How to Reach Your Summer Fitness Goals {Guest Post}

I’d like to welcome Christina Anderson to Run Salt Run today! She has some great tips that can be used by people of really any fitness level that can help you reach your goals. 

Thank you, Christina!


 

You’ve been thinking about changing your lifestyle habits to improve your fitness for a long time now, and summer is a great time to get started. The weather is warmer, you have more time off, and the days are longer. But even so, meeting fitness goals is a definite challenge and it can be hard to keep from getting discouraged. Here are a few tips to help you get started on the right foot and stay on track throughout the summer.

Set Realistic Goals

If you’ve set yourself completely unfeasible goals, it’s going to be much easier to get discouraged as, week after week, you feel like you’re not getting any closer to your goal. It’s fine if your ultimate vision is to be totally fit, but you need to recognize that achieving that kind of standard is going to require some significant lifestyle changes. So instead of overwhelming yourself and flagging out right away, start by considering your actual health situation. What is your greatest health problem now? Are you overweight? Do you have aches and pains resulting from not getting enough exercise? Are you a healthy weight, but not very fit?

Next, consider where you would like to be by the end of the summer and then think about what it would actually take to achieve that goal. Do you want to ultimately lose twenty pounds? If so, how much would that mean losing every week? Is that something you can do by the end of the summer? What if you only lose ten pounds by the end of the summer?

Consider how much your schedule allows for you to incorporate changes. Do you have time to start cooking dinner every night instead of eating out? If not, what are some other ways that you can make eating right a part of your daily schedule? How often can you go to the gym?

Make a Plan

Once you’ve considered a realistic picture of your situation, start making a plan for how you can gradually start to make fitness a real part of your day and week. After all, the only way to make a real and lasting change in your personal fitness is to ensure that you are practicing sustainable behaviors that you will be able to maintain after you’ve achieved your initial fitness goals. You should you’re your health an ongoing priority in your life. Depending on your starting fitness level, you may want to start slowly and ease into it. A great way to start would be to take long walks every day – a bonus of this is getting some vitamin D in your system and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. You should get yourself a pedometer, like a Fitbit, that can track your steps and also set goals for you.

Figure out what time of day you would like to exercise and find a way to stick to it. If you aren’t sure what time of day you prefer, try out a few options to see what you like best. Some people, for example, like to exercise first thing in the morning to get their day started, while other people don’t like to get up early and prefer to exercise after work or school. Figure out which of these options will be most sustainable for you and then make a habit of it.

You will also need to figure out what kind of exercise works for you. For some people (like me!), running provides a great “runner’s high,” while for other people it puts too much strain on their knees or ankles. Try out lots of options to see what kind of activity you like best. For example, you may find that you do better by doing a sport regularly like playing basketball or riding your bike than you do at the gym. Embrace these things about yourself! If you’re forcing yourself to follow a routine you hate, it’s going to make it harder to stick to it. Because of the nicer weather, you may want to try swimming for exercise. It’s low impact on the joints while still giving you a great whole-body workout. Contact your local YMCA, and sign up for a membership.

And of course, you also need to be addressing your diet while you are trying to improve your fitness. Be wary of fad diets! As everyone knows, the only way to really achieve a sustainably healthy lifestyle is to eat right and exercise.

If you find that you are struggling to get started with a diet and exercise routine, don’t be afraid to consult a coach, an expert, a dietician, etc. If you are not accustomed to practicing healthy lifestyle habits, you may discover that you have been believing health myths or following practices that aren’t right for you and your body.

Making Your Plan Sustainable

While you’re trying to meet your summer fitness goals, don’t forget that it is, of course, summer! You need to be allowing yourself to have some fun and take some time just for you! Once you feel like you’ve made exercise and diet a regular part of your week, you can start adding in a few rewards to make your plan easier to follow. For example, if you’re exercising several, times a week, it’s okay to take a day or two off from your normal routine while you go on vacation. If you’re following a strict diet, it’s okay to allow yourself some rewards on the weekend. Just make sure they are small things, like a few chocolate berries and not a huge slice of cake!

Get in Tune With Yourself

While you’re striving for a new, healthier you, be sure you are checking in with yourself regularly to make sure you are pursuing a routine that really reflects who you want to be. It’s fine if you’ve started working out because of a break-up or some other trigger, but you need to be sustaining this plan not just because of these triggers, but because it matches the personal goals you have for yourself for becoming a better person. Remember, consistency is key! Don’t throw away all of your hard work for a temporary fix. Keep up with your new summer routine year-round, and you’ll find that the positive effects will bleed into all other factors of your life.

