There are millions and millions of articles aimed at helping people lose weight, get fit, and all the rest. “Eat this superfood and lose weight!!” “Do this one/three/five things and shed the pounds!!” The cold hard truth that doesn’t sell magazines is that it requires a lifestyle change. The upside is that it doesn’t have to be difficult and painful. Incorporate some or all of the below into your day to day and watch the difference that it makes. ALL OTHER THINGS EQUAL these habits, when practiced daily, will help you lose some weight and keep it off. Starting with the easiest first and ending with an example of a healthy day in the life.
This is the most important and often overlooked part about staying healthy and weight loss. DRINK LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER. To maximize your results, this habit begins before you go to bed at night. Get a large cup of water (16 oz – can’t be less according to a study) and keep it next to your bedside. I keep my Nalgene bottle at hand – always. When I wake up, I make sure to drink at least half and if I stop short, the measurement on the side sets me right.
Within 30 minutes of waking up – get some protein. Eggs, Morningstar veggie and black bean burger with an egg (ready in 10 min or less), or a protein shake, or whatever else you can think of. Just get protein into your system. I drink a small serving protein shake every single morning. The Boathouse Farms mocha to be specific. I just keep it in the fridge and hammer some of it down before getting ready. Giving your body a boost of protein helps you begin your day by fueling your muscles, boosting your metabolic rate, and it triggers your digestive system and your brain to begin functioning normally and efficiently. It is very, very important for weight loss.
If there is one habit here that you can do without, it’s this one, but it should not be discounted as part of the weight loss morning habits. Coffee, in moderate amounts, and the caffeine that comes with it, is very healthy. Not only is it packed with antioxidants, but the caffeine also helps boost your metabolism.
Combining all three of these metabolism boosters right when you get up in the morning will put your body into an efficient, fat burning machine. It’s like a one-two punch followed by an uppercut of antioxidants and caffeine. But you have to remember to keep your protein low fat and minimize the sugars in your protein and coffee. It’s best to consume part 1 immediately after you get up, and part 2 within 30 minutes of getting up. All three steps are super easy and take very little preparation. Just having the protein shakes that you buy from the store (under $4 for 2-4 servings) in your fridge takes care of breakfast, and sleeping with water next to your bed is so easy there’s no excuse not to do it. The time and preparation for all three steps is minimal. Just figure out your little system and stick with it.
During the Day
Looks familiar…. And that is because it is. I can’t stress this point enough – DRINK LOTS OF WATER!!! If room temperature water isn’t for you, ice it up. Just drink lots and lots of water. 8 cups a day won’t do s**t for you. You need to be drinking a lot more. Get a large water bottle for work and a large bottle for home. 32 oz. I use a giant soda cup (I never drink soda – cut that out of your diet and watch the pounds vanish – but I use the huge cup for ice water) and a Nalgene bottle for home. Lots of water helps your body get rid of fat and keeps everything moving along through all of your systems nicely. Additionally, it prevents you from getting unnaturally hungry from dehydration.
2. Move, move, move
Take the stairs. Park as far away from the door as possible. Get up and walk over to a co-workers desk rather than call or IM them. Just MOVE. Do whatever you can throughout the day to move around. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do it and do as much of it as you can. Before you eat, do a flight or two of stairs. It will boost your metabolism right before you intake food, therefore making your body process it better. If you work in a tall building, take the stairs back part way from the cafeteria. Or walk to the restaurant and back for lunch. Whatever it is, just get movement in. Super simple, super easy, big difference.
1. Just get there
It doesn’t matter what happens when you’re there, just get to the Gym regularly. There are no excuses not to go. After you’ve done it for a while, it will be second nature. I can promise you that. Pick the time of day and just go. If you spend 5 minutes on the bike and then hit the showers, that’s fine. Just conquer the battle of your internal tendencies and get to the gym. Shower there in the morning before going to work (Less people, less traffic, more time to yourself) and maybe do 5 minutes of activity before you get in the shower. It doesn’t matter, just get there regularly. This alone will make a huge difference in your body composition and your health (mental and physical).
Side note: The main thing to remember when choosing a gym is to actually choose something that is going to work for you. Someplace that you can actually get to. Many people choose a gym based on price and perceived convenience, and the practice proves to be much less desirable (“this isn’t that far out of the way; I’ll make it here.”). Then they are stuck in a contract paying money for a service that they never even use. Don’t lie to yourself. Find something close to work, on your way to work or home, or someplace that is just too convenient to pass up. And then start getting there.
2. Keep the heart rate up
Ok, so you’re getting to the gym regularly, now what? Focus on doing exercises that keep your heart rate up. Not just cardio, but all over stuff. I looked at a few articles and the exercises that are linked are the best at really burning fat and increasing endurance. It’s the most bang for your buck workout. Even if you can’t do these exercises, just move somehow that keeps your heart rate up for a while.
3. Try different stuff
You see somebody doing an interesting exercise? Try it. You read about a workout that is supposed to give you chiseled abs? Try it. Your buddy says that he/she gets results doing X? Try it. Working out is your recess. It’s supposed to be fun and different. Just try new things whenever you feel like it. If you’re doing a back day, and you see someone doing a crazy kind of leg exercise, save it for the next day….or just try it. It’s fun to challenge yourself and test your capabilities. And it’s fun to try new things. The gym is all about your body. When you are in the gym, you are there for you. Going to the gym is the most important gift you can give yourself each day. If you are having a stressful, sad, challenging, disappointing day – go to the gym. I promise you that you will feel better when you leave. If you are having a great day, even better!! Go to the gym and your work out will be so much better motivated by the positive energy and you will leave walking on clouds. The gym is the one place where you can go to push your physical limits, shower, sit in the sauna or steam room, get in the pool, and feel better at the end of it all. Treat yo’ self by making it a part of your every day routine.
So what’s my point??
It’s pretty obvious, just make some simple habits part of your routine and it will lead to you becoming healthier and feeling better. Now, there’s no substitute for good nutrition, but that’s another article. Right now, just focus on trying some of these, or challenge yourself to try all of them. Try it for a week. See what the results are. To simplify it, below is a step by step guide to doing this stuff in a day.
- Wake up: Pound down 16 oz of water.
- Go to the fridge and drink a protein shake.
- Get coffee and begin the commute – do not shower, do not finish getting ready, just get out the door earlier than you would normally leave.
- Do not sit in traffic and get frustrated – because you left the house earlier and the traffic isn’t nearly as bad as it normally is.
- Get to the gym; work out; keep that heart rate up; sit in the sauna for a bit; shower; get ready for work at the gym; feel like $1 million; get to work.
- While at work take the stairs as much as possible. Drink tons and tons of ice water. Take the stairs every time you refill your ice or get food/coffee. Move Move Move.
- Go home. Have fun. Be active. Ride your bike. The rest of the day is yours. You’ve gotten all the hard stuff out of the way. Go about your life like you normally would. Just don’t eat KFC or WackDonalds or any garbage like that. Enjoy being healthier.