With a month until Spring Break and eight weeks until Derby, many of us are in panic mode, trying to get ready to either dress down in swimsuits or dress up for the track. Just in time: Milestone Wellness Center exercise physiologist Alison Cardoza comes to the rescue with her get-fit-fast strategies.
It’s that time of year again. Time to shed the heavy coats and winter clothes and reveal what’s underneath. If the long, dreary months of winter have left you in less than peak shape, here’s a list of techniques to help you enhance your physique and boost your confidence.
6 Diet Do’s
Fuel your body with the proper nutrients. Make sure you start your day off right. You’ve been fasting all night so it’s important break that fast. I personally like to eat steel cut oats or eggs in the morning. Try to grab healthy snacks throughout the day such as fruit, veggies or nuts.
Set a goal of eating six small meals throughout the day: breakfast, healthy snack, lunch, healthy snack, dinner and healthy snack.
Make dinner the smallest meal of the day since your metabolism slows down at night.
Try to just drink water throughout the day.
Avoid salt and sugars.
Limit intake of fast food and alcohol. Empty calories slow your metabolism down.
10 Exercise Enhancers
Exercise for thirty minutes a day.
Add cardio. It elevates your heart rate, burns calories quickly and sheds fat mass.
If you have access to a gym, try the elliptical, treadmill or bike for thirty minutes.
Do intervals: For two minutes, push the speed fast on cardio equipment, then slow it down to a regular pace for two minutes. This helps to elevate your heart rate and shed pounds.
If you don’t have access to a gym, try walking or jogging outside.
Do simple exercises like marching in place or climbing up and down your stairs for cardio.
Participate in fitness classes to help motivate and push your body in a safe, positive way. Make it fun; my personal favorite form of exercise is dancing. (I teach hip-hop at Milestone on Fridays at 4:30 p.m. where you can find us shimmying and shaking to upbeat music!)
Add some calisthenics every day, including push-ups, abdominal crunches, wall sits, leg lifts, planks and calf raises. Start with thirty seconds and increase your time weekly.
Weight-train every other day when doing a full-body workout. If you use weights daily, make sure you work different muscle groups each day.
If you want to develop a long lean body, use lighter weights and do two sets of fifteen reps. If you want to build muscle, lift more weight and do fewer reps (three to five). Warm up on cardio equipment for about five minutes before you lift and stretch after each workout to prevent soreness and lengthen your muscles.
Alison Cardoza, ACSM-CPT, is a former University of Louisville Ladybird and NFL Indianapolis Colts Cheerleader and a personal trainer and Fitour Hip Hop group exercise instructor at Baptist East Milestone Wellness Center.
Photograph by Alan Garcia