This blog post is a follow up from "How to get a beach-ready body in 28-days (Intro)"
Okay, so we’ve done our shopping. Let’s recap on the list of things we have at hand:
1) A new bikini/swimsuit-of-sorts
2) Tape measure, weighing scale
3) 1-litre water bottle
4) Exercise mat
5) Your staple breakfast for this week: yoghurt, muesli/muesli bar, milk, eggs, fruits
Brilliant! Let’s move on.
I decided to break down our to-do list into 4 key things - THEF:
Objective: Set goals and track our progress over the next 28-days to make sure we’re on target
What we’ll need: Measuring tape, weighing scale, our smartphones.
- For me, the goal of this specific program is to get a beach-ready body in 28-days. Because I’m toning up and may gain some pounds in the process (since muscles weigh more than fat), I’m going to focus my progress tracking on measurements rather than weight. Keep track of your process by logging your food intake/exercise on a notepad or a mobile app on your smartphone. I choose to use my smartphone because I have it on me most of the time; but if you like, you can also opt to use the traditional pen and paper. ;-)
If you’re going on a weight-based goal, please do not weigh yourself everyday. This will drive you crazy. Trust me.
- If you’re using your smartphone, you should be able to find some free mobile apps to assist your tracking process.
- Take a “before” and “after” picture for our reference. At this point, we’ll be taking our “before” picture first. If it’s convenient for you, do it now.
- Hang our new bikini/swimsuit-of-sorts at a place that we’ll see every day when we get up in the morning and before we head to bed. Trust me, it will make a difference. If at any point in the next 28 days we feel like giving up, we’ll wear it bikini and stand in front of the mirror for a renewed sense of motivation. Deal?
Objective: Create a new positive daily routine
What we’ll need: 1-litre water bottle, a strong commitment and total mental preparation to have the toilet as our new best friend.
- Habits are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously. [Wikipedia]
- Some good habits I practice that could also potentially make all the difference for you in the next 28 days include:
a) Drinking 1 litre of water upon waking up in the morning (I do this after I have taken my liquid supplement).
This helps to cleanse our system and most importantly, our colon. It may be a bit difficult at the start, but your body will eventually get used to it. You don’t have to gulp down the entire 1 litre in one go. Drink a few sips, wait for a few minutes then take another few sips and keep going until you finish. If you’re going to implement this new habit, wait for at least 30-minutes before having your breakfast.
b) Making sure I finish another 1.5 to 2 litres of water by the end of the day (total = 3 litres/day)
If you’re not sure how much water you need, take your weight (in pounds), multiply by 2, and then divide that by 3.
If you weigh 100 pounds, then the amount of water you should be consuming (in ounces)
= (100 x 2)/3
= 66.67 ounces (~ 2 litres)
Add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes that you work out. So if you work out for 45 minutes daily, you would add 18 ounces of water to your daily intake. [http://www.slenderkitchen.com/how-to-calculate-how-much-water-you-should-drink-a-day/#]
If you’re not the biggest fan of plain water (like myself), you can always add in your favourite liquid supplement. I infuse my water with 2 ounces of yummy liquid supplement (which tastes a bit like grape juice minus the sugar and preservatives) together with a shot of slow release natural energy booster for each 1 litre of water I drink. That way, finishing 3 litres of water each day seems less dreadful for me.
Also, since thirst is sometimes mistaken for hunger; if you feel hungry at any point in the day, drink a few mouthfuls of water and wait for 10 minutes before deciding to eat.
c) Getting least 8 hours of sleep a day – be in bed by 10pm – 11pm (depending on what time you need to be up in the morning).
It takes a whole lot of discipline, but did you know that sleep is a key component of weight loss? ;-) [http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/why-sleep-is-key-for-weight-loss.html#b]
d) Never skip breakfast.
Or any meals, for that matter. In fact, it does help to spread out your food intake into 5 to 6 times a day instead of 3 main meals. We’ll talk more about what to eat later in this post.
"People skip breakfast thinking they're cutting calories, but by mid-morning and lunch, that person is starved," says Milton Stokes, RD, MPH, chief dietitian for St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City. "Breakfast skippers replace calories during the day with mindless nibbling, bingeing at lunch and dinner. They set themselves up for failure."
e) No alcohol, no cigarettes.
If your blood type so happens to be “A” for alcohol and you’re a smoker, this may be a bit of a challenge but I’ll leave it up to you. Remember, you’re too sexy for weakness. ;-)
- Pick and chose the habits you want to implement in your life and make it part of your daily routine
- If you already have a positive daily routine that is giving you the results you desire, stick to it. Otherwise, don’t worry. You can always create a new one now. ;-)
- If you’re creating a new positive daily routine, think long term; so try not to be too ambitious with this. For example, my typical morning routine consists of the following (after which, I proceed with the rest of my day):
- Take the next few minutes to decide on your new positive daily routine. :-)
Objective: Strengthen our core (and get a sexy belly), tone up our arms, legs and… *clears-throat* bootie.
What we’ll need: Exercise mat (and some adrenalin pumping music if you like). An elliptical trainer will be a bonus.
Cardio-intensive exercises will help you burn calories, speed up your metabolism, and improve your cardiovascular health. [http://www.wikihow.com/Get-the-Perfect-Beach-Body]
If you’re already doing some form of cardio workout, stick to it and just work on increasing the intensity/duration. Otherwise, you can always start by doing 10 to 11 minutes a day (for the first week), and increasing it by 3 to 6 minutes each week.
