Every fitness plan has distinct advantages and disadvantages, so while there’s no such thing as a perfect diet and exercise plan, there are certainly some plans that are better than others. Personality, lifestyle, budget and scheduling also play big roles in which plans work well for most people. Ultimately, it’s best to choose a plan that is tailored to your goals and preferences.
Many different diets can be healthy and effective, but the best diet plans provide enough calories and nutrients for consistent nourishment. Effective plans focus on fresh foods that are low in calories and fat, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and nonfat dairy products. The United States Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid is one useful dietary plan to follow. With any diet, make an effort to avoid foods that are especially rich in saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, cholesterol and calories.
Include more than one type of exercise in a weekly routine. The American Council on Exercise stresses that a complete and effective plan incorporates strength training and conditioning as well as flexibility exercises and aerobics. Stretching helps prevent injuries and prepare muscles for workouts, strength training builds muscle mass and aerobic exercise raises the heart rate and burns calories. Find time for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise and two weekly sessions of strength training, as the American College of Sports Medicine recommends.
To achieve and maintain good health, variety is a pivotal component of both diet and exercise. Try to eat different foods and do different exercises every day. In the diet, choosing fresh and healthy foods from all the main food groups will allow the body to get the essential nutrients it needs. With exercise, varying a routine will work all major muscle groups as well as help build strength and improve aerobic capacity.
When devising a fitness plan, be realistic about your goals and limitations. Choose exercises and healthy foods you enjoy to have the best chance of success. Make picks that are within your budget and that will fit your schedule, as the Mayo Clinic recommends. Most importantly, develop a plan that you can stick with permanently rather than for just a few weeks or a couple of months.
The best diet and exercise plans are comprehensive and effective enough to spur weight loss or healthy weight maintenance. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, they can also improve energy levels and focus as well as reduce the risk of health issues including obesity, cancer, diabetes, asthma and heart disease.