New or returning to fitness?
Initially I had wanted this to be a How to get Back on the Fitness Bandwagon post 'Drinkcember' post, but now I realize that this can also be a Fitness for Beginners post. Either way, if you're completely new to fitness, or you haven't trained in months and would like to get back into a healthy routine, this one is just for you!
Since I’m writing about detoxification post-vacation/post-fitness break, I decided to include pictures taken during my recent visit to Spa Castle in New York. This gorgeous facility is perfect for sweating toxins out, with its pools, hot tubs, different temperatures of saunas and steam rooms, and their wide selection of smoothies, salads and altogether goodness. Oh and did I mentioned that it snowed? While we were outside, while we were in a hot tub, sipping on cocktails? Pure bliss. They also stay open from 10AM to 11PM and entrance vouchers purchased give you access to all their facilities- talk about value for money! Purchase tickets for half their price on Groupon and treat yourself with a group of friends. I hope that you guys enjoy these pretty pictures and my beautiful friends too!
So back to fitness: I thankfully survived Drinkember, but in all honesty, January wasn't easy. I'm not sure that I have recuperated ALL my brain cells, and there are definitely muscles in my body that are still dormant. But hey, I am drinking more water, eating clean and praying for strength to get back to final form. January is that month where you need to treat your body with the utmost care. You partied from Christmas to New Years without knowing what day, date or time it was, you indulged in your favorite Christmas treats without restraint, and you probably weren't very active.
But it's okay! January is not the month to punish yourself. I ate enough food to feed a tiny rural village, so I'm going to run 20 miles a day and only consume green juices for 60 days. No guys, this is not the correct approach. This approach has failure and self sabotage written all over it.
Ever heard the phrase Easy does it? Well, this should be exactly the attitude that we have towards our bodies. I too overindulged during the holidays and even had a little food baby to prove it. I could barely run for longer than ten minutes, and my glute muscles switched off entirely while performing leg exercises (still activating those haha). Old Shiro would have cursed herself for 'letting herself go' while on vacation. But it happens to even the best fitness athletes. My favorite fitness model Lais Deleon, shared a similar testimonial on her Instagram account. She was very candid, showing how far she had deviated from her shapely toned physique after just two months of less training and a relaxed diet. And she is a paid fitness model who trains daily. So it happens guys!
The powerful thing about our bodies is that muscle memory exists. Over time, our muscles will remember the workouts that you used to perform and rebuild themselves to their former strength. Similarly, If you're completely new to fitness, over time, your body also will adapt to your new healthy lifestyle, and your muscles will respond to training. We just have to have to be patient and persistent but also, kind and understanding to our bodies.
Below are five tips for making that transition post Drinkcember back into fitness. If you're reading this post because you're in the camp of those new to fitness, here's how to carefully ease your body into a new, healthier lifestyle:
1. Light but regular movements
If you used to squat 200-lb but took December off, don't expect you glutes to remember how to carry that heavy load immediately. Ease your way in by picking up a lighter load. Maybe pick up an 80-lb weight and see how that feels. Trust that your body over time will regain its strength, you just need to remind it how to move. The same goes for running or cardio. If you could run 5 miles nonstop but you're suddenly out of breath after a few minutes or running, that's alright. Run and walk, ease your way in. Just aim to train more regularly to get your body back into a routine.
If you're a beginner to exercise, don't be afraid to walk briskly instead of running initially. Additionally, body weight exercises are perfect for beginners if weights are intimidating. If you have never weight trained, I highly recommend soliciting the services of a trainer initially (if finances allow). You do not want to injure yourself by performing exercises with poor form. There are also several free videos by Fitness blender on Youtube (or even paid TeamBeachbody's Insanity, Max 30, T25, P90X to name a few), that are perfect for someone who's new to fitness. Start out with the 10-15 minute videos and over time work your way up to the hour-long ones. Aim to get your body moving every two days. Slow and steady wins the race!
2. Eat clean
the best way to get rid of bloat and cravings from eating unhealthily, is to eat clean. This is one of those things that I don't believe in an 'easing your way into' approach. You just have to eat clean. Your body needs fuel to function optimally, to support your workouts and to detoxify itself internally. Clean out your cupboard and throw out all seasonal candy and treats. Add in fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats), lean meats and healthy fats. The longer your take to do this, the longer it'll take for your body to respond to your hard efforts at the gym. That's because fitness is 80%-90% nutrition and 20%-10% training, so you quite literally will be what you eat. Why not choose wholesome and healthy over unhealthy junk.
3. Sweat out the toxins
I'm a big believer in extinguishing toxins from the system. These toxins are what lead to brain fog, cravings for unhealthy foods and that lethargic bloated feeling that you get after you overindulge. The good thing is that detoxification can be done internally simply by eating clean and drinking plenty of water. I find though that sweating out toxins really expedites the process. Now going on a good run will ensure that you break a good sweat. However, my personal favorite is hitting the sauna or steam room. There's nothing more rewarding after a week of eating clean and hard work, than an indulgent session at the sauna or steam room. It feels good, you're sweating toxins out of your system and your muscles will relax and be happy! I'm thinking of incorporating Bikram yoga back into my routine, just to sweat even more regularly.
4. Lemon water
A daily glass of lemon water is perfect for cleaning out your system. It's a natural flush for the system as it stimulates proper digestion, contains vitamin C (great for the immune system), and is also great for your skin. Opt for a tall glass of water with half of a squeezed lemon first thing in the morning to clean your system out before breakfast. On the same token, I love having some lemon water last thing before bed to ensure that my gut sleeps happy.
5. Take a walk
People underestimate how much nature and fresh air can affect your mood. I think a lot of the January woes come in because December festivities and fun are over. We have to go back to normal, less exciting life, which lets be honest, is depressing. Everyone complains just how long January is. Going on a nice walk regularly can ensure that you get in some good sun, some fresh air, and that you appreciate the little things in life like the beauty of the day.