You can’t out-train a lousy diet, but you’ll also never reach your fitness goals if you’re not active. The key to success is blending diet and exercise in a way that works for you. Whether you’re working to beat back signs of aging any way you can or simply want to improve your overall health, these tips will help you create a well-rounded routine.
1) Make It Sustainable
Whatever diet you choose to follow and exercise routine you decide to go with; they have to be sustainable. What does that mean? You should be able to stick with your plan for the long haul without any significant changes or cheat days. This is the only way to make lasting progress.
Signs that your diet is sustainable include:
- You’re not feeling deprived or restricted.
- You’re still enjoying the foods you eat.
- You have energy for your workout routine.
- You don’t have to say no to attending important events/functions because of food.
If any of these are missing, it’s time to reevaluate.
Likewise, your exercise routine will be sustainable if:
- You don’t dread it.
- You can see yourself doing it for the rest of your life.
- It doesn’t require a lot of extra time or money.
- You’re progressing toward new goals and fitness achievements.
2) Find What Works for You
There’s no magic formula when it comes to diet and exercise. The most important thing is to find what works for you and your body. That might mean a higher-fat diet works better for you than a low-fat diet or that longer low-impact workouts are more effective than shorter HIIT sessions. It may also require trial and error to find the personalized supplements that properly support your specific health needs and goals.
There is no silver bullet solution. And chances are you’ll have some misses before finding out what works for you. This is especially true as we age. In addition to dealing with dry skin and thinning hair, our bodies undergo various changes that can impact how we respond to diet and exercise. That means what worked for you 20 or 30 years ago may not be what’s right anymore. And that’s fine. Just be patient and keep searching.
3) Keep Notes
Thought you were done with homework and note-taking, didn’t you? Sorry about it, but you’re not. The truth is, when we’re blending diet and exercise to create the best lifestyle for us, we need to take note of what’s working and what’s not. This is the only way to gauge our progress and make necessary changes.
Some things you’ll want to keep track of:
- Your weight
- Your measurements (waist, hips, thigh, etc.)
- How you’re feeling (energy levels, mood, etc.)
- Your workout routine (duration, type, etc.)
- What you’re eating (foods, portions, macros, etc.)
By monitoring these things, you will start to see patterns. For example, you may notice that certain foods increase your performance while others slow you down. Or that longer workouts are making you more tired. These insights will be invaluable as you work to create a sustainable diet and exercise routine.
4) Set Realistic Goals
There’s nothing wrong with having big goals, but it’s important to start small and build up from there when it comes to diet and exercise. Why? Because sustainable change is incremental. And when we try to do too much too soon, we often quit altogether. That’s why dealing with dry skin and thinning hair of making them.
So instead of saying you’re going to work out every day for an hour, start with three days a week for 30 minutes. And rather than going on a restrictive diet, focus on adding more nutrient-rich foods to your meals. Once you’ve mastered these smaller goals, you can slowly increase the intensity and duration of your workouts and make more significant changes to your diet.
A great way to approach goal setting is to ensure they’re SMART. That means:
- Specific – Rather than saying you want to “eat better,” identify particular changes you want to make, such as adding more vegetables to your diet.
- Measurable – You should be able to track your progress and see if you’re making headway.
- Achievable – Set goals that are challenging but realistic.
- Relevant – Make sure your goals are aligned with your overall lifestyle.
- Time-bound – Set a deadline for when you want to achieve your goal.
5) Get Support
Last, it’s essential to get support when blending diet and exercise. Whether that means joining a gym or fitness class, hiring a personal trainer or simply talking to a friend or family member about your goals, having people in your corner will make the process much easier. Not only will they hold you accountable, but they can also provide motivation and encouragement when you need it most. And trainers or coaches will ensure you’re doing everything safely and effectively.
When it comes to diet, there are several great resources out there, including books, websites and apps. But it’s also helpful to talk to a registered dietitian or nutritionist. They can provide personalized advice and help you create a meal plan that fits your needs.
You may also need to speak with a doctor or holistic healthcare professional to address underlying medical issues such as hormone imbalances or digestive problems impacting your ability to lose weight or build muscle. Once these issues are resolved with simple procedures like hormone testing or bloodwork, you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Patience Leads to Progress
With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to blending diet and exercise into a healthy lifestyle that works for you. Remember to take things slowly, be patient and keep track of your progress. And, most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!