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Five Strategies to Get Fit Today

 width=While in Chicago recently, I had numerous women ask me how to get fit.  As with most people who are considering the road to health and wellness, I suspect that these ladies were looking for the “secret” or the “magic pill”.  While there are many strategies that a person can use to enhance wellness, if there was a secret pill, the manufacturer would be a multibillionaire and we’d all know about it.  As many authors before me have said about this topic, “The secret is, there’s no secret!”  However, there are guidelines which can be employed to jumpstart a person on the road to fitness success.  Here are 5 strategies you can start TODAY: Get more sleep. Do not underestimate the power of sleep.  Lack of sleep can alter the way the body stores carbohydrates and actually cause weight gain and slow metabolism.   According to Harvard Health (http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/importance_of_sleep_and_health), lack of sleep can alter immune function and make a person more susceptible to disease.  Sleeplessness can lead to poor cardiovascular health, moodiness, and is related to learning and memory.  Sleep is vital.  Make sure you’re getting approximately 8 hours of sleep a night.  Even going to bed a half hour early is a step in the right direction for wellness.  DVR your favorite show and get some much needed sleep. Drink water. Water is crucial to our survival.  Our bodies are made of about 60% water and nearly every metabolic reaction involves water.  Strive to drink a gallon of water a day.  Ingesting enough water will increase metabolism, suppress your appetite, improve the appearance of your skin, and aid in muscle growth and recovery.  If there’s a “secret” ingredient to fitness, water just might be it. Eat lean meat, vegetables, and fruits.   Avoid processed food, sugary beverages, and alcohol. Nearly every fitness enthusiast will state with conviction that when push comes to shove they’d rather have a good diet day than a good day in the gym.  Food is fuel, nourishment, nothing more.  It needs to be what your body requires to sustain optimum health.  While we all derive pleasure out of our favorite foods, it is not the primary purpose of eating.  Eating lean meat, vegetables, and fruits, while also avoiding processed foods, sugary beverages, and alcohol, will have rapid and profound effects on your fitness level and physique, all without breaking a sweat. Eat 6-8 small meals a day. Beware that this strategy does not suggest you consume more Calories than you normally would; you simply break a typical day’s Calories into 6 or 8 separate meals.  Personally, I recommend this for 2 reasons.  1-Eating that frequently helps to keep hunger at bay and minimizes sneaking snacks.  If you’re awake for a 16 hour period and you’re eating 8 meals, that’s a meal every 2 hours.  You’ll feel like you’ve just eaten and if you’re hungry, chances are it’s time to eat again.  2-I am hypoglycemic and I think that many people struggle with hypoglycemic tendencies when trying to diet.  Eating frequently will help to stabilize sugar levels and prevent low blood sugar symptoms.   A sample meal plan might look something like this: 7 AM: Eggs and oatmeal 10 AM: Tablespoon of peanut butter on an apple Noon: Chicken breast and salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil 2 PM: Protein shake or meal replacement bar 4 PM: (Split dinner meal in ½.  Have ½ now and ½ in a couple hours).  Lean beef or pork, sweet potato, and mixed vegetables 6 PM: The rest of previous meal 8 PM: Grapefruit with cottage cheese 10 PM: Eggs and oatmeal Move. Any movement is better than no movement at all.  Start by parking your car as far away as possible when you shop.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Walk to talk to the coworker that you were planning on emailing.  Go for a walk at lunch.  Walk your dog.  You can take it a step further by increasing your speed when doing these activities.  Take the stairs 2 at a time.  Jog with your dog.  Simply put…MOVE! Will the 5 strategies make you look like a fitness model or a competitor?  No, not without significant time sweating it out in the gym.  Will they improve your health?  Absolutely!  Will they be a step in the right direction?  Um…YEAH!   And you can start all of them today without breaking a sweat.  What have you got to lose? Oh yeah, fat!   Summer Taylor is a National level NPC Bikini competitor,fitness model and high school Biology, Anatomy and Physiology teacher. She is a Species 2011 calendar girl, a Team Bombshell Athlete and was featured in December’s issue of Ironman Magazine and NPC Magazine and Lonnie Teper has declared her a ‘rising star’ in Iron Magazine