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Simple strategies for getting in shape this summer

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Fast, effective fitness for summer

Getting in shape is easier than you think. Spending hours at the gym and depriving yourself of all the foods you love isn’t the only path to success. You’ll be happy to know jumping on the fitness bandwagon has never been so simple and we’ve got the strategies to prove it.

Woman with water bottle

Famous fitness

SheKnows spoke with celebrity trainer and fitness guru Harley Pasternak about how easy it can be to get in shape and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

If you're wondering which famous faces (or in this case bodies) he's helped get into shape, look no further than Halle Berry, Robert Pattinson, Lady Gaga, Megan Fox and Ashley Green just to name a select few. They all look amazing but Pasternak wants to stress that anyone can have the body they want – and it doesn't have to mean logging hours a day at the gym. "Famous people don't have better genetics than the average person," he says. "Anyone and everybody can do it."

No more sedentary excuses

5 Factor HarleyIt can be so easy not to exercise. Not enough time, no motivation and boredom are all common excuses standing between you and your better body, but Pasternak has some strategies to help even the most committed couch potato get moving. Busting excuses comes down to three things: perception, direction and time. "Everybody wants to feel and look better at some point, but what gets in the way are roadblocks, and my job is to help you get over these roadblocks," the celebrity trainer says.

1Perception

"I think people often think of exercise as being yelled at by a drill sergeant or aerobics instructor or being stuck in a dark room on a treadmill, but exercise can be a lot more than that," says Pasternak. If you perceive exercise as some kind of chore, that's how it will feel. Instead, get moving in a way you enjoy or that doesn't feel daunting. Walk to work, make your lunch plans a 15-minute walk from your office, meet a friend for coffee a 20-minute walk from your usual corner cafe or go for a hike to enjoy the fresh air.

2Direction

Pasternak says that when it comes to sticking with a fitness routine the key is having a plan. Too many people don't have a direction or a distinct program -- instead they'll go to the gym and do a little bit of this, a little bit of that, which can hinder results. But when you have a plan and a focus the results will come, and when you see results, exercise becomes a lot less boring. "Your body changes, you see the results, you get compliments and everything starts to come together," he adds

3Time

A brief but streamlined exercise program often works best because you're more focused, and you'll work harder and be happier because you know you won't be there too long. This type of fitness plan gives people more fulfillment, Pasternak says.

Get fit fast

A pioneer of the "less is more" fitness plan, Pasternak's 5-Factor workouts involve only 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Each 5-Factor workout begins with a 5-minute cardio warm-up, followed by a resistance circuit that works the upper body, lower body and abs, ending with a 5-minute cardio cool down.

Though the time frame stays the same, different body parts are worked each day and the number of reps and types of exercises change. "Variety is key in fitness and in diet," Pasternak says. With diet you can get into a rut and end up missing important nutrients because you're eating the same thing every week. With fitness, your body gets used to doing the same thing over and over, so you're not challenging your muscles.

Nutrition for weight loss made simple

The 5-Factor diet is a simple one to follow and a helpful guide for anyone who wants to improve their eating habits. Every meal must contain 5 key ingredients: Protein, fiber, healthy carbs, a healthy fat and a sugar-free beverage. Pasternak also suggests stocking up on the following:

  • Egg whites: Add veggies for a power-packed egg-white omelette.
  • Garbanzo beans: Toss into a salad, blend into a dip.
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt: Mix into smoothies, eat with fruit, turn into a dip for veggies.
  • Apples: Eat as is, shred over pancakes or slices and eat with almond butter.
  • Whole grain oats: Great for baking, eat for breakfast with fresh fruit and nuts.

He adds that taking a daily multivitamin is a great insurance policy for days where you may not get all the nutrients your body needs.

Even if you've been meaning to improve your diet or move more but haven't got around to it, it's never too late to make health a priority. "Every moment that passes is another moment to start on the path to a healthy lifestyle," Pasternak says. "Stop contemplating it and just do it."

More diet & fitness advice

Healthy eating tips and tricks
5 Summer-ready ab exercises
5 Vitamins women need more of

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