Some of the most common statements I hear from people as we enter into a discussion on health and fitness are: I really need to lose some weight and get in shape while others say they have plateaued and are not sure what to do.  I myself find it helpful to review the basics from time to time and review.  Read through these tips and compare them to what you are currently doing.

Routine self-assessments are essential for improvement and growth in all areas of our lives. These tips are for everyone from beginners to experts no matter your age you can always refer back to these tips.  See how many you can incorporate into your daily life.

1. Eat plenty of lean healthy protein:

I know you have heard this before but protein is essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass.  Lean muscle mass is the beautiful shape in your arms, waist and legs we are all trying to work toward.  Make sure your proteins are from lean healthy sources such as chicken, flank steak, fish, protein powders, egg whites with a few yolks, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.

2. Eat the right carbohydrates:

Stick with complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, wheat bread, brown and wild rice, sweet potatoes, wheat pasta, and quinoa. The right carbohydrates will ensure your blood sugar stays steady throughout the day to supply you with energy.

3. Eat healthy fats:

They are essential: Healthy fats are essential for many functions within the body such as the brain and heart, hormone regulation and energy. Sources of healthy fats are fish, almonds, avocado, natural peanut butter and oils.

4. Eat your fruits and vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, photo-chemicals, vitamins, minerals and natural sugars which are great for the body.

5. Consume fiber:

Consuming foods high in fiber will help keep blood sugar levels steady and can aid in your goals of losing and leaning. Fiber provides bulk to foods, making you feel fuller longer.  Fiber helps the movement of food through the digestive system to keep you processing your foods regularly.

6. Give yourself just enough:

Give yourself just enough food to fulfill your protein requirements and just enough carbohydrates for energy for your intense workouts.  Eating beyond your needs will result in fat gain.

7. Enjoyment each week:

Have a meal or an entire day per week where you enjoy your favorites within reason.  It is important to not go overboard but to simply enjoy your favorites during a social setting.  This is important because for one it will shock your body out of its normal routine of eating but also keep you feeling balanced instead of being deprived.

8. Relax and be patient.

Progress does not happen overnight. With careful planning and diligence your efforts will be rewarded.  A lifestyle change takes time; be sure to not give up after a month or two.

9. Protein and Complex carbohydrates for breakfast:

Make sure to get in some quality protein as soon as you rise in the morning. Research has shown that starting your day with a protein food will steady blood sugar and rev the metabolism for the entire day!  The complex carbohydrates provide the energy needed to start your day.

10. Intake Protein and a Carbohydrate for Pre Workout Fuel:

30 to 60 minutes before your workout is a good time to surge your muscles and blood with amino acids from a fast absorbing protein source such as a whey protein or egg whites. By having this rush of protein you will pack the muscle with protein and be ready for the rebuilding process when you are finished. The complex carbohydrates as mentioned before will provide the energy needed to fuel your workout.

11. Intake Protein and Simple Carbohydrates Post Workout:

The perfect time to start the rebuilding process is post training.  Taking a fast-acting protein will guarantee your muscles get the muscle building nutrients needed as fast as possible to grow and get strong.   The simple sugars found in simple carbohydrates will enter into the muscle cells at a quick rate and will react with certain hormones to kick-start the rebuilding process. Sources of simple carbohydrates good for post workout would be Gatorade or fruit juices.

12. No fats immediately after the gym:

Taking in fats after training will only slow down the absorption of vital nutrients trying to get to the broken-down muscle tissue.

13. Cut the carbohydrates at night:

As the day progresses lower your carbohydrate intake. This will help keep the fat off and aid in fat burning. In the evening select lean source of protein with a healthy fat and a little fiber. A meat or chicken salad with avocado and oil dressing would be perfect.

14. Cycle calories cycle carbohydrates:

The body is incredibly adaptable and will begin to fight change. Try cycling your carbohydrates by having a few days of baseline calories then have a high calorie day followed by a low calorie day. This will help keep the body guessing and support progress.  You will want to eat more calories on active days and less calories when you are less active.

15. Eat at a surplus while building or gaining:

A 200 to 400 calorie surplus is all that is needed for your body to start gaining quality weight.  If you burn 1600 calories throughout the day be sure to eat 1800 to 2000 calories.

16. Eat at a deficit while dieting:

A 200 to 400 calorie deficit is all that is needed for your body to start burning fat for fuel. Starving yourself will force your body hold on to fat tissue.

Living a healthy fit lifestyle is a forever kind of thing.  You have to learn discipline, moderation and find the balance that works for you.  Start by making better choices each day.  The goal is to get your body and mind on an auto-pilot type system where things become easier, stable and like second nature.

If you have questions, need suggestions, help or ideas feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.  I would love to hear what topics you want me to discuss in depth.  Thank you for your support.