When life throws you curveballs and you are forced to concentrate on other things instead of your workout routine or cooking healthy meals, it’s easy to get knocked off course. If a few weeks or even months have gone by and you haven’t had the time or energy to dust off those kettlebells or even your sneakers, here are some tips to get you back into maintaining a regular health and fitness routine.
1) Start small.
If you only have 5 minutes to yourself, use those 5 minutes to your advantage. Stretch, do squats, push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, sprint, climb stairs – whatever your environment allows. Bodyweight exercises are awesome for you and you already have all the equipment you need to get them done. Own those 5 minutes. Be proud of what you can accomplish in that short amount of time. In fact, hit me up on twitter @LiveWildHealth and tell me how many squats you did at your desk today! Why? Because you are awesome, that’s why! And I support awesome!
If you can’t get a workout in and you know it’s going to be a long day at work sitting in front of the computer, or a long day of taking care of chores & errands, leave the keys to the car at home and do your errands on foot. If you are stuck in the office, eat lunch at your desk and take a walk during your lunch break. Getting outside in the sun is a fantastic way to improve mood, energy and be exposed to the all important Vitamin D. Walking burns fat too, so do not dismiss it as a form of exercise. Get a Fitbit (AFFILIATE LINK) and make it challenging and more fun! I love when my Fitbit tells me I rock! (It literally does – the screen says “You rock” sometimes!)
3) Stop feeling guilty
If you are feeling ashamed for skipping workouts or eating fast food, that in itself can become a cycle of negative behavior. It does you no good to beat yourself up over what you have already done (or haven’t done!) Stop the negative self-talk and just put on your sneakers and grab a piece of fruit and get outside. There is no time like the present to stop a cycle of shame and negativity. You CAN start again today. Just start small. You are only one workout away from getting your mojo back! That’s all there is to it. Just do it. The rest of it means nothing. Your mind is controlled by YOU, so give yourself some love, forgive yourself, and move on.
4) Try Something Different
If you are bored with your workout routine or your regular meals, there is no reason you have to keep doing or eating them. There are a bazillion different movements, workouts, stretches, exercises you can try at any time. Same with recipes. If the same old, same old is what is causing you to avoid the gym (or the kitchen!) then get on the internet and find something else to do or eat. Talk to your active friends about what they’re doing for health and fitness. Join a gym, hire a personal trainer, try CrossFit, take a yoga class. We all need motivation sometimes and trying something new can be a fantastic spark.
5) Find Someone to Help Keep You Accountable
Motivation alone sometimes is hard to come by, and understandably so. Life is busy. We are often faced with many challenges that work against us getting to the gym. Working out or cooking with friends or family can be just the thing to snap us back into shape. A friend, coach, trainer, co-worker, neighbor, spouse, kids – anyone – can be just the ticket to getting you back on track. If you have to answer for your actions- or lack thereof – having a partner to motivate you and be accountable to can be a VERY positive experience. Plus, having someone to workout with can really be a lot of fun! I have my own coach for this very reason. (Stacie you rock! I did 50 squats today while I was working!) You can also hire me too, you know! This is what I do!
6) It’s OK to rest
If you are stressed out, tired, lacking energy, and can’t get moving, then get to bed. Listen to your body. If you are tired, get some rest. If you are stressed, find ways to relax. Recovery and rest are just as important to health and wellness as eating well and exercising. Remember walking is a great way to get some movement in on days you have little energy. It’s low impact, relaxing, and a great stress-buster. Plus, you can feel good know that at least you were able to get outside and do something even though you are not full of energy. Your walk might even prove to give you an energy boost so you have the wherewithal to workout after. But even if it doesn’t, know that walking can serve as both exercise AND relaxation. BOOM!
7) Eat simple, real food
If you are busy and can’t find time to cook, then your best bet is to plan your meals on the weekend for the next week. It’s not as hard or as time consuming as it sounds. The keys are 2 things: 1) The crockpot and 2) the salad. Both of these are easy ways to get healthy food cooked and consumed. Make your meats in the crockpot for the week and eat them with salad for lunch and with veggies for dinner. I make a big salad on the weekend and portion it out over the week. A salad is the perfect foundation of raw veggies for nutrients, but also creativity! You can add whatever you want to a salad! I suggest adding fat and protein so your lunch is filling. This will help you stay away from the vending machine at 4:00pm, or what they used to call in my office “cookie time!” Fat and protein stabilize blood sugar, so you won’t get those sugar cravings as much. (Keep that in mind at breakfast too.) I love adding olives, avocado and chicken or beef to salads. YUM! So there you go – lunch and dinner – solved! If you want breakfast but do not have a lot of time, boil some eggs and eat them during the week – plus you can chop them and add them to salads for lunch. Or make a protein smoothie for breakfast if you have little time in the morning. All of these suggestions leave little dishes to wash so you don’t have to spend your precious time cleaning up. You can also freeze your cooked meals and reheat them when you are ready if you want the meals to stretch out over a longer period of time. This strategy leaves room for creativity so you do not get bored, proper nutrition to fuel that busy life, and no need to stop at the fast-food joint on the way to or from the office, so you can feel good about what you are eating.
8) Lift weights
You can lift weights when you are sitting, you know. Bring the dumbells to work. Carry books, sandbags, other people’s bags, boxes of paper, trash, kids, whatever you have around you, lift that shit up! Building muscle does not have to happen in a gym. Park far away from the grocery store entrance and carry your bags instead of using a shopping cart on the way out. When you go for an evening walk, wear a backpack with books in it, or carry something in both hands. Getting STRONGER means you will be able to do more in your life. That is PRICELESS, don’t you think?
9) Stop Thinking a Diet will Solve Everything
Diets are temporary and not usually sustainable. If you go on a diet to lose weight because you haven’t been eating well lately and have skipped some workouts, just be prepared that you will not be able to keep going for long, so when you “break the diet” do not beat yourself up. Your diet is designed to fail. Instead of dieting, eat sensible meals when you are hungry. There is no need to starve yourself. If you eat mostly whole foods, cook most of your meals, and start moving around, even just walking at first, you will be on the path to weight loss and strength building in no time. There are no need for drastic measures. If you are eating a diet of 100% processed foods, perhaps it is time to rethink your priorities and start adding in some fruit, veggies, protein and good fats. Start with one home-cooked meal per day.
10) Be consistent!
Consistency is the magic word when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle. Instead of quitting and starting over all the time, how about trying to do something small instead of nothing when you are busy? It is a lot easier to maintain your health if you do it consistently. Quitting and re-starting is more difficult than it is to merely continue your journey. Next time you are faced with skipping a workout because you are getting out of work late, find that 5 minutes and use it to your advantage. Consistency breeds results. If you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle mass, train for a marathon, or just be more active, consistent movement on a regular basis is the ultimate key to your success. Same with meals. If you consistently eat healthy meals, then having a snack every now and again will not spoil your routine. Consistency leads to new habit formation which leads to lifestyle change which leads to you being on the path you desire.
Remember this post the next time you feel like quitting. Because sometimes you WILL feel like quitting. If you follow these 10 Steps, you have more of a chance to succeed in getting out of a rut and building the life (and body) you want.