Fitness and nutrition is a big topic around here at Indigo Jones, and we believe that working out, staying strong and eating well are the keys to good health.
I was inspired by the folks at ETB Fit to share a little bit about my workout regime, how I stay motivated and fueled.
Here a few of my personal tips to get you going:
Prioritize your workout as you would anything else in your life. You wouldn’t just simply not show up for work, school or a doctor’s appointment just because you weren’t feeling it. Schedule time to exercise and respect the commitment you made to your body and yourself by adhering to it. Unless you are sick, injured or truly unable to make it, get your butt to the gym!
Find something you like to do, and you are more likely to do it. While I don’t love every aspect of my workout while I am doing it, once it is over I feel accomplished and eager to do it again. I like to work hard and sweat. I would opt for a tough, noisy spinning class over yoga any day. I hate overly choreographed, dance type classes, but love the adrenelin rush of bootcamp and circuit training. I also like putting on my headphones and hitting the weight room or running a few miles in solitude to center myself. Find something that you enjoy, and do it!
Shake it up. While my repertoire of workouts is consistent, I don’t do the same thing two days in a row, and try to make each workout a little different from the last. I take indoor cycling classes 3-4 times per week, lift weights 2-3 times per week, run and take high intensity interval weight training class once a week. I work with two different cycling instructors who push me past my limits each time, and change up their classes frequently. I vary the exercises, the order,the weight and amount of reps when strength training. While running is not my favorite pastime, mixing it in makes a difference in my endurance level and burns more fat. I schedule one full rest day each week, and allow two if my schedule is crazy.
Listen to your body. Sometimes, I feel like I need more cardio, and other times I feel exhausted. Once you start to know your body really well, it will guide you to what you need. Pushing past a little workout soreness often makes me feel better. Pushing through true pain always ends in disaster. If I am feeling really run down, I will schedule a more gentle workout. On a day when my legs are maxed out, I will concentrate on upper body and abs to give them a rest. A stroll on the elliptical is a really low impact way to move without over exerting myself. The foam roller is a good friend, and using it helps massage away all the kinks and tightness. Keeping my appointment with myself is key, but being kind to myself is of equal importance.
Get up and go! I find hitting the gym first thing in the morning is best for me. I get my workout in before the diversions and excuses of the day get a chance to take over. If you can’t bear working out in the morning, pack you gym bag in advance and make sure you go later.
You are the best form of transportation. I am lucky to live in a big city where I can walk everywhere. Just getting where I need to go each day can easily rack up the recommended 10,000 steps or close to 5 miles. Before you hail the cab, jump on the subway or bus, or get into the car to go a short distance, consider walking or biking it instead.
Nutrition is key. Whoever said that good abs are made in the kitchen and not in the weight room was absolutely right. All that exercise can easily be over powered by a bad diet. I joke that I am scrupulous about my nutrition except when I’m not. To me, that means eating an extremely healthy diet most of the time, and allowing a few splurges along the way. Life is too short not to have a little fun!
I often ask myself which I would rather have, a cookie ( slice of pizza, bowl of pasta, etc.) or a 6-pack. Sometimes the cookie (or several of them) wins. When I get too far off track, I start to have digestive issues, and a spare tire. That is when I do a total reset and just rely on lean protien for a few days to get me back to healthy eating. A squirt of sriracha here and there helps lesson the boredom of it.
In the morning, before I go to the gym, I start with something light, but high in protien. That is either plain Greek yogurt, or a smoothie made with a few handfuls of fruit, water and some protein powder. While the tenents of good nutrition are what they are, I have learned to listen to my body about this as well. I do best with a diet high in protein, and very low in carbs and sugar. Although I don’t eat red meat, I do eat a lot of fish, seafood, eggs and a little chicken. I love pasta and bread but frankly, it doesn’t love me. It puffs up my belly and causes almost instant weight gain. I am not a nutritionist, or a doctor, but I do know that avoiding refined carbs makes me look and feel a whole lot better than when I eat them. Figure out what your body likes and doesn’t and feed it appropriately. Just remember, pizzatarian is not a “thing,” and french fries with ketchup are not really good vegetable choices.
When I am eating restrictively, I take a multivitamin each day to make sure I am getting the nutrients my body needs.
I avoid eating things that come in packages. Low fat, low carb or low sugar packaged foods almost always use something unhealthy to replace the good stuff. I would rather splurge on the real deal, than eat chemical laden, high calorie versions. I prefer to make my own soups and sauces, and try to steer clear of processed foods. I prepare most meals at home, and take my lunch to the office. That way, I have food when I want it, that is pure and healthy.
I snack on nuts, yogurt or hummus and vegetables. With a high activity level, I need to refuel to keep my blood sugar and energy levels high. I have found it is better to have a snack in the afternoon, than to go home starving and shovel the first thing I can find into my mouth.
I drink water during my workouts to stay hydrated, but I know I don’t drink nearly enough. I sip on green tea throughout the day, starting with matcha, and tapering off to decaffeinated versions by mid afternoon. I never drink soda, or waste calories on fruit juices. I love a glass of wine, and try to limit it to the weekends, or nights out.
I record my activity and food intake in an online journal. That helps me keep track of how much I am eating, and holds me accountable for the good and the not so good choices. It is also is a way for me to make sure I am taking in enough calories when I am eating more restrictively.
Being healthy, fit and looking and feeling great are top priorities for me. You don’t need to spend all day in the gym or only eat lettuce to achieve them. If you find your passion for wellness and embrace it, the rest will follow!
Fitness photos: Glasshouse Images
Cookie photo: Spencer Jones /Glasshouse Images
Protein powder photo: courtesty of ETB Fit
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