As Americans are getting back to work, they are, naturally, dedicating more time to their jobs. Whether it is working from the Blackberry all day long, increasing hours to fit global time zones, putting in long days from home or whatever else is necessary, long gone are the days of an average 40-hour work week.
Some experts suggest Americans are working at least 70 + hours per week. For workaholics, nutrition and fitness are the last things in mind when you still have to factor in rest, family and leisure activities.
Well, who says you can't have it all?
As a professional athlete, I have to train two to three times a day. My workout consists of cardio, weight training, Pilates and sprints. I'm on the track five to six days a week. It's a lot of work but the variety keeps things fresh and keeps me from getting bored. Now, I'm training for the World Championships, so you certainly don't have to train as hard as I do. Instead, 30 minutes to an hour or so about three to five times per week is sufficient in trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
There are simple things you can do during the day -- and even while you are working -- towards living a more active, healthier lifestyle.
First, start by setting small goals and staying consistent. A lot of times people fail or relapse because they have set goals that are too lofty or too big to tackle at one time. If you're worried that you have set your goals too high, realize that it is common for people to set unrealistic, large goals in a time frame that is too hard to achieve. Don't fret, there are ways you can reach your bigger goal, but the improvement needs to be gradual. If you set one major goal, it makes it more possible for you to become frustrated, which can eventually halt your progress.
The way around this is to set a series of small goals and accomplish those first before moving on towards the next small goal. This will require a lot of patience, but the idea is to recognize small victories along the way. That way, in achieving those goals on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, it will provide motivation to keep you going. Begin by changing one behavior at a time, and adding on every day or week with each workout. Whether it is adding a few more blocks to your jog, losing a few pounds at a time or just increasing the length of time you work out, it is so much easier to achieve smaller goals and incorporate new changes towards your healthier lifestyle. Also, when starting a new diet, add a hearty salad at least three times a week instead of going cold turkey and eating salads for every meal. Don't do too much too soon. Give your body time to adjust to the gradual changes in your everyday routine.
Find an activity you enjoy
A lot of times we make excuses or dread working out because we look at it as something boring or that we don't enjoy. You don't have to always take the traditional route to exercising. You should find activities in which you truly enjoy participating. If you enjoy dancing, turn on some of your favorite tunes to get you up and moving in the morning as you get dressed for work. If you're a person who enjoys the outdoors, find a park to walk or jog around to enjoy the scenery. If you enjoy swimming, taking a few laps around the pool will prove to be a great workout. Even riding your bike for 30 minutes after work can relieve a lot of stress or tension caused by your job or day-to-day activities. The idea is to find something you enjoy to make working out fun, that way you are not dragging yourself to do something you see as a chore.
Get your friends and family involved
Getting on track to a healthier lifestyle doesn't have to be a lonesome journey. Exercise is also a great way to spend time with family and friends. If you are a family with children, this will also help to instill healthier habits early on. You can even get in a great workout session right in your own home living room with an exercise video as a family activity. Also, there are so many fun, interactive video games that can be arranged for family night, game night, girl's night in or even a house party with friends.
Start a fitness challenge at your job
You can even make getting into shape during your break period something competitive at work to encourage lifestyle changes. It is important to take advantage of your lunch break. Don't use it by staying at your desk working and eating. Find like-minded co-workers to encourage you to get in a little exercise during lunch. You can work on nutrition together, or even take fitness classes during your lunch break. I've even seen situations where lunch buddies walk around the office building outside or parking lot to get in a 15- or 30-minute walk. Also, walking to a nearby restaurant for lunch instead of driving can help burn calories before and after lunch.
Join a gym or a boot camp
Most of us don't want to get up any earlier than we already do, but it's been proven that even a 30-minute workout before starting our day improves our moods and speeds our metabolisms. Gyms also offer group classes that are enjoyable as well. Many areas have gyms with 24-hour service, or they offer late hours so you can schedule workout time around your work schedule.