3 Tips To Jump Start a Healthy Lifestyle
Okay, so you've finally made the decision to start a healthy lifestyle and get to the gym, or you've taken a LONG break like me, and need to get the ball rolling again. I have been, for a long time, a big advocate for fitness. There was even a point in my life where I wanted to compete but I've decided that I just want to live a healthy lifestyle and be fit.
Nonetheless, I am not always eager to wake up at 4 AM to hit the gym or excited about my salad when I really want a burger. Every year or so it seems I need a break from the gym, so I'll take a couple months off but still try to get some exercise in by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking when I normally would take the train or bus.
I am also very conscious about my nutrition, sure it's not as strict as when I am hitting the gym but I still make thoughtful choices like, skipping dessert every once in a while or reminding myself to add some greens every week. One thing about me though is when I go through this period of rebellion I never say no to anything, if I crave it I'll have it and although I am not a heavy drinker I take a beer more often then not. Please don't misunderstand me, I don't regret my times of rebellion I love them, I have more time to spend with friends and family and I indulge without remorse.
Working out and eating clean isn't only about looking amazing, it's about feeling amazing too. It's been about 4 months since I last hit the gym and I am feeling it, I'm out of breath going up a flight of stairs, I've lost a serious amount of muscle and I'm exhausted by 8 PM without doing much all day. While I do enjoy eating to my heart's content and sleeping in, I also know what my body feels like when I eat right and work out. I love feeling strong, looking strong but best of all I love that my body feels healthy.
In the end, it all comes down to how you balance it all. Today was my first day getting back to the gym so I've compiled some very real tips to get you going on your new journey too.
# TIP TO A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE
1. MENTAL AWARENESS
Many of you have probably started this journey once before and were discouraged by lack of motivation, didn't see results right away or started skipping days and eventually stop going altogether. I recommend you ask yourself Why do you want to do this? What are your goals? What are the steps do you need to take to achieve this goal? Make a motivation board! If you don't have a partner to go to the gym with or none of your friends are as dedicated as you then realize that you will have to be your own motivation. Know you are going to have to make some tough choices like a party tonight until 3 AM or compromise, still go out but don't drink and call it an early night. During this journey, you have to put yourself first and surround yourself with positive energy, listen to motivational podcasts or start following fitness inspiration people, look at you motivation board first thing when you wake up and right before going to sleep.
2. TIME MANAGEMENT
To prevent yourself from crashing and burning, you need to manage your time. Write down your top priorities like spending time with family, getting through your chores, work, gym time meal prep time and don't forget to include you time. Below I've outlined my personal time management list, this is what works for me so, I can always change it if I need to.
Monday - Friday
Wake up @ 4 AM go to the gym, then go to work (divide meals and snacks accordingly) work on the blog during downtime, head home or to any special appointments, have dinner, pack bag for next day, family time, be ready for bed by 9 - 10 PM.
Saturday - Clean the house, laundry, enjoy the day!
Sunday - Family time/ Me time, meal prep and prepare yourself for the upcoming week.
Note: This is a rough draft of my schedule sometimes I have to move things around, still prioritizing what is more important but getting everything done
3. Meal Prepping and Workout Plan
Eating healthy doesn't mean salads and vegetables only. The key is portion control (Angels Singing AHHH) I am Hispanic and we all can agree pretty much every meal comes with rice and beans. Substitute the white rice for brown rice and have 1/2 cup of black beans instead of half a plate of it. Truth is the amount of food we serve ourselves is ridiculous, we don't need all that food. What is also ridiculous is having 1 HUGE meal a day to compensate for all the other ones we didn't have or as a diet plan. Now I've heard of intermittent fasting which involves alternating between extended periods of not eating or drinking anything with calories and periods of eating. While there might be some benefits and I use that term lightly, there are far greater consequences like becoming extremely hungry (pushing you to binge eat), weakness, irritability, inability to concentrate and other issues. Nobody wants to deal with that plus I love to eat so a diet that requires me to eat 5 times a day ( 3 meals 2 snacks every 3 hours) "uh sign me up like yesterday". Figure out what works best for you, do your research and even if still are unsure of what you should eat just be sure to include a protein, carb, and a vegetable.
I've been working out since high school and started just like everyone else did .. not having a clue what I was doing, just rotating machines. Everything I know is from trial and error and research. BodyBuilding.com was my best friend, any questions I had I found a forum with answers; they also have free workout plans and sell supplements. I can truly vouch for this website because it has everything you need. Over time I started learning more about the anatomy of the body and which exercises worked better me and eventually making my own workouts. Either way, I like to go to the gym with a plan, what part of the body I am working out and what I am doing including sets, reps and how long I'm doing cardio for. When you are running on a tight schedule this will make sure you are maximizing your time at the gym or possibly running late to your next commitment.
Disclosure: These are my personal tips according to what works for me. There are many different fads and diets, I don't believe there is only one right way to follow a healthy lifestyle but this is what works for me.