This month, I am out of town travelling in Europe to visit family and friends, as well as swim at the European championship in Slovenia. So, I will do what I preach and take it easy, relax and not sweat about deadlines. This month’s article will be a rerun of one of my articles, published in the Aqua Masters of May/June, 2017, and titled “Spring is here, time for ‘Spring Cleaning’ fitness challenge“.
Although it is Fall, this fitness challenge series is timeless and appropriate at the start of a new season, to gear you up into a new fitness routine, and set you up before the Holiday season. Here it is, enjoy:
I have found that Spring is one of the best times to launch into a new fitness routine. Days are longer, flowers start blooming, and in between the rain, the sun tries to peek in. We all itch to go outside and enjoy nature. Hopefully, you now have designed your resolutions into achievable goals and you are on your way to your road to fitness. Thru this article, I just want to help you kick-start your program thru a few challenges and set you up on the right track.
The first challenge is the “keep moving challenge” and is very simple. For a whole month, you need to commit yourself into exercising and/or walking at least 30 minutes 3 times a week. If you own a dog, he or she will love you. Rain or shine, in the early morning, during your lunch time or at night with your family, go outside for a stroll. Be creative and social. Ask your colleague to go on a walk instead of having a meeting in a conference room, invite your lonely neighbor to accompany you, propose to your other neighbor to walk their dog if need be, take your kids and husband to the park after dinner. In addition to slowly getting into the habit of being more active, you will be more social, make new friends and therefore will be happier.
The second challenge is a succession of weekly challenges aiming at making more healthy choices in regard to food and nutrition. Those challenges are not recommended diets, I am not a nutritionist and should only be targeting normal relatively-healthy adults. If you are on a strict diet due to allergies and/or chronic illness, keep following your doctor’s advice.
In the second challenge, instead of trying to forge a new habit, we are aiming at trying to get rid of some habits and/or foods which have been proven to be addictive, but also to be the culprit of a lot of diseases such as obesity, alcoholism, heart disease, diabetes and so on.
On the first week: the challenge is not to eat any fried food. You know very well what they are: fries, fried chicken, onions rings but also doughnuts and beignets* and so on.
On the second week: the challenge is to get rid of most processed sugar. In the last edition of Swimmer magazine, there was an article about sugar and the difference between added sugar versus natural. For this challenge, we are not only targeting the added sugar found in a myriad of processed foods in the bakery items and sodas, but also in canned soups and canned vegetables, processed meat and sauces. You are not going to be able to completely get rid of all added sugar intake but if possible try to replace the added sugar with its natural form found in fresh fruits or even milk. When your sweet tooth kicks in, grab a piece of fresh fruit instead of a muffin. In the processed sugar category, I am also including all the substitute sugar added in diet items which for this challenge should also be avoided.
On the third week: the challenge will be to avoid all alcoholic beverage. This is self-explanatory but it can be the hardest challenge for some of us.
On the fourth and last week: choose the challenge which was the hardest for you and try to do another week of it.
P.S. If you succeed to achieve all the challenges and you are interested in being recognized in our next “Aqua-Master”, send me an email with your name (first name is enough) and maybe your age and town. I will add that list at the end of my next fitness article.
If you also have a story you want to tell, please send it and I may choose to publish it if I think it might help others get on their way to fitness.
*French Cookery: any fruit, vegetable, seafood, etc., dipped in batter and deep-fried.