If you’re like most people, you may have gone a bit overboard on your summer vacation and added a few unwanted pounds. And those pandemic pounds that were already sticking around longer than you’d hoped? Let’s not even go there.
The question at hand is, what can we do to hit the reset button? What can you do to get a fresh start, get back into a routine, and make some of that unwanted weight disappear without a starvation diet or endless hours of boring, ineffective cardio?
Here’s a cheat sheet that may help:
1 – Focus on Strength Training. Educated trainers and coaches in the fitness industry have always known that muscle burns fat. That’s because we’ve seen it happen time and time again with our clients. The stronger they get and the more lean mass they add, the more fat they lose. Now, there’s scientific evidence that backs up what we’ve always known. Focus on getting stronger. Not only will you burn fat, but you’ll also be less susceptible to injuries.
2 – Eat Enough Protein. Consuming the proper amount of lean protein keeps you feeling fuller for a longer period of time between meals, and protein also requires more energy (i.e. calories) for the body to process and absorb. A rough guide is 54 grams of protein per day if you weigh 150 pounds. If you’re more active (especially if that activity includes, ahem, strength training), you’ll need more.
Easy Tip: If you don’t like math — who does? — use your hand to determine your protein portions. For men, 2 palm-sized servings of protein per meal; for women, 1 palm-sized portion.
And don’t try to cram 50 grams of protein into one meal. Your body can only digest and absorb protein a little at a time, so it needs a steady supply throughout the day.
3 – Stop Starving Yourself: For decades, some in the fitness industry have done all of us a disservice by telling us that the secret to weight loss is to “move more and eat less.” While this isn’t necessarily untrue, it’s misleading. This has caused a lot of people to go overboard with exercise (especially cardio) and eat so little that their metabolism slows down to the point where it’s not only impossible to lose weight, but oftentimes, they gain weight!
Tip – Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods, eat slowly (so you know when you’re actually getting full and can stop before you overeat), and spread out your meals throughout the day. Letting yourself go hours without eating can result in binge-eating and unwise food choices. When it comes to nutrition and weight loss, less isn’t necessarily better.
4 – Accountability: Whether it’s a spouse, family member, or friend, having an “accountability buddy” can work wonders for your weight-loss goals. Research shows that the simple act of telling one person — or a lot of people if you’re into social media — that you’ve set a fitness goal results in a higher probability that you’ll actually achieve it. This is the magic of accountability.
If you know someone’s paying attention, you’ll be more likely to stay on track. It’s one of the aspects of coaching that I enjoy the most. And for that matter, there’s no better accountability buddy than a coach who has your best interests at heart. Who isn’t going to only tell you what you want to hear?
So that’s a quick guide to a few simple things you can start doing today to make those lingering vacation pounds go away. Which one seems the most doable to you?