Brains and Brawn… Starting the year right

Published 2:43 pm Friday, January 7, 2022

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At the start of the new year, most people try to make some positive changes. Some of the most common changes people consider is starting an exercise routine and going on a diet.
Either of these, or better yet, both, are great choices to improve your life. Over the holidays, we are often too busy to worry much about either diet or exercise.
So, at the beginning of the year, we might find it harder to button up our pants. This is a sure sign it is time to hit the gym and or start dieting.
Another problem some face this time of year relates to mental health.
The weather prevents us from getting out much. Some people even get up before sunrise and get home near sunset. Lack of activity and sunshine can lead to melancholy.
This is yet another thing that can be helped by diet and exercise. So, exercising and diet can positively impact not just your physical health, but your mental health as well.
So maybe you have decided to work out, but aren’t sure how to go about it. Luckily, there are a lot of great options. Perhaps there are even too many.
The best first approach is to experiment with several different exercise strategies to see what appeals to you and is consistent with your goals.
If your goals are gaining muscle and losing fat, you could get a trial membership at a local gym and try a light weightlifting workout including squat, bench press, and deadlift.
If you are mainly concerned about accelerating fat loss and improving your cardiovascular health, you might try a cardio workout like walking or running on a treadmill, riding an exercise bike, or going for a light jog.
If your goals are all of the above, you might try a “boot camp” or “crossfit” style workout. All of these workout strategies have hundreds of quality YouTube videos demonstrating best practices and how to get started.
Similarly, if you have decided to diet, but aren’t sure how to go about it, a good plan is to do a little research and experimentation. You could try low calorie, but I have always had trouble sticking to that diet.
A better choice for me is to limit myself to 30 carbohydrates or less every day. The advantage to this “low carb” diet is that you won’t feel like you are starving, but the pounds will melt off nonetheless.
Low carb diets will leave you craving sweets, but if you have the will to fight that craving, it eventually starts to wane and you can have a lot of success losing weight.
Another popular strategy is intermittent fasting. The “5-2” is a common take on this diet and it consists of eating whatever you want 5 days a week and picking 2 non consecutive days to fast, only eating 500 calories or less.
I have also had success with this diet. Again, there are many good YouTube videos describing the above diet plans in detail and how you can get started.
After experimenting with some of the above workout and diet strategies, I bet you will find something you like in each category.
Once the results start to show, you will get a huge boost to your mental health as well as physical improvement. As a bonus, you will not have to buy new pants.
Start the year right and invest in yourself.

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