Your 12-Week Fitness Plan for Less Fat and More Muscle

Posted by Beth Hartman

Spring is upon us! It’s exciting to consider the fitness goals you could accomplish in the 12 or so weeks until summer. Just think: in 12 weeks you could:

– Lose 10 to 12 pounds (or 3 percent body fat)
– Gain muscle definition in your arms, legs, chest, or butt
Have the peace of mind that when you step out on the beach you have the confidence of knowing you look GOOD!

The secret to fulfilling your goal is to have a fitness plan, so take a look at how you can spend the next 12 weeks accomplishing these goals.

Your 12-Week Plan
Can you imagine being 10 pounds lighter by summer or losing enough fat to feel “cut?” This is totally doable. Sure, you could lose weight more quickly on a diet of shakes and carrots, but your goal is to maintain/build muscle mass and practice new habits that will not only help you achieve your goal but stay there.

If want more muscle definition, there is no reason why you can’t be lean and cut in 12 weeks IF you only have a few pounds of excess body fat. The keys to muscle definition are heavy strength training, proper caloric intake, and liberal protein consumption. Body fat covers up muscle, so if you need to lose more than 10 pounds focus on reducing body fat first.

Before you start any serious fitness regimen, be sure to consult with your doctor. Ask him/her for their recommendations on how much and how intense you should be exercising.

Once you are given the green light, you may want to consider purchasing an activity monitor, to help you track your progress and the intensity of your workouts. There are many types available to you, the Fitbit Charge Heart Rate Monitor is a great choice for tracking not only your caloric burn but it also monitors your heart-rate through the pulse on your wrist. And since it is worn as a watch, it won’t get in your way or be cumbersome to wear. Best of all there is no need for a chest strap to monitor your heart rate. It’s all done at your wrist. You can also track your weight progress with Fat Analyzing Scales

On your mark, get set, Wait! Before you start, set an exact goal for next 12 weeks:

For body fat reduction, commit to the number of pounds or percentage of body fat you want to lose. It’s realistic to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week or 1 percent of your body fat per month. Or if you hate tracking numbers, decide on a certain pair of pants you want to fit into, for example, or a specific dress size. Remember use your activity monitor to help you keep track of that data and use it to chart your progress!

For muscle definition, decide what you want to see in the mirror in 12 weeks: more shoulder and arm definition? Defined inner thighs and firmer butt? You can track Muscle definition with a Skulpt Aim
—> Write these goals down on your calendar today. Now you’re ready to start.

Week 1
When you begin to get to work motivate yourself to strive for small, incremental changes to avoid feeling overwhelmed. So in week 1, focus on nutrition and clean eating only. 

Find out where you stand.:
Find your proper calorie intake and track your food.
Start eating clean and getting more protein. (Organic based when possible) . Again the key to this is recording and keeping track of what you are eating. If you have a smart phone, there are many apps out there that will help you accomplish this. They can also be set to have limits or thresholds for when you have reached your caloric limit for the day.

Plan your workout routine.
For reducing body fat, your goal should be some type of exercise every day. Continue doing things you love (such as a sport or activity) and, depending on your fitness level, add high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training (2 to 3 days of each). Your individual training program should be based on many factors. The key point here is to keep to your schedule. Do NOT make plans to run or walk in the morning if you already have a hard time getting up in the morning in time for work. Schedule a workout after you’re done for the day. Or vice versa if you ARE a morning person. That is my personal choice. Plus a morning workout or just a morning walk can get you set for what the day has in store for you.

For muscle definition, you need to lift heavy stuff, too, without wasting away your muscle with too much cardio. There are many ways to build muscle. The most important factor is having an effective, long-term program and sticking to it.

Week 2
Begin your exercise program. Boom! You’re in the routine.  Most trainers say that if you keep to your routine for 3-4 weeks it soon becomes habitual and you will no longer get the urge to skip it when something else makes it tempting to do so.

Get into the groove of preparing food ahead. Again, start small. Grill and freeze a package of chicken breasts, buy frozen vegetables, and commit to taking your lunch to work a few times. Bring a snack with you. Eliminate one or two restaurant meals. Remember the more you can eat what you make and pack yourself, instead of eating packaged foods the better  Again, the cleaner you eat the more you will see a difference on what is being packed on your frame.  Chuck the food that is loaded with preservatives as much as you can.  

Weeks 3-12
Keep up your exercise routine every week.
Continue to eat clean. Decrease eating out a little every week and prepare more of your own food. Slowly replace processed foods with natural ones.

Check your progress. Recheck your body fat and/or measurements. A Body Fat Caliper can be your new best friend. You should measure your body fat at least once a month and your weight every week (keeping in mind that it fluctuates widely in the short term). If you haven’t made any progress, reduce your caloric intake a bit and increase activity. Always weigh yourself in the morning, before breakfast, and sans clothes.

Revisit your calorie intake to make sure you’re still on track. If you’re not making progress, adjust your calories and/or activity level.

New habits take time! Remember that even if you don’t hit your goal, you know you can do this. And remember your overall goal is to see that change in your appearance after the 12 week program is over. Know what’s next???

That’s right a new goal level. This is something that you can keep doing until that unheard of dream comes true. You’ve reached the goal of your dreams that you thought was too impossible to ever achieve.  Remember, your goals are your own! Keep making them realistic so that you can reach them and then for the next one, just put the bar a little higher each time and you will be amazed at what you have accomplished!

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