Get back in shape

Get back in shape

Are you trying to get back in shape after taking a workout break?

If you're finding it tough to get started again, get back to routine with fitness expert Sarah Robichaud's top 10 tips to get you moving again.

sarah-robichaud-70x78.jpg Sarah Robichaud

Sarah Robichaud is a fitness expert with appearances on CBC's Steven and Chris and CBS Early Morning Saturday.

She is the author of Getting Fit Without Hitting the Gym, and Working on the Ball - a simple guide to office fitness.

» More: Exercise at your desk

getbackinshape-1.pngTake the stairs. "Whenever you have the option to take stairs instead of an elevator or escalator, you absolutely must," says Robichaud. "Every single little bit adds up."


getbackinshape-2.pngGet a pedometer and start tracking your steps. You want to aim for 10,000 steps a day.

getbackinshape-3.png Take advantage of free trials. Find out what's going on at fitness facilities in your neighbourhood. Whether it's a gym, zumba classes, pilates or a yoga place, there are one to three-week trial offers available, says Robichaud. Try it out and see if it's something worth joining.

getbackinshape-4.pngOpt for a walking lunch meeting. Instead of sitting through another office lunch meeting, take the meeting outside and get moving. If you're meeting a friend for lunch, grab a quick bite and then walk for 30 minutes, suggests Robichaud. Whether it's catching up with pals or working, physical activity will help you feel focused and energized.

getbackinshape-5.pngUse free online resources. You can find calorie counters, exercise videos and online forums. Do you want to lose weight? Robichaud recommends an app called MyFitnessPal. It can track your calories and your activity: the number of calories you've eaten and how many calories you've burned.

"We mindlessly snack and eat," says Robichaud. "This can tell you throughout the day when you shouldn't eat any more. It makes you accountable."

If you've only burned 300 calories, consuming 1000 calories won't help take off the weight. "It takes the mystery out of how much we're taking in and how much we're putting out," says Robichaud.

getbackinshape-6.png Do something active with your family. In the evening after dinner, go to the park, walk the dog, or create nightly family fitness challenges. Who can hold the plank the longest?

Is your family exhausted at the end of the day and collapsed in front of the tv? During all the commercial breaks, get up and walk around the room. "Every commercial break, move," says Robichaud.

getbackinshape-7.png Clean out your fridge. Get rid of everything white: white bread, rice, flour or pasta. Read labels. If you can't understand the ingredients in a package, toss it. Throw out all junk and processed foods.

"You can't gorge on it if it's not there," says Robichaud."You've cleaned out the fridge and cupboards - and now you need to replace all that empty space with beautiful, clean, whole foods."

getbackinshape-8.png Set up a home gym. It doesn't have to be expensive to work out from your house, says Robichaud. Get a resistance band and a stability ball. Total cost: about $30.

You can work out your entire body with those two items, according to Robichaud.

Need some exercise ideas? Watch Sarah Robichaud's workouts using a stability ball.

getbackinshape-9.pngTry to enlist a buddy. It really helps with your motivation to stay on track when you have someone working towards a similar goal.

"You want to meet a workout buddy three times a week. Or join a fitness group. It's about having to show up and having some accountability," says Robichaud.

"If you can afford it, I highly recommend hiring a trainer for at least three sessions. A trainer will help you customize a program."

If you don't like to exercise because jogging is painful, and it's the only activity you know how to do, a trainer might be able to introduce you to a form of exercise that's more complementary to your lifestyle, according to Robichaud.

getbackinshape-10.png Get enough sleep. It's so important if you want to get on track with fitness. If you're not sleeping, you have no energy to work out. If you're not sleeping enough, your body's not releasing enough leptin, the hormone that controls hunger.

"Without that leptin, you'll feel ravenous all day long," says Robichaud. "Often when you're tired, you'll go for that high-carb, sugary snack and it creates such a vicious rollercoaster."

» More: Exercise at your desk

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