What are you willing to exchange for a six-pack??

So I came across something from Precision Nutrition today and I loved it so much (I wish I had come up with it…I mean) I wanted to share it with you. 😉 It’s a simple, yet very informative, infographic that illustrates the lifestyle trade-offs required for different looks/body fat levels.

If you’re struggling with your health and fitness goals or just starting to make changes or if you simply desire to be healthy and fit, I think this is such an important thing to consider. Which is why I decided to write a quick little blog post about it. So without further ado, here are 3 reasons why you should take the time to consider the trade-offs:

exchange

#1. Balance

It brings to light the common extremes our minds tend to go to when thinking about diet and exercise: 1st extreme – that we can look like an air-brushed cover model with just a few small tweaks or the 2nd extreme – that it has to be painful and you have to restrict and deprive yourself of everything you enjoy in order to get healthy.

Both of these are simply not true. Which leads me to #2…

#2. Reality check

In life, we are constantly looking at and weighing the trade-offs. However, you can’t do this if you have a false sense of what the trade-offs are or if you’re just not sure what they are in the first place. For instance, have you ever wanted something so badly only to find yourself a little let down when you finally got it? Whether it’s because you had built up in your head its power and potential to give you something it actually had no capacity to give or simply because it did not deliver the results or happiness it promised, it’s easy to become disillusioned.

This is what so often happens in health and fitness. Losing weight so that you look and feel healthy versus losing so that you look like a super model involve very different levels of commitment and trade-offs. Yet I think most of us subconsciously equate the two. Same goes for being fit and being a marathon runner or being strong and looking like a fitness model. There is so much misinformation and air-brushing illusion out there that it can be hard to know what the reality is.

On top of that, in our all-or-nothing mindsets we tend to believe that we need to have every last detail in place and perfected before anything will change. We jump straight into the deep end and then wonder why, 4 days in, we already feel like we’re fighting just to keep our head above water.

#3. Prioritize

It forces you to figure out what your priorities are. Once you’ve figured out what’s most important to you and what you want your life to be about, then it’s a lot easier to decide which trade-offs are worth it and which ones aren’t.

Of course, different people are going to have different priorities and that’s OK. I’m not saying that you can’t or shouldn’t aspire to be lean. What I am suggesting is this:

* Take some time to honestly evaluate your life and your priorities. Figure out your purpose and what you want out of life. Be careful to make sure that you aren’t looking for joy or peace or a fix in something that has no capacity to give it.

** Take a look at  The Cost of Getting Lean and consider the cost. You might realize that some trade-offs are just not worth it or you might find yourself surprised at how little the cost is!  If the trade-offs are worth it, then go for it! If not, then you have a bigger reason & motivation that allows you to let go and be OK with a different goal.

Knowing your why, having that higher purpose, is critical for motivation and longevity, especially when it comes to enjoying a healthy lifestyle!

 

don't forget to factor in these things too!!

 

 

The Benefits of NOT focusing on Fat Loss

I am taking a big risk with my upcoming holiday program (which will be available to you Tomorrow!!). It’s not a challenge, or some kind of crazy cleanse or detox, in fact it’s not even a fat loss program! If you’re thinking, “what else would does a personal trainer even offer?!”, then allow me to explain….

If I were to ask you right now how long you’ve been unhappy with your body and therefore trying to change/improve it, what would you tell me? In my experience, most people will give me a number in years as to how long they’ve been at it. Most women start struggling with their body image in high school, if not sooner. Most men start struggling in their mid-20s or so. That’s a long time, right?

So what if I suggested that you stop focusing on fat loss? In fact, what if I highly recommended it? Would you even consider it? Or would you just laugh it off thinkin’ “that Beth girl is funny….or crazy.” (I’m not denying either. 😉 )

Most of us spend years and years with fat loss being our one and only health or fitness goal. I know I did. Until one day when I just felt so…over it all. I was at a point where it felt like something needed to change, so I thought, what if I just took a month off? What if I just took one month and focused on something- ANYTHING – other than losing fat?

Well, I did it. I lived to tell the tale. There were even a number of things I gained from the experience- big things, in fact. So big, that I actually decided to put together a program where fat loss is not the main focus! Here are a few things I took away from it….

