It’s no secret that eating healthy and exercising regularly are two key components to feeling good inside and out. But it’s also no secret that this can be hard, and keeping on track can definitely keep you from achieving your goals if you lead a busy life!
Throughout my health and fitness journey over the years, I’ve come to learn some tips that make it a lot easier for me to incorporate healthy choices into my everyday life. These tips helped me immensely during when I was a university student working three part-time jobs, and now as a full-time office worker, I still use them everyday!
So whether you’re a yo-pro like me, or still studying hard in uni, hopefully these tips can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. Plan your workouts the night before
I don’t remember when I first started doing this, but my workouts have been a hundred times more efficient ever since. How many times have you stepped foot in the gym, filled up your water bottle, then wondered what the hell you were going to do for an hour?
It’s enough effort to get your ass in the gym in the first place, so you want to make the most of it and have a plan in place. As they say, failing to plan = planning to fail! Personally, I type my workout plans into my Notes on my iPhone so I have it right there with me, but some might prefer keeping a journal and writing things down — whatever works best for you!
The only downfall with this is that sometimes, the next thing you have planned involves a squat rack or a machine that’s in use. This is bound to happen when you can only gym during peak hours! No worries — just improvise! Switch a few things around in your list or simply Google search for an exercise that works the same muscles. If you were waiting to use the leg curl machine, Google some alternatives for “hamstring exercises”.
Then get straight back to it!
2. Learn what gets you going & know your limits
Everyone is different — it’s a cliche, but I think it’s particularly important in the fitness world. I like to workout 5out of 7 days in the week, some might workout every day, or every other day — no option is better than the next. It all comes down to personal preference and what works for you. There’s a huge difference between feeling a bit lazy and genuinely not being well enough to exercise — know what your body can handle, don’t be afraid to take rest days when you really need them, and listen to your body!
Some people workout best at night, others find it’s the perfect start to their morning, so it’s good to figure out when you’re in the best mood to get a good sweat on.
And lastly, just because fitness gurus are saying that certain things are the key to “a perfect bum” or “bikini bod”, doesn’t mean it’s going to work perfectly for you. Everyone’s got that certain something that’ll do the trick for them, whether it be weight training, gymnastics, yoga, swimming — the list is endless.
There is no such thing as the “perfect workout”, because it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Anything that gets you excited and that you genuinely love, is the perfect fit for you!
An important step I took in my fitness journey was unfollowing those “fitness influencers” that didn’t actually inspire me, but actually made me feel worse about myself and my progress. I thought if I wasn’t doing their exact workouts, or didn’t look exactly like them, I was doing something wrong.
Next time you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed, make a mental note to unfollow anyone who makes you feel like you’re not good enough. Fill your feed with people who genuinely inspire you and help you be a better version of yourself! Personally I follow a few personal trainers who give great workout tips and ideas, as well as some foodies who post delicious healthy meal recipes — these are the people who will help you feel inspired.
Another great tip is finding celebrities and influencers with similar body shapes to yours. Follow them and you’ll be able to see what suits your body shape and what doesn’t — and it’ll make you feel way more confident.
4. Prep your kitchen
Grocery shopping is genuinely one of the highlights of my week. But, if I don’t come with the right mindset I’ll find myself going up and down the candy aisle, piling my trolley with potato chips and the likes. So, like I do with my workouts, I go grocery shopping with a plan of attack — simply, a list of everything I need for the week, and my meals planned out every day so I know what I need and why.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of meal prepping. I really wish I was — oh, the convenience! — but there’s something about re-heating food that just doesn’t really do it for me. So if meal prepping isn’t for you either, don’t worry. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s all about finding what works for you!
As an alternative, I usually eat pretty much the same thing every day, and it’s always meals that take 10–15 minutes and are super simple and delicious. You don’t have to be a world-class chef to see results!
Another important thing I keep in mind for the week is ensuring that I have healthy, easy and ready-to-go snacks available at all times. Things like greek yoghurt, carrots with hummus, and healthy muesli bars are usually my go-to and keep me from reaching for the naughty snacks hiding in the back…
5. Ditch the Apple Watch
Now, this might be a bit controversial — but hear me out!
Sometimes, we can get too obsessed with numbers. Whether that’s the number on the scale, or the number on your fitness watch. It’s an easy trap to fall into.
Fitness watches can be an amazing way to track your progress, make sure you’re hitting your 10,000 steps a day, and keep you motivated. However, they can also become a bit of an obsession — and I’m speaking from personal experience!
Breaking up with my Apple Watch was one of the best things I did for my mental health in my fitness journey. It got to the point where I didn’t think my workout counted if I forgot to track it on my watch.
Now, I am back to using my watch on an almost daily basis. But, I’m not so fixated on closing my rings, and if I get to the gym and realise I left it charging back at home, it’s not the end of the world.
If you find you are becoming addicted to your watch, maybe it’s also time for a mini break-up?
6. Branch out
As I’ve found, the main reason people give up on their fitness goals and healthy lifestyle is that they get bored. It happens to me all the time, and it’s just a case of trying something a bit different to keep you in the game!
With weight training, it’s going to get a bit repetitive at times, but there’s no harm in Googling some new exercises and giving them a go every few weeks. If you’re not sure you’re doing it right… ask someone! Or ask YouTube. If your budget allows, you could even get a few personal trainer sessions to help you learn some new exercises.
Look for yoga or pilates studios that offer one-off classes so you can try them out before committing to a membership. Or borrow your friend’s mountain bike to see if that’s more your style. There are so many options for trialling new ways of moving!
It’s so important to keep your body moving in different ways. Don’t be afraid to keep challenging yourself by upping the weight a bit, signing up for a new class, or even finding a workout buddy so you can teach each other a few new moves.
Why not get a bit more creative in the kitchen too? Recently I’ve been incorporating at least one or two completely meat-free days per week, simply for a change! It’s been a great way to try new foods and switch things up.
Healthy living doesn’t have to be hard. It’s a lifestyle that’s rewarding and you’ll 100% reap the benefits! And it’s definitely not an overnight change — give yourself time, make the efforts, and the results will come as long as you’re patient and dedicated.