365 Days of Fitness

It’s easier to stay in shape year round rather than start over again and again. So hit your goals, stay consistent, and enjoy your beautiful body 365 days a year

March 7, 2013
365 Days of Fitness

Early every day, I’m approached by someone: on New York City streets, in coffee shops, in line at the bank and asked whether I have a competition coming up. Sometimes I do, but if not, I politely explain that I’m just trying to stay in shape! Hoping it doesn’t come across as arrogant, I describe my daily routine and explain why I don’t need a contest on the horizon to stay in top condition. Ten years
ago it was a different story. I would have needed a goal: a competition, photo shoot, beach party, anything to strive for (instead of humdrum ordinary life) to stick with my regimen. Now I know it’s easier to stay in shape year round rather than start over again and again.

While having goals is important to mental and physical well-being, the goal of staying in shape should remain constant. If you commit to the idea that every day, week, and month, you will do everything in your power to be the fittest, strongest, and healthiest person you can be, you will never have to endure that “yo-yo” cycle of devoting months to intensive training, then falling off the wagon and starting over from square one.

How do you keep up diet and fitness? Plan your days in advance. Schedule your eating, training, and sleeping schedules so that they become habitual. There will be slips and slides along the way, but staying on track is a whole lot easier if you have a track to get back on; and falling off it won’t be such a disaster if you have a plan in place. Think of meals in terms of numbers. If you are a competitor, enthusiast, or just want to be your personal best, you should be eating at least five small (and clean) meals per day to keep your body fueled and appetite in check. Even if you indulge a little during three of those meals, you’ll still be eating 32 out of 35 clean meals over the course of a week! Give yourself an eight-pound buffer above your ideal weight. Use this as your maximum, and know that if you start to creep toward that number it’s time to refocus.

Try little tricks like dropping 500 calories from your diet on nontraining days and upping resistance training to engage the after-burn effect during muscle repair. Try not to eat complex carbohydrates after 2 p.m. most days, and always maintain a two-hour window between your last meal and sleep. Instead of gauging cardio workouts by time, use the caloric-burn calculation. For example, if it takes 45 minutes to burn 500 calories, challenge yourself next time to reach 500 in 40 minutes.

So hit your goals, stay consistent, and enjoy your beautiful body 365 days a year!

Yours in fitness,
Mona Muresan,
Editor-in-Chief