1) Big Picture Perspective

For the first time in a reeeeally long time, I decided to just set aside this ideal image I had in my mind. Turns out, I was so one-track mind about what I thought I should look like as a trainer that I had developed some pretty serious tunnel vision.  Being so focused in not only took up a TON of physical and mental energy, but I had gotten to the point where all I could see were the flaws.

Changing my focus allowed me to zoom out the lens, which helped me to look outside myself and see the bigger picture. Big picture perspective is being reminded that there’s so more to life than the perfect body and so much more to YOU than some love handles and cellulite!

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2) Learning to trust yourself

“Self-trust is showing up in your life with your likes, dislikes, preferences, desires, wants, needs, hopes, dreams, lines in the sand, insecurities on full display and letting the chips fall where they may in terms of other people’s responses and reactions and acceptance (or not).” ~Jill Coleman

Taking a step back from a goal you’ve had for a long time is always scary. You wonder what the heck you’re gonna do and if it’s the right move. But you start to realize that just because you don’t have it all figured out right now doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You simply figure it out as you go and correct course along the way. It’s a process but learning to go with your instincts and trust yourself is huge in so many areas of life….weight loss is no exception.

For me, I learned to trust myself, but even more so I was able to work hard, do my best, and then surrender the results to God.

3) Self-reflection

When I stopped focusing on all the outside things that needed improvement, I was able to look a little deeper within myself. I was able to see how the constant pressure I put on myself created an anxiety and fear that I didn’t even really realize was there. Once I knew it was there, I was able to start working through it.

4) Enjoyment & Balance

Most of us already know that the body doesn’t operate at it’s best when it’s under a lot of stress. Maybe it’s because of my job or maybe it’s just that I’m impatient, but there was always this urgency to fix every imperfection and to do it NOW.  Taking a break from that mindset and timeline felt like a weight had been lifted. It was such a relief. With the weight lifted, I was able to just enjoy and find a balance I hadn’t been able to achieve before.

step back

 

In the end, it was a big turning point for me in my mindset, my business, and my nutrition (which, like so many, has also been one of my biggest struggles). There’s just something about allowing yourself a little breathing room to relax into the process – it’s huge. So yes, I’m saying…

Sometimes it’s also OK to not focus on fat loss. It doesn’t have to be forever. You can always go back. But if you’ve been focusing on it for a long time and not getting where you want to be, then something’s not right.

Sometimes it’s OK to not focus on improvement or progress, but to just be. To  slow down, breathe, and be Present.

As for my program, no it’s not a challenge, a cleanse, a detox, or a fat loss program per say. I took a step back and saw 2 big issues:

1) Many people have been trying to lose weight for a long time with little to no success.
2) The holidays seemed like an especially hard time to try to lose weight seeing as most of us struggle to just maintain.

I want to help take some of the stress out of it, to have some fun and enjoy the holidays while starting on the foundational tools that will help you to hit the ground running in January…..with hopefully a new mindset and perspective and all the tools in place to achieve whatever goal you want!

***For anyone interested in some hands-on training, nutrition, and mindset advice geared toward helping you navigate the holiday season, click below all the details…

 

3 Keys to Keeping It Off

Most of us probably know or know of someone who has lost the weight and then put it all back on. Or maybe you are that person. Well you’re not alone. Just try to look up the “where are they now” stats for the Biggest Loser. Considering that there has been 16 seasons with an average of 20 contestants each, you’d hope you’d be able to find an abundance of success stories! However, from my searches, they seem to be pretty sparse.

See the problem doesn’t seem to be so much with losing the weight as it is with keeping it off. In fact, there have been numerous weight loss studies that show just how grim the statistics are when it comes to sustaining it.

HOWEVER, there are those that have achieved their fat loss goals and continue to keep it off. When it comes these individuals, it’s no surprise that there appears to be some common similarities. The 3 factors below seem to be present in those who are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle long term:

1) A support system

I don’t think I really need to explain this. I’m sure we’ve all experienced how much harder something is when we don’t feel supported. These days a healthy lifestyle can already feel like you’re going against the flow. If you don’t have people in your life that encourage you in this, (or at the very least are understanding and supportive), then of course it’s going to be that much harder.

airplane

If your friends make you feel bad about making healthy choices or tempt you to constantly cheat, it might be time to have a DTR. Explain to them why this is so important to you and ask them to kindly get on board. Suggest other things to do instead of pizza and beer night. If not, maybe it’s time to find some new friends with similar goals or interests.

