Friday, December 7, 2012

Direction for Life While in College

Here's a question from a family friend:

Hi Mrs. Kent! (wow - makes me feel old!!!)  Hope you're doing well. I was hoping you could answer a quick question for me. Due to a busy semester, I haven't been able to work out as much as I normally like too. I'm now trying to get back into shape, but my eating habits always hold me back. What foods would you recommend incorporating into a diet and/or what foods would you recommend staying away from? - just in general. And do you recommend equal focus on cardio/weights? Or emphasize one over the other? I'm not trying to bulk up. I just am working to get "fit". If anything, I normally do more cardio. In my prime I was doing 15-25 miles a week. I would like to focus on being a good runner, with an emphasis also on strength. 

Here's my answer:

Change your diet if you want to change your weight.  Change your exercise routine if you want to change your body.

It's easier to say, than execute however, but there is a way...here are some suggestions.

You say, "my eating habits always hold me back".  So, I propose to you...why?  Of course, your response is going to be, "I'm weak.  I eat poorly. I like pizza.  I eat out a lot."  etc...  And I say to you that it's your choice.  YOU are the only one responsible for what you put into your body.  You are what you eat, so a great extent.  OK, enough of the lecture.  You want a list of things to do:

Nutrition

  1. Eat more lean protein.  Hard boiled eggs (skip every other yolk) and chicken top my list.  Both are lean.  You're in college, so cook up a 1/2 dozen eggs and a 1/2 dozen chicken breasts on Sunday.  Dice and slice the chicken and put in baggies in the freezer for a ready source for sandwiches, salads and main dishes throughout the week.  Eat an egg or two for breakfast every day.
  2. Eat vegetables.  You may not have liked them as a kid and may not like them much now, but give them another try.  Vegetables are the mainstay of livelong wellness.  They are chock full of vitamins and minerals and are low in calories.  Vegetables fight cancer and other disease, provide antioxidants and fiber to fill you up without the calories.
  3. Eat fruit.  In fact, fruit is a great snack.  Bananas are great for athletes because of the potassium.  Choose fruits that are easy to eat on the go:  apples, grapes, bananas and oranges.  
  4. Smoothies are a great snack...go with frozen and fresh fruit and greek yogurt (for added protein at a low fat/low calorie option).
  5. Stay away from processed foods...these are white flours, white sugars and fast foods.  They will be the death of you.  They convert readily to sugar and eventually fat and offer NO or VERY LITTLE nutritional value.  This list includes:  breads, pizzas, most frozen snack foods, cookies, crackers, chips, sodas.
  6. Recognize your "pitfalls".  Know what they are.  Avoid situations where you encounter them.  If you can't avoid those situations, know mentally that you have a choice...you don't have to partake of late night pizza parties, video games and munchies and more.  Armed with knowledge and resolution, you can enter situations socially and avoid the extra calories.  That's called eating to live, not living to eat:  an important lesson to learn.

Exercise

  1. Be active wherever you can.  Walk or ride your bike to classes...it all adds up.
  2. Workouts don't have to be 60 minute grunt sessions in the gym.  Sometimes a 30 minute workout will do the trick.
  3. Maintain your strength...muscle strength is harder to get back than cardiovascular strength.
  4. When in a pinch, do a 30 minute routine that is moderate to hard. Try something like this:
  • 5 minute cardio (uptempo/interval)
  • 5 minute core (plank, side plank, back plank)
  • 5 minute cardio (uptempo/interval)
  • 5 minute legs (squats/lunges/plyometric squats/lunges)
  • 5 minute cardio (uptempo/interval)
  • 5 minute arms (pushups, chinups, bench press)
If you need a more specific plan - just let me know.  We will all "cycle" through periods of fitness and "not so fitness" throughout our lives.  We have exams in college, work obligations and family obligations later in life.  They key point is that you want to live 365fitt:  healthy and active 365 days a year so that you can LIVE the event that we call LIFE!  We have short term goals that include playing soccer, running a 10K or marathon, or doing a triathlon and those are exceptional short term goals.  But, in the long run...if you don't have the fitness to (in your case) participate in a pickup game of soccer or basketball...you're not 365fitt.  Make the time for it.  It's that important.

Let me know if you want a more specific plan.  Glad to help you out.

Living 365fitt throughout the years,
Coach Kathy

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