Greetings teams! This is it...Week one of the Who Wants to Get Active Program! How did the grocery shopping expedition go over the weekend? Stay tuned for some yummy recipes in the coming weeks and clever ways to sneak in all the nutrients you need daily. Although it may be highly controversial, I recommend weighing yourself and taking measurements once per week. Several research studies have found that the accountability that comes from identifying your starting point and keeping tabs on it along the way is an effective tool for losing weight and reducing bodyfat. Please keep in mind though that not all weight is equal because muscle weighs more than fat. That is why it is also key to take measurements (upper arm, chest, waist, thigh and calf) as the more active lean muscle you develop, the more inches you'll lose. Muscle may weigh more on the scale, however it is a lot more dense and takes up less space. It is best to go with the same time and day every week for consistency as our weight can vary by several pounds during the day. Keep a notepad handy and make notes on your progress. Although it may be scary at first to weigh and measure in, the motivation that comes from seeing the numbers decline will keep you energized to reaching your goals. Remember to keep things in persepctive as it won't help to obsess about the weight on the scale daily. Just like your finances, it will help to first identify where you are and evaluate as you go. The idea is to stay flexible rather than fixate on a magic number and check in only once per week.
While we're on the subject of getting started, remember to invest in a proper warm up and cool down while you workout. Whether you are walking, run-walking, running or cross-training, warming up will gradually increase your respiration, heart rate and circulation to the working muscles. Warming up means taking 5 minutes and starting with an easy effort level (walking) and progressing slowly to a brisk pace. It is similar to merging onto the expressway with your car. Doing so will allow your body and mind time to adapt efficiently to the more demanding workout ahead. Skipping a warm-up can shock your body and elevate your heart rate and breathing. It leads to an uncomfortably high effort level for the workout session and can lead to aches and pains along the way as well. Cooling down is the exact opposite of the warm up. Start with a brisk walk or easy jog and gradually reduce the speed until your heart rate and breathing are back to a normal, resting state. Cooling down properly avoids the risk of stopping arbuptly including blood pooling in the working muscles and dizziness. When you bookend your workout with five minutes of transition time, it makes for a more pleasant and efficient workout.