The shredding I am thinking about today is leaning out and toning up.

Want to counteract age and sitting related atrophy and weight creep?

Me too.

Confession:

I have not been following my own advice as a mom or trainer. I have been missing meals. Having dinner way too late. Sitting more while reading and typing. Staying up even later to binge watch Netflix, to check email or gasp…social media!

Does this sound like someone you know?

Here is my 4 point plan to #Shred it.

1. Sculpt Thy Body Perfect:

I have been doing body-weight exercise, running and spinning for the past few years. I can see it’s time to lift iron again to avoid atrophy.

And, no wimpy weights.

I recommend a total body strength workout using dumbbells twice a week. It tones all major muscle groups to create a balanced body and saves time. It’s great for burning calories, losing fat, and getting lean. Plus, life is just easier when we are in balance and stronger.

Your challenge: Add 2 -3 20-25 minute strength training sessions a week. Remember to check your form. You must challenge yourself to lift heavier weights if it gets to easy.

Upper Body:  5 exercise, 10 reps, 5 sets.

Bicep Curls, Shoulder Press, Triceps Kickback, Chest Press, Reverse Fly

Lower body: 5 exercise, 10 reps, 5 sets:

Squats, Lunges, Sit-Ups, Deadlift, Standing Calf Raise

-Xtra Shred Credit: Do the #21DayPushUpChallenge for our Vets.

2. Boost Calorie Burn with Interval Training:

Want to burn calories even faster? High-intensity cardio rocks. Short 20-25 minute sessions on a cardio machine, biking or running outside is all it takes.

This, along with lifting can make you feel fitter and leaner within a week.

And, it works for beginners and advanced.

Your challenge: Add 3 20-25 minute sessions of heart pumping interval training sessions per week. Shred it tip: Add music, go faster.

I have used this 20 minute Cardio Interval Plan many times over the years.

You can also try this easy 25 min. cardio option:

2 Minutes Walking, 2 Minutes Jogging, 1 Minute Running/Sprinting. Repeat 5x.

3. Sit Less

Reading this while sitting down? Stand up.

Sitting at your desk all day? Then drive, fly or Uber it home and sit more? It’s almost as bad as smoking. Sitting a lot increases your risk of atrophy and many diseases like diabetes and cancer. Slows down your metabolism too.

Research suggests that even shorts bursts of activity during the day make a difference.

Ideas: Set a timer like the Tomato Timer and get up every 25 minutes to take a lap around home or the office, make a cup of tea, fetch a glass of water.

Walk the dog. Walk or run at lunch and after dinner. Play Twister, dance or play ball with your spouse or kids. Do jumping jacks and squats while binge-watching. Act like you have ADD. Whatever. Let’s just move more.

4. Eat Dinner Early:

Heard the buzz on Intermittent Fasting (IE)?  Research show it is an effective eating pattern to boost weight loss. And, has load of bonus benefits.

You eat within a smaller window of time a few days a week.

I consulted my talented friend Barret Butler, RD, LD, MPH for her professional advice. She tested a bunch of diets on her friends and clients a few years ago. Out of ALL the diets, the most weight loss was with her plan, a version of IE, which she has kindly provided for us below.

1. Eat 3 meals a day and one afternoon snack.

2. Avoid alcohol during Monday-Friday.

3. Two nights a week prep dinner early and finish eating by 5pm.

Example Day:

Eat Breakfast (protein, healthy fat, fruit or toast)

Eat Lunch (protein, healthy fat, big salad)

Eat Snack (handful nuts and kombucha or green tea)

Eat Dinner (protein, steamed, boiled, grilled veggies or big salad).

Summary:

· Add 2-3 20 minutes of strength training a week. 

· Add 3 20-25 mins interval training a week.

· Move a lot more during day and evening.

· Commit to Barret’s simple eating pattern. 

That’s it!

Fit this #Shredit challenge into your freaking busy life? Ha.

I know how you feel.

You have too much to do. You don’t need yet another freaking challenge. You don’t need yet another must-do to squeeze into your hopelessly busy schedule.

But hey, we want to get fit and lean for summer, and life.

Here’s my simple advice …

Start small.

Commit to #JustDoIt for a 1 week test.

Then, assess the data. Do you feel leaner, stronger, happier? Are you sleeping better?

Yes?

Add another 2 weeks.  You got this.