A lot of people ask me what I do to prepare for photo shoots and events to feel confident and look my best. I’ve never been shy about sharing my short-term exercise and nutrition habits before big occasions. But let’s get one thing straight. The rest of the year, I practice a balanced approach to health and fitness. I treat my body with love and respect by eating mainly whole, unprocessed foods, taking daily vitamins and supplements
, and staying active. The week before a shoot is just a little umph to give my abs a bit more definition. So don’t expect any crash diet secrets here. Hello! Do you even know me?
Life is too short to go without chocolate , wine, or Mexican food so I allow myself a little wiggle room to enjoy my favorite treats year-round. However, the week leading up to a shoot/event, I like to reign in my nutrition and take my workouts up a notch.
Well, I have a confession to make. I kept my workouts entirely the same last week. I’m talking 30 minutes or less of cardio per day leading up to my photo shoot last weekend. There, it’s out!
Prior to my knee issues, the week leading up to my shoots consisted of two 30 to 40-minute sessions every day. That’s over an hour of cardio if you didn’t do the math. Why? Because it’s what all the “experts” and textbooks tell you to do to help shed water weight. It also sounds “right.” Cardio burns calories and makes you sweat. Therefore, if you do more of it, you will look leaner. Oy vey!
But guess what! I decided I wasn’t going to push it last week. For one, I wanted to be easy on my knees. Two, I’ve had to cut back on my activity the last 7 months, so I’ve been experimenting more with my nutrition. This past week, I wanted to see what I could do with slight changes in my eating habits alone. And, lastly, because I preach self-love and acceptance. Pushing myself and risking further injury would be everything against what I teach. I decided to take my own advice and accept myself at this stage of my journey no matter what.
You know what happened? Nothing! Sans extra exercise, I was still dedicated to my pre-shoot eating habits (Curious about what I eat before an event? You can find a similar meal plan in your free 5 Day Metabolism Jumpstart
!) and I felt amazing in my skin.
So what is the point in telling you my little secret? Well, there’s a couple of take-a-ways from my experiment.
When it comes to cardio, less is more. I know, it seems counterintuitive but hear me out. When we do too much cardio, our body starts to compensate and we slow down our basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories we burn at rest). This is why you’re only asked to do 3 days of cardio and short, effective workouts in the Life in Spandex Sweat Guide
. Short and sweet cardio also prevents injury, gives you more energy for the rest of your busy #bossbabe life, and keeps crazy carb cravings at bay.
2) Be Kind to Yourself
Waking up one morning and deciding you want to make a change to feel better, be healthy, and gain confidence is awesome and empowering. However, it also means acknowledging the parts of you that are uncomfortable. When you decide to make a change, it’s really important to start with self-love and acceptance. We want to build our new healthy habits around positivity. If you start a new workout or nutrition regimen out of deprecation, well, lady, I’m sorry but no matter how much weight you lose or muscle you build, you’re going to feel unhappy with yourself. Exercise is meant to be a celebration of what our bodies can do and healthy eating is meant to be a form of self-respect. Don’t forget it!
There’s enough fitness advice out there to make us all crazy. Before you jump on the next trend, do your research!
4) Proper nutrition reveals your hard work.
Exercise until the cows come home. If you’re eating junk, you’re only experiencing 30% of the benefits of healthy living
. Want to show off those hard-earned muscles? Good nutrition. Want to reduce inflammation in your body and prevent disease? Good nutrition. Want to sleep better and feel more energized? Good nutrition. Exercise is very important, but take it from someone who’s recently cut WAY back, it’s not the whole equation. Not sure where to start? I outline a no-stress, delicious approach to healthy eating in the Life in Spandex Eat Guides.
There is no failure in experimentation. Just testing and refining. Try a new workout or switch up your nutrition. What’s the worse that can happen? If you don’t like the results, change your habits! Your body will adapt. If what you’re doing isn’t giving you the results you want – anything from the way your body looks, how it feels, your emotional state, to getting bored – switch it up. It’s the only way to find out if something may work better for you.
6) You can love yourself and have aesthetic goals, too!
You don’t have to be stagnant to love yourself! But you do have to find acceptance for where you are right now, will be in the future, and were in the past. If you don’t, you may be practicing healthy habits out of fear – fear of gaining weight, losing muscle, etc. When we start living in love, navigating our daily choices becomes light and effortless. If you needed permission to change your body, here it is! It’s okay to have aesthetic goals and love yourself at the same time. Just make yourself one promise – stop pursuing goals out of fear.
What are some ways you’ve gone against the grain to reach a fitness goal? Do you think you can have self-love and aesthetic goals? What’s the worst fitness advice you’ve tried? What’s the best fitness advice you’ve heard? Tell me in the comments below!