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The Fast Five 
Strength Training, Cardio, Sleep, Water and Nutrition are the 5 key components to great health and wellness.  Once good habits have been developed in every category, you will have the best chance to achieve your goals, FAST! 

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So you decided to join a gym and get in shape. Whether you're working to lose weight, gain weight, maintain your weight or just live a healthier lifestyle, you may find  yourself wondering what the magic equation to achieve your goals is. The most infamous question among new gym goers may be, "do I do more cardio or lift more weights?" Or maybe you're just wondering if all your hard work at the gym will outweigh your lackluster diet. If you have these questions, keep reading. 

Fitness is not one-size-fits-all. What helped you lose/gain/maintain weight may not work for someone else, and what helped your co-worker's best friend's mother may not help you. But what works for everyone when it comes to overall wellness is a healthy balance of The Fast Five: Strength Training, Cardiovascular Exercise, Water Intake, Sleep and Nutrition. Once these five aspects of your life are in total alignment, your health and wellness goals will follow. 

Strength Training
Strength or resistance training is crucial to building lean muscle mass. The calories you burn lifting weights continue even after your workout ends. This allows your body to burn more calories at rest - as in, sitting on the couch watching your favorite show and STILL burning calories.

Plan to do some form of strength training 2-3 times a week. You can do 2-3 total body workouts weekly or alternative between upper and lower body training if you plan to hit the weights 3-4 times a week. 

Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardio exercises strengthen your heart and muscles, boosts metabolism, burns calories and helps prevent high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Unlike strength training, the calories burned during your cardio workout stop when your workout stops. That's why a healthy mix of both strength training and cardio will help you achieve your goals quicker. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all adults get no less than 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise per week. This translates to 2.5 hours of any activity that gets your heart rate up to 60% of its max. Consider taking some cardio based classes and check out our weekly class schedule here.

Sleep
Many studies have linked lack of sleep to weight gain over time. Getting less than 5-6 hours of quality sleep may be slowing your metabolism down and hindering your health and fitness progress. Sleep deprivation also results in hormonal changes and the way your body regulates hunger and appetite. Leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite and increases energy expenditure, decreases when you're not getting adequate sleep. Be sure you're getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night to increase the leptin in your body and decrease your chances of overeating during the time you should be sleeping. 

Water
Water is necessary for fat burning. Your body won't know how to metabolize fats or carbohydrates properly without it. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant and aids in waste removal from your body. The less water you drink, the more water weight your body retains. Sound familiar? Aim for at least 64oz of water per day.

Nutrition
Your diet plays a big role in leading a healthier lifestyle. Coupled with physical activity (and of course sleep and water) a good nutrition plan will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of disease and boost overall health. Start with a nutritious breakfast every day to keep you feeling full and energized until lunch.

Cut back on starchy carbs and try filling your plate with more leafy greens. Leafy Green veggies are loaded with powerful micro nutrients that can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and decrease risk of cancers and dementia. Try them raw or cooked over the stove top and fill up half of your plate with them prior to filling the rest with a lean protein and or a whole grain and reap the benefits!

You can download this Fast Five Cheat Sheet here.


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