If I relied only on willpower and motivation every Sunday, I would be hugging the sofa while mindlessly watching television. It requires discipline to spend several hours on Sunday planning the week ahead, so I can wake up Monday morning with everything lined up and be excited and energized for the week ahead. After living a healthy lifestyle for the last seven years, I've put these preparations and habits on cruise control so I can focus on the things that really matter, like relationships with friends and family.
When I took ownership over my health and fitness it gave me empowerment in all areas of my life. I set goals and had a vision of the life I wanted. I lived life more consciously. Creating good habits creates new neural pathways that become automatic if used frequently. The habits you establish determine your lifestyle. This habit-based approach is the most sustainable way to take your health into your own hands. What you do today determines how you will live the rest of your life.
A slow approach is better than all-or-nothing. Start with mastering your morning routine and a healthy breakfast. After one or two successful weeks, add another habit. Begin by taking control over your morning routine and watch how it improves all the areas of your life.
My Sunday Organization Rituals
- Sit down and plan the week ahead. I review my goals, list priorities for the upcoming week, and identify the most essential things.
- Visualize a productive, energized, healthy and happy week
- Schedule in workouts just like you would any other meeting or appointment
- Plan at least 3 to 4 healthy dinners to make at home. This keeps me on track while allowing some flexibility for social events and eating at restaurants. I double some of the dinner recipes for leftovers the following night.
- Wash, fold and put away laundry so my favorite workout clothes are ready
- De-clutter the living area for a clear mind and fresh perspective
- Fill a pill organizer with all my vitamins and supplements for each day of the week
There is no reason not to maintain a lean and healthy body all year round. We have a responsibility to move daily and be strong and healthy for the important things in life like running around with kids and grandkids, and traveling the world.
I plan all my workouts and my client's workouts ahead of time. If you exercise with intention, a 45 to 60 minute workout including a good warm-up should be enough. Do this at least three times a week. Three hours isn't even two-percent of the week. When I worked in the corporate world, I left a gym bag in my car so I could go straight to the gym after work with no excuses (forgetting sneakers, sports bra, etc). You can also get an effective workout at home when the gym isn't an option. Buy some home equipment like a yoga mat, resistance bands, dumbbells and a stability ball.
In addition to my strength workouts, I walk everywhere aiming to get 12,000 steps a day on my Fitbit. I also stretch daily and practice yoga once a week for flexibility, circulation and muscle recovery.
Invest in yourself and hire a trainer to motivate and hold you accountable, and teach you effective exercises and proper form and technique. If you are already experienced and need a workout plan that will get you results, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Day on a Plate
I eat 3 to 4 healthy meals a day. My meals always start with a lean protein and a vegetable. If it's after a workout, I add a starchy carb like sweet potato, oats or rice. If I'm not as active, I will add some healthy fat like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts or avocado.
Breakfast is always within an hour of waking. I usually have 2-3 eggs (scrambled or over-easy) with spinach and arugula and some berries or a smoothie like this one. If mornings are busy and you often skip breakfast, make it the night before so you can grab and go. If you need some inspiration, check out my favorite breakfast options here.
Lunch is always a big salad with a wide variety of colorful vegetables like arugula, cucumber, and beets with a lean protein like grilled chicken, fish, lentils, hard boiled eggs, etc. If eating out, I choose a lean protein alongside heaps of green vegetables with some healthy fat and watch portion size. This always leaves me feeling lean and energized.
Dinner is a lean source of protein like fish, chicken, or grass-fed lean beef alongside steamed vegetables and a complex carbohydrate like potatoes or rice.
Easy healthy snacks throughout the day are usually:
-Same as lunch or a lean protein with a vegetable
-Hummus with carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, etc.
-Berries or a green apple and nuts
-Low sugar protein bar (occasionally)
I fill a stainless steel water bottle in the morning and drink it on the way to work and then refill and continue to drink the rest of the day to get 3-4 liters. This helps regulate appetite, digestion, rejuvenate skin and increase alertness.
Our body needs sufficient sleep for repair and recovery. Sleep supports productivity, health and energy levels. If you can't get enough sleep at night, try taking naps during the day and allowing yourself more time for sleep on the weekend. Don't feel bad about turning down social events to take care of yourself.
I aim for no less than 7 hours of sleep each night and usually get close to 8 hours. Try winding down earlier by turning off the TV and other electronics by 9:00pm. I usually start training clients between 6am and 7am, so I've removed my makeup, taken a warm shower, and in bed with a paperback book or journal by 9:30pm
Maintaining a healthy state of mind helps you to be consistent with your workouts, eat healthier, sleep easier, reduce stress levels, think clearly, have patience and remain present. Find your own version of meditation and spend a few minutes there each day. Yoga is a great form of meditation. Meditation for just two to three minutes a day leaves you reconnected and recharged with a clear head. The best time to meditate is first thing in the morning. Start with five minutes a day and work your way up to twenty minutes. This is also a good time to practice good posture and proper breathing.
When Things Don't Go as Planned
A work event goes way later and includes way more drinks than you anticipated.
Drink a tall glass of water before bed and get on track the next morning with a healthy breakfast. Get no less than 8 hours of sleep the next night to allow your body to rest and repair.
A long and stressful day ends in binge eating.
When I worked in the corporate world there were days I'd want to skip dinner and sit in front of the TV with a glass of wine and stress eat chips, cookies and chocolate. The next day I would wake up tired, mad at myself, and have trouble fitting into my pants. Now I come home after a long day and take a warm shower, put on comfy clothes and make a simple healthy dinner, replace wine with herbal tea, and eat slow and think of all the good things that happened that day. I visualize my goals and the person I want to be, instead of trying to soothe myself with food.
A co-worker's birthday means you eat a huge slice of calorie laden ice-cream cake.
So you couldn't resist the slice of cake. One indulgence doesn't derail all your progress. Just hit the gym after work or even do a 30 minute workout at home, and then enjoy a healthy dinner of vegetables and lean protein.
A weekend trip or on the road for work with little access to healthy food.
Explore the area by taking a run or biking. If short on time, get in a quick workout in the gym or a bodyweight workout in the hotel room. Drink at least 3L of water, get in as much nutrition as you can, and enjoy only a few indulgences. I usually travel with protein powder, greens powder and almonds as a backup. More tips for staying healthy while you travel can be found here and here. Being fit and healthy is a lifestyle. Just be mindful and choose mostly whole foods with minimal processing and trust you can get back on a routine when you're home.
The results you get reflect your discipline and quality of your daily habits. Master your body and your health and you can tackle anything.