It’s becoming an exciting time, finally! After a long year, we are beginning to see some lasting changes. Restaurants are opening back up, activities are becoming more accessible, and the weather is getting better every day (here in SoCal at least). For some of us, it’s just about the Spartan Races showing up on the calendar!
Spring cleaning is something we are all familiar with, but I am shifting that perspective towards our health, fitness, and wellness. Wintertime starts to drift out of sight, and summer brings exciting new things and a new outlook. How do we spring clean our lifestyle to help us achieve our health and fitness goals? We do that by cleaning up some old habits, setting goals, and maybe even toss out that old bag of crackers in the cupboard!
The area of opportunity for many people is to stay consistent with their nutrition, staying active daily, and the types of choices we make on the weekends! I’m going to give you some tips and tricks for a few of the things that could make a big impact in the long run towards your health and fitness!
We are bombarded with “healthy” versions of food all the time. Whole wheat, low carb, high fiber, or even Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups (yes, those get me from time to time too!). When I talk with most clients about what’s going right with their snacking, most agree that protein, fruits, and veggies are the big WIN, and processed food is the LOSS.
As the temperature starts to go up, it’s nice to eat some colder types of food. Think about some simple salads and smoothies for your main meals and cutting the calorie-dense breakfast burritos, sandwiches at lunch, and the large helping of grains with your dinner! Salads can be simple. Start with your favorite greens, add some protein of choice, and pick a few extras. I love cooked beets, black beans or lentils, tomatoes, and bell peppers. If you are trying to watch calories and not skip any corners, cut the big servings of avocado or the fatty or sugary dressings, and say no to croutons! (favorite salad dressing below)
Simple Dressing (mix in a small jar and shake up)
- Lemon juice
- Rice vinegar
- Olive oil
- Nutritional yeast
Low glycemic fruits and veggies are your new go-to! Fruits and veggies can sometimes be pretty bland on their own, so add some excitement and good nutrition with homemade hummus (or finding a hummus without sunflower/vegetable oil), nut butter, or yogurt dip. Crackers, chips, and other snacks are more processed, lack sufficient fiber and protein! Fruits and vegetables make for great smoothies as well. (favorite smoothie below)
- 20-30g protein powder
- Unsweetened nut milk
- 1 cup of berries
- Small handful of spinach or scoop of greens powder
- 1 tbsp of almond butter
Dining out is a sensitive subject for most. It’s our time to relax, enjoy your company and some great food. Unfortunately, this is where many people tend to blow it and balance out all their hard work for the week!
A few things that allow me to make better decisions in front of the restaurant menu are pretty simple. Exercise the day you’re planning to go out to eat. I follow this habit for many occasions and doing so does a few positive things. It keeps me in the mindset of improvement. I’ve burned calories that day and I’m making some improvement toward my fitness. If I have eaten well that day and stuck to my nutrition plan, why blow it at the end of the day? If I didn’t exercise that day, I may take the dinner out as a “screw it” moment and make some bad decisions. Also, maybe those veggie snacks or fruit would be a clutch snack before heading to the restaurant to help curb your appetite and likeliness to overeat. Going to a restaurant starving is generally setting you up to overeat and indulge. I first made this connection a while back when I saw a gentleman eat something before he walked into the grocery store to shop. Maybe it was an accident in his case, but that really stuck with me! Make sure to drink plenty of water and have a small snack before heading out! When in doubt, always go for meat and vegetables and make substitutes if needed. Stay away from the bread and chips that don’t seem to run out!
With Summer coming around the corner and 2021 being an exciting year for races and events, it may be the right time to sign up for something this year! Get yourself motivated with a race or event you never got around to in 2020! A race on the horizon gives you and your coach a new focus for your training, and the drive to push harder and to stay motivated towards your goals! If not a race, consider picking up a new hobby that keeps you active! Having things apart of your lifestyle of which promote activity and movement are great additions to your current workout program. Things to consider are trail running, hiking, biking, or yoga! Working out for 45min to an hour most days of the week is awesome don’t get me wrong! The idea is that we should be active in our normal lifestyle as this will lead to increased metabolism, increased muscle mass, faster recovery time, more steps per day/week and will create a more active lifestyle and weekend when you are missing workouts!
One of my hobbies and favorites is washing and detailing my car. Something that doesn't take as much skill as people think, but when you take into account maybe two washes per month, you have 25 or so extra days out of the year where you are burning significant calories for that day. I also tie in a great podcast, audible or music to get the most out of this activity.
When we start to get into a nice groove with our workouts and nutrition, sometimes just sticking with it is the best thing we can do! When we are looking for that next edge and wanting to continue our progress, we can do that through small but impactful changes to our eating choices and what we do in our daily life. Picking healthier snack and meal options, making proper food decisions even when we feel like letting a bit loose, and staying active inside and outside the gym are things we can start to examine for ourselves. Not only can we spring clean our living spaces, maybe it's time to check our daily habits and our back seats for some resolution.