Sun | May 26, 2019

Fit 4 Life | Five habits to build your summer body

Published:Thursday | April 11, 2019 | 7:26 PMMarvin Gordon/Contributor
When it comes to nutrient density, fruits and vegetables are hard to beat.

With summer-body goals in mind, many have already started hitting the streets, parks, and gyms in search of the ideal summer look. While realistic goal setting and consistency are important, the habits that one foster can make or break his or her fitness.

Here are a few habits to help you reach your fitness goals:

1. DRINKING WATER

It's always surprising when assessing a client's nutrition and they reveal that they have sugary drinks two to four times a day and avoid drinking water. The ill-effects of sugar on health aside, these drinks add up to reduce fat loss, thereby hindering your chance at reaching those fitness goals. In fact, you might find that despite working hard and eating 'healthy', you are putting on weight. 

2. HOLISTIC TRAINING 

A common statement from women is: "I don't want to get 'tough' so I don't want to do weights". Men, on the other hand, often think, "I won't do cardio 'cause I want to build muscle". These habits go against the principle of holistic training and serve only to hold you back from achieving optimum fitness. Instead, make a habit of training all aspects of fitness at least once a week, despite your specific goals. 

3. EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Fruits and vegetables are an important source of fuel for fitness but three common myths stand in the way:

• Fruits are sugary and, as such, bad for you. 

• They are expensive.

• Vegetables are tasteless.

However, when it comes to nutrient density, fruits and vegetables are hard to beat. They are rich in micronutrients and fibre and making a habit of consuming them will aid any fitness goal. And, there is such a wide variety that one can always find tasty, in-season local fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices.

4. EAT MORE LEAN PROTEIN

One of the first things people tend to do when they set fitness goals is to start searching for supplements. Protein powder is probably the most common supplement and it is understandable; the importance of protein is well documented. However, not only is this approach expensive, but it also robs you of valuable nutrients.

A smarter approach is to make a habit of consuming lean protein. Lean meat and other natural protein sources will help you meet your protein consumption goals while providing a healthy dose of micronutrients and a way to reduce dependency on processed foods.

5. GET MOVING

From work to driving to watching TV, most of us spend long hours sitting down. Unfortunately, excessive sitting has a deleterious effect on health and fitness. Now it might seem like training is a remedy for the problems caused by excessive sitting, but the mix of training and sitting can have worse outcomes.

Think about it: you pressure your spine in a workout only to go sit for nine hours, putting further stress on it, vice versa. It is wiser to make a habit of getting up every so often; stand up, go for a walk, get some stretches done – whatever you do, just get moving. Your back will thank you.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com