Yesterday marked the official end of summer.
As bittersweet as it is, for many of us, today a new season begins; the opportunity to re-prioritize ourselves after the chaos that comes from summer travel, kids out of school, and trying to juggle both while still working.
If you feel like you struggled this summer to stay focused on your nutrition and exercise, then don’t feel bad because you certainly wouldn’t be alone…
Despite what you might think, if you’re a parent, summer is actually one of the hardest times to make solid progress towards your weight loss goals.
Fortunately, now, the excuses just got on the school bus and the hard work can begin.
The next 3 months, between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, provide a beautiful opportunity to focus on fat loss…and if I were trying to drop some body fat before the holidays and re-prioritize my health and fitness, here’s exactly what I’d do:
I shared a podcast recently where I discussed the exact coaching process we use to get clients started – LISTEN HERE.
Instead of jumping straight into an aggressive diet plan, spend the next 2 weeks tracking your calorie intake through an app like Cronometer or Lose It. Yes, that means weighing and measuring your food intake. It’s not forever, but if you have no idea how much you’re consuming, then this is a valuable first step.
This will give you a solid jumping-off point and likely help you see ½ -1 pound of weight loss per week while allowing you to eat what you want without focusing on unnecessary restrictions.
Once you’ve established a baseline intake (the average daily intake over those 2 weeks), then you can drop your calories by 250-500 per day to get the needle moving quicker.
If I hadn’t already been getting at least 7-8k steps per day, then that’s a great place to start. I’d couple this with 2-4+ days of low-intensity cardio. This would look like the bike, treadmill, elliptical, rower, or machine of choice that would allow me to elevate my heart rate to around 65-75% of my max. A good general formula to find your perceived max heart rate is 220-age = MAX beats per minute (bpm). So, if you’re 40 years old, then your perceived max HR is 180 bpm. 65-75% of 180 = 117 – 135 bpm. This should actually feel fairly easy and you can likely carry on a conversation at this pace.
I’ve changed my opinion on cardiovascular exercise quite a bit in the past couple of years and have found tremendous improvement and adherence when we start with more cardio in the early stages of the program. Plus, it’s just easier to get proficient with than strength training….
So, if exercise feels daunting for you, and you’re not sure where to start, then just start with some cardio. Ideally 20-60 minutes per day for the first 6-8 weeks. The more you can do initially, the better as you’ll be significantly improving your metabolic health through better blood sugar regulation, blood pressure, energy production, vascular health, etc.
Fast for at least 12 hours per day. While there’s a ton of health benefits to not eating too close to bedtime, it’s mostly an opportunity to eat less throughout the day. I don’t know about you, but if I stopped eating by 7 or 8 p.m., I’d end up saving myself a lot of unnecessary calories. So, in lieu of following some overly restrictive eating plan, if we simply respected a 12-hour eating window, we’d likely be much better off.
I guarantee that if you did nothing but track your food intake for the next 2 weeks, walk daily, and commit to 2+ days per week of some structured cardio, while respecting a 12 hr eating/fasting window, you’d be well on your way to some fast fat loss.
But don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself, and let me know what questions you have along the way.
I’m here to help.