Update from Amy Jan 11, 2017: I wrote this post and this entire challenge when I was in an unhealthy place with my eating. While some of this information might serve you, please know that there is triggering language and philosophies I no longer stand by within. xo Amy
That’s how I felt when I first got interested in health and fitness. There are so many sources of information spouting out conflicting advice! I had no idea who to listen to, so I just tried the most popular advice.
…NOT the best way to go, unfortunately.
What I didn’t realize when I started getting healthy was that much of the advice in health magazines, shows, and even blogs (yikes! I know…) has been paid for by the company benefitting from it.
Now that the new year is here, I want to stop the madness, and give you an easy-to-follow routine straight from your favorite personal trainer: ME.
Just kidding! …about the favorite personal trainer part, but not about the easy-to-follow, tried and true routine. And by “tried and true,” I mean, “backed by science, and tried it myself and got sweet results.”
This routine works for about 90% of people. Tweak it to fit your personal schedule, preferences and goals for best results.
No more guessing as we get into the new year here. Start building a routine around this schedule, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier life in no time.
I wish I’d discovered how amazing this little piece of advice was years ago! Drinking water is a great way to wake up your system and get things… ahem… moving again. It makes life a little more predictable if you’re not so regular in that area.
Also, if you think about it, your body has been dehydrating for the last eight hours or so. One of the best things you can do in the morning is to wake up and immediately start hydrating again.
Morning people: Work out
If you welcome the sunrise like I do, schedule in your workouts at least four times a week in the morning as you would appointments.
Put it in your planner and keep it there. It’s best if you put it at a time that wouldn’t usually be put in jeopardy (for work meetings, meetups with friends, etc.). I find that the morning works best for killing excuses before they have a chance to gain any ground.
Make breakfast and lunch
While you make your post-workout breakfast, make your lunch, too! This gets rid of the excuse, “There’s nowhere healthy to eat around my office!” Now you don’t have to worry about that because you were smart enough to make your own lunch! Isn’t that great?! ;)
An ideal post-workout breakfast is a good amount of protein and carbohydrate with a little bit of fat. I love my lazy-healthy breakfast, but other good ideas are:
- A couple eggs and an apple or orange
- 2% or full-fat greek yogurt and berries
- Steel cut oatmeal and chopped nuts
- spinach salad with grilled chicken, almonds, goat cheese and 1/2 a diced apple
- lazy-healthy meatballs in marinara and steamed vegetables drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
- lazy-healthy chicken stir fry leftovers!
- kale salad with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, pine nuts or almonds, tomato and 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
Go to work and be grateful
One of the best ways I’ve found to re-happy myself when my mind starts to stray toward the dark thoughts, is to count off all the things I’m grateful for.
Work is one of those things that people constantly complain about. Why not think outside of the box? If you’re planning to stay in your job for a while, start making an internal (or external if you keep a gratitude journal) list of all the things your work provides for you that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Here are some examples:
- coworkers that have become friends
- a roof over my head and the food in my mouth
- an experience that will inform my decisions in the future
- security and structure in a world that is unpredictable
- encouragement to make my dreams a reality
Eat your bag lunch
Pick and choose your battles. Getting into this routine will get rid of 5 opportunities throughout the week! And who knows? Maybe you’ll make friends with new people who are also staying at the office to eat their healthy handmade lunches!
Eat a light afternoon snack
Most people I’ve met need some sort of snack in that lull between lunch and heading home for the night. This is a no-brainer for people who will be working out after work.
Choose something that isn’t going to sugar bomb your gut. That means no candy, sweetened coffee drinks, or chips. These things are going to make you feel like you were smashed in the face with the exhaustion brick in an hour if you fall victim to their seductive wrappers.
- An apple and a handful of almonds
- 2% or full-fat cottage cheese and berries
- leftover chopped-up grilled chicken breast and some baby carrots
- sliced turkey rolled up with some pesto smeared inside (my favorite as of late)
Don’t do it just for that hour-from-now; do it for your choices later. If you eat sugary nonsense now, you’re stimulating your cravings for later in the day, too. Avoid those wasted opportunities and make the smart decision! Just say, “no,” to the vending machine!
