How to Get Fit & Strong Naturally

When you want to get into shape and become stronger, it is tempting to dabble with any number of supplements available on the market. Products such as fat blockers, testosterone boosters and appetite suppressants can easily be purchased at supplement stores or through the Internet. Even if these products do half of what they claim, you still open yourself up to possible side effects. To help avoid any of these complications, you can take a completely natural approach to getting fit and strong that involves nothing but food and exercise.

Two women walk in the open for a natural workout. (Image: gbh007/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Eat nutrient-dense foods. Give up the deep-fried mozzarella sticks, potato chips, candy bars, cupcakes, ice cream sandwiches and processed meats. Replace them all with healthier options, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, fish, whole grains and beans.

Step 2

Consume a nutritious, filling breakfast every day. Make a fiber-rich bowl of oatmeal made with low-fat milk and berries; or whole-grain toast with natural peanut butter. Give your body the energy it needs to function optimally.

Step 3

Eat a small meal every two to three hours for the rest of the day to keep your metabolism high and your energy levels stable. Create meals that have a portion of complex carbs and protein. Cottage cheese with chopped up walnuts and pineapple mixed in is a meal example.

Step 4

Eliminate all the high-calorie beverages from your diet. Replace them with water. It is free of calories, and it can help hydrate your body. Give up the soda pop, sweet teas, flavored coffees, lattes, fruit drinks and slushies. Aim for eight to 10 glasses of water a day.

Step 5

Perform cardiovascular training to improve your aerobic capacity and to burn calories. Do any type of cardio that you can stick with for the long haul. Power walking, running, biking, stair climbing, elliptical training, kick boxing and jumping rope are examples. Aim for 45 to 60 minutes of cardio three times a week.

Step 6

Lift weights to build muscle and boost your metabolism even more. Do compound exercises that involve multiple joints and multiple muscle groups working at the same time. Dumbbell chest presses, shoulder presses, pull-ups, triceps dips, twist curls and lunges are examples. Perform 10 to 12 reps, three to four sets, and use the heaviest weights you can lift. Work out three times a week on the alternating days of your cardio.

Step 7

Get outside. There are plenty of activities you can participate in that will get you fit and strong naturally. Hiking, mountain climbing and canoeing are individual activities; but if you prefer to exercise with friends, try tennis, badminton or baseball.

Step 8

Do not stay up too late at night. Sleep deprivation can lead to low energy levels in the weight room, compromised mental strength and poor recoveries from your workouts. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Sleep in a comfortable location that is dark and quiet.

Tip

Make everyday tasks more active. Use a push mower, instead of a riding mower. Take the stairs at work. Play games outdoors with the kids or take an after dinner walk.

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