2) Some system of self-accountability

It’s been found that one of the #1 tools in successful maintenance is some form of self-monitoring. Of course, I’m sure most of your minds went straight to the scale or a certain pair of jeans. While that’s not wrong, here’s why I don’t think it’s the best method. The scale doesn’t give us any measure of what we’re doing day-in or day-out. It can only tell us that something is or isn’t working after the fact. And it can be pretty fickle even at that.

Why not get ahead of it and use something that will keep us more mindful of our day-to-day actions, something that can be specified and easily measured? Here are some better options to self-monitoring:

*The 90/10 Rule

Unless you’re looking to compete in a figure competition, there’s little difference between eating 100% compliant and 90%. Say you eat 3 meals and 1 snack-per-day. That’s 28 meals a week. This means that you have 3 meals/snacks (I like to round up. 😉 ) where you can enjoy those foods that don’t necessarily move you toward your goals.

I have found that personally, I can maintain my current body composition with an 80/20 split. That’s maintenance, so I’m not losing or gaining any fat. 🙂 So if 90% feels to hard, start a little lower.

*Counting Your Macros or Calories

While this method has been made much easier with digital food scales and food tracking apps, it’s still one of the more time-consuming and in-depth methods of accountability. I usually only recommend this to clients who already have some of the more basic habits under their belt and are still looking for more results. It is great for getting a better idea of proper portion sizes, which are especially out of control here in America.

*A Food Journal

This is one of the simplest ways to start tracking, but most overlooked. I scoffed at the idea myself for a long time. But I read this recently and thought it was a great example of why it’s so helpful:

For many of us, eating can become a lot like driving. Have you ever driven somewhere and realized upon arriving that you were so zoned out that you can’t remember entire parts of the drive? Clearly, on some level, your mind was still engaged or else you would have crashed. But, another part of your mind was thinking about all the other things you needed to get done that day or the any number of other things going on in your life.

Unlike driving, a food journal allows you to go back and take a closer look at what you consumed that day. Yes, it can be hard to write down those treats and over-indulgences. Remember: you’re not a better or worse person based on the types or amounts of food that you eat. A food journal is simply a way to help keep yourself accountable. If you’re not honest on it, then you’re just lying to yourself and that’s just not gonna get you anywhere.

3) Exercise.

It has been shown that people who didn’t just focus on diet but also included some form of exercise had a higher rate of sustained weight loss. Now, yes, I have my opinions on what works best  and what is most effective for certain goals. But ultimately, any type of physical activity is exercise. I just. Want. More. Movement!

Plus, most people will only stick with stuff they don’t despise, so for serious: find something you ENJOY doing!

handstand

Dance, lift, run, swim, walk, bike, yoga, kayak, jump rope, kick box, somersault, PLAY. Do what you love and you won’t hear me say a word about it…

…unless you ask my opinion. 😉

NOW, this all that being said…

The holidays seem to be an especially difficult time for, well, just about everybody 🙂 to maintain consistency and their weight. This has always frustrated me because instead of the holidays being an enjoyable and rejuvenating time, it ends up being more stressful and uncomfortable than anything else. Over-eating and feeling stuffed into your jeans is NOT fun. On top of it, we end up having to spend the first couple months of the year just getting back to where we were in November!

To avoid this, I’ve come up with the strategies needed to enjoy the holidays while maintaining your fitness and physique! These include time-saving workouts, healthy recipes, tools for navigating the big meals and holiday parties while still feeling satisfied, and of course, some encouragement and accountability from me! I’m super excited to finally be offering my first online product! However, I will only be offering this to a select number of people, so if you’re interested, get on the waiting list below to be sure that you will get all the juicy details and be notified as soon as the program opens up. Can’t wait for another awesome holiday season…no deprivation, no scales, no stress, just fun! 🙂






 

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Do you have the Courage to Do Less? (part 2)

In part 1, we talked about how our culture celebrates work and activity and can be almost hostile, it seems, to rest and renewal. ESPECIALLY in the fitness industry! Which is really quite counterproductive as evidenced by my own story. 🙂 So how do we stay fit while moving away from the ‘go hard or go home’ mindset? How do we find balance?

