5 Tips For Staying Healthy During The Week

Friends of The Yard Athletics
  • By Henry Gould – July 23rd, 2018

It goes without saying, the single hardest part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is CONSISTENCY. Regularly exercising (even when you don’t want to), eating good quality food (despite the $1.99 pizza slice across from your office…) and getting 8+ hours of sleep night in, night out, is no easy task. We live in a world of companies trying to sell us sugar laden products all day, every day. The grocery store is full of prepared foods designed to taste great at the expense of health. Sugar is highly addictive, and as many nutritionists and researchers are now coming to realize, is the single biggest factor in problems like obesity, heart disease, diabetes etc. Great article here explaining in more depth. 

In order to stay on track during the week, below are 5 tips that will help you tackle the Monday – Friday grind:

  • Cook For Yourself –> Pack Your Own Lunch
    • Arguably the single biggest factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle is cooking at home, rather than eating in restaurants. If you’re not confident in the kitchen, YouTube is a great resource for How-To cooking videos and demonstrations.
    • When you cook for yourself, you instinctively hold back on portion control, as well as fat, salt and sugar because you become more aware how much is going in the food. Restaurants are only interested in making sure you like the food, not whether it’s good for you…
    • Use recipes as a guideline, rather than a step by step tutorial. Taste everything as you go. Ask friends and family to show you their favorite recipes, and make them together – watching someone else cook is the best instruction
    • Make enough food for 2-3 meals, pack in tupperware, and then take with you to work, school etc. If you’re iffy about leftovers, avoid foods with a lot of onion or garlic as these can smell more “unpleasant” the following day, meaning you’re not excited to eat them and are more likely to go buy something
    • Not all carbs are created equal. Make vegetables your main source of carbohydrates, with things like potatoes, rice and pasta as a small part of your diet, or removed altogether. I used to think a meal wasn’t a meal without some traditional starch, but once you get used to replacing them it’s a world of difference
    • Beans, Lentils and Chickpeas are great in salads, and since they’re high in fibre and protein, help keep you full longer. Instead of mashed potatoes, try cooking chickpeas until soft, then mashing with olive oil, roasted garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Protein Shakes Are Your Friend!
    • Not just for body builders and meat-heads anymore! Protein shakes are a fantastic thing to supplement your diet with, either after a workout, for breakfast, or as a snack during the day
    • Opt for a product with little to no sugar, otherwise it’s just a protein rich dessert
    • Protein helps the body recover and build muscle, while at the same time triggering very little insulin response (insulin being the main driver in blood glucose levels, as well as fat storage)
    • Get a good quality shaker cup, add a portion of dry protein powder in the morning, then add water whenever you’re ready to drink
    • My favorite protein powder is Vega Sport Protein in Chocolate Flavor. This is just my preference, I don’t get paid to endorse Vega products!! It has no added sugar, disolves very easily, is completely plant based, and only runs about $2.50 per portion
      • Morning Protein Shake Recipe
        • 3 tbsp rolled oats, soaked in water for 10 minutes or overnight
        • 1/3 of a banana, ideally frozen
        • 1 scoop Vega Sport Protein Powder (30g protein)
        • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
        • 1 tbsp nut butter
        • water
        • 2 ice cubes
        • Unsweetened kefir milk (probiotic cousin of yogurt), or almond milk
      • Blend all the ingredients together, adding as much water as needed so it’s not too thick
  • Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
    • Sleep is unbelievably important to human health, despite many people struggling to get enough sleep on a nightly basis
    • Joe Rogan recently hosted a great podcast with a Professor of Neuroscience to talk about sleep, worth a listen
    • If you’re aiming for 8 hours sleep (and you need to be up at 6am) you ideally want to be falling asleep at 10pm, meaning you should start thinking about going to sleep at 9pm
    • Keep the lights in your home as low as possible, or off, as light can impact the brains ability to fall asleep
    • Don’t get into bed until you’re ready to fall asleep. This trains your body to associate the bed with sleeping only – not sleep AND scrolling through Instagram
    • Avoid stimulants like coffee at least 5+ hours before sleeping
    • Minimize alcohol during the week, as alcohol is a depressant and can have a significant impact on sleep patterns, both directly and indirectly (i.e. dehydrated, waking up to get water or go to the bathroom)
    • Spend 5 minutes stretching before bed – as has been written about on this blog before
  • Exercise Every Day, In One Form Or Another
    • Not every day has to be an hour spin class or “squats til you drop”. In fact, many experts say you should never be sore the next day following a workout, as volume over time is more important than a single punishing workout (i.e. 6 moderate workouts in a week vs. 2 really hard ones)
    • Walking is an amazing way to burn calories, especially if you don’t plan on going to the gym. If possible, walk to work on your off-gym days. Schedule work calls, or catch ups with friends, as this makes the journey more enjoyable, or listen to podcasts
    • If your walk to and from work is 6km, 3 x per week, that’s 18kms of walking you would never have otherwise done. Added up over a year, it starts to make a big difference.
    • If walking to work isn’t feasible, get up 30 mins earlier than normal and go for a 20 minute run to start the day
    • Add variation to exercising – weight lifting, hiking, cycling, running, stair climbs, rock climbing, martial arts, spin class, boxing. The variation will help maintain interest, and if there are certain workouts you prefer over others you’ll start to look forward to these more than others (love yoga, hate jogging) creating a positive association.
    • Go with friends so everyone holds each other accountable.
    • Choose activities that are realistic to your fitness level, as this helps maintain momentum. If you’ve never done Crossfit, going to an advanced class will likely leave you feeling discouraged and unmotivated for any future workout. Workout consistently at 70-80% of your maximum effort, then repeat, repeat, repeat.
    • One workout will not make or break your health. Volume over time is the key to success. Health is a long game, after all…
  • Invest In Quality Workout Clothing
    • It’s OK to want to look good in the gym! Good quality clothing will last longer, and if you like the way you look, you’re more likely to put the clothes on and get out there.
    • Quality running shoes make an enormous difference, and don’t necessarily need to be expensive. Go to a store like The Run Inn or Forerunners, and ask for help with shoes that are suited to your feet, as well as the activities you’re doing.
    • Only wear your running shoes when working out, or walking long distances. This will help them last longer, as well as keeping them looking fresh and new – no need to buy new shoes just because they’re dirty!
    • Stretch fabrics are generally more expensive, but work better in the long run, especially for dynamic movements. Do a few lunges in the change room to make sure they’re up to the job at hand…!
    • Yard Athletics has some great Lululemon Shirts available for purchase – contact Ilan for details

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