Author: Nick Banar
Being constantly on the go and staying healthy can be a tough job. Whether we are in the car during the day or travel all over the world, it’s important to have some principles that can be applied to our day to day in order to stay on track with our health. Here are some tactics that I have found work for me and can be easily applied to everyone.
1. Practice Grazing
It has been shown that eating frequent small meals as opposed to the old adage of eating 3 large meals a day can help our metabolism function at higher rates. When we only eat 3 meals a day, we have a tendency to go crazy and stuff our faces each time. We also tend to notice a quick drop in energy after a big meal (think 5-hour energy commercials that talk about the “2:30 feeling”). This is because by only eating 3 meals, our metabolism is fluctuating all over the place. It’s revved up when we eat because it needs to burn off all the calories and then slows down entirely when we digest because there is nothing in our stomachs. A great way to combat this is through a method called grazing. This is where we eat 5 small meals a day versus 3 big meals. By doing this, we allow our metabolism to always have something to burn off and thus function consistently at a high rate. This, believe it or not, leads to burning more calories. One of the best ways to graze is to have a readily accessible source of protein such as almonds or greek yogurt available. Protein enhances our bodies ability to feel full and can curb our wanting to binge when we get hungry. Almonds are a great choice because they have protein and are also loaded with mono and polyunsaturated fats, which are the “good fats”.
2. Pack your food
Taking 10 minutes each night to prepare healthy food choices for the next day is great for our diets and can also be a huge time saver. Let’s face it, some jobs just don’t allow time for a decent lunch break. Because of this we are inclined to look for quick fixes that result in frequent trips to the vending machine or stopping for something fast and usually unhealthy on the road. Making a conscious effort to prepare food for the day before hand leads to healthier choices and also saves money in the long run.
Nowadays it can be tough to make time to get to the gym. With crazy gym fees on top of having to find a gym if you’re on the road, it can turn an hour long workout into a multiple hour affair. So why not just exercise wherever and whenever? I have been into CrossFit for the past year and without going too in depth about it, one of the things that it has taught me is that it’s not hard to get a crushing workout in with little time to spare. When I’m on the road or just don’t have time to get to my affiliate I use CrossFit Connex. This is a gold mine of at home workouts that can be done anywhere without the need for equipment. Perfect for the super busy type A’s out there! Once you warmup some workouts can take just 5–10 minutes to complete!
4. Drink lots of water
This should go without saying but keeping a good hydration level allows us to function optimally. It helps our energy levels, improves our focus, and not to mention keeps all the systems in our body running smoothly. Water bottles are a cheap investment and great to have. I like the Aluminum Sports Water Bottle because it holds a little over 16 ounces of water. Therefore if I drink 4 full bottles each day I get my 64-ounces or eight 8-ounce glasses daily. Furthermore, it has been shown that drinking 16-ounces of water first thing in the morning can have many benefits including: jump starting metabolism, assisting in flushing out toxins, and rehydration, considering we wake up usually around 8-hours fasted and therefore dehydrated. In addition to drinking one glass of water first thing in the morning, it’s also a great idea to drink a glass right before a meal which has been shown to facilitate us to eat less.
5. Drink tea instead of coffee during the day
I’m a huge coffee drinker and need it religiously first thing in the morning. Having said that, I have recently switched to drinking tea in the afternoon. The reason being because tea tends to relax me as well as improve my focus as opposed to getting me too jittery. It has caffeine in it but not as much when compared to a cup of coffee. My choice is Tazo Earl Grey Black Teawhich is nothing too special, but it’s tasty and does the job. An 8-ounce serving of Earl Grey tea contains about 61mg of caffeine compared to an 8-ounce serving of your average coffee which contains about 91mg of caffeine.
Meditation is a widely used tactic across some ultra successful people. See my post about How 4 Ultra Successful People Start Their Days for some examples. For me, I have been dabbling with it recently and it has definitely helped. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of taking some time to clear your head during the day. I know many folks out there are skeptical about meditation. When I first started reading about it, I pictured a monk sitting at the edge of a lake humming for an hour. The thing is, meditation doesn’t have to be anything formal, especially in the beginning. It’s important not to build it up to some crazy out of this world practice. Five minutes is long enough to start and if you are able to commit to that each day, you will naturally find yourself meditating for longer. I have to say, after dedicating some time to being open minded towards it, I have found that it can make all the difference. On average, it takes about a month to develop a new habit. Therefore, it’s important to allow ourselves the time to become comfortable with this new practice and develop consistency before we start judging. Five minutes at a time is a good start. An app I love that helped me get started is called Calm. This app allows you to trial a basic 7 day program for free. Give it a go and let me know how it works for you!
If meditation isn’t in your bag of tricks or isn’t something you want to dabble with at the moment, another great option with similar benefits is a power nap. These are naps that are around 15–20 minutes long. This window of time has been shown to elevate our energy levels when we wake up. Any longer and we tend to wake up drowsy. A lot of the time during a power nap you won’t completely fall asleep. That’s no big deal. It’s about allowing the body to relax by focusing on maintaining a clear mind. Set the timer for 15–20 minutes and put the phone on silent, not vibrate, silent, and relax.
7. Designate ONE Day on the Weekend as a Cheat Day
I am a firm believer that purging ourselves on the weekends is one of the secrets to long-term diet success. I heard a quote recently that read “long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity”. The folks that purchase gym memberships on January 1st each year only to quit by February 1st are the definition of short-term intensity. This is because they try to do too much all at once. There’s nothing wrong with that. Many of us are type A’s who like to go all in on everything we do. This usually works to our benefit, but with dieting, it can overwhelm us. Personally, I have found that if I know I can go absolutely ballistic on Saturday with food, I will be much more inclined to stick with healthy choices during the week. This is because knowing that I can purge a day on the weekend gives me incentive to stick with my diet plan. We all need incentive. We may not think about why we do certain things, but 99% of the time, we are incentivized in some way. Therefore, if we know that we can purge our cravings with food once each week, we will be more inclined to stick with a healthy diet plan 6 out of 7 days. If we do this, we will see the positive results we are looking for in the long run.
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