The Basics

Things have been a bit crazier than normal. I’ve finally got around to getting another post up and I figured I’d share some tips on how to stay sane and healthy when life gets in the way.

When life gets crazy you might think it’s easier or more convenient to resort to less healthy options for eating, exercise and your day-to-day routine. An occasional fast food meal, late night, or missed workout is a perfectly normal, and sometimes essential, part of a healthy lifestyle. When those things become habit is when you run into trouble, and the truth is, falling back on those habits when things get busy or stressful can actually make your life harder NOT easier.

Sugar and simple carbs may give you a quick boost of energy, but protein, healthy fats and whole grains will keep you sustained and avoid a mid-afternoon crash. You may feel better staying up late to check-off your to-do list but doing that night after night will leave you drained the following day. As always, if you are feeling especially sore or fatigued it’s fine to skip a workout. But, if you are using lack of time or a busy schedule to avoid getting to the gym, you will find yourself missing the energy, endorphin rush, and general sense of well-being that comes with regular exercise.

All that being said, your ideal routine just may not be possible when trying to keep up with a particularly busy couple of days, week, etc. That’s when you can stick to the basics – things that are easy and quick and that you know will work.

Here is a list of my basics for a healthy lifestyle. They are the backbone of what I base my eating, workouts, and scheduling around, and what I fall back on when things just seem to pile up.

Food: This is nothing you haven’t heard before but, when your really hungry or really busy you’re going to go with what’s easy. So,

  • Stock your fridge with healthy options. Things that are easy to grab like veggies and hummus, yogurt, apples and peanut butter.
  • Cut corners. You may spend a few more dollars but for a week or two it might be worth it to buy things like pre-cut fruits and veggies, bagged lettuce mixes, microwavable brown rice, and individual serving size cups of hummus or peanut butter.
  • Pick a formula for your meals. An easy to cook protein + a whole grain + vegetables. Choose a quick cooking fish like tilapia, or small chicken breast tenders that cook quickly. You can microwave a sweet potato, squash or frozen brown rice. Go with frozen vegetables or at least those that are pre-cut before you throw them in the oven to roast.  It may seem boring but you can add tons of flavor with the spices you’ve got in your pantry and some fresh garlic or herbs.
Daily Routines: Routine is the key word. Stick to what must minimally be done. Work, school, workouts, meals, homework, kids, etc. Here are my tips for getting it all done and staying sane.
  • Make sure you stick to a bed-time. You might feel better by staying up late to get things done but doing that day after day will run you down and make being productive much harder.
  • If there are “maybes” on your list of things to be done, see if you can get them done early. You’ll feel better having them out of the way and not looming over you.
  • Think about what can wait. You mean I don’t really need to dust everything in my living room RIGHT NOW? And, (shocker!) the world will not end if I don’t make my bed this morning…
Workouts: This is probably my favorite part. Not necessarily because it’s most important but because I know whatever is going out in my life with work, schedules, etc. – it can be solved with a good workout. Here are some tips for making sure that you can get in a workout and make it count!
  • Put “Exercise” on your to-do list and as an appointment on your calendar. You wouldn’t double book a meeting with your boss, don’t do it with your workout. If it’s already planned as part of your day you’ll be sure to have the time to get it done.
  • Stick to what you know. This isn’t the time to try something new or start a new routine.
  • Make it quick and efficient. You know you’ve got some time and that’s all you need. This is where HIIT comes in – it’s the perfect way to target head to toe, get your heart pumping, and get it done quickly. Plus, you can cut out travel time by doing a workout that requires minimal equipment or none at all.
Below is a workout that will take you “Back to Basics”. All you need is a TABATA timer (20 seconds on/ 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds), a mat or towel, and an optional set of dumbbells.
Back to Basics
If you are running really low on time, you can cut this work-out in half. Just do Sets 1-3. Or if you’ve truly only got a few minutes, pick a few of your favorite moves and complete just one or two TABATA sets.

Enjoy and good luck! Let me know what tips or tricks you use and what moves or workouts are your basics.

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