To maintain a powerful pulse in our lives, we must learn how to rhythmically spend and renew energy. *

The reason I loved The Power of Full Engagement so much is because the point  of the book is that rest allows us to stop going through the motions and more fully engage in life, whether that be in business, fitness, or relationships. The author’s point is stated simply in this question: “If you could wake up tomorrow with significantly more positive focused energy to invest at work and with your family, how significantly would that change your life for the better?”.

Prioritizing rest is prioritizing your work, your loved ones, your health, your quality of life. That is why rest is so important.  That is why I believe rest should be just as much of a priority as work.

rest pic

So with that being said, here are few things I have learned to implement that have really helped me Do Less and therefore, find more balance:

1) Managing energy, not time

Allow me to start with a story. My first real job was cleaning hotel rooms. Since I’m not a morning person, I figured I would just workout after work. Only problem with this was that I was on my feet, vacuuming, scrubbing, picking up after random people, and making beds the entire day. So when I did actually get a workout in, it wasn’t a very productive one. So I tried working out before work. As much as I hated getting up earlier than I absolutely had to, this ensured that I had plenty of energy and got a good workout in. Plus it turns out I actually had more energy throughout the work day as well!

Many of us have a story like this, right? We put together our schedule, looking for where we can fit this or that in, without any concern as to the energy it will take to accomplish it. This is why so many people struggle to get to the gym regularly. Sure, most of us have plenty of time to workout after work, but without the energy to do it it doesn’t really matter how much time you have!

 Energy, not time, is our most precious resource. *

Take some time to learn yourself. Figure out when you are the most energetic and productive. Schedule the most important things you want to get done during those times. Then let the rest be what it is. Learning to manage your energy can be tricky. You have to let go of the “superman/superwoman” mentality, BUT I think you will also be surprised how much you get done.

2) Actively disengaging

Going right along with scheduling your priorities around your most productive time, we also have to allow for down time.

It’s been shown that people produce a higher quantity and quality of work in shorter bursts (90-120 minutes) followed by a time of deliberate rest or actively disengaging (even if it is just 5-10 minutes). Actively disengaging means deliberately shifting your attention from achievement to restoration. Your body needs this whether it be for a project, a workout, or a conversation. You can’t give your full attention to everything without any breaks and then expect to keep up the same amount of focus all day long.

Running yourself ragged day after day, beating yourself up about the things you didn’t get done, that’s no way to live. Plus, it’s completely unsustainable, meaning eventually something will give out.

Schedule specific times for rest and rejuvenation.

Set up clear boundaries between work and home. Learning to actively disengage enables you to be productive at work, then go home and be all there for your loved ones.

3) Learning when to rest and when to go hard

Yes, in order to reach most goals, especially in the gym, you will have to push past perceived limitations and learn how to deal with discomfort.  But there also needs to be a balance between too little and too much! (For more specifics on what that looks like in the gym, go here.)

Back in the day, when I was still running myself ragged in the gym, I would often make some of my best gains after coming back from vacation. It’s embarrassing that I never put it together back then. No one can go at 100% intensity all of the time. We have to back off and give our bodies rest so that we can come back stronger and with more intensity.

Nearly every elite athlete we have worked with over the years has to come to us with performance problems that could be traced to an imbalance between the expenditure and the recovery of energy.*

Sometimes you just need to take it easy, back off on the weight a bit, and focus on the basics. Sometimes you need to take the day off and just go for a long walk instead. As you learn to listen to your body, you will also learn when it’s feeling good and can be pushed harder.

When in balance, people tend to experience:

  • Fewer injuries
  • Better hormone balance
  • Lower stress levels
  • Less anxiety
  • Higher productivity
  • Deeper relationships
  • More happiness and contentment

Dan John, a world renowned fitness expert and strength coach, was talking about training when he said, “you have to have the courage to do less.”

It is a little scary, isn’t it? But the benefits above are the things that lead to higher consistency, which in turn leads to fat loss and a healthier mindset & lifestyle!

The challenge is finding that balance for yourself. It might not be easy, but it is definitely worth it.

