Tis the season to be especially thankful and reflect on the wonderful gifts God has given us. Thanksgiving Day will soon be here and we’ll all be enjoying precious time with our family and friends. While the Fall season is my favorite time of year, I always find it particularly challenging to keep my energy level high. The weather changes, work and travel, new school events to attend and family commitments make it somewhat harder to find time to stick with my fitness routine. I do my best not to give in to the comfortable sofa waiting for me. In this TruthstoInspire post, I’d like to share some of my own tips for maintaining good energy (on the inside) all day. None of these are new – I just added a few helpful twists of my own across each of them.
- Eat Oatmeal. As a New Yorker, I get to enjoy the delicious tastes that come with bagels, pastries, pizza and other bread based foods. For years, a morning bagel and coffee was a mainstay and not a habit I was willing to think about changing. After putting on some weight, I decided to do something drastic and cut down on my bread intake. Low and behold, I replaced my delicious bagels with oatmeal and a bit of granola. Though hard at first, I started to prefer the oatmeal. It kept me feeling full longer and I loved the fact that it was nice and hot every time. Every now and then, I treat myself to an everything bagel, but get back to the oatmeal. Trust me, even by swapping out one bread for a grain will make a difference.
- Download the MyFitness Pal App. If you haven’t downloaded this APP yet, do it today. It is awesome. I started to count calories using its very simple approach. I became more aware of the high calorie foods and what to look for in servings. Truth be told, I lost 10 pounds by just sticking with my calorie commitment each week. The features are really cool too. Check it out.
- Run or Walk Everywhere. Distance running is a love of mine. I absolutely enjoy the challenge of testing my endurance. I don’t run to beat time, I run to extend distance reached with each run. On a good day, I can run between 4 and 5 miles at a good steady 11 minutes per mile (on average). I try to get in a good run or walk at least 2-3 times per week. Saturday and Sunday mornings (early am) you’ll find me at the gym. These are the best times to get there given my schedule. The third run gets tricky and I don’t always get it in. So I make up for it by doing as much walking as I can during the week. Friends, the point is to keep moving as often as you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park a little further away from the store entrance etc. These extra steps make a big difference. I am now finding that I don’t like to sit for very long. I prefer to work on my computer standing or take conference calls with a head set so I can walk around. Sitting for long periods is not good for you. Throw on a head set and dance to your favorite tune as often as you can.
- Give Your Brain a Break Please. Few people realize that the brain is a muscle just like the others. When you work the right part of the brain a lot doing intense thinking, creating, or problem solving, you will feel tired. I am on a lot of conference calls during the day. After just one tough one, I can feel tired and the day is just starting. To combat this, I make sure I shift the “mental” focus from the intense to the light and enjoyable. Taking a minute to visit your favorite blog, talk to a colleague about something interesting, or just finishing a good article you started the night before all help to keep you mentally fresh and feeling less drained throughout the day. Of course, this isn’t a silver bullet. One or two tough meetings will happen and there won’t be much you can do. I usually take a short walk or get something cold to drink. Small things like these will help to get you ready to take on what’s coming up next in the day with the same vigor.
- Exercise. After a run, I do about 20 minutes of weight lifting and exercise. Sit ups are important for overall stamina. I always make sure to get my crunches in and I love the feeling of pushing weights. I keep them low and do lots of reps. If I can’t get to the gym, I do my exercises at home. Sometimes it may just be a few crunches or a couple of curls. I firmly believe that 2 sets of 10 reps of ANY exercise goes a long way. Don’t feel like you have to give the full hour for it to be effective. Do one exercise a night before going to bed or early in the morning at the start of your day. You will find over time, your endurance increasing and you’ll be able to do more.
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