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Saturday, November 21, 2015

3 “More” Hacks to Become Your Leanest Self in 2016

Realistic goals have the best chance to succeed
“I admire your lofty ambitions, but your reach far outweighs your grasp,” I said matter-of-factly to a client who recently showed me her 2016 resolutions list.
Among her herculean goals included ditching 20 pounds, putting on muscle, constantly changing up her workout regimen with her trainer’s help, getting therapy for a recently terminated,  messed-up relationship, and…
Well, I stopped there. She had about 20 goals listed. I felt overwhelmed just reading them.
During my two decades coaching clients, I’ve learned rather than implementing a bound-to-crash Lose 10 pounds by this weekend! mentality, successful people create
small, manageable strategies that consistently carry them to their goals.
You don’t need New Year’s resolutions to make these small changes. Lasting change starts right now, and let me tell you, deciding when you’ll start rather than allow a particular date to determine your destiny becomes self-empowering.
“Let’s just do these three things instead,” I told my client. Sure, it doesn’t sparkle with pomposity and crazy ambition, it’s not sexy, but taking small manageable steps becomes a surefire way to attain your goals.
So let’s make a pact. Skip the hyperbolic resolutions and employ these three things right now.
1.      Sleep more. You know the practical consequences of poor sleep hygiene. You snap at coworkers, “free refills” becomes your new Starbucks mantra, and every minor inconvenience creates major drama. You build muscle in the gym, but your best efforts happen in the bedroom. Recovery becomes crucial for building muscle and becoming lean. Simply put: You become fit not by working harder but by sleeping more. One study showed that a bad night’s sleep just one night, can make you more insulin resistant, paving the path obesity, diabetes, and domino-effect hormonal hell. Action step:  Get eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night. Stop those I’m so busy excuses. We’re all busy. Make time for sleep, because solid sleep means you’re far more productive the next day. I’ve provided some strategies here about how to meet your sleep goals. 
2.     Drink More. Muscles are 75 percent water while your body is about 70 percent water. Chronic dehydration can drop that number down to 40 – 50 percent. Among its many roles, filtered water keeps your cellular machinery flowing nicely and flushes toxins from your body. Dry skin, fatigue, and cramping are signs of dehydration. Unfortunately, your brain (itself, 73% water) doesn’t always get the signal to drink more liquid, and by the time it does you’re seriously dehydrated. Hunger becomes another sign you might be dehydrated. If you’re craving a mid-afternoon snack, have a big glass of water instead. You’ll save a few hundred calories and some potential dietary damage. One study even found drinking eight ounces of water before bed can completely zap midnight hunger pangs so you’re less likely to grab a spoonful of Chunky Monkey that mysteriously turns into the whole pint. Action step: Get a BPA-free bottle, keep it filled, and sip throughout your day. Aim for at least 64 ounces (probably more on training days) of filtered water daily.
3.     Eat More (Protein). A recent study… Well, the title speaks for itself: “A high protein diet combined with a heavy resistance training program improves body composition in healthy trained men and women.” Folks “in the know” promptly filed this under the “duh” category, but it’s worth remembering that protein at every meal helps balance your hormones so you stay full, focused, and lean. Studies show compared with a high-carbohydrate breakfast, a higher-protein breakfast keeps you fuller longer. Action step: Start your day with a high-quality whey or pea-rice protein powder blended with unsweetened coconut milk and frozen berries. Optimal protein meal choices include grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, free-range poultry, and barnyard eggs. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, legumes, quinoa, nuts, nut butters, and seeds are among your ideal protein sources.
What would your fourth 2016 health and fitness resolution be? Share yours below or on my Facebook page. 
Additional References
University of Washington Study. 2002. Reported in Integrated and Alternative Medicine Clinical Highlights. 4:1(16).


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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!
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