Achieving a healthy lifestyle has certainly been a journey for me. Growing up in Texas, where big means BIG, the road to fitness did not come easily for me. Fighting off large portions and trying to stay cool in 100 degree heat was not a motivating environment to keep healthy. Think unlimited soda refills, lunch buffets, four-course Indian meals, all you can eat pizza for $7.99. As a result, food (in large quantities and portions) has always been a part of my life. The key -- and the hard part -- was gaining control. Seven years ago I made the ultimate decision to change my life and gain the knowledge necessary to propel me into a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Since 2006, I have become certified in indoor cycling, kickboxing and personal training. In 2008, I decided to pursue a master's degree in clinical nutrition. Armed with the appropriate education in both fields, I embarked on this new path with passion, motivation and excitement. Simultaneously, the digital health space began to grow and primarily through the launch of several smartphone apps that began the "Quantified Self" movement. The ability to track your workouts or calories emerged with such vigor that several applications were born, such as Map my Fitness, My Fitness Pal, Lose It, Endomondo, My Net Diary, GymPact and more! Alongside this trend, there was a shift from working out at a membership type gym towards working out at specialized fitness boutiques. Now you could try a class at any time by just "dropping in." Everyone wanted to help solve the big problem at hand: obesity.
With the holidays coming up, there are a lot of resources to help you stay on top of your game. Maybe you'll stick to what works or maybe you'll try a new product. Whatever approach you decide, here are a few of my tips to help to stay on top of your health:
• Create a fitness goal for yourself -- When you know you have something to work towards then it's easier to stay committed -- that's just human nature. For example, if you choose a race, an obstacle challenge, or even have a personal event to attend, then there's motivation for you to stay focused on those sweat sessions.
• Plan ahead for the week -- Try to evaluate your schedule at the start of each week so you know exactly when you will work out. Treat your workout like an appointment! If you know that you have a work dinner or a holiday event post work, force yourself to get up in the morning and conquer. There are a variety of virtual workouts one could stream from home. A major fitness trend of 2013 was the functional exercise movement -- your workout could just consist of squats, pushups, sit-ups and a cardio movement such as jacks, burpees or skaters. The Nike Training Club (FREE!) app offers 15-, 30- and 45-minute workout routines and they will make you burn those calories. #NoExcuses
• Try new fitness experiences -- It seems like a new studio is opening up on a monthly basis. Get your exploration going and try a new class once in a while. Changing it up will also benefit your body. If you typically run, add a yoga session to the mix. Curious about kettle bells? Satisfy the urge!
• Share your workout routine with a friend and have them share theirs with you -- Perhaps a new concept that ties fitness, being social, adherence and communication is required (stay tuned!). For now, writing out your routine and sharing it -- whether it's on an email or adding it to your calendar -- will help you stay accountable. It will also encourage someone else to hold you accountable. Take it one step further and make that workout social so that you and your friend are sweating together!
Hope you are able to enjoy the holiday season (guilt-free!). If you have a suggestions that have worked, we'd love to hear your comments.