What do you think? Do you have a hard time believing more rest could actually help instead of hinder your progress? What tools do you use in order to unsure you’re getting enough rest? Leave a comment over on the Beth Burns Fitness facebook page and let me know! 🙂

*All quotes from: The Power of Full Engagement by Loehr and Schwartz. I highly recommend.

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[Tweet “Energy, not time, is our most precious resource. -The Power of Full Engagement”]

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Do you have the Courage to Do Less? (Part 1)

We live in a world that celebrates work and activity, ignores renewal and recovery, and fails to recognize that both are necessary for sustained high performance.*

The other day, I was giving my marathon-running friend a hard time because she was complaining about how hard it is to taper off her running in preparation for an upcoming race. My other friend then commented on how funny it is that I’m the fitness person and yet here I am, encouraging her to enjoy it, to sit on the couch and relax a little more! But this is what most of us think, right? That fitness-junkies and personal trainers are all about this:

 

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For the most part, it’s true. In fact, health and fitness isn’t the only realm in which we hold to this ridiculous type of mindset. This was my own mindset for a long time….

I used to feel guilty about relaxing. I lived on as little sleep as possible, which usually meant 4-6 hours for me. I thought walking, or anything else that didn’t feel challenging, was a waste of time. I thought, along with most Americans,  that there was a certain nobility in being busy all the time. To the point where I was even embarrassed if I didn’t have a list of stuff I’d done over the weekend. I pretty much lived in a constant state of anxiety.

I’m not trying to be dramatic. I’ve never had anxiety attacks or needed medication. It was more of an inner struggle, but unfortunately it still caused a whole host of issues for me. My hormones got completely out of whack and I got sick easily. I never listened to my body so my joints ached and I dealt with a lot of injuries. Then, my body just literally started forcing me to rest more. I couldn’t read or watch movies without falling asleep. My progress, both in and out of the gym, plateaued. When I got sick, it took a lot longer for me to recover than it should have. I was a bit of a hot mess. 🙂

So why I am sharing these experiences with you? Because quite honestly, I’ve had enough of it and I want this kind of mentality gone. We’ve got enough imbalance, stress, and guilt to deal with.

Being fit is not about who can do the most or go the longest or endure the most pain. Ignoring pain signals, working out when you’re really sick or already exhausted, making yourself vomit or super sore on a regular basis… these things are not healthy. The all-or-nothing attitude is what leads to burnout, injury, or not even beginning in the first place!

When I started prioritizing rest and allowing myself to rest more, what do you know, I actually became less anxious and more productive! It was like a weight was lifted off of my chest (which probably seems counter-intuitive: most of us seem to think that if we’re resting more, we will be getting less done).

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Let’s get away from go hard or go home, perfection or nothing! True health is not found in the person who needs the least amount of rest, but in the person who has found the perfect balance of work to rest. As Dan John puts it: You have to have the courage to do less.

Do you?

~

Next time, we’ll go over some practical ideas for what this looks like so stay tuned for Part 2! But for now I’ll leave you with this one final quote:

“The busier we are, the more important we seem to ourselves and, we imagine, to others. To be unavailable to our friends and family, to be unable to find time for the sunset (or even to know the sun has set at all), to whiz through our obligations without time for a mindful breath, this has become the model of a successful life. (W. Muller)

We have lost connection to the simple but profound message of the Twenty-third Psalm: “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” *

 

*All quotes from: The Power of Full Engagement by Loehr and Schwartz. I highly recommend. 😉

 

How creating a website relates to the fitness lifestyle

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his step.”  ~Proverbs 16:9

So way back in April, I decided it was time to redo my website in order to make it a better representation of who I am and what I’m all about. Not only was that a tall order in and of itself, but I also decided to make it myself… from scratch…. using a completely different and much more intense system than my first website. And thus began the journey toward making this current website that you are now FINALLY on. 🙂 Turns out that creation and change are a similar process. The great part is that my mistakes are your gain! Ha ha, eh. My hope is that by sharing some of what I went through with you guys, it will a) help you to see that you’re not alone and everybody goes through these struggles in some area of their lives, and b) help you change your mindset & not make the same mistakes in your own fitness journey! So here goes…

Have faith. Everything going wrong doesn’t necessarily mean anything…

do not be defeated

I mentioned on Facebook that last Tuesday I had a bit of a meltdown. OK, it was a full on MAJOR meltdown. I was so close to being done with the website, but there were a bunch of little things that just would not go right! I ended up SO frustrated that I literally wanted to walk away. I told Joel that maybe this was just a sign that it’s not meant to be and I should just stick with my old website. Now I was in the throws of an emotional breakdown, but seriously, what a silly way to think. When have you ever heard that you should only do something if it’s always easy and smooth sailing? Even with the best laid plans, vacations, weddings, businesses & fitness programs still run into problems.