I prefer to use the elliptical trainer since it has a lower impact on our joints and allows us to stride in reverse motion (which can help activate different muscle groups) for a varied workout. If you don’t have access to an elliptical trainer, don’t worry. You can always run on the spot – it’s fuss free and…free.
My cardio routine for this first week (11 minutes in total, alternate days) will consist of:
- 2 minutes – warm up/Intensity level 1
- 2 minutes – Exertion/Intensity level 2
- 1 minute – Recovery/Intensity level 1
- 2 minutes – Exertion/Intensity level 3
- 1 minute – Recovery/Intensity level 1
- 2 minutes – Exertion/Intensity level 4
- 1 minute – Recovery/Intensity level 1
This will not only burn us some calories, but also help strengthen our heart and lungs while at it. I’d recommend doing this 3-4 times this week (1 rest day in-between cardio days).
Stretching is probably one of the most important components of a workout.
“Aesthetically, well-stretched and limber muscles appear leaner than shortened, constantly contracted muscles.” [http://www.prevention.com/fitness/strength-training/stretching-101-moves-longer-leaner-body]
If you’re not sure how to stretch, you can check out this site for the basic stretches you should do immediately after your cardio.
Don't compromise on a good stretch. Otherwise, you’ll ache like nobody’s business the next day. Believe me, that won’t be much fun.
For this week, our homework is to do the following exercises – 10 reps each, with a 30-second rest interval between each exercise:
Planking: Hold position for 1 minute
During your cardio off-days, just put on your favourite upbeat music, close the doors and dance for a good 10 to 15 minutes like no one’s watching. If you’re not sweating and panting after that, that just means you haven’t danced enough. Hehe.
Objective: Regulate our metabolic rate with a balanced diet, nutrition and spaced out eating times (5 to 6 times a day, if you can).
What we’ll need: Health supplement, a balanced and realistic diet plan for the next 28 days
- Even with all the healthy eating options available, we are still missing 75% of our body’s nutritional requirements. [Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 11th Edition]
“When it comes to obtaining the micronutrients your body needs, your best possible source is food, especially fruits and vegetables. But circumstances may prevent you from eating optimally every day. The main reason I take nutritional supplements is for insurance against gaps in my diet.” –Dr. Andrew Weil
Find a natural liquid health supplement that is suitable for you. Why I specifically say “liquid” health supplement is because our body is like a sponge. If you were to put 2 sponges side by side, pour liquid on one and put a pill/capsule on the other, which would likely be absorbed faster and more efficiently?
Did you know - our body absorbs only 10% - 20% of the vitamins and minerals in a pill form, compared to 98% in a liquid format? [http://www.pdr.net]
That means, for every RM100 we spend on pills, we’re literally flushing about RM80 – RM90 down the toilet.
Anyway, if you’re looking for a good health supplement, here are some criteria that may be able to help you decide on which to choose:
If you’re peeing neon, that just means that your body is not absorbing the supplements you’re currently taking, so time to change.
- Balanced diet – remember to start your day with a healthy hi-fibre breakfast. If you’re on a mission to shed some pounds, don’t skip any meals. In fact, skipping meals leads to a slowed metabolism and…jeng-jeng-jeng… weight gain. Yup.
When we skip a meal our body goes into “reserve” mode and stores up the food we eat.
Each meal should consist of lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables and healthy fats; but let’s face it – it’s impossible to have the words “healthy”, “affordable” and “convenient” in 1 typical Malaysian meal. So if you can afford to have a champion’s balanced meal, broken down into 6 makan times a day, then great. If you can’t don’t worry, you’re not going to hell for that. Just make sure you start your day right, with a healthy breakfast since that is something you can control.
I usually have yoghurt, fruits and cereal for breakfast; with the occasional soft boiled egg on my cardio workout days (protein is crucial for muscle recovery).
For your in-between meals/snack a few suggestions would be to chew on nuts (roasted edamame, almonds, etc), turkey ham, cheese (limit to 1 portion), figs and beef jerky. Our body burns more calories digesting proteins than it does digesting carbohydrates, so technically, we’ll be burning fat while eating proteins. Now that, I like! Mwahaha~
- Eat slowly. It takes your body about 20 minutes to signal to your brain that you are full. Don’t forget to chew your food properly while at it. :-p
- In reference to item #1 above - TRACKING - keep track of what you’re eating and drinking.
- Don’t go on a diet you can’t maintain for the rest of your life. Self-explanatory. Just avoid crash diets or taking meal replacement shakes for all 3 daily meals.
“This calorie-deprivation/binge eating weight-loss method encourages your body to hang on to more and more fat until your metabolism is critically damaged.” [http://healthscamsexposed.com/2013/07/stop-drinking-meal-replacement-shakes/]
That’s it for week 1 of this 28-day challenge. I didn’t realize there was so much to cover in just this 1 post, but I hope I’ve shared enough to help get you started. Sorry for not being able to include every single detail in this 1 post. I included some reference links so that you can do your own further research (if necessary), but if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the “comments” section below.
Till next Monday (11 November), enjoy the first week of your challenge!! Big Panda hugs to a great start. Mwah!