 20 minutes on the treadmill, or even taking the dog for a walk will still be perfectly beneficial for you and will still help you reach your fitness goals.
Ensure you enjoy the foods you eat
Another mistake that many gym-goers and individuals looking to get in shape tend to make, is adopting a brand new diet and nutrition plan when trying to reach certain fitness goals and targets. They may eat healthy foods such as steamed vegetables, boiled chicken, and dry baked potatoes, even though they can barely get the food down. If they enjoy these foods, then that’s fantastic, but if they don’t, it simply is not practical as the mental torture they’re putting themselves through just won’t be worth it. Instead, you should be eating foods that you enjoy, just healthier versions perhaps. If you enjoy curry and fried rice, why not make a low fat chicken and vegetable curry and serve it with boiled rice instead? If you enjoy stews and casseroles, use leaner cuts of meat, add more veg, use less fat, and go ahead and make that. The bottom line is that pretty much any dish can be made healthy with a bit of tweaking here and there, and in order for you to stay on track, you should not only be eating healthy, nutritious, and balanced meals, but you should also be enjoying the foods you’re consuming and should be looking forward to each meal, not dreading it.
Cut back on serving sizes
As mentioned, you should be enjoying the foods you eat, and they should also be healthy and nutritious. Because you enjoy the foods however, this isn’t an excuse to load up your plate with a pile of food and consume as much as possible. Even healthy and nutritious foods contain calories, and if you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning off, you will still gain weight, or best case scenario, will maintain your weight. Instead of huge servings and portion sizes, try to cut back on the sizes as less food will mean less calories. Use smaller plates for your meals as you’d be amazed by the difference that makes. Not only that, but ensure you drink water with your meals as that will help to suppress your appetite and if you are still hungry after finishing your dinner, rather than grabbing seconds, wait 10 minutes for the food to process and the hunger should have subsided.