5 Keys To Open Up Your Fitness & Healthy Living

5 Keys To Open Up Your Fitness & Healthy Living

With the explosion of social media came an unhealthy obsession with looks and bodily appearances but also with it came more awareness and consciousness for being healthy, fit and doing the work to achieve a physical state that young individuals take pride in.

Regardless, it is possible to put in the effort at the gym and not see results - many people show the drive, determination, and consistent effort, but don't reach their goals. If this sounds familiar, the next logical step is usually to find an educated personal trainer with proven experience.

But if you're not ready to take that step - or if you'd prefer to go it alone - then you can do that, too.

Here are a few tips to help -

1. Make sure you're eating healthy

It begins with what you eat. Any good personal trainer will tell you that regardless of your training goals, healthy eating is the backbone. Food is what fuels your body to reach your goals, and without proper nutrition through quality foods, you're likely to stall. Maintain a balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, complete proteins, and healthy fats like fish oils.

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2. Eat with purpose and Control your portion sizes

Everything you consume should have substantial nutritional value. "You want the most nutritional bang for your buck," says Dan Trink, C.S.C.S., a strength coach and trainer. "Everything you eat should serve some sort of nutritional purpose in your body, fuel your workouts, and (be) geared toward optimizing your body."

When looking to lose, you'll probably be eating more often, so paying attention to portions is extremely important. "Make sure chicken breasts, (and) meats, are no larger than your palm, and that pastas are no larger than your fists," says Jay Cardiello, a personal trainer to countless celebrities and professional athletes. He also suggests using "smaller bowls, plates, and cups" because studies show people "serve themselves 20-40% more food when they're using larger plates."

3. Understand the basics of building muscle

Talk to any personal trainer that really knows what they're doing and they'll tell you there are certain muscle-building basics. First, increase your caloric and complete protein intake, so your body has enough building blocks to get bigger. Then, when you enter the gym, focus on your form. Perform compound movements and train with weights on average around four times a week. Never underestimate the importance of rest. Remember, muscle tissue grows outside of the gym when you?re giving your body time to relax and recover following your workouts.

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4. Carefully consider cardio

If getting huge is your goal, then throttle back on your cardio workouts, says LaCerte?chances are, you'll be burning far too many calories. So what should you do if you still want to get in some cardio? LaCerte says "a light jog a few days per week for 20 minutes is adequate." If you're aiming to burn fat, of course, then focus on getting enough protein every day (usually one gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight), while still keeping your overall caloric intake low.

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5. Prepare yourself for endurance training

When it comes to training for endurance, you'll need to be hydrated and be sure you're eating properly because, by its very nature, this form of training is very demanding on your body. You should be doing a good mix of cardio and weight training. And, to increase your aerobic capacity, you should incorporate high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. You'll likely be sweating buckets and burning calories galore, so be prepared. This is sure to keep you sharp and in good form.

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We also generally encourage you to speak to your physician on best practices for your body and health 'fore taking on any regimen seriously.

Excerpted from Mens Journal, header image from EverydayHealth

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