By: Martin Ebner
Life is tough and with increasingly hectic and demanding lifestyles, finding time to workout and eat right has become more and more of a challenge. Thankfully getting fit and healthy doesn't necessarily require hours spent in the gym or vegan style dieting mentality. It's not a case of all or nothing, but making smart choices. Regardless of how busy your schedule is, here are some easy things you can do right now to get fit and healthy.
Keep your workouts short
Length does not equal results when it comes to working out. Slogging it out on the cross-trainer for hours at a time or triple-figure rest periods between sets is not only ineffective, it's time wasted. When you're busy, the last thing you want to waste is your precious time.
Instead, keep your workouts high tempo and no longer than 45 minutes. Here are a few ways to keep your workout times down.
HIIT session - Yes, I talk about it a lot but not without good reason. HIIT is not only highly effective for weight-loss but can offer as equally impressive health benefits as long distance moderate cardio in a fraction of the time.
Circuit training - offers more exercises in less time. Circuit training is highly effective for building muscle, improving endurance, cardiovascular health and weight loss. It's the smart choice for any busy-bee.
Supersets - Forget your 2 minute rest periods between sets and get double the results in half the time. By working opposite muscle groups back to back without rest, you allow one muscle group to rest while the other is working. Think chest and back, quads and hamstrings, biceps and triceps.
Always Eat Breakfast
If you spend the majority of your waking hours outside the comfort of your home and kitchen, breakfast could be the one chance you get to have a sit-down homemade meal. By eating a hearty breakfast, you'll fuel up right for the busy day that lies ahead and will feel more inclined to continue eating well throughout the rest of the day.
Try a generous serving of porridge oats, topped with fruit and a dollop of greek yogurt. The high fiber and rich nutrient content is the perfect way to start the day and will keep hunger locked up until lunch.
Take the stairs
This might sound obvious, but choosing the stairs over the elevator could make a difference to not only your waistline but to your cardiovascular health as well. Next time you have the choice, skip the lines and head for the stairs.
We all get cravings for chocolate cake and ice cream, and while some of us restrict ourselves to indulgence on special occasions only, some have single-handedly financed the junk food market. If you can't resist the vending machine calling your name, opt for nuts over crisps, dark chocolate over white, whole grain over refined and sparkling water over fizzy (soda) drinks.
Eat a couple of pieces of fruit every day
These nutrient rich and power packed little miracles are one of the simplest and most delicious ways to improve your health right now! Aim for at least 2 servings of fruit a day!
Walk or cycle to work
Save yourself the pain-staking misery of rush hour traffic by cycling or walking to work. If you live miles from your workplace, drive to within a 30-minute walking distance of your office, park the car and clock up some miles on foot or bike.
Next time you are really stressed out, take a few minutes and breath deep. Research shows that just a couple of minutes of conscious deep breathing is enough to reduce stress hormone levels, resulting in less anxiety and better sleep.
Drinking water is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do right now to be healthier. Avoid it and you risk a sluggish metabolism, increased hunger, headaches, underperformance in the bedroom and boardroom, aged skin, poor concentration, lethargy and dizziness.
Aim to drink at least 2 litres of H20 every day. The simplest way to do this is to fill a 2-litre bottle of water at the start of each day and not allow yourself to go to bed until the bottle is empty.
Yes, it's a thing! Exercise like most things in life when done in excess can have a negative effect of your wellbeing. If you are finding life's commitments too much to handle, you could be overtraining. Here is how to avoid it:
1.) Listen to your body. If you're exhausted, chances are you need a break, not a strenuous workout.
2.) Take a deload week every 6-8 weeks. This means reducing the intensity and/or frequency of your workouts for 7 days.
3.) Adapt your workouts to suit your lifestyle, not the other way around!
4.) Sleep more. Your body recovers when resting and sleep is the best form of recovery.
5.) Avoid endlessly repping out. Save it for the last few exercises of your workout.
Related article: Exercise, how much is too much?