Get Fit: The Best Workouts and Nutrition For You

03 Nov, 2016

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This is your year to change your body and change your life. And you know you’ve got to take action to make it happen. You’ve thought about it a lot. And little things keep reminding you of what’s possible.

This is your year to change your body and change your life. And you know you’ve got to take action to make it happen. You’ve thought about it a lot. And little things keep reminding you of what’s possible.

Look in the mirror. See someone running or biking. Catch one of those weight-loss reality shows on TV. Or get a social media update from someone who hit their goal weight, ran a marathon, finished a century ride, or carved out a body that looks good in a bathing suit. Each little snippet forces you to think about what you really want, evaluate your commitment, and contemplate your game plan to get fit this year.

If you’re serious about making this “your year,” following the best workouts and nutrition advice will help you hustle your way to better health.

The Best Workouts

When it comes to working out, there’s more than one way to reach your health and fitness goals. However, if your New Year’s resolutions look anything like lose weight, stay fit and healthy, pack on muscle, or build endurance, the right approach to exercise can make all the difference. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the best workouts to help you achieve your health and fitness goals in 2016 include:

1. Body weight training

It’s been a staple of military boot camp training for decades and spawned an entire industry of boot camp-style fitness classes and programs. Why? Because it works. There’s nothing complicated about it. It doesn’t require any specialized equipment. Think push-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, and any exercise you can do using nothing but your own body weight. The right combination of exercises and intensity will whip you into shape.

2. High-intensity interval training

This type of workout will help you get your hustle on. Do your best, and you’ll be drenched in sweat and burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time. Pick an exercise, and go all out for a short time (30 seconds to a minute) to see how many reps you can fire off, or how far you can go. Rest for 30 seconds to a minute, and repeat, until you’ve been at it for a total of 30 minutes or so.

3. Strength training

Build muscle. Burn more fat. That’s how your body works. And you make it happen by forcing your muscles to work hard. Old-school strength training workouts relied on classic lifts like the bench press, squats, deadlifts, and shoulder presses. But there are many other strength training workouts that can help you build lean muscle like punching and kicking a heavy bag, circuit training with light weights, and Pilates.

4. Functional fitness

If one of your goals for 2016 is stay fit and healthy while optimizing your body’s performance, functional fitness workouts can help you. This type of workout combines strength training and balance exercises to strengthen your core, improve mobility, and reduce your risk for muscle or joint injuries.

5. Yoga

Breathe deeply. Stretch. And slowly ease your way into a pose like Downward Dog, Warrior II, Triangle, or Tree. Sometimes yoga is overlooked as a way to get fit, but the truth is, yoga workouts can improve muscle strength and flexibility. It’s one reason elite athletes in just about every sport regularly practice yoga. But the benefits don’t stop there, yoga can also help you relax and improve your mood.

The Best Nutrition Habits

No health and fitness goal is complete without a nutrition plan. It means no amount of running, lifting, or fancy footwork in a Zumba class can help you out-exercise a bad diet or poor eating habits. The best nutritional habits to help you achieve your health and fitness goals this year include:

1. Eat breakfast every day

Skip the donuts and whipping cream with your coffee. Make it a habit to eat a healthy breakfast every day. Try whole grain toast and a piece of fruit, Greek yogurt with nuts, or some scrambled eggs. Studies show that eating breakfast is a proven way to help you curb cravings, lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

2. Drink more water

It’s a no-brainer if you’re trying to lose weight. Water contains zero calories and no added chemicals. But grab a soda or taint black coffee with cream and sugar, and you’ll be chugging a lot of empty calories. Proper hydration also helps with endurance training, and muscle function and repair. It’s one reason bodybuilders and marathon runners sometimes drink up to a gallon of water a day. You don’t have to drink that much water, but you should probably rethink your drink.

3. Eat whole foods

Crash diets don’t work. And it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight, gain weight or  build muscle. If your eating plan is too extreme, it won’t be sustainable.

Instead of trying to follow a complicated plan, make it simple and aim to eat more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy or soy products, fish, and some lean meats like skinless turkey or chicken.

Studies show following an eating plan that looks like the Dash Diet, Mediterranean Diet, or variations of the Paleo Diet can have a positive impact on your overall health and body composition. Just remember: everything in moderation (and always check with your doctor before changing your diet)

4. Practice portion control

When fast food first came to be, the standard soft drink size served with a meal was a mere 8 ounces. Hit the drive-thru now, and a 32-ouncer is standard fare. Restaurant portion sizes are bigger. And people generally eat more than they should. Practicing portion control is an important nutritional strategy you need to follow to reach your goals.

5. Keep a food diary

Get out your smartphone, tablet, or electronic device. Using technology to keep a food journal can be a powerful way to help reshape your eating habits, in a good way. Before you make any changes to your diet, just keep track of everything you eat for a week or two. Meals, snacks, drinks, and everything in between. A mobile app like MyFitnessPal makes it easy, and keeps a running tally of your calories. Over time, keeping a food diary forces you to be more aware of what you’re eating and helps you make smarter food choices.

This is your year to change your body and change your life. You got this. Jump in and get going with the best workouts and nutritional strategies to make it happen.