Train Smarter, Not Harder

Let’s face it, we have all been there – that tropical vacation we have been planning for months is now days away and we haven’t been as diligent with our diet or training. We find ourselves looking for a quick fix to shedding those unwanted pounds, but quick fixes are just that and rarely lead to long term solutions which often lead to women in worse off metabolic situations than before.

My job as a coach is to educate my clients on living a fit and healthy lifestyle so they never feel panicked when it comes to an upcoming vacation or other event. So I ask you this… do you want to lose quick weight and gain it all back (plus more)? Or do you want to learn how to take the weight off slowly and keep it off forever? If you are a forever kind of girl then read on.

To begin, start early. It takes three weeks for a habit to form but in order to build a strong foundation; you want to start much earlier than that. The longer you practice healthy habits, the stronger and easier they will become, helping you to stay on track while on holidays as well. The last thing you want is to revert to your old ways while on vacation, gaining back the weight and feeling emotional and self-conscious. I advise anyone to dedicate at least 12-16 weeks to get yourself into a good frame of mind and on your way to achieving your desired results.

Set realistic goals. How much time do you have available to commit to achieving your goal with 100% effort? There is no right or wrong answer. If you can only commit to three training sessions each week, do so with complete focus during that time. The same goes for your diet.  Once you are able to set your goals, write them down, post them on the fridge or your bathroom mirror so you can see them daily as a constant reminder. Commit to those goals and set that time aside for yourself.

Develop the right mindset. For us to believe anything is worth our time it must offer something tangible to our daily lives and as a coach it is a priority of mine to facilitate this with every one of my clients. Women are 30% more likely to continue working towards a fitness goal if they are conscious of, and connected to their emotions, allowing them to more quickly recognize the short-term benefits. For example, all of my clients are asked to diarize how they feel each day. This helps them to see that although one 30-minute run won’t shed 10 lbs, but it can help them achieve a calmer and happier state of mind.  In the end, leading to a feeling of accomplishment.

An important factor to note here is stress. For most of us, it is a common part of life, whether it be from work, family, or relationships. Stress has a negative impact on weight loss and can actually cause us to gain instead of lose. As tension levels rise, cortisol levels increase and this leads to unwanted fat accumulating in the belly area. Training and dieting are their own form of stress, making it critical to ensuring that both your intentions are set and goals are realistic.

Plan ahead. Don’t stop all of your hard work just because the vacation has arrived, keep to a set plan to ensure you aren’t back where you started once you arrive home. Do your research, is there a fitness facility at your hotel or resort, or one nearby? Are there activities or group classes offered? The same goes for food. Check out the menus in advance. If you are staying at a condo, stock up on healthy snacks and fresh produce from the local grocery store. Set your plan and stick to it.

Ultimately you get out of your body what you put into it and without a proper nutrition plan you will never achieve the most effective results. Like the age old adage says, you can’t out-train a bad diet.

To help you prepare I have compiled my top six bikini ready nutrition tips:

  1. Eat three meals and 2-3 snacks per day. It is very important to be consistent with your meals, eating every 2.5-3 hours will help to keep your metabolism firing.
  2. Each meal should include lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fibrous vegetables, healthy fats and antioxidant rich fruit. It is best to keep a nutrient rich diet so that your body remains used to the food you are consuming once you arrive at your vacation locale.
  3. Keep your water intake high. Water flushes water from your system, therefore, the more water you drink the less water you will retain.
  4. Limit your sodium. Packaged and processed foods containing high levels of sodium will contribute to unwanted water retention, making you feel heavy and bloated.
  5. Consume a good quality probiotic and multivitamin daily. Probiotics are also great to have while traveling as they keep the gastrointestinal tract free from unwanted bugs that might result when eating different foods in foreign lands.
  6. Eliminate heavy sauces, fruit juices and syrups – these are high in unwanted hidden calories.

Although it sounds simple, and it is - it takes mental effort and dedication, but most of all, it takes having trust in yourself. Trusting your mind to recognize the short-term emotional gains before your body reveals its long-term physical changes. There is no secret exercise to a better body, and there is no magic pill to a better diet. But with the right intentions, the proper planning, managing your stress and by setting realistic goals – everyone can have the bikini body they desire. Yes, even you.