Plan and Prep Your Way to Fitness Success

Plan Your Fitness Goals

Mid adult woman training in park drinking water bottle
Have a Plan for Fitness Sucess. Luka / Getty Images

When it comes to fitness goals, the best strategy is to have a plan. Without accountability methods in place, losing weight, toning, or gaining lean mass can feel overwhelming. Avoid being discouraged from the start by applying a few food strategies proven to help with fitness success and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Keep a Food Journal

Food Journal
Food Journals are Great Accountability Tools to Help Reach Fitness Goals. Catherine Lane/Getty Images

The food journal has become one of the best accountability tools for reaching fitness goals. Fitness applications have even been created to track every morsel put in our faces with just a few clicks.

If you're not into new technology, the tried and true three ring binder with ruled paper works just fine. Grab a pen and write down food intake, daily exercise,  water consumed, and even jot down feelings surrounding fitness goals. 

The journal can feel like a bittersweet relationship. It requires honesty with ourselves as we write down the good and bad of our food intake. Overall, the food journal is a great teacher of positive weeks and those not so hot. Keeping a record gives us the ability to review foods consumed during successful weeks. We can then repeat those days marked as accomplishments toward our fitness goals.

Slow Cook in Bulk

Crock Pot Cooking
Crock Pots Simplify Cooking in Bulk. Rita Maas The Image Bank/Getty Images

Cooking in bulk is a great way to have healthy foods ready for any meal. Investing in a crockpot for bulk cooking is a great idea for planning and prepping food to help reach your fitness goals.

Crockpots are a cooking convenience item allowing for large quantities of food to be prepared at one time without the mess of pots, pans, or turning on the oven. Several boneless and skinless chicken breasts can be slow cooked over night or during a long work day.

Imagine coming home to an already cooked meal or at least the lean protein portion. If you have added good carbohydrates like vegetables to the crockpot along with lean meat then dinner is ready to be served. 

The leftovers can be portioned out into healthy meals easily packed for work and ensure your food intake remains on track.  

Eliminate or Reduce Alcohol

Eliminate Alcohol
Eliminate or Reduce Alcohol to Reach Fitness Goals Faster. Ian Logan Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Reducing or eliminating alcohol could be akin to taking candy from a baby and is tough for many people. The after work drink or social cocktails are popular but do come with negative side effects.

When alcohol becomes an everyday indulgence, the waistline will also return the favor. Alcohol contains empty calories and has even been termed the “white bread” of drinks. At the very minimum, it is recommended to reduce alcohol intake to no more than 1 or 2 times weekly. This will enable you to reach your fitness goals faster and improve health overall.

Drinking plenty of water to keep the body flushed of toxins and well hydrated will always be your best bet to fitness success.

Pack Food for Work

Lunch box
Pack Your Food and Stay on Track. Claudia Totir / Getty Images

Busy days call for a plan of action. Packing a cooler full of healthy foods for work will help keep you on track with your fitness goals. Being prepared will stave off hunger pangs sending you running to the vending machine or fast food restaurant.

Staying on track means planning and prepping for the work week. This involves making time to cook, meal prep, and having food ready to go. Motivate yourself with a fun cooler with side water bottle pouch and make taking food to work more fun. Allow for several small meals throughout the day and keep in mind last minute overtime situations.

Stay on track meal ideas:

Lean meat sandwiches on whole grain, wheat or wrap

Apples or other fruits

Portable organic yogurt 

Nut butters with vegetables

Hummus with vegetables

Raw nuts and seeds 

Eat at Home

Eat at Home
Eating at Home is Better for Your Health and Budget. Hero Images/Getty Images

Whether the goal is losing weight or gaining muscle, it's important to be in control of your food intake. Dining out, although enjoyable, is full of negative unknowns. Restaurant food is typically swimming in saturated fats and high in sodium providing no health benefits. Restaurant dining also removes portion control and many tend to overeat causing an expanding waistline.

Eating at home is a fun, enjoyable experience enabling you to learn about the best foods to eat for your goals. Eliminating or reducing dining out also saves money and we can all agree that is a plus for the home budget.

Eating at home tends to bring families closer together and opens the door to positive conversation. It is time to slow down the pace, fire up our own grills and ovens, and get into the Joy of Cooking to achieve our fitness goals.

Source:, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sticking with It! Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle Changes, Andrea Johnson, RD, CSP, LDN, 7/1/15

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