We all have our own share of excuses for not keeping ourselves fit and healthy. It’s either we feel tired, don’t have enough time, or can’t find the motivation to do so.
It’s easier for most of us to indulge in our favorite comfort foods like pizza and ice cream (B&J ‘Chubby Hubby’ is my favorite) than to prepare a fresh green salad. What if I told you it’s possible for you to be the healthiest version of yourself while keeping up with the regular demands of life? Despite what social media might tell you – you don’t really need to be an athlete to commit yourself to a healthier lifestyle.
The trick is in starting small – taking baby steps towards a healthier you. Remember that the day-to-day choices you make can impact your future. Think about it: What are the healthy activities or habits you can realistically squeeze into your daily routine that will still feel “you” and not burn you out?
Work from there.
The end result we’d want, beyond looking better naked is actually a healthier mindset. Once you figure that out, it’s so much easier to make the right lifestyle choices, as it becomes a no-brainer when you have to choose between pizza or chicken breast and rice for lunch.
I’d also encourage you to think about the reasons why you should invest in your health. Maybe you’ve recently tweaked your back lifting your kids? Or maybe you’re sick of feeling inept when people talk fitness? Focus on the feeling of not being where you want to be, as the fuel to drive you there.
Here are a few tips I think are simple enough for most guys to incorporate. But like I said, these are effective the most once you get your mindset dialed in:
1. Enlist your Squad for Help
You can’t feel so accountable and motivated if you go solo. Sure, you can get yourself to hit the gym if you’re a self-starter but having someone to exercise with definitely prevents you from slacking if you’re not in a good mood. Why having a fitness partner is beneficial for you is pretty obvious – you get a helping hand when doing weight training and you’ll feel compelled to push yourself harder and beat the other guy (best feeling in the world, trust me)!
It’s even backed up by science, our trusted friend. A study found that people stay more committed to their workout regimen if they are paired up with someone who’s more adept than them. Better yet, find someone who has the same fitness goals as you.
2. Snack It Out
Instead of eating crap sugary foods to do away with your feeling of hunger that comes between large meals, always keep healthy snacks with you. I’m sure you’re aware that sugary foods give you a surge in energy, putting you on a “sugar high.” But eventually this backfires and your blood glucose drops. By then you’re cranky as hell and you have a fight with your girlfriend. Uncool.
Keep in mind though, that snacking should be able to serve its real purpose of providing you with energy and nutrients to kick the day in the butt. Typical healthy snacks would ideally be jam-packed with protein and fiber, but healthy snack foods can come in various forms, so feel free to get creative.
Make sure to pack a snack to go with you when you’re off to work, school and other daily chores. Once you feel you’re low on energy – get eating as soon as possible. That way you’d prevent yourself from going after some cheap ice-cream or Doritos or even worse junk-food “meals.”
Another cardinal rule for healthy snacking is to eat more mindfully. Pay extra attention to what you put into your mouth and your satiety level before and after you eat. Doing this helps you avoid overeating. You don’t want to binge on healthy snacks either! That would take the “healthy” part out of them.
3. Do Fitness from the Comfort of your Crib
You may be enjoying your regular sessions at the gym but if you’re faced with a schedule inconvenience, such as an early date or a meeting – getting sweaty at home can give you some great results and decrease that awful feeling of not hitting the gym at all.
HIIT home workouts are a thing now: from ‘CrossFit’ themed bodyweight WOD’s to on-demand fitness programs – there are a lot of choices these days to get a quick workout in, even when short on time and equipment. Typical home workouts would combine basic exercise moves like push-ups and squats that get you a total body workout while helping you maintain your mass. It might be a good idea to invest a few bucks in a pull-up bar, jump-rope and dumbells or kettlebells as these babies can really take your home-fitness game up a notch.
4. “In Between Fitness”
Let’s think of it as our special code word for the ever-so fancy concept of non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) activities – these are the common things we do daily that increase our body’s metabolic rate.
This include walking around your house, standing to get a glass of water in the office, and stretching. Take advantage of NEAT by walking or cycling on your way to work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator to get your heart pumping harder. Carry your groceries on foot (or even better with your bare man-hands). Park your vehicle as far from the front door of your office as possible so you can walk.
If you’re really hardcore – you can even do a quick workout of 30-20-10 air squats, pushups and sit-ups just after waking up.
I told you it’s hardcore.
Good luck on your journey to fitn… no actually – that’s so cliché. Good luck on your journey to a better mindset that will help you make the right lifestyle choices.