Tuesday, September 22, 2020

10 Essentials for Getting Into Shape

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Happy first day of fall, y'all! Whether you've been soaking up the last rays of summer or already lost count of the number of Pumpkin Spice Lattes you've ordered, we're all gearing up for a unique fall experience this year. Personally, I'm gearing up for the bar exam in two weeks (yikes!). Normally, I'd be anticipating getting my results in the next month, but since the exam got pushed back, I'll be taking it at that time instead. In a normal year, bar applicants take the summer "off" to study full-time, but with all the delays, I needed to get a job in order to pay my bills. Balancing studying for the biggest exam of my life and working full-time has not been easy. One thing that has gotten me through these stressful times has been exercise.

As Elle Woods said "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands." From March through most of June I didn't do the best job of keeping up with my health, and it showed. I was depressed about not getting to have a law school graduation, I was anxious about what the bar exam would look like, I ate whatever junk food I felt like eating without concern for how it made me feel, and I dulled the pain with more wine than I normally drink. I finally got on the scale one day and realized I weighed more than I ever have in my life. I needed a change.

For the last 14 weeks, I dedicated myself to getting back into shape. While nothing happens overnight, I started feeling so much better about myself very quickly. I was on a better schedule, I was fueling my body better, and I was consistently in a better mood. Gradually, the mirror and scale started to reflect my progress as well. As of right now, I lost 12 lbs, I have a more toned physique, and I feel great!

Without further ado, here are my 10 essentials for getting into shape*:

1. Beachbody On Demand
Exercise and diet are the two biggest factors when trying to lose weight and get into shape, so the first thing I did was sign up for a Beachbody On Demand subscription. I had seen a bunch of ads on social media about it, and figured I'd at least check it out. There was a 14-day trial period, so if worst came to worst, I'd just cancel the subscription. After 14 weeks, I'm so glad I found this program! There are so many different workout plans to choose from, there are food recommendations, and it costs about the same as a take-out order each month! The workout programs include yoga, HIIT, barre, dance classes, running, weight training, and more. The famous Insanity workouts, 80 Day Obsession, and 21 Day Fix are all offered through Beachbody. Depending on your fitness level, you can pick which workouts are right for you. I opted for the T25 program since it was at an intermediate level and wouldn't take up too much time in my mornings (each workout is only 25 minutes). Every program comes with a calendar so you can check off boxes when you complete each workout. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable and to keep track of your progress! I also love all the recipes they offer as well! My personal favorite is the chicken piccata recipe (I served it over pasta because carbs are life lol)! They also offer superfood shakes in a bunch of flavors (and with vegan options) which keep you fueled and on track for the day! There's actually a few great sales going on right now too: you can get the nutrition program for FREE with the purchase of the superfood shakes (check it out here if you're interested), or you can get a super discount when you get the workout program and shakes together (as well as the nutrition program for free on top of it all)! Finally, when you sign up for Beachbody On Demand, you get a personal fitness coach. This person can help you decide on a workout program, figure out a diet plan that will work for you, set fitness goals, and motivate you to do your best! My coach is so awesome that I decided to become a coach myself (feel free to shoot me an email at thebestpaigeinthebook@gmail.com if you want to talk more about the program)! Overall, this is a great program and worth every penny!

2. Fitness Trackers
I got my Fitbit for Christmas two years ago, and I LOVE it! Once I finally got serious about using it this year, I realized how much it helped me stay on track. I use the Fitbit Alta since I like the slimmer design. The device itself measures your steps, your distance, how many calories you burn, your heart rate, your sleep, how often you move throughout the day, and the number of times you exercise in a week. Fitbit also has an app that connects to the tracker where you can log your calorie intake, how much water you've drank in a day, and keep track of weight goals. Fitness doesn't happen over night, so having smaller daily goals is a great way to work towards long-term goals as well as stay motivated! Fitbit also makes smartwatches if you're looking for a more high-tech option. The Charge 4 is another popular pick (and it's currently on sale!), and they also have children's designs to get the whole family moving! I've heard great things about Apple watches if you're looking for a tracker with more features and/ or that will connect with your other devices. There are also generic fitness trackers if you're looking for a cheaper option. Overall, I really recommend using a fitness tracker in order to help keep yourself on track!

3. Food Tracking Apps
A big part of getting into shape is what we fuel our bodies with. Food gives us the energy to be the awesome people that we are day in and day out. However, foods that are calorie-dense and nutritionally limited can leave us feeling tired and unmotivated pretty quickly. Those kinds of foods can also keep us from appreciating the person in the mirror. There are all kinds of diets out there (keto, Atkins, vegan, etc), but the simplest way to use your diet to help you get into shape is by eating at a caloric deficit. This means that you're consuming less calories than you're burning off in a day. You can run for miles and do crunches for days, but if you're eating too many calories then you probably won't get the results you want. A simple way to keep track of your calorie intake is through a food-tracking app. I personally like the Fitbit app since it's linked to my tracker and all of my other fitness metrics (you can use the app without buying an actual Fitbit as well). MyFitnessPal is another great option, and it can even sync to your iPhone's health app. When I first started measuring my caloric intake, I was shocked at how many calories I was actually consuming each day. Since then I've learned which foods help me to feel full without chewing up my daily calorie quota. I'm also able to plan around things like getting take out so that I'm still within my calorie range at the end of the day. Being aware of what you're fueling your body with is a great step towards getting in shape!

4. Goli Gummies