What to do before you start a fitness program
I can’t believe I am already starting the 4th week of the Live Fit program!!! On my last post I explained why I want to get healthy and strong in 2018 and all the challenges I had to overcome to get here. If you haven’t read it yet, it would be better to start here.
In this post, I want to share some tips I used to get myself ready for the Live Fit Program. After many failed attempts to get fit and healthy, I finally realized that one of the main reasons I failed previous attempts was because I tried to change everything at once – diet, exercise, routine. In the first couple weeks, everything was peachy, I was super motivated and ready to go. But without the right foundation, every time life would happen (I got a new assignment at work or went out of town for a couple days), my new lifestyle became overwhelming and I was right back to my old habits. And it was a slippery slope, once I fell out of the wagon, I would then feel awful about it and eat to make myself feel better. That vicious unhealthy circle!
It wasn’t until I did the Live Fit program 3 years ago that I realized preparation is the key to success. Without the right foundation, the lifestyle can’t be sustained so that is why I want to share what worked for me.
What to do before you start a fitness program
- Learn about clean eating:
The last thing you want to do when you are super motivated to start working out is researching a bunch of information about how to eat clean. But a few minutes spent doing research will actually save you time in the long run. Today there is so much information out there and so many fad diets that is hard to actually know what you are supposed to do. Vegan, Paleo, Keto and the list goes on and on. The Live Fit Program has taken care of this information for you and they even provide a list of approved foods and a meal plan, making it super easy to get you started and what is most important, what you need to eat for this program to work for you. But if you are too busy for even that, then here is the elevator version of clean eating- try to eat mostly vegetables, fruits and meat, skip the packaged foods and control the sugar intake. Basically, your food should be as close to its natural state as possible – farm to table. For this program, since it focuses on muscle growth and refinement, you’ll need to take it up a notch and also learn about muscle growth and recovery and why you need protein in your diet. That is why taking the time to learn the basics will help in the long run and should be done before you even hit the gym. There is an exercise quote that I love that really highlights the value of eating right:
Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.
2. Build your grocery list and go shopping:
These days, I don’t have a lot of time to cook from scratch or go grocery shopping, so I like to plan freezer meals that can be put in the crock pot in the morning and are ready for dinner. I also like to grocery shop as few times as possible during the month. By planning my meals in advance, I can buy the bulk of my veggies and meat at Costco twice a month and only order online from my local grocery store things I need on a weekly basis or that are not available at the wholesaler. Meal planning and prepping the freezer meals take more work upfront, but it saves me a lot of time and money throughout the month and most importantly keeps me from falling out of the wagon. From past experience, I know that I tend to eat badly when I am tired and haven’t planned out my food for the day. That is when I will just reach for whatever is available in the pantry and the fridge and it usually ends up being loaded with carbs and fat.
Tip: Bodybuilding.com site, there are tons of recipes. I highly recommend doing a search for Jamie Eason’s recipes. You can find some recipes in my Pinterest board here. Be careful about searching for freezer meals or crockpot meal plans on Pinterest though, as some of these recipes are highly caloric and will derail your results.
3. Meal prep your way:
After you meal pan and go shopping, it’s time to meal prep. There are lots of ways to do this and die hard fitness people can meal prep for the whole week on Sunday and do no cooking for the rest of the week. If that works for you: great!!
For me, however, that is not appealing. I won’t even eat left overs past 2 days, so eating the same meal for lunch and dinner for a whole week is my version of diet hell. I need variety. My meal prep consists of several gallon size freezer bags filled with one pot meals that the whole family will enjoy. Things like Lemon Chicken, Beef Stew, Apple Cider Pork Chops, etc. By planning my meals for 15 days, buying in bulk and building freezer meals, I can eat something different every night and have left overs for lunch the next day. What is even better? I don’t even need to turn on the stove most nights.
Tip 1: do your grocery shopping on a Friday and your prepping and meal building in the weekend. You will need a block of time to get this done and it’s best if you can do it uninterrupted.
Tip 2: make a huge batch of turkey muffins and freeze them. Take them out as needed for snacks and heat it in the microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes wrapped in a paper towel. You will only need to make your snacks once a month – win, win!
Tip 3: make the protein squares and have it when the sugar cravings hit. You may find them a little different in the beginning, specially if you eat lots of sweet foods, but with time, your palate will adjust and crave less sugar. I haven’t had a soda in years and every time I crave one and try it, I gag. I can’t stomach that much sweetness anymore.
4. Gather support:
My husband is one of the most supportive people I know. He backs me up with anything I decide to do. And even if he is not doing a program with me, I rely on him to help me through the first couple weeks. To make things easier, I detailed my plan and what support I would need from him before hand (time to work out, keeping junk food out of the house, hiding the cookies, denying any requests for cravings, etc…).
Tip 1: if the people around you are not supportive, remember, this is your goal. Your support system can cheer you on or not, but it’s really on you to get it done! It’s easy to say your partner is not helping by not working out with you and etc…, but you really just need one person to be successful in this program – you!
5. Get your gear and supplements:
For any job, having the right tools make a huge difference. It’s also sometimes motivating to get something new. So buy yourself lifting gloves, new workout clothes and those supplements (protein powder, fish oil and flax). Don’t forget the ultimate recovery tool when working out – BCAA! These wonderful pills will help with soreness on tough days so you can get back to the gym the next day.
6. Eliminate temptations:
Without fail, every time I go on a diet or lifestyle change, I start craving everything I can’t eat. That is why, before I go on said diet, I usually allow myself a couple indulgences of my favorite desserts. I don’t know if there is a scientifips ically proven answer to why that works, but for me it does. After indulging, my cravings subside and I just feel ready to start eating clean again and of course, guilty enough to want to do good. However, like I explained on the previous post, I am not doing the Live Fit Program primarily for weight loss, so another thing I did was to allow myself a piece of dark chocolate (70% or higher) everyday. I have a very sweet tooth and I know from past experience that when I deprive myself from all sugar, I usually give up on clean eating, so this is my compromise. So whatever your achilles heel is, make sure you allow yourself a compromise.
These are my tips on what to do before you start a fitness program. I hope they are helpful to you!