There are times in life where we all wish we would have known more. In life, career, relationships, and even working out, there are lessons to be learned that we usually see more clearly once we've accomplished a goal or completed a task.
Keeping that in mind, below are some lessons learned from athletes, personal trainers and everyday people regarding working out, diet and lifestyle. It would be wise to learn from their personal experiences.
1. Don't Be Afraid to Build Muscle
Many women believe that the only way to build muscle is through lifting weights. Simply put: that's not true. Resistance training using tools like your body weight, resistance bands and medicine balls is a great way to not only build muscle, but sculpt and re-shape your body with lean muscle.
The best way to begin re-shaping your body is to begin a resistance training workout three times per week. A better way to keep the muscle your body is building is to consume protein—in the form of a shake or a hard-boiled egg—within 45 minutes of ending your workout.
A great way to get into resistance training is in boot camp classes. Boot camps are known for using a variety of functional tools and body weight exercises to challenge their members to create lean muscle.
2. Make a Plan and Keep It
Having a plan is the difference between the individual who makes a New Year's resolution to work out and quits a few months later, and the one who sticks with it. We have all heard, "no one plans to fail, but they do fail to plan."
Whether the plan is to meet a friend at the gym everyday at the same time or it's to get moving during your lunch break, sticking to your plan will help you reach your workout goals in a timely fashion.
3. Work Out With a Purpose
Working out just to say you did is wonderful, but not much in the way of long-term motivation. If you don't have a plan or a purpose for working out, it will become difficult to stick with an exercise program.
Losing weight is a goal many women have in mind when they begin a lifestyle change. However, it is wise to consider other benefits of an exercise program such as improved health, increased agility, coordination and overall fitness level. Those are all tangible reasons that will serve as motivation to continue a long-term exercise program.
4. Increase Fluid Intake
When you work out more, you need more fluids to replace the minerals and nutrients lost via sweat. Yes, you should be breaking a sweat during your workouts. A great combo drink that will be sure to hydrate is half coconut water and half water. The coconut water—or other sports drink—contains electrolytes and the water hydrates your body.
Also, a good rule of thumb to know how much water you need daily is to take your current weight, divide in half and the number you are left with is the amount of ounces you need to consume per day to be hydrated. For example, a 150 pound woman would need to consume about 75 ounces of water per day.
5. Zap Your Cravings
Cravings can be an indicator of nutrients lacking in your diet. Or, it could be a sign that you're thirsty or tired. Before you grab that cookie, try drinking a glass of water or taking a nap, if possible. Often, when your body is not properly hydrated or caught up on sleep, the symptoms can manifest themselves in the form of cravings.
6. Have Fun
There's no law that says exercise has to be boring. Most trainers and everyday people who have lost weight and kept it off know that exercise should be fun. Work out by doing what you love. If you love dance, Zumba is a great way to get your blast of cardio. If you seek a challenging workout that involves interval training and resistance workouts, then an outdoor boot camp is for you.
Don't let the trial and error way of thinking derail your attempts at sculpting your body and making lifestyle changes that will last a lifetime.
These tips are tried and true and brought to you so you don't have to experience all the common fitness pitfalls that can slow your progress.