Not morning people: Work out
I didn’t forget about you guys! The same applies to you guys here, too. Schedule at least four days a week of activity into your ol’ iCal. No exceptions.
If you have a lot of commitments after work in the next week, suck it up and go in the morning. If you truly want to be healthy, you will make time to do so. These guns aren’t goin’ to pump themselves…
Get home, cook dinner & be present
Being present is key to becoming healthy. You’ll make smarter choices which will lead to a healthier overall being.
Depending on if you live alone or not, becoming present can be done in a couple ways…
If you live with your family:
All too often, we take our loved ones for granted. I know I have when I’ve gotten super busy.
Happy, healthy people are not islands. We need that loving and support just like everyone else does. In fact, healthy people probably make use of it more often so that they’re not left stewing in their own upset; they vent!
Be present with these precious people in your life. They are the ones that will support you when the healthy habits hit a rough spot and you need extra motivation.
If you live alone:
Use the time it takes for you to prepare your healthy dinner to reflect on the day. Those things you’re grateful for? Feel free to bring them to mind here, too. Let your gratitude expand to all the areas of your life: health, happiness, wealth, freedom, strength, beauty, etc.
Smell the aromas of the food you’re making. Take in the vibrant colors of the vegetables.
Running through these easy steps is a great way to find presence and peace after a long day. Take the time to de-stress.
Turn the computer off by 10 pm
The internet is so awesome. I could stay on Pinterest all night… and I was for a while. Now, I stop my pinning by 9 pm and wind down with a book.
You see, I was having trouble falling asleep for a while. I’d work on my laptop right up until I hopped in bed and I was having a real tough time turning my brain off.
Your brain interprets the light that a computer emits like it would the sun. When you stay online late at night, it throws off your circadian rhythms which can induce insomnia and restlessness.
Healthy people sleep. I have yet to meet an exception to this rule. To do that, you probably have to log off of Facebook a couple hours before you hit the hay.
Get 8+ hours of sleep
No matter when you go to bed, aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep. It’s what about 99% of us need in order to function at our highest levels the next day. Otherwise, you’re going to be left with a lackluster workout, foggy brain throughout the day, and a decreased amount of willpower when it comes to saying no to junk food. Not to mention that your body might actually start gaining weight if it goes without sleep for too long.
How annoying would it be if you started backtracking on your healthy habits just because you weren’t getting enough Z’s? It’s happened to me before, and I don’t recommend it.
If you absolutely can’t get enough sleep, take a nap or 2 midday for about 20-30 minutes. It will refresh you and get your brain working at a faster rate than it would without. Not a permanent fix, but better than nothing for you busy bees out there!
Woo! It’s a lot to take in, I know, but stick to this routine, and you’re bound to improve your health. Take a look around the site for more healthy inspiration and please, if you have any questions, ask away! Leave them for me in the comments below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
The Keep Going 30-Day Challenge Check-In & The Pre-Announcement of My Big Dream
It’s been 4 days, peeps! How’s everyone doing with the persistence thus far? (not sure what I’m talking about? Check out the last post by clicking here)
Did I tell you I’m doing this one with you all? No?! Well I am! I’m going to be right alongside you as you take on this challenge.
My challenge (along with my original “I’m still here, and I’m going to keep giving them hope this year”) is no added sugars (real or artificial). You might think: “Hey, you’re a trainer. That isn’t hard for you!”
Think again, my friends. I love me some opportunities! I just feel like I need a good ‘ol health-itizing after this past holiday season! I feel much more clear-headed when I don’t have the sugar clouding up my brain.
Why do I need to be clear-headed, you ask?
The time is finally upon us. My big dream, which I have been talking about since July, is finally coming to fruition.
I will be announcing My Big Dream in just a few short weeks. I can’t wait to tell you all the big news!
To make sure you stay up to date, please sign up for emails below. And to all of you who are already getting this in your inbox, thank you so much for believing in me and helping to spread the message of hope!
Until then, keep going…
May this year be your strongest yet,