How's 2020 treating you so far? How many of those good habits you promised yourself that you'd start implementing at the beginning or January are you still performing today?
I've done a lot of work on habits over the years. I'll admit not all have been extremely successful, but I'd say I've learnt a thing or two about making habits stick and today I want to share a few health & fitness related tips with you.
A lot of my clients struggle to remember to track their food when they first start out. Weighing and logging everything you've eaten isn't exactly second nature.
1. Bulk produce your meals (keep reading for more on this). MFP has a great option to copy foods/meals from day to day so you don't need to calculate/input every meal every single day of the week.
2. Cook/eat similar meals week to week and keep the recipes the same (or similar). Once you've found a few meals that work for both your satiety and your macros, you'll wonder why tracking was ever a problem in the first place.
3. If you're cooking your meals from scratch, rather than waiting until it's all cooked to input your ingredients use the 'create a recipe' feature on MFP to add the ingredients as you're weighing them. This way you won't accidentally forget an ingredient and you'll be able to use their 'servings' option to calculate the macros per portion for you.
If you've never bulk cooked/meal prepped food, meal prepping can actually seem quite daunting. Although I've heard people joke about meal prepping being no different to making yourself a packed lunch, I understand it can be a lot more complex when you're also trying to stick to your macros.
1. Keep it simple. Choose a carb, protein and fat source that you won't mind eating several times a week. Choose your flavourings (to keep it satiating) and work out how much of each you need to keep your meal in line with your macro percentages (don't stress on this point as the more you practice the more this WILL become second nature).
2. Choose a day or two to cook that is convenient. I know meal prep Sunday is a big thing in the fitness industry but if Sunday's don't work for you, don't push it. You need to have a solid couple of hours to cook properly without becoming flustered/running out of time.
3. Make use of your freezer. A lot of the foods you cook may only stay fresh in the fridge for 2-3 days but may last much longer in the freezer. For example, cooked chicken can be frozen and taken out a day before use or microwaves when ready.
Unless you have a 10-20 minute commute in your day, it's tough to keep your daily activity high as a 9-5 city worker and by now, we all know the importance of keeping active throughout the day.
1. Limit periods of sitting down to 20-30 minutes, make it a habit to break up tasks in the office by stretching your legs for 3-4 minutes. You'll also be surprised to see your productivity spike when you take regular breaks.
2. Always take the stairs/walk up the escalator. You'll save a few minutes waiting for the elevator/queuing for the escalator and you'll get in a few more steps too.
3. Make time for an after-dinner walk in the evening. I know it can seem like the last thing you want to do after a long day at work, but taking a short walk after a meal has been linked to better digestion and can help your mind wind down ready for a good nights sleep.
We all know how difficult it can be to climb out of bed an hour earlier than needed in this cold weather or just how tempting it is to go out for after-work drinks instead of heading to the gym.
1. Keep your workout clothes by your bed (I've also known people who actually sleep in them) or make it a habit to change into your work out clothes at work before you can be tempted to say 'I'll go tomorrow'.
2. Book a class, PT session or have a friend relying on you. Having something waiting for you and keeping you accountability can be great motivation.
3. Keep set times for the gym. A good starting point is Monday, Wednesday and Friday (you'll still have all weekend for yourself) and choose AM or PM depending on what kind of a person you are. Although mornings can be tough, they tend to be the most preferred long term as they're unlikely to interrupt outside social plans.
Although I know many people who have no issue keeping themselves hydrated throughout the day, I also know many others who find themselves suffering signs of dehydration on the daily. As our bodies are made up of 80% water, getting enough is vital for optimal function.
1. Carry around a water bottle. Most restaurants and coffee shops now offer to fill reusable bottles with tap water.
2. Keep a bottle or glass of water by your bed so that it's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning.
3. Make it a habit to drink a whole glass of water before any meals. Research has also shown that drinking enough water before meals/throughout the day also leads to fewer calories consumed through food.