Happy New Year Life In Trinidad readers!
After our highly indulgent holiday season (can anyone say carb-overload!) and heading straight into Carnival 2017, many of us are looking to ditch the food baby and get in shape. We all have our reasons: health value, year-round cosmetic value, or just to look good in that little costume on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. This is the time when most people hop on the weight loss bandwagon and, many times, fall right off. Let’s face it, when it comes to the ‘battle of the bulge’, our bids for physical reinvention are often easily sabotaged…until now. Life in Trinidad has turned to professional fitness trainer, Jared Sebright, who gave us his battle strategy.
Here, Jared tells us 4 simple ways to begin (or restart) a healthy diet and fitness routine that we can stick to:
Rest and hydration.
Trinbagonians love our holidays, particularly when they fall in close succession. We tend to get really happy and fill our schedules with as many events as possible. That means a lot of late nights, a lot of early mornings, lots of food and, of course, an overindulgence of alcohol.
Hydration: Our bodies are made up of 60% water and, in order for our bodies to function at optimal levels, we must be adequately hydrated. Recommended daily servings of water vary per person, depending on weight. Your recommended serving of water would amount to half your body weight in ounces of water, per day. So, a person weighing 140 lbs should drink 70 oz of water each day. If your water intake is less than recommended, chances are you are dehydrated. Operating at any level of dehydration, even if it’s just 5% or 10%, is going to hamper your productivity in all activities throughout the day. That includes your tasks at work, as well as your attempts to get back into your workout routine after indulging over the holiday season.
Rest: Like water, getting adequate sleep is vital to how well our bodies function throughout the day. It’s recommended that adults get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. One basic but important tip to help you fall asleep quickly, is to limit your use of digital devices in bed. They emit what’s called ‘blue light’ which tricks your body into thinking that it is earlier than it really is. This prolongs the amount of time it takes you to actually fall asleep. It’s also important that your environment is conducive to sleep, so you want your bedroom to be quiet, comfortable and as dark as possible.
Cultivate discipline and form good habits.
Typically, it takes around 21 days to develop a new habit. While it’s almost impossible to get rid of old habits, it is much easier to replace an old habit with a new one. These are a few important habits to develop:
- When you’re thirsty, drink water. That will help to get your water intake up to your ideal level which, as mentioned above, should be half your body weight in ounces of water per day.
- Get to bed at a reasonable time so you get a full night’s rest. Again, building on our first tip, this should be anywhere between 6-8 hrs per night.
- Engage in physical activity – whether it be at an indoor gym or taking up some sort of outdoor activity – at least 3 to 4 days per week. Demonstrate discipline by not allowing 3 days to go by without engaging in some sort of physical activity.
Make a solid effort to become more health conscious and make better health choices.
One example of a better choice would be to duck your co-workers and say, ‘No,’ to the after-work lime, even though the whole office pumpin’. After all, it’s only Tuesday – the week now start. More than likely that small lime won’t actually be a small lime and you’re going to reach home late and lose out on valuable rest.
Another good health choice is the elimination of unhealthy foods and drinks from your diet. This includes artificial sugar which is found in, among other things, soft drinks and most juices. The only sugar you should want to put into your body will come from natural sources which are, typically, fruits.
You also want to make better decisions with respect to the types of food that you do consume. Opt for preparing your own meals rather than eating out and, if you do eat out, stay away from excess flour and fried foods. That might mean you have to forgo those 3 or 4 doubles you’d probably have on a morning and the roti and red Solo at lunch.
Set aside some ‘me time’.
Finally, carve some time out for yourself at any point during the week. This tip is arguably the most important, yet most neglected of them all. It’s easy to get caught up in a routine when you’re spending 8 hours a day, every day, 5 days a week, in work-mode. Life is nothing if you don’t have balance, so decide what will bring you a sense of happiness and fulfilment. Plan it, plug it into your schedule and make it happen.
If you’re reading this and thinking ‘This advice isn’t for me; I’m a fitness beast. I’m just taking a break because the season has been so busy for me,’ take note. All you need is a 2-week hiatus to start your fitness clock rolling backwards. Jared cautions that, “After that 2-week marker, the fitness level you previously had will start to slowly and steadily decline.” So, it’s time to get up and move.
If you need some support on your fitness journey, you can connect with Jared at [email protected] or find him at Trinidad Superior Health Club in San Juan. He’s got some big things planned so look out for #OptimalWellness in the coming weeks!