I didn’t want to blog too long before I included a fitness-related post because my overall health is something that I focus on daily. I think staying healthy can seem overwhelming because there’s a lot of information (and mis-information) to sort through, but getting on track with your fitness is something that can be done by starting small and learning/progressing as you go.
I have 5 things that I implement in my routine every day that keep me on track and I love them because they’re all quick and easy to work in, even on the busiest of days.
- Eat a meat and nuts breakfast.This may seem downright weird if you’re used to starting your day with a cup of coffee or any sort of pastry/cereal/carb, but it’s essential for setting your metabolism up for success for the rest of the day. You can read in depth about why a meat & nuts breakfast is important here (and also a great article about cereals and other common breakfasts here), but the takeaway is that eating lean protein and a handful of nuts will keep your blood sugar stable and give you sustained energy throughout the morning. Ryan at Atlas Fit, a local Lakeway gym, first turned me onto the meat and nuts breakfast and, coming from someone who ate a bowl of cereal almost every morning for years, I can definitely say this has made a huge difference in my energy level. I’ll usually have something like a chicken breast (Blake always grills extra so we have them to eat for a few days) or if we don’t have something pre-made, I’ll have some homemade deer jerky (from Blake’s dad) or store bought beef jerky, and a handful of nuts like almonds or cashews.
- Drink a cup of green tea every day.Green tea is well known for its benefits relating to heart and brain health, increased metabolism (i.e. fat-burning), and reducing chances of chronic disease, among others. You can read up on it here and here, but suffice it to say that this beverage is a good choice no matter what your goals are. It’s also super simple to do every day — just replace your next soda or Starbucks latte with a cup of green tea instead. You’ll save money and feel good about your healthy choice! I work in an office so I’ve made it a habit to brew a cup of tea each day with my lunch and it’s definitely not uncommon for me to have a second cup in the afternoon. My favorite is Numi Organic Tea brand in Jasmine Green and I’ve not yet tried a flavor from this brand that tastes bitter.
- Use the stairs. As I mentioned, I work in an office during the week which means I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk — not the best way to stay active and in shape. This is something I can’t change but since it’s inevitable, I’m constantly thinking of ways to get a little extra exercise in throughout my day. One way I do this is that every time I need to use the restroom, I head to the upstairs bathroom instead of the one on my floor. It’s a small effort and takes maybe 30 seconds longer, but the cumulative effect of doing this every time can make a difference. There are 20 stairs between my floor and the one above, so each time I head upstairs and back down, I’m taking 40 more stairs than I would have otherwise. If I use the bathroom 5 times during the work day, that’s 200 extra steps that I’m getting in that day. I don’t only do this at work, I do it at home as well (use the upstairs bathroom when I’m downstairs and vice-versa).
- Get in short 10-minute workouts at every opportunity.I can’t help but feel that one reason people avoid exercise is because they think it requires a drastic change in their life. “Getting in shape means I have to join a gym and start working out 5 days a week for an hour.” Not so. When I’m at work and find myself feeling tired or just needing to step away from my desk, I’ll pop around the corner to an empty area of the office where we have some cubicles that no one sits in, and I’ll take 10 minutes to alternate doing wall sits and calf raises. I choose these particular exercises because, since I’m at work, I’m usually wearing compromising clothes that don’t allow me to move around much or get on the floor. When I’m at home, I usually can’t get through writing a blog post or a photo-editing session without breaking to do some pushups, leg-butt lifts, or indo-squats (more on this in a minute). Not only does it help me to keep my fitness a priority, but I find that the endorphins released from doing this helps to clear my mind and come back to my work with fresh thoughts. Overall I try to get in at least 30 minutes of this each day. If you’re reading this blog post on a phone or tablet, why not find a nearby wall or steady structure and see if you can wall-sit for as long as it takes to finish reading this post? If you’re on a computer, take a 30 second break to try it and then come back to read the last tip. I’ll wait ;)
- Indo Board.This is last on the list not only because it takes the most commitment, but also because it’s my favorite. If you’re wondering “what the heck is an indo board?”, it’s a balance training tool that consists of an oval-shaped piece of wood that you stand on while balancing on either a cylindrical object or an inflated cushion. If there’s one piece of workout equipment you buy in your life, it should be this one. Seriously. I’ve had mine for 8 years and I’m still finding creative ways to work out on it. Plus it will never break, need maintenance, or become obsolete like so many other exercise gimmicks out there (shake-weight, anyone? thighmaster?) It’s also way more likely to be used on a regular basis, because it’s unobtrusive and can be moved around from room to room depending on what you’re doing. I used to indo board in my college dorm room while watching tv or studying with my notes in hand, and these days I keep it in our home office and get on it frequently when I’m working at the desk. As I mentioned above, I don’t just use the indo for core balance training, but also incorporate it into other exercises such as doing squats on it or using small weights to do arm curls while balancing.It takes some practice to get to where you can balance well enough to multitask, so it’s best to start out in an open space and place a chair or something that you can hold onto in front of you. If you spend any time during the week watching tv shows, browsing the internet, or even sitting in a chair and reading, then you have time to indo board and you don’t even need to give any of these things up because you can continue doing them while indo-ing! It’s seriously the easiest way to get in some exercise without being asked to sacrifice anything else during your day. We have both the roller and the cushion and they’re each great for training different muscles; we especially love the roller for practicing balance and tricks for snowboarding season.
All of these habits are part of an overall plan I use to help my body burn more calories throughout the day. I hope after reading this you’ve been inspired to try at least one thing on this list! I believe if people see that a fit, healthy lifestyle is attainable by starting with small habits like those listed here, more people will be motivated to begin their own fitness journey. If you do try any of these, I’d love to hear about it and how it’s going for you!