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Make Use Of The Last Of Summer!

Make Use Of The Last Of Summer!

As summer starts to wind down there always is a sense of depression that comes with it. The days get a bit shorter and returning to school looms; it still strikes dread into me even though it’s been so long since I had to worry about getting all my school supplies in order!

Yellow #2 pencils still make me break out in a cold sweat and to this day the sight of a school bus leaves me on the sidewalk in the fetal position.

So with the fall and start of the school year being the second New Year in my mind, here’s how you can make the best of the end of summer.

1. Enhance Your Diet By Embracing The Fall Harvest

If you are a foodie then this time of year is like Christmas. When the fall harvest begins to kick in a real abundance of true local and organic food becomes available.

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Many people look to January 1st and the New Year to start getting healthy or losing weight but to me the end of summer and the fall is when you really want to undertake it. This is the time of year when you get food in its purest and healthiest state and it will be right in your own backyard.

Apple picking becomes a bigger activity and things like corn and squash are available everywhere. These are great, real whole foods that should make up the cornerstone of your diet. Do yourself a favor and start looking for farmers markets in your area as the amount of fresh local produce is at an all time high for the year. At a farmers market you know you are getting local, organic and most important, seasonal food.

So many of the foods we eat now are out of season as they are available year round, but getting foods when they are meant to be grown gets you a little more in tune with your environment and ultimately your health.

So get online and see what’s nearby you. The USDA has a Farmers Market Directory to search for them but you can even just do a Google search, and you might be surprised what’s close by! I pride myself on eating as natural and local as I can and I feel I’ve got my finger on the pulse of the local food scene where I live, but have recently searched online for other farmers markets in my area and found two within five minutes of my house! I had no idea they were even there, so get out there and meet the people that are actually growing this high quality food.

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2. Make Use Of The Outdoors For Exercise

As a personal trainer I always tell clients to get out of the gym for the summer and make use of the outdoors, sunshine and warmer weather. I live in Canada and when we are buried up to our necks in snow half the year we crave those few months of summer. It’s what I dream of when I almost get hit by snow plows trying to dig my car out of ditch.

The one issue in summer is when it gets too hot and exercise outdoors is not the healthiest thing. Poor air quality from humidity, smog and blazing heat can actually do more harm then good. There is the potential for heat exhaustion, sun burn, sun stroke, and dehydration. When the weather starts to cool at the end of the summer and we go into the fall it becomes the ideal time to get outside to get healthy.

You still can get that healthy sun exposure and fresh air and the cool crispness of the weather has a motivating and energizing effect. So this is a great time for those longer runs, hikes, hill sprints, long bike rides, outdoor boot camps, yoga and even early morning walks.

Once again, get a jump on things earlier and embrace that crisp, healthy late summer/early fall weather.

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3. Instead Of A Spring Cleaning, Do An End Of Summer Clean

This is where I will stress the point of looking at the fall/back to school time as the real New Year; and that means getting things organized and removing the clutter from your life.

Don’t wait until after a harsh winter to start making things fresh, get a jump on it at the end of summer while the weather is still good and really organize the things around you. The more clutter and disorganization around the more it impacts other areas of your life.

This is a good time to keep tackling those projects around the house, the yard or anything you can do to get things organized around you. That way, when you get out of those winter months you are farther ahead in the game than you normally would be.

Wrapping It Up

I love summer and I know you do too, it’s the time of year when things get to move a little slower and it feels like we can finally take a deep breath and relax. Just because it’s over doesn’t mean you need to lose motivation and feel let down!

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Use the end of summer and the start of fall to make some improvements in your life, your health and your fitness and use that momentum to tackle the rest of the year and the winter head on.

But everyone needs to take it easy with all the pumpkin spice products and lattes…

Featured photo credit: amira_a via flickr.com

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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