Dear Ariana

Today I thought I would do a little “Dear Abby” and share some of the emails I have received lately. I choose three, which represent the most common questions I am asked:

“I’ve been eating very healthy and working out for about six months now, but a lot of my friends and family say I workout too much and eat too crazy. How do you know if you’re doing too much? How much time should I devote to my workouts, and can I ever treat myself to junk food?

      ~Melissa F.

If you’ve followed my blog and Facebook pages, you know my motto is everything in moderation. Unless you’re training for a sports-specific goal, the average amount of time spent on your fitness goals should be no more than 30-60 minutes a day, with at least one day off every five days (ideally working out only five times a week). As for your nutrition, depriving yourself of something you love will only end up in you over-indulging on that very thing. I still enjoy wine and chocolate on a regular, but limited basis. Get your cake and eat it too, but only sporadically.tumblr_mc1uz9cgtJ1r6u05ro1_500

“It seems no matter what I do, how few calories I consume, and how much cardio I do, I can’t seem to lose the weight. I’ve had my thyroid checked, I’ve stopped eating gluten, sugar, and most carbs, but I still have tummy and thigh fat that won’t come off. I’m very frustrated!”

     ~Stephanie S.

This is the most common complaint I hear from my clients, and all aspects of my answer have already been stated in one article or another in this blog. So forgive me being repetitious but clearly it needs to be restated: successfully getting your body in shape, i.e., lowering your body fat, is not about excessive cardio, restricting and counting calories, or participating in fad diets or exercise regiments. Success comes from consistent, yet always challenging workout routines performed effectively (e.g., good form and correct pace) combined with eating enough of the correct type of calories (which does include carbs and healthy fats), getting enough rest, and managing your stress. If any one of these elements are not in place, you will not succeed. Lastly, I must remind you all again, that there is no way to “spot reduce” body fat. Just like you didn’t control where the fat deposited, you cannot control what body part reduces it first. You can only control your percentage of over-all body fat and the tone of ALL of your muscles!

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“In the last year I have alternated my workouts between P90X, Insanity, Cross Fit, Zumba, and Tabata. I feel bored and unenthusiastic and am finding it harder and harder to get the energy to workout. What can I do, what’s left?”

     ~Debbi, T.

I find that motivation is best renewed by successes. Therefore, I always recommend to my clients that they set small attainable goals and keep their focus on those goals. Then variety is less important than the challenge of the goal. For example, if you set a goal of being able to perform 25 burpees non-stop, and 20 plyo-box jumps at 24″ height – it may take you one week, it may take two months, but your focus will remain on something outside of your body’s shape.

Your workouts will consist of various exercises all geared to increase your stamina, agility, and core strength. Your enthusiasm will maintain throughout the goal period because each day/week you’ll get a little closer to success. Imagine how “fueled” your enthusiasm would be if you discovered after barely being able to complete five burpees, you could now do 10 or 15, on your way to your goal of 25.  At the end of one year where you’ve continued to achieve your goals, not only will your body be in tip-top shape, but your enthusiasm will anot have waned, and your motivation will keep you always moving forward.

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If any of these questions resonate with you, I  hope my answers offer some helpful guidance.  If you wish to ask me for any other advice, please feel free to contact me.  Ariana@danelifefitness.com  Now go workout!

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