10 Tips for Staring a Healthy Lifestyle!
If you're reading this you've probably been thinking that you need to take better charge of your health and start making yourself a priority, am I right?
Often times we may have great intentions, but feel a bit lost on how to get started.
Here are 10 tips to help you get started on a healthier path.
1. Set a schedule! Make your workout part of your daily schedule, schedule it in like you would schedule work, picking up your kids from school, or cooking dinner. If your workout is part or your schedule, you'll be less likely to skip it. We all get busy, but just 30-45 minutes 3-5 times a week can make a huge difference, most of us spend more time on Facebook than that, so it shouldn't be too difficult to fit it in.
2. Prepare your meals ahead of time. Take a few hours once or twice a week to plan and prepare your meals. We are less likely to eat unhealthy or go through the drive through for a cheeseburger if we have our food prepped and packed for the day. Make sure to pack some healthy snacks too! Fruit, nuts, veggies...oh my!
3. Pack your gym bag the night before! If you're planning to workout on your way to your job or on your way home from your job, pack your gym bag. Take gym shoes, gym pants, a t-shirt or tank top, and whatever else you like to have at the gym. This will keep you from the old "I forgot my gym clothes" excuse.
4. Don't expect overnight results. So you made it to the gym yesterday, had a tough workout, you wake up sore as heck and rush or hobble to the mirror to see if you have six pack abs yet! Sadly....you don't see a change. It's easy to get discouraged when you know you are putting in the work but the results are not showing up as quickly as you'd like. Stay consistent, keep going, day by day you are making a difference and in time these differences will show. Many people get discouraged about the time it will take to get to your goal, but time will pass anyway, so would you rather feel great and be proud of your hard work in 6 months or would you rather feel bad because you gave up and made no progress at all?
5. Always warm up and cool down. Take 10 - 15 minutes to warm up and cool down before and after your workout. This will help to maintain mobility and flexibility and can also help to prevent injury. The elliptical machine, stationary bike, jogging in place, jump rope, anything to gradually bring your heart rate up before your workout and bring it down after.
6. Track your food! Tracking your food with an app like My Fitness Pal is a great way to stay on track with your nutrition. Many times when we do not track our nutrition we can easily go over our recommended daily calorie allowance without realizing it. This can also help you make healthier decisions by finding food and drink swaps that may not use up so many calories. One soda can have 200 calories or more depending on the size, these can add up quick!
7. Don't overdo it! You're excited and you can't wait to see some results, but it's ok to ease into this. If you go all out and really exert yourself right off the bat, you'll most likely pay for it the next day or a couple days later. As soon as you get out of bed you'll contemplate renting a wheelchair for the next few days, and you'll talk yourself into skipping the gym for a day or two to give your sore muscles a break. Think of your workouts this way...It's better to workout 4-5 times a week with minimal discomfort than to be so sore from 1 workout that you end up skipping the rest of that weeks workouts, or maybe only make it one more time that week. Eventually you can push yourself harder and not be so sore but start off slow.
8. Hydrate then hydrate more! Most people do not drink enough water throughout the day. Sure its easy to drink a few sodas or a large glass of sweet tea, but water is key. You could carry around a gallon of water and make sure to get through it during the day, or keep track of how many times you filled up your water bottle that day. My Fitness Pal also allows you to track water intake.
9. Don't compare yourself to others. Your working out next to Suzy So Fit and it's hard not to think "I wish I was as strong as she is!" Remember that she probably started out long ago and felt just like you are feeling as your start on this healthier journey.
10. Enjoy the journey! Remember that you are doing this for a good reason, you're taking action and making changes for the better. Think of your workouts as time you get to focus on you, think of your nutrition as giving yourself the nutrients you need to feel your best. A fit lifestyle should feel good and be something you're proud of. Many times fitness becomes our mental therapy, it's an hour or so out of the day that we can put all other worries aside and do something great for ourselves. Make the best of it and once you start seeing and feeling results you'll love it even more.