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About 7 weeks ago, I started my personal fitness journey, but, unlike most people, I hadn't made a single social media post to broadcast it. I am now in a place where I feel I have truly made the commitment to myself in my fitness journey to let the world know, as well as, share a few fitness tips for beginners that I have gathered along the way.
Before beginning my fitness journey, I consulted my cousin, Luisa Quimbayo, who is a fitness guru, weight lifting expert and new mom. Luisa's fitness journey is based on vegetarian and plant protein diet (more on that in a future blog post).inn
Below are 5 fitness tips for beginners starting their fitness journey that I've found very helpful:
1. Drink Lots of Water - About 1 Gallon a Day
One of the most important things Luisa mentioned was to drink lots of water, about a gallon per day because "fat only leaves the body through urine and sweat."
Not to mention, the average body is made up of 50-65% of water, the great benefits an increase in water intake can have on your skin and overall health.
A gallon of water a day sounds overwhelming so try to ease into it. I've started by setting a goal of a half a gallon a day and am working my way up.
Get yourself one of those big half gallon water bottles and have it by your side at all times and drink away!
Bonus for Mama's: Breastfeeding Mama's and exhausted Mama's alike can also greatly benefit from lots of water!
2. What About Protein Shakes? Can I drink protein shakes if I'm trying to burn fat and/or lose weight?
Yes and yes. Some fitness journey beginners may be hesitant to consuming protein shakes if they are trying to lose weight, but protein shakes can actually help you burn fat and lose weight.
A lot of postpartum women may be concerned with excess fat they now have due to their pregnancy and protein shakes can in fact help you lose some of this.
In addition, if your goals are a bit different and you are actually looking to gain muscle and muscle tone, then protein shakes can also benefit you.
Whey protein is usually an ideal choice for both fat burning and weight loss as well as muscle mass gaining. Protein shakes can also help you suppress your appetite by making you feel more full throughout the day.
I've opted for plant protein because my personal goal is to consume less meat, not to mention, my body does not like dairy as much as it used to before I had my baby and most other protein powder contain dairy proteins.
Also, remember, the more muscle your body builds and has, the more fat your body burns naturally at a resting state.
3. So, when should I drink these protein shakes? What about fruit or veggie smoothies with protein powder?
"You want to take protein right after your work out session to maximize muscle restoration. And you also want to take protein right before bed because while you sleep is when our muscle fibers repair and grow the most. Just protein and water preferably" says Luisa.
"Smoothies are good morning drinks. When I'm cutting, I try to avoid any extra calories at all so I just take protein with water, but you can have a smoothie in the AM. Since you're adding carbs and sugars to your smoothie, be aware to limit them if you have a smoothie with something to eat as well." says Luisa in regards to smoothies with protein.
If you're running around with your little one, a protein shaker bottle is especially helpful so you can drink your protein on the go and without the need of a blender.
4. Set goals that are important to YOU and figure out what motivates you to stay on track.
A lot of times, as moms, we often forget what self care is. Now, you may be thinking, here comes that hashtag and buzz word again "self care," but we cannot forget how important this really is to our health as not only new Moms, but as individuals.
Your fitness journey is a way to take care of yourself and something that can become fun along the way and something that you can do for JUST YOU.
I emphasize this because to me this is extremely important.
I know my loved ones would love to see a skinnier, more fit version of me and have for years, but those thoughts don't keep me motivated for long. I had to really think deep and figure out why I wanted to start my fitness journey and how I would psych myself to remain committed.
For me, and I'm sure a lot of other Moms out there who have been overweight most of their lives, it's really not about not feeling comfortable in your own skin.
We became comfortable in our own skin a long time ago and comments like "you would be so much prettier if you lost a little weight" or "think about how nicer you would like in that dress if you lost a few pounds" really are more of an insult rather than a motivator although those that say those things may mean well.
So, all that being said (just a mini rant LOL), for me, my fitness journey goals are really more about my overall health.
My personal goals are to become healthier both physically and mentally, shed excess fat throughout my body and gain muscle mass and tone. To me, losing weight along the way is just a plus.
I want to be #MOMSTRONG inside and out. If anything, the mental benefits of working out outweigh any of the physical benefits.
Ever since I started my fitness journey, I am better able to deal with stress (on most days), my energy levels are way higher (which helps when you have an 8 month old who still doesn't sleep through the night or is in his 8 month sleep regression, who really knows?) and I am truly proud of myself.
I am doing this thing and I am doing this for me, but I know I will also be a better Mom and wife because of it, not to mention, once baby starts walking (running), I'll be able to keep up with him without getting out of breathe.
5. Track your progress so you can visibly see your results as an another way to motivate yourself.
Most of you have heard of My Fitness Pal by now. But, trust me, this part of your fitness journey is SO important.
Years and years ago, I read "The Ultimate Weight Solution for Teens," written by Dr. Phil's son, Jay McGraw. One of the most important things he emphasized on having a successful fitness journey was to record what you ate, record your workouts and record your results.
My Fitness Pal allows you to do just that on the go on your phone in a digital format. It even calculates how many calories you burn doing specific exercises and how many calories you should eat based on your fitness goals.
As far as results go, you can track your measurements, weight and even upload progress photos.
Progress photos. These are so important. You may choose to keep your fitness journey private, but please do take progress photos. I would recommend taking photos once a week and the minimum, once a month. Photos allow you to look back and really see your progress and how far you've come.
One fitness guru on Instagram even said that she makes her clients post a selfie a day to keep them accountable on their fitness journey. I haven't done this yet, but I plan on starting to do this once I reach my first milestone, which for me is 15 lbs lost or 2 months into my journey, whichever comes first.
I hope these 5 fitness tips for beginners starting their fitness journey have been helpful and insightful for those Mama's out there that are just starting out. I will be posting tips, recipes, workouts and more on Instagram @themamaluna_ if you're interested in more.
Look out for more blogs posts also!
I'd love to hear any tips you have to share with me and others and about your own fitness journey. #MOMSTRONG
Special shoutout to my cousin @luisaq__ for the nutrition and fitness tips!