I was recently asked to provide some of my best tips on how to overcome the not-so-awesome part of staying fit and healthy.
You know, the frustrations that come along with having to wake up at the crack of dawn to fit in a workout, or skip the late night dinner with friends because you don’t want to indulge in all the calorie dense foods and beverages.
In the past ten years of dancing in college and then professionally, I have acquired tips and tidbits from friends and fitness professionals on exactly how to combat this.
I have always been an advocate in fueling and treating your body the right way, but also understand that situations like travel and celebrations come up and can put a serious damper in your healthy living lifestyle.
It’s completely normal, and in fact, I encourage taking advantage of those opportunities to keep you sane and on track the other eighty percent of the time.
I fell in love with healthy living years ago. I started eating cleaner and spending more time at the gym because of the tiny costumes I had to wear in front of crowds, but eventually I didn’t even have to put an effort into “trying” to eat healthy or staying active. I loved how I felt, I thrived off of the post-workout highs, and I wouldn’t still be living this way if it didn’t make me feel like the best me I can be!
Below are my tips on how to overcome the annoyances that come with staying healthy and active on a regular basis. And don’t worry… we all have them!
1. Workout when it makes sense for you and your schedule.
I have never been one to wake up when the rooster crows and go for a run. Unless I literally have no other choice.
I used to feel guilty sleeping longer and not having my workout for the day done by 9 a.m., but I eventually got over it.
I also used to teach 6 a.m. barre classes three times a week, and I really did enjoy being done for the day by 9 a.m. But, it wore me out over time and wasn’t always for me. Overall, I prefer to do my workouts in the late morning, afternoon, or even evenings.
I know what you’re thinking. And I do have the luxury of a schedule that allows me to workout when I please, but it hasn’t always been that way.
Back in the days of working full-time and dancing part-time (but more like a full-time commitment), the only time that I was able to squeeze in a workout was after work, before practice or after practice. So that’s what I did.
I already had to be at the gym, so I went a couple of hours early to get in a good sweat, take advantage of the steam room, shower, and head off to practice feeling great. It never felt like a chore that way.
Some people prefer to knock their workouts out first thing after they wake up, while others like to go to a group fitness class over their lunch break.
I change when I like to workout depending on what’s going on in my life, and the most important thing to remember is to get into a habit of working out when it makes the most sense for you and your schedule.
2. Lay your gym clothes out ahead of time, or pack them with you.
Before I taught classes or worked at a restaurant and danced professionally at night, I worked a full-time desk job that had me nailed inside until six o’clock on the dot every weeknight.
I still enjoyed going to the gym back in those days, but after a nine hour day at work, the last thing I wanted to do after getting home was go right back out to the gym.
After a couple of months of playing “do I really need to go today?”, I got the idea of taking my gym clothes with me. If I had them accessible and ready to go, I was more likely to go straight there and get it done.
The same goes for early workouts! If you need motivation to get to the gym in the mornings, try laying out your workout gear the night before or, better yet, sleeping in it. Getting dressed is half the battle!
3. Two words: vodka soda.
I have never hidden the fact that I like to enjoy a glass of wine or celebratory drink from time to time. I have also been known to order a specialty drink if a restaurant is known for it, and choose a sugary drink like hard cider on occasion.
The problem, of course, comes when you enjoy too many too often, or out of moderation.
Back when I danced for the Orlando Magic (and in my younger twenties), I loved joining a group for late-night dinners and outings. If you end up doing it often enough, it can definitely impact your healthy living lifestyle and the best two words I learned from teammates were: vodka sodas.
Instead of wasting calories in margaritas and flavorful cocktails, stick to ordering a stripped down, simple vodka and soda water with a lime or lemon, or even whipping up a pitcher of infused fruit vodka soda “punch” at your next get together.
With all of the flavored liquor out now, it’s usually what I prefer to indulge in, and now indulging means less then 100 calories. It’s a beautiful thing.
4. Find the types of workouts you actually enjoy doing and grab a workout buddy!
You don’t have to have a gym membership to take group fitness classes. Get out in the community and try out new classes in your area that appeal to you!
Yoga, Pilates, barre, and Dance Trance are all great examples of specialty studios that offer specific workouts. I usually prefer taking a challenging cardio or toning class over doing a workout by myself, and always have more motivation to go if I have a friend joining as well.
Most recently, I tried PiYo, BodyPump and have in interest to get into Piloxing. I would love to find a gym that offers a consistent change-up in fitness classes to include some of my favorites on a regular basis.
When you find what types of workouts or classes work for you, getting to them becomes less like work and more fun. Stick to it!
5. Moderation schedule.
I frequently mention how I allow myself to eat dessert and pizza if that is what my body is craving. I never cut out a specific food from my diet (unless it’s on a short term basis like preparing for a photo shoot), and have always believed in eating everything your body asks for in moderation.
To balance it out, I try to watch what I eat and do over the days surrounding my cheat meals or even cheat days.
If I dive face first into two pounds of pasta for dinner, I am probably going to lace up my running shoes and get in a long run the next morning, followed by egg whites and protein for breakfast.
Always listen to your body and remember that most of your “off-limits” foods aren’t… in moderation.
6. Eat the rainbow.
Don’t be afraid of color! I am always adding fruit and vegetables to my meals any way possible. Whether I am topping my salads with fruit or sneaking spinach into my smoothies or pasta sauces, I try to make my plates as colorful as I can.
7. If cost is an issue, there are plenty of activities you can do at home for free.
Running is the best free workout I can think of, and that is just one of the many reasons I think you should try it.
If paying for a gym or studio membership isn’t for you, try pinning workouts you can do at home or streaming them online.
I have an Amazon Prime membership that allows me access to tons of different styles of professional workouts!
Go for a swim, take your dog for a daily long walk, and get creative with what is around you. Try new things that keep you moving!
Questions of the Afternoon
• What is one thing you hate about working out or eating healthy?
• How do you combat that?