Many people want to get in shape and improve their health but have a difficult time maintaining a regimen that works for them. These simple steps will help you start a workout program that can work for you and enable you to continue. When you don’t feel like making it to the gym, exercise on your own.
Get active. Get up and Step outside during your lunch break or walk to get a drink of water. You need to get yourself up and active. Walk. Park on the far side of the parking area. There are lots of ways to do such things, and they don’t need to be very time consuming or costly at all.
- Make a point of taking the stairs rather than an elevator when going home or to work (split between stairs and elevator if you need to go up very high).
- Get a standing or treadmill desk, or use an exercise ball instead of a desk chair. Go ahead, listen to your favorite TV shows — but don’t just sit there watching. Cook, fold laundry, empty the dishwasher or ride a stationary bike. Do a step routine/step up/step down (repeatedly) for a good while.
- Do squats while waiting for your food to cook. Walk around on your tiptoes, in a duck posture or in a semi-squatting position.
- Cut sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats from your diet. Sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats will contribute to keeping you from getting in shape. Avoid sugary drinks like soda, and anything which is high in saturated or trans fats (partially hardened or hardened fats, margarine). Instead, eat fruit as a dessert and foods with healthy fats like omega-3’s (found most easily in fish, olive oil and nuts).
- Eat Balanced Meals. You will need to eat a proper balance of protein, carbohydrates (found grains), fruits and vegetables, and dairy. Whole grains might comprise about 30% of the food you eat (if grains are not inflammatory for you), fruits and vegetables another 30% (weighted more towards vegetables), dairy 15%, very lean protein 15% or up to 40%, if you lower the calories from carbohydrates. Lower unhealthy fats, processed carbs and sugar to no more than 4% of you diet.
- There are different types of fats. Some are good for you, while others are not. You should avoid trans fats (found in many commercially baked and snack foods) and limit saturated fats (ground meats, sausages, wieners, fried foods and butter). However, monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados) and polyunsaturated fats (fish, walnuts) are good for you.
- Good whole grains include whole wheat, whole oats, quinoa and brown rice.
- Good fruits and vegetables include chick peas/garbanzo beans (can be used to make hummus), beans, kale, broccoli, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, lemons and pears.
- Focus on lean protein. Eating protein will help you to feel full and energetic. However, processed protein-heavy foods often contain lots of unhealthy fat. Eat lean proteins to reduce the amount of unhealthy fats in your diet. Use a little hard cheeses with low fat and low carbs.
- Examples of lean protein include chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and lentils/beans.
- Exercise. Make it your goal to exercise with variety, for at least a total of one hour a day. This does not need to be all at once. When exercising, make sure you are getting your heart rate up for at least ten minutes at a time. Here are some example exercises (try to do all three every day):
- Do 2 minutes of planks, 4 minutes of jumping jacks, and 4 minutes of squats with thighs parallel to the floor (not deep squats), as soon as you get up. Do a few sets of as many push-ups you can do while keeping good form.
- If you have time before getting ready for work, go for a half hour fast walk or jog.
- Eat breakfast. Balance protein, dairy and carbs in the morning for a natural energy boost.
- Eat lunch. Lunch is a great time to fit in protein (for an energy boost) and produce to keep you from feeling weighed down while you finish your day.
- Eat dinner. Eat a small dinner and try to eat it further in advance of going to sleep (your body won’t be able to burn enough of the calories if you eat right before sleeping).
- Eat Properly Portioned Meals. Your meals should have reasonable portions to keep you from taking in more calories than you need. Be careful not to overfill your plate – use a smaller plate if you’re unsure. Drink a glass of water before your meal, and eat slowly in order to help your body feel full.