I was asked to speak to a group today about healthy eating and exercise…I know, huge topics right?! So I immediately decided I needed to narrow it down. What THREE things would I tell someone to incorporate into their life to improve their health, their fitness, and their overall wellness? I actually came up with the answer pretty quickly and here are my top three game changers for healthier living…
1. Meal Prepping!! This behavior has been hands down the BEST health promoting habit that I’ve developed over the last year. I used to think it needed to be this huge stressful ordeal and didn’t consider myself “one of those people” who would ever be that organized. But then I learned to simplify the process. Here are some of the tips I gave;
- Only choose 3-4 “recipes” to prepare; Today I gave the group 4 recipes that work great for meal prepping- a “grab and go” breakfast (pumpkin protein pancakes), a “take me to work” lunch (quinoa and black bean salad), a dinner (turkey spinach and feta burgers), and a convenient crock pot + easy assembly dinner (slow cooker taco lettuce wraps).
- Save the decadent, complicated recipes for fresh meals like on “date night” or the weekends when you have more time. For prepping, choose simple recipes that can be made in bulk and that store well.
- After planning your meals/recipes, create a grocery list so you don’t make impulse buys – online grocery shopping is a new thing that also helps with this!!
- Include washing and chopping of produce as part of the “unloading groceries” task. Just get it all done right away!
- Start with a clean kitchen and have plenty of storage containers on hand – glass are the best!!
- Set aside 2 uninterrupted hours for prep (you’ll get that time back and then some during the week when all your meals are ready to go!!) – Sundays seem to be the typical day for prepping but it depends on your schedule. If prepping for an entire week overwhelms you, just do a mini meal prep every few days.
- Start with the most time consuming item, clean as you go, put what you’ll eat in the next 3-5 days in the fridge, and freeze the rest!
2. HIIT Workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) – There are so many reasons to love HIIT and to incorporate it into your fitness routine. Here are just a few of them …
- The Variety!! So many options for exercises and types of intervals that you’ll never be bored.
- The Efficiency. It’s perfect for those who are short on time (who isn’t?!) Research shows you CAN achieve real results with HIIT, you don’t need to spend hours in the gym.
- The Easy Access. Little to no equipment is needed – bodyweight is ideal! HIIT can be done nearly anywhere and doesn’t require a lot of space. So that means there’s no excuses to skip a workout!
- The Challenge. During high intensity interval training you are required to push at your max effort, forcing you to face your limits and push past them. That mental battle as you tell yourself “I can do this for 10 more seconds!!” not only makes you physically stronger but mentally stronger as well. (you know…GRIT!)
- Best of Both Worlds. You can build and maintain lean muscle while burning fat at the same time.
- Anyone Can Do It!!! HIIT workouts can be customized for all fitness levels. As long as you are pushing at YOUR max effort during the “work” intervals, that’s all that matters.
3. Yoga. Why yoga? Because BALANCE. Did you notice a trend with the first two game changers – meal prepping and HIIT? There’s no getting around it. We live in a busy world with demanding schedules. That’s why we need the convenience of healthy meals ready to go and the efficiency of short, intense workouts. But that’s also why we NEED, oh we need it so bad, to slow down at least a few times a week and take care of the bodies we are always rushing around. Stretch, Breathe, Meditate, Relax. Embrace the mind body connection and become more well as a result.
Do you agree with my top three game changers? What ones do you already do? What would your top three be?