In a perfect world, I exercise five days a week, cook nightly for my family, and lead a completely healthy lifestyle year round. It sounds like such a great idea in theory. Reality is, I spend my days running. Running out the house, running the kids to day care and school, running to work, running to extra curricular activities, running home. Some days me AND my three year old eat waffles in the car, and I encourage the nine month old to PLEASE hold his own freaking bottle. I own and operate an Anytime Fitness, but many days I leave without even working out. And then someone gives me a king cake. Time to improvise! Health and fitness are important to me, so I’ve added some things to my routine to help me stay on track.
Have a cup of joe.
Caffeine can amp up calorie burn for three hours. Studies show it can also decrease your risk for Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and some cancers. If you’re not into coffee, try green tea. It’s chock full of antioxidants and has been shown to improve blood flow and lower cholesterol.
Drink more water.
Most of us are chronically dehydrated and don’t know it. As a result, we turn to food thinking we are hungry when we actually just need a big glass of H2O. You should aim to drink half of your body weight (in ounces) of water per day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should take in 75 ounces a day. This doesn’t include other liquids like tea, coffee or juice. I have a large water bottle like this one from Contigo and take it with me every day. I refill this at least twice to get my daily needs.
Have a rest day.
If you are strength training regularly, doing so twice a week versus three times a week has been shown to yield the same amount of muscle gain.
Spare 10 minutes.
If you can carve out just 10 minutes each day to moderately exercise, you can increase your metabolism for up to an hour. Walk around the block, take the stairs at work, or try the 7 minute workout app with some added stretching. Try getting up 10 minutes early each day or adding a family walk after dinner to make the time.
Even if you can’t commit to this every day, if you can cut refined carbs, dairy and processed foods from your diet just a few days a week, you’ll shed some pounds and feel better overall. Packaged foods are often full of sodium and preservatives, bloating us. Dairy can also cause bloat and increased mucous production (hello, allergies!). We need carbs, but good ones like sweet potatoes and squash. I aim to eat clean throughout the week so I can have my cheats on the weekend. I often don’t have time for meal prep, so I started ordering from Healthy Course Meals. I get 5 meals for $35 and I eat well for the week. I started eating clean a few years ago and never looked back. I was able to get off my allergy medication, and it made losing the weight after my babies that much easier.
Go out for Thai.
If you need another reason to love Thai food, here’s one: the spices used in this cuisine can boost your metabolism by 23 percent. La Thai, here I come!
Keep it to two drinks max.
Any more than that and your body has dozens of calories to process before it can break down food calories or stored fat. Plus, all those drinks affect your blood sugar, which makes you hungry and next thing you know you’re ordering Taco Bell at 2 am.