1. Set a goal and track your progress
Before you begin your journey to get fit in 20 days for summer 2017, you’ll need to define what “fit” means to you. Everyone’s definition of fit is different. Fit can mean losing weight, gaining muscle mass, or even just being able to run that extra mile. Determine exactly what fit means to you so you’ll know what it takes to reach your goal.
2. Be inspired
What inspires you to get fit for summer 2017? What is your “why” behind reading this article and searching for ways to get fit? It could be to look better in your swimsuit, improve your overall health, or drop down a size. Whatever your why is, remind yourself of it at the start of each day so you’ll be inspired to keep working toward your goals.
3. Schedule exercise
Saying you’re going to exercise to get fit is one thing and actually doing it is another. Write on your calendar specific days and times for your workout sessions. Choose between a two, three, or four day split if you’re just starting out and make sure you allow your muscles to rest in between. What’s most important is to plan your workouts to best fit your schedule and lifestyle.
4. Make exercise a habit
Why is it that creating good habits, such as exercise, can be so tough, yet forming bad habits, like skipping a morning workout to sleep longer, is so easy? It all has to do with the brain and how it perceives triggers and rewards. To make exercise a habit, first designate a trigger: something that will remind you to get your workout started, such as packing your gear in the car so you’ll head to the gym after work. Rewarding yourself after a completed workout is an integral part of habit formation, too, just don’t go reaching for the cookie jar!
5. Create a workout regimen that you enjoy
You’re more likely to stay motivated and stick to your fitness goals if you enjoy your workout. This means if you hate running, don’t feel obligated to run! There are plenty of other cardio exercises that are just as effective as running, such as jump roping or biking, that may be more enjoyable to you.
6. Find a workout partner
Finding a friend to tackle your fitness goals with can make you more accountable and boost your motivation to get fit, especially on the days when you’re really not feeling like hitting the gym. And having someone to chat and joke around with in between sets will make your workouts more fun!
7. Don’t forget to warm up
Warming up before each workout is vital to your fitness success because it will help to prevent injuries. If you pull a muscle because you didn’t warm up, your plan to get fit in 20 days for summer 2017 will come to a halt, and of course we don’t want that!
8. Improve your flexibility
The thought of stretching may make some people cringe, but stretching is valuable despite it being uncomfortable and a little bit boring. According to sportsinjuryclinic.net, benefits of stretching include increased flexibility and range of motion, preventing delayed onset muscle soreness, injury prevention, improved posture, improvements in sports performance, and stress relief.
9. Keep moving
Everyone has a busy schedule, whether it’s with school, work, kids, etc. Even on the days when you don’t have time to hit the gym you can still work toward your fitness goals by constantly moving. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, walk around the block during your lunch break, or do a few chin-ups at the playground with your kids. Keep it simple but always keep moving!
10. Build muscle to burn calories
Everyone can benefit from strength training, even if your goal isn’t to bulk up your muscle mass. This is because strengthening your muscles helps you to burn calories. According to Shape.com, for every pound of muscle you add you can burn an extra 45 calories per day.
11. Quality trumps quantity
When it comes to exercise, having proper form and exercising safely is going to get you better results than spending hours and hours in the gym doing sloppy workouts. Keep your workouts short but with high intensity.
12. Make carbs your friends
There seems to be a stigma around carbohydrates. Many people blame carbs for their struggle with weight loss or the reason why they can’t sculpt a six pack, even though carbs are an essential part of a healthy diet.
In fact, results from a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people on a low-calorie diet who ate 4 to 7 servings of whole grains per day had a greater decrease in percentage body fat in the abdominal region when compared to a group of people who ate less than one serving of grains per day. The key is to choose the right kind of carbs, such as grains, fruits, and vegetables, and to avoid refined and processed carbs, such as french fries and candy bars.
13. Don’t be afraid of fat in your food
It’s a common misconception that foods that have a high fat content should be avoided. While this is true in some cases, it all depends on the type of fat. For example, one avocado has 21 grams of fat, but the majority of that is monounsaturated fat (the healthy kind of fat).
14. Cut the snacking
Cutting out mindless snacking can be one of the easiest ways to get fit in 20 days for summer 2017. Just stop buying snack food when you’re at the grocery store! Not only will this help you to get fit, you’ll save some money in the process.
15. Swap sugary drinks for water
If giving up your daily Coke or Mountain Dew cold turkey seems impossible, try making the switch in baby steps. Healthier beverage options that have more of a taste than plain water could be green tea or flavored sparkling water. You could add flavors to your own water, such as lemon or lime juice, ginger, a dash of cayenne pepper, or infuse your water with fruits and veggies.
16. Meal prep
Ignoring the importance of meal prep is one of the fastest ways to derail your diet and the progress you’ve made toward your fitness goals. If you’re new to meal prepping, planning all of your meals and snacks for an entire week can be a daunting task, so check out our introduction to meal prepping post to find tips for success and easy recipes.
17. Don’t focus on counting calories
Jonathan Bailor, author of the book The Calorie Myth, tells Prevention that not only does calorie counting not work, it’s one of the worst strategies you can use when you want to lose weight.
18. Use supplements
Using high-quality natural supplements, such as the Performance Inspired Nutrition products, is one of the best ways to get fit for summer 2017. Fuel your routine with the Explosive Pre-Workout formula, maximize your muscle recovery with a Post-Workout BCAA, or improve your performance by adding a Whey Protein supplement to your diet.
19. Try a protein smoothie
Protein has been proved to help keep you feeling full longer, so replacing one of your meals with a protein shake can be a great way to stave off hunger. If you’re short on time, try one of our 5 favorite healthy smoothie recipes for on-the-go nutrition.
20. Get enough sleep
Some people may question how sleep can relate to fitness, but the truth is that sleep is necessary in order to perform all of the aforementioned tips to get fit for summer 2017. Sleep allows the body to build strong, lean muscle, synthesize proteins, and also to restore our brain cells. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep will improve your mental alertness and keep your level of motivation high so you can propel through your workouts and stick to your clean, healthy diet.