Tips and Tricks to Maintain Total Fitness in the Off Season

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Getting fit and staying fit is definitely no walk in the park. It takes a lot of work and it takes a butt load of commitment to make the life style changes necessary to get to your goal weight and fitness level in the first place.

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What no one ever tells you, however, is just how difficult it is to actually maintain your fitness. One thing we’ve definitely noticed is how people tend to get lazier when the summer season drifts away and the cool weather of fall starts to settle in. Whether it’s because people don’t feel the need to work on their beach bods anymore or they’re getting ready for some kind of fitness hibernation, we’ll never know.

What we do know, however, is that when you take some lull time like this, you can pretty much expect to regress on your physical fitness. So how can you maintain or get to total fitness even when the “lean” season comes around? Check out some of our favorite tips and tricks below.

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Forego the Crazy Cleanses or Restrictions

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need crazy dietary restrictions or a severe (and expensive) juice cleanse to get you back on track if you’ve fallen off of the fitness wagon. Not only are they difficult to complete, they’re also pretty challenging to maintain. Instead of going this route to jump back into your routine, opt for the smarter approach of eating simple, whole and nutritious foods.

For example, instead of reaching for that extra fatty piece of beef or pork, go for leaner options like fish, egg whites, skinless chicken breast or turkey. Keep healthy snacks within arms rich like fresh fruits or vegetable sticks if your stomach can’t wait until your next meal. Carbs aren’t always the enemy either so long as you pick high-fiber options like whole-grain pasta or brown rice. Of course, serving sizes should also be considered as too many people these days over eat.

Eating healthily isn’t rocket science, so take stock of the food that you’re putting into your body and start making better decisions. As you trim away the excess fat and sugar from your diet, you’ll notice that your taste buds will start adjusting and the natural sweetness or flavors in your food will become much more apparent. Settling into wholesome eating habits is the first step, and ultimately the key step, to maintaining total fitness.

New Season, New Exercise Routine

With the changing of the seasons comes an inevitable change in the kind of exercises you do. For example, it may not be feasible for you to take a jog around the beach or go for a swim if it’s raining cats and dogs or the water’s way too cold. Think of it like re-calibrating your wardrobe for the seasons.

There are just some exercises that are going to be better for you in certain seasons than others. Additionally, you’re also switching your workout routine to something that you can realistically commit to and do. Perhaps it’s time to dial back on your ambitions or pass on the high-impact interval training for a bit.

Maybe you’d prefer to dance in your bedroom for an hour or pop a work out DVD in so that you can stay home. Whatever you decide to do doesn’t matter. What does is actually making time to work out and stay active regardless of how cold it is outside. Remember, where there’s a will there’s a way, and if it’s important enough to you, you’ll make time to work out.

Purge Your Pantry

It’s amazing what kind of snacks and food items make it into your pantry and refrigerator when you’re not paying attention. Perhaps a bag of greasy chips found its way there after a pal left it behind from the summer barbecue, or maybe you’ve got all kinds of containers from random take out places cluttering your fridge.

Wherever these food items came from, it’s time to pull them all out and purge them from your pantry, fridge and life. For some people, purging comes easy, for other’s it’s a painful experience (who doesn’t love a sugary snack, after all?), but there’s no way you’ll be able to switch to simple and healthy eating if you’ve got all kinds of temptation lying around your kitchen.

Once you’ve accomplished this much need pantry purge, it’s time to figure out what healthy goodies you should be restocking your pantry with. Some awesome items to get you started are legumes, whole and high-fiber grains, as well as fruits and vegetables. If you want to grab some canned or frozen veggies, that’s totally fine! Just make sure that the canned vegetables don’t have too much sodium included.

Practice Home Court Advantage

There’s a reason why we keep including nutritional tips and tricks in this list and it’s because the total fitness battle is ultimately won in the kitchen. You can work out all you want but it won’t do you any good if you’re eating junk all the time. Our final tip? Eat or prepare a majority of your meals at home.

You’re more likely to eat healthy food and will have a better grip on the number of calories you’re ingesting if you’re the one preparing your meals. There’s no way to tell how many calories you’re actually eating if you’re dining out and chances are that guesses are way off. Why? Well, you never know how much butter, oil, salt, sugar or other ingredients chefs are putting into their meals.

After all, restaurants want their food to taste good and unless you’re eating at a transparent restaurant committed to healthy eating, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll be eating more calories than you want to. In the event that you do have to eat out, like a sudden lunch meeting or a spur of the moment outing with friends, try to choose menu items that are simpler and hard to make fatty.

For example, instead of going for some stewed or sauce laden meat dish, try going for a simple grilled meat dish with a side of vegetables.