Let’s be honest, sometimes after a long day at work the last thing you want to do is cook a healthy dinner, or get in your workout gear and head to the gym. But, what if being healthy didn’t have to be such hard work? There are plenty of simple changes you can make, which over time will make a big difference. So, read our tips for 12 simple lifestyle changes below that’ll help you live a a cleaner and healthier life.
1. Decide on a goal
What is it you want to achieve? Maybe you’d like to lose a few pounds, or eat healthier food? By setting yourself a goal that you can tell friends and family about, you’re more likely to achieve it. Make sure that your goal is specific – you want to lose a certain number of pounds over a month, or that you’d like to be able to run 5k by September, for example.
2. Write an action plan
You need to know how you’ll be able to achieve your goal, so sit down and write an achievable plan. Be realistic about when you’ll have the time and energy to go to the gym. Will you also exercise away from the gym, maybe outside or with friends? What about a Personal Trainer? Consider all your options to make your goal something that you will be able to reach in the time frame you’d like to.
3. Find a helper
There’s nothing like working as a team, and we could all do with some extra encouragement from time to time. So, find someone that can remind you why you’re working towards this goal. Maybe you have a friend who’d also like to achieve something similar to you? Working with people with similar goals can be especially helpful, as you can support each other throughout.
4. Eat a balanced diet
Eating a balanced diet the majority of the time is the key to feeling healthier and more energetic. Try and balance your diet so that you’re focused and stay on track 80% of the time. That’ll give you 20% of the time to treat yourself a little – a glass of wine, a takeaway, or whatever you fancy. By allowing yourself a window to have the things you love, you’ll be more inclined to stay on track the rest of the week.
5. Eat little and often
The more often you eat, the more calories your body burns, so try and eat little and often. Snacks between meals are important, so go for something healthy like – nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables. By spreading out your calorie count across the day more evenly, you’ll be less likely to over-eat when it comes to lunch or dinner.
6. It’s not all about cardio…
To lose 1lb of fat, you’ll need to burn 3,500 calories. A cardio session will often burn around 500 calories, so it’s important to keep your training varied. You could try some intensive interval training, which uses the aerobic and anaerobic systems. Using both systems means that your metabolism will be raised for up to eight hours after exercise, which means you’ll burn through more calories following your workout.
7. Get enough zzzzzz’s…
Sleep is key to feeling strong and healthy, and whilst it’s not easy to get a full eight hours each night, try to get as much as you can. If you don’t get enough sleep, there’s often an excess of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your body. Cortisol can make losing fat or gaining muscle more tricky. So, turn off any electrical devices an hour before you plan to go to bed, and get as much sleep as possible!
8. Lift weights
Adding some sort of resistance training to your workout plans is a really great way to work the muscles. This sort of training increases lean muscle tissue, aiding strength and toning. Adding just 1lb of muscle means we burn an extra 50 calories a day, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn!
9. Drink lots of water
This is a classic piece of advice, but it’s as true now as it has ever been. Before you eat anything, have a glass of water. By having a drink and seeing if you’re actually dehydrated, rather than hungry, you’ll then eat based on how hungry you really are, not how thirsty. Water helps with the transportation of nutrients around the body too. So, try to drink at least two litres of water a day.
10. Eat after training
If you have quality protein and carbohydrates within 45 minutes of your workout, your muscle and tissue repair from your session will be far more effective. If your exercise session was mainly aerobic, then try and have good carbohydrates, such as vegetables. And, if it was anaerobic then stick to protein, like chicken or turkey,
11. Try to be as active as possible
A lot of us have no choice but to sit at a desk for the majority of the day. Whilst this is not avoidable, try and break this up time up by taking a quick walk around the office every hour. And, use your lunch break to go for a walk, get some fresh air and burn some calories!
12. Choose your drinks wisely
We all deserve a treat at the end of a long week, but try to choose your drinks wisely! A lager has around 200 calories in it, whereas a vodka and soda has only 65 calories (and less sugar!).
Whatever your goal is, be it losing weight, toning up, or taking on a challenge, find your local David Lloyd Club to help you reach it.