The fitness journey is certainly the same way. I used to be stuck in this cycle where I would be really perfect with my eating until I had a couple of bad days. That’s when I would just chuck the rest of the week, eat however I wanted, and start over next the Monday. The problem with this is that I never learned anything that way! And then I’d wonder why I never made any progress!

*The only way to make progress is to stop starting over, and the only way to stop that is to stop quitting. Before you ever start something, consciously clear your mind of any picture perfect scenarios. This is life! There will be bumps in the road – a bad meal, a bad day, or even a couple of bad days – and you will slip up. The only way to improve and move forward is by allowing yourself to go through those tough situations, learning how to work through them, and not giving up!

“The best way out is always through.”   ~Robert Frost

Be patient

Creating a brand new website, building a new business, or getting the physique you want, takes time. I know. I don’t like it either, but it’s the truth. Be very careful not to set unrealistic goals. Remember that even the realistic goals often don’t go as planned. Be ready to be patient and persistent.

Ditch the one track mind

I admit there were a couple of days I went a little overboard with the website. In the name of powering through, I ignored my coach and my husband as I literally sat in front of the computer the ENTIRE day (except for the occasional quick run downstairs for food). By the end of those days, my vision was blurry and I was so fried I had absolutely nothing left for anything or anyone else and I still couldn’t stop thinking about finishing the website.

Looking back on last Tuesday’s meltdown, I realize now that the one track mind did me little favors and was actually a major cause of it. Two things to consider when working towards a specific goal:

#1. It’s been shown that people produce a higher quantity and quality of work when they deliberately take time to rest and recover. In The Power of Full Engagement they say it’s not just resting, but actively disengaging from work and deliberately shifting your attention from achievement to restoration. Your body works the same way. You can’t continuously break it down, never give it any rest or recovery, and then expect to keep making gains. Running it into the ground day after day rarely achieves the goal, is itself unsustainable, and is certainly no way to live. Set up specific times for rest and rejuvenation. Take leisure walks. Get enough sleep. Learn when to push and when to back off. These things are just as important as the work part, if not more so!

#2. The one track mind is a gateway to the mindset that if you could just have this one thing then everything would be better, perfect, easier, etc. We all know that’s not true, but this is such a sneaky little thought that creeps in without us even noticing. Time away and actively disengaging from the project or goal at hand allows for reality and perspective to take hold. There’s more to life than your waist measurement or how you look in a swimsuit. Your life won’t be perfect and all your problems will not be solved by attaining the perfect body.

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t appropriate times to dig in and power through. What I am saying is that whether you’re creating or changing, this stuff takes time. Be careful when determining timelines!! Added stress and pressure never help anything so relax a little! Your life is not on hold until you get there. Your life is happening right now. Don’t let the one goal so consume you that you miss all the other victories you’ve already achieved and all the other important things in your life.

And if you really want something, stop starting over. Keep going. Through the days where it feel like you’re soaring and the days where it feels like you’re trudging through the mud. You will get there….but it’s still not the end-all be-all. 😉

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”    -Michael Jordan

3 fat loss strategies that are so simple even your dog can do them

I know it’s been a while since my last post, but I’m back and super excited about this post. I think these things are super awesome and offer big returns on little investment. Who doesn’t love that?!

When it comes to fat loss, 99% of the time we talk about fitness and nutrition. But there are other strategies that aren’t talked about as much, but can absolutely help (or hinder) your progress.  And the most exciting part??  They are simple. So simple in fact that your dog could do any one of them. How’s that for simple?!

So I’m just gonna get right to it. Three simple things you can be doing to increase fat loss…..

1. Drink more water.

water

I know I’ve gone over this before, but seriously, there’s a reason doctors and fitness experts have been saying it for years….because it works.

