"There's no magic pill or shortcut to good health and wellness. Once you realize you have to put in the work, the next step is moving forward. Once you do, don't stop and keep going. You'll thank yourself later. - Cristian Gray"
Your Short Guide To A Health & Wellness Plan
Prior to getting any type of health and wellness plan, you need to ask yourself what you want to accomplish. More so, check with your physician regarding your physical capabilities and scout for a certified personal trainer and nutritionist. As you start your plan, ask yourself if you want to: lose weight, gain muscle, shred fat, or simply become healthy? Once you figure this out, the rest is merely a change to your way of living. Maintaining good health should be a daily routine and should not be something that comes and goes like bad weather.
This COVID-19 fitness plan is how I self-coached my way to losing 35 lbs in 6 months. December 31, 2019, I had an annual physical done by my family nurse practitioner and the results were bad. My nurse practitioner told me point blank, "You're 23, morbidly obese, with bad good cholesterol, and an inflamed liver. You're currently on high blood pressure medication and if you keep this up, you may become diabetic. You need a healthier diet, a stop to your alcoholism, and a better exercise plan. What are you going to do?" As I left the exam room, I had to think to myself if where I was headed, would I be okay with the outcome. In short, I admitted to myself I had health problems that could become worse if I did not fix them, so here's what I did.
Step 1) Get a SMART Goal With A Fitness Plan
S)pecific - M)easurable - A)chievable - R)ealistic - T)ime-Bound
My specific goal was to hit 225 lbs; this would make me happy. To measure how I would lose this weight, I calculated over the course of 22 weeks from January to June, I had to lose between 1.5 and 3 lbs. per week. The reason for this range was because thinking ahead of the process, there would be some weeks where I would fluctuate inappropriately and I had to make up for it.
So if I stayed the same weight for 2 weeks, I had to attempt losing double the following week. This was so I didn't get discouraged that I wasn't hitting my goals every week. I simply had to work harder the following week and alter my workouts or diet. With reference to overall lifting and training, I had to alter my fitness plan from light weight lifting to high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, and a bodyweight based fitness plan. Due to the quarantine, I had no access to the gym... I refused to make any kind of excuse.
With that being said, I scrambled across various stores to pick up a TRX Band, jump rope, yoga ball, and a variety of resistance bands. I also utilized a pull-up bar and dip bar for calisthenics training. On top of my core, body-weight, and resistance band training, I introduced some endurance and conditioning workouts involving tire flips and sprints. This is optional and dependent on your ability to train at this intensity.
To start brainstorming your fitness training program, click one of the links below so you can start moving forward to your health and wellness goals.
The Men's Health Big Book: Getting Abs: Get a Flat, Ripped Stomach and Your Strongest Body Ever--in Four Weeks
Step 2) Be In A Caloric Deficit
Don't eat more than you burn. The key to losing weight is eating less than you need. So if the standard to weight maintenance is 2000 calories per day, you need to eat about 200-400 calories less than that. If you'd like to get a clearer understanding of how this works with regard to your metabolic rate, body mass index, and other determining factors to weight loss, check this post out from healthline.com about the basics you need to know.
Step 3) Find A Lifestyle Diet
Fad diets do not interest me. Whenever I hear people talk about how they are going on the carnivore, paleo, or keto diet I disregard it like no one's business. The reason is the lack of consistency that happens with diets in general. I believe it's much easier for people to find a lifestyle way of eating that best suits their needs in comparison to following something that wouldn't stick.
For me, I found that reducing the amount I eat, like the calorie deficit, and introducing more fruits and vegetables into my diet worked much more effectively than trying to become paleo entirely. I will state I do follow a paleo way of eating within reason. I still eat carbs but not as much when compared to before. Smoothies, yogurt parfaits, fruit bowls, and steamed veggies have allowed me to shred my fat easily. That doesn't mean I would reject a doughnut though...
If you have no idea on where to begin with a lifestyle diet, my go-to book will be The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook by registered dietician Toby Amidor. There are a few diets that you can choose from depending on your goals like clean-eating, weight loss, and building muscle. She also shows you the ins-and-outs of nutrition overall, so if you're a beginner to healthy eating, you'll easily learn with this cookbook.
Step 4) Don't Drink Your Calories
Wanna know what caramel macchiatos, energy drinks, alcohol, sodas, and milkshakes all have in common? Unnecessary calories when they are consumed on a daily basis. There's nothing wrong with having a soda with your lunch or a glass of wine at dinner, but when you do this on a daily basis, it can hurt your fitness goals. Let alone, high-fructose corn syrup is bad overall, and drinking alcohol suppresses your metabolism.
What I did was go commando with a lot of my beverages. Instead of putting creamer in my coffee, I developed a taste for drinking it black. In addition, I started drinking mineral and flavored sparkling waters as a substitute for sweet teas and increased my daily intake of water. Every so often I will splurge on a sweet tea or half a soda, but all that is in moderation.
Step 5) Take Your Vitamins
The way food is manufactured nowadays is almost appalling. Unless you are going to your local food market to get your produce and meat, you're most likely consuming your food made from for-profit corporations. According to theodysseyonline.com, "Tyson, are all about profit, they have chosen to invest in efficiency over quality, thereby sacrificing consumer health for a fatter wallet." With that being said, there are only a handful of corporations in the world and it's certain to say they cut corners.
Nonetheless, it comes to show that taking supplements can only help you as you will not be able to get the essential nutrients your body needs as most people get their food from corporate supermarkets. The 3 supplements everyone should take daily are a multivitamin, Omega-3, and calcium pill with vitamin D.
Step 6) Be Consistent With Your Plan
Your health and wellness plan needs to be a daily habit. You can't think about not working out or not eating healthy as it will defeat the purpose of your goals. You would only be hurting yourself and the only person left to disappoint is you. Yes, there will be times where you are not feeling it or you don't want to work out, you do it anyway. That's how you build mental resilience and prove yourself wrong.
Step 7) Practice Conscious Eating
I love french fries. If I could, I would eat them every day, but I would also have a high possibility of raising my blood pressure and cholesterol. So the way I can eat fast food or junk food in moderation is by practicing conscious eating. That means I have put into consideration on what I ate for the day, and what satiates my craving for said food.
The best way to do this is by asking yourself, "Although I want a Big Mac, could I be okay with a Mcdouble? I know I have the option to get extra-large fries, but would small fries be sufficient? As much as I want a large shake, I think a small would work." That is how you practice conscious eating is by putting all the variables into consideration.
For whatever your goals are, ensure that you start off your plan with commitment and good intention. A health and wellness plan is not a burden but an opportunity to consistently stay in shape and get the most out of your life. Given COVID-19 has hospitalized numerous people across the world, it's those who are morbidly obese and elderly that are getting hit the worse. These statistics should be a wake-up call for you to start being proactive in taking care of yourself now more than ever. Yes, you will have a ton of false starts as you commence your plan, but keep going is all I ask. You will thank yourself later.
To Your Health,
Here is one of my at-home workouts you can do with nothing more than some resistance bands, jump rope, and gravity trainer. When you complete each exercise, there will be no rest in between, and once each exercise is completed, that will be considered 1 set.
Dips (until fail)
3 x 10 TRX Rows
3 x 15 Shoulder Presses (with bands)
3 x 15 Pushups
2 minutes of jumping rope
3 x 15 Chest Flys (with bands)
3 x 25 Air Squats
Pullups (until fail)
Do this for a total of 3 sets with a 45-second break at the end for a time under 30 minutes. Do approach your fitness plan with caution, practice good form, and always use a spotter if needed.
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