Summer is one of the best seasons for camping, BBQs and all things fun, but with all the activities, it can also be a challenging season to feel your best.
No matter what the season, fewer than 5 percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day, while only one in three adults gets the recommended amount of physical activity each week, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
While we may be home more than ever before during the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re any less busy. Here are 16 tips tied to both nutrition and exercise to help you stay fit on the go.
Prepare ahead of time
Typically, the difference between feeling successful or unsuccessful with your day or week when it comes to being healthy comes down to preparation.
Any meals or you can prepare ahead of time make it that much easier to make the best decisions when you’re crunched for time.
Keep the food simple
While simple snacks and meals might sound pre-packaged and processed, it really doesn’t have to be! You can steam any vegetables in a microwave or munch on some fruit. Think whole foods and keep it simple because healthy does not have to be crazy complicated!
Focus on protein
There are a number of sources of protein out there. But when you’re on the go, it’s worthwhile to keep protein in mind to support your metabolism on the go. Pumpkin seeds, avocado on toast, and homemade protein balls are great options.
On longer days, snacks can definitely help keep away hangry pains (and low-blood-sugar moments) while also preventing the need for a large, late dinner.
Be aware of cutting off the snack as soon as you feel satisfied. You don’t have to finish it if you don’t want to.
Read the labels
Unfortunately, often what looks quick and healthy (or even just healthy in general) can be loaded with more than you bargained for, like sugar.
Be sure to read the nutrition labels of what you're eating. Be aware of the total calories (although we’re not suggesting calorie counting), protein, fiber, sugar, and ingredients.
A great rule of thumb: Strive for 9 grams of sugar per serving or less, and if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, don’t bother.
Don’t underestimate breakfast
You’ve heard it before. Don’t skip breakfast. And it’s true!
Even something as quick as a protein shake can set you up with better mental and physical efficiency while also preventing lunchtime starvation mode. You’ll still be hungry by lunchtime but better able to make better choices about what you have.
Water, water, water
Drinking enough water is important year-round, not just during summer. In fact, every person should strive to drink half their body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if a person weighs 160 pounds, they should drink at least 80 ounces of water each day.
In general, to promote weight loss, drinking at least 100 ounces per day is recommended.
Less is more
Sometimes, the idea of a long workout (especially when you’re busy) can be enough to deter us from making it happen.
First, let go of the notion that a workout has to be an hour long. It really doesn’t! Break away for a half hour or whatever works for you. Plus, you can always incorporate more than one movement opportunity into your day that will ultimately add up to likely more than an hour.
Mix it up
Most people don’t enjoy the same workout for multiple days in a row. Variety is the spice of life. Make an effort to break up your own routine.
Perhaps some yoga one day, weights another day and then a run can not only keep your head in the game but boost that muscle confusion as well.
Resist being sedentary
In today’s world, it’s so easy to become more sedentary than we should. Driving, sitting, it all adds up to an extra challenge our bodies have to face.
But there are always little things you can do to keep moving: parking farther away, stretching while on a call, taking the stairs, whatever works for you. A lunchtime walk has even been shown to boost people’s moods and their ability to handle stress at work.
Planning your workout is everything
One of the biggest hurdles to getting going in a workout is figuring out what to do. If you can plan your workout ahead of time, you can then focus on doing the workout itself when it’s time to do so.
Consider mapping out your week ahead. Even deciding on what you generally want to do (cardio or weights) will be a huge time saver.
Or, better yet, consider checking out a Kaia FIT location near you where the thinking is done for you.
It’s not all or nothing
Fitness and good nutrition are never a 100-percent-all-in type of journey. It’s about progress and all the small decisions you make daily that really add up over time.
Don’t beat yourself up for what you didn’t do. Celebrate what you did do! Every moment and every good decision counts. There’s never a good reason to dive into a guilt spiral. It only harms yourself and your commitment.
Set your intention
Simply put, the good little decisions we can make every day are a whole lot harder when we forget our “why,” which is different for everyone.
For example, wanting to feel more comfortable in your clothes should outweigh any craving for a food that doesn’t serve your intention. The key is reminding ourselves about it.
This can be a Post-It in the bathroom or on your fridge. It can even be a reminder on your phone. Whatever works for you.
Many people laugh when they hear that at least seven hours of sleep is recommended for adults. After all, who has time for that?
But the more sleep we can get, the better (generally speaking). Even getting close to seven hours could be a great improvement.
Consider setting a “technology bedtime,” where all electronic devices are turned off at least an hour before you go to bed. Studies from the National Sleep Foundation suggest that the electronic light itself before going to bed can lead to insomnia.
Self-care is key
You have to take care of yourself to better take care of others. Self-care in any form (baths, massages, naps, slow stretching, whatever speaks to you) is critical in keeping our cup full during stressful times or just a busy schedule.
Truly, the happier you are, the more productive you are.
Consider active weekends, vacations
Bike rides, hiking, you name it, and it can be a great component of a weekend or even a vacation. We already know movement is fundamental on the daily, but it shouldn’t go out the window when we think about our downtime.
Remember that exercise doesn’t just happen in a gym environment. The outdoors are calling!
No matter what, the most important component to getting (or staying) fit on the go is to be kind to yourself. It’s too easy to allow our busy schedules to rule our lives. But when they do interfere, it’s okay. It’s just life. Continue making the best possible choices for you because fitness is a journey, not a destination.
Caren Roblin, Owner of Kaia FIT Sierra