If you scour the internet, you will easily find crash diets and exercise routines that promise instant weight loss and rapid muscle gain. However, like most things, these promises are too good to be true. Fitness encompasses physical health, both your ability to perform exercises as well as your overall nutrition and diet. Crash diets are highly restrictive and do not constitute as healthy or beneficial in the long term. Whether you’re looking to improve your figure or shed a few extra pounds, or maybe just be a little more active, you should focus on developing a safe and effective fitness routine.
What does safe fitness look like? It looks like small behaviors and changes you make that can improve your health over time. Crash diets may make your tummy look a little smaller, but when you return to your “normal” eating habits, you can expect to bloat. When you rapidly cease your calorie consumption, your body may switch into “starvation mode” meaning that your metabolism slows down in an effort to conserve whatever stored energy you have as to extend your life the maximum amount. This can be a great defense mechanism if you were actually facing starvation, but when it comes to quick weight loss, less calories and rapid exercising can actually lead to weight gain. Your body will try to hold onto whatever food you put into it and will start to break down muscle tissue first.
Instead, make gradual changes in your eating habits and exercise routine. Focus on what you’re eating instead of just how much you’re eating. If you eat 1200 calories of junk food, you might be better off replacing some of your meals with better foods. On the flip side, if you’re eating generally healthy foods but still not seeing the results you would hope for, increase your activity a bit and look at your portion sizes. Add moderate exercise and strength training to your mix too, to increase cardiovascular health as well as tone your body with lean muscle.
Effective fitness is achieved when you change your lifestyle. When you redefine how you live, you will maintain consistent results. If you replace driving to work with biking, you have integrated effective fitness into your daily routine. Another adjustment is packing a lunch rather than eating out at a restaurant or going through the drive-thru. Replacing your elevator ride with the stairs is another easy way to change the things that you are already doing every day. When you make moderate changes, your body will begin to reflect your healthy lifestyle over a longer period of time. This way you, you achieve lasting results that truly reflect a your fitness level.