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It’s Our Holiday! {National Running Day!}

Happy National Running Day, everyone!

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…for my sanity. For my daughter. For myself. Running has completely changed me for the better and I’m so thankful for it, even if I did find it a little later on in life than most people.

How would YOU answer that question? And whatever your running plans are for today, how are you planning to fuel after that run?

If everything pans out, by the time you’re reading this post I should have logged 4 miles and then Charm City Run has a 2 mile fun run event planned for 6pm that I will be attending. And after all that I can tell you exactly how I will be fueling because it will be the same way I’ve been fueling for the past two days.

It’s DELICIOUS. 

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Introducing Post GN–that stands for Grape-Nuts–Fit Cranberry Vanilla granola and I hardly got it out of the shipper before having to taste it. I couldn’t even be bothered to take a decent package shot first before tearing in. What can I say? Vanilla is my favorite.

This granola is my FAVORITE. 

Some nutrition information can be found HERE. This protein-packed, whole grain yumminess tastes like dessert without an overload of sugar. I guess I could have put it in yogurt or something, but Betty and I opted to enjoy it straight out of the bag. Including seconds and thirds.

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I’m sure you can tell by her face that she was loving every bite. The only thing I wasn’t loving was how much granola that she dropped on the floor in the process, but hey…if she’s eating something healthy I can let things like that slide.

I’ve been an original Grape-Nuts fan ever since I was a little kid and my mom used to buy it, so I’m thrilled to see them branching out to include granola in their product lineup and focus on making their mark in the fitness market. Grape-Nuts kindly provided me with some helpful fitness tips; all of them so important to keep in mind on National Running Day or just on any running day in general!

Grape-Nuts Fitness Tips

Whether you’re a light runner or a tri-athlete, it’s important to mix up your workouts. Cross training, weight training, yoga and Pilates are great ways to add variety, work different muscles, and will make you stronger overall.

Don’t forget to refuel. After a long run, your muscles fibers begin to breakdown. In order to repair them properly, they need to be replenished. Grape-Nuts Fit offers a healthy combination of carbs, fiber and protein to give your muscles the nutrients they need to recharge.

After your run, always remember to stretch your muscles, especially your quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves, to prevent injury and increase flexibility.

Be sure to stay hydrated. Water helps balance fluids and prevents feelings of hunger between meals. Carrying a reusable bottle makes it easy to refill often, aiming for 3 liters a day.

Getting the proper amount of sleep is just as important as exercise and eating healthy. To allow for extra sleep time, plan ahead by meal prepping for the next day and putting out your workout gear the night before.

I know for me personally, the sleep thing is my biggest challenge. As is the meal prep thing. I think I have some work to do.

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Are you a granola fan? Have you tried Grape-Nuts Fit? How will YOU be celebrating National Running Day today??

xo,

Salt

Getting fit…A to Z!

I love being a mom. I also love fitness and taking care if myself and I firmly believe that makes me an even BETTER mom.

Anyone with kids can attest to the fact that balancing life can be a struggle. Heck…it’s even a struggle without kids! One thing I’ve learned over the past three years is that you don’t have to give up the things you love when you become a mom although sometimes you do have to make sacrifices. Like in my case if I want to run, I will happily sacrifice sleep. I’m up and out of the house usually about an hour before anyone else is awake and that’s just fine with me.

Better yet are the days that I can combine fitness with my time with Betty: long walks around the city, stroller runs, or even chasing her around the playground. The other day I received an email with an adorable and incredibly helpful infographic called The A to Z of Getting Fit With Your Children and I immediately knew I wanted to share it. Kids or no kids, I think it could apply to everyone. You certainly don’t have to be a parent to appreciate some of these fun ideas! Laughing never goes out of style. 🙂

Children

As a mom it’s part of my job to  steer my daughter in a healthy direction in life. I want her to know early on the benefits of staying active and eating a well balanced meal (although we have our share of fro yo too). So far so good!

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Her first run at 18 months old!

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My little tree.

Big thanks to Giraffe Childcare in Dublin (IRELAND!) for sending me over this fantastic graphic!

If you’re a parent, what are your favorite active activities to take part in with your kid(s)? If you’re not, doesn’t “tickle tag” sound like fun!? 

Happy Wednesday everyone!

xo,

Salt