Here are just a few ways being hydrated will help you lose fat….

*Your hunger cues will decrease and will be much more accurate. Because most of us don’t drink enough, our bodies have become accustomed to getting water through food. So instead of feeling thirsty, our body sends us hunger signals when we are dehydrated. Next time you’re hungry when you think you shouldn’t be, try drinking a big glass of water and giving it 10-15 minutes. If you’re still hungry after that, then maybe it’s time to have a snack.

*Your metabolism will be faster. The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently; dehydration slows down the fat-burning process.

*Water lubricates your joints and helps your muscles contract more efficiently, therefore your workouts will be more productive.

*Add a little lemon and it helps your liver flush out toxins in your body.

…so drink up! A good measurable goal is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces every day. (example: 150 lb person would need 75 ounces a day.) However you can also just start with a big glass in the morning to give yourself a good head start and then start carrying around a water bottle and try to sip on it throughout the day.

2. Walk 30 to 60 minutes a day.

We have dogs, so this is a bit easier for us because we have 2 little accountability partners that sit there and stare at us until we walk them.

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I mean…come on

The thing is, in this age of gyms and fancy equipment and Crossfit, I think we tend to overlook anything that seems too easy. Because of that, walking has become one of the most underrated exercises. Let me just list some of the benefits of walking…

*First of all, the more you move throughout the day the better. Always.

*It’s a great low impact exercise that is completely free and you can do it anywhere.

*It’s been shown to decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and certain forms of cancer.

*It gets you outside which has been shown to improve mental health and stress levels, which in turn improves energy and productivity. Plus, it gets you your daily dose of vitamin D. That’s like 5 benefits right there!

*When combined with strength training, it creates an awesome fat-burning effect!

Walking is a magical exercise because it regulates your hormonal stress response in a positive way. Walking lowers stress hormones, sensitizes insulin, and ensures a constant steady release of the metabolic messengers….Walking should not be seen as exercise but rather as a necessity. ~ The Metabolic Effect Diet

I walk shorter on the days that I lift or do intervals and longer on the days that I don’t. It’s not always easy. I often find myself  fighting it because I feel like I have more important things to do. Sometimes that means I cut the walk short, and often times getting out the door is the hardest part. But once I’m out, I end up going the whole time because it’s so enjoyable.

3. Get 8 to 9 hours of good quality sleep.

I used to be that person that bragged about being able to run on 4 to 6 hours of sleep. Looking back, it was a stupid thing to brag about, because, first of all, who really cares,  and besides that, I was doing way more damage than good to my body. I have struggled for years with hormonal imbalances. Not so coincidentally, those imbalances started about half way through college – which is also when I started sleeping a lot less.

God tells us He gives us sleep because he loves us. (Psalm 127:1-2) I’ve always assumed it simply meant that He was being nice by giving us a “forced break”, if you will.  While that’s true, I’ve learned recently that there’s a lot more to it than just a forced rest time. Why is it that we feel so much better and refreshed when we get a good night’s sleep??  God set up sleep to do a whole host of amazing things in our bodies. Instead of listing all the scientific specifics (say that 5 times fast), let’s just say that sleep is like hitting a big honking reset button each day. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, hormonally, and metabolically.

The thing is you have to get good quality sleep and enough of it. This was hard for me at first because I had to change up my schedule a little but I’m finding the benefits to far outweigh the costs. (And that’s why we have the ability to record our shows, right?!? So I don’t have to worry about watching them right away!)

When you do, God made sleep to be “the ultimate anti-aging, muscle-building, fat-burning, and mood-enhancing process the body has available to it”. (The Metabolic Effect Diet)

No wonder, then, when she was asked recently in People mag what her number one beauty secret was, Jennifer Aniston said getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water.

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I think we can all agree that these things are simple, but not always easy.  That is why I gave you measurable goals for each. But remember, make them easy enough to implement so that you know you will and then commit to it.

I don’t know if you noticed this, but the really cool thing about all of these strategies is that they do much more than just burn fat. They regulate hormones and help manage stress, which have been shown to make people happier, healthier, and thinner. I’m not giving you these things to add stress, but rather because I believe these things will enhance your life! So if you need to change around your schedule a bit or record that TV show and watch it later, isn’t that worth it?