August 26, 2016 Fitness How I Stay Fit & Healthy Sometimes I wonder how summer gets so crazy. In the past 8 weeks I’ve been to Denver, Steamboat, France, Savannah, Miami and Knoxville. As much as I love travel, I’m glad that we have a few weeks off before our next trips—both for our sisters’ weddings. When I have long travel binges like this, my whole workout routine really gets thrown off. I don’t workout as often, sleep as well or eat as healthy. It’s especially hard when you’re going out for dinner every night or grabbing something quick as you run through the airport. By the time our trip to Miami came around, I was feeling the effects of the five previous weeks of travel. I hit the wall. I felt so lethargic, exhausted and unmotivated. Oh, and stressed. I was so far behind on all of my work for both the blog and Blogging for Keeps, my freelance work and my assignments for my writing class. Thankfully it was a relaxing vacation and I felt rested by the end of it. But it was also the wake up call I needed to get back into the swing of regularly exercising and eating healthy. Since we returned from Miami, I’ve been back on the “health train” and even though it’s just been a few weeks, it’s amazing how much better I’ve felt! Last week when I was in Knoxville with my sister, we balanced out the wine and yummy dinners with lots of walking and a hike to the top of House Mountain. The hike seriously made me wish that Chicago had some nearby mountains I could regularly hike. The older I get, the more I realize how much I really enjoy spending time outdoors. It’s so nice to turn off your phone and just enjoy the sounds of nature and your own breathing. Since Chicago is lacking in mountains, my exercise routine mostly consists of hot yoga and walking… What I Do to Exercise Yoga: I try to go Core Power Yoga two times a week. My favorite classes are C2 and Hot Power Fusion because they’re great physical workouts, but also give you the mental benefits of doing yoga. I know a lot of girls swear by Sculpt, and it is a really great class, but it’s not my favorite and I rarely go—as in I haven’t been in over a year. At Home Workout: Since I don’t go to Sculpt, I don’t get a lot of the weigh-training and cardio stuff, so I do this workout once or twice a week from the gym at our building or in my living room! If you remember, getting a butt was one of my goals for 2016 and this workout has been hugely helpful! Squats: Since I’m trying to give my butt some curves, I’ve started doing a lot more squats. Usually 1-3 sets of 50 squats on days that I’m not doing another workout. I find that they don’t only help my rear, but also my legs, back and abs! Cardio: I hate running, but I walk a lot. That’s definitely a perk of having a dog! Every morning, Oliver and I go on a 45-60 minute walk and then again in the afternoon for another 20-30 minutes. It might not seem like much, but walking is so good for you! It’s also a nice mental break for me and the time I find myself most creative—so many good post ideas are thought-up on my walks. That being said, I do try to get in a bit more cardio and lately I’ve been doing, what I like to call, a walk-jog, where I do intervals of jogging and walking to get my heart rate up. Basically, the lazy girl’s guide to running. When it comes to exercise, my biggest and best tip is simply finding something you really like. If you enjoy the workouts you’re doing, you’re far more likely to show up for a class or actively decide to go do it! What workouts do you love (or hate!)? While exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle, exercising alone isn’t enough. In my mind, the bigger and more important part of the picture is maintaining a well-balanced and healthy diet. The better the stuff you put in your body, the better you’ll feel! And if you’re trying to lose weight or get more toned, this will help a ton. I don’t follow any specific diet plan—no paleo, no Whole 30—nope. I just do my best to eat healthy and make healthy choices. I have a lot of food sensitivities and I typically stay away from fried food, high-fat foods, dairy (I do still eat cheese occasionally), not a lot of read meat. The easiest way to make sure we eat healthy is to cook at home, so we do that several times a week. If you’re a busy person, I highly recommend checking out Plated. We tried it just two weeks ago and really loved everything we got! The photo below is one of our meals that we loved! I loved that I was still able to cook, but I didn’t have to go to the grocery and plan everything—it’s a huge time-saver! So, what else do we eat? Lots of vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and avocado (duh!). I always, always, eat breakfast and drink a lot of water throughout the day. A typical day might look something like this… What I Eat Breakfast: For as long as I can remember, breakfast has been my favorite meal of the day. I’m always really hungry by the time Oliver and I get back from our walk and my go-to breakfasts are either a vegetable & Canadian bacon egg scramble (made with 1 egg and 1 egg white) topped with a spoonful of salsa OR 1/2 of an avocado, mashed and spread on 12-grain toast with salt and pepper and a green smoothie. Right now my favorite smoothie combo is 1 banana, a big handful of fresh spinach, a few chunks of frozen mango, frozen strawberries and coconut water. Lunch: Lunch usually happens in a rush. I don’t like taking a long break for lunch, but I’m working on setting some time aside to just enjoy my lunch. Right now I usually have my computer open and work through lunch, which I feel is a bad habit. Lunch is the perfect opportunity to give your eyes a break from the computer and just chill for a bit. My typical lunch is usually a salad made with whatever we have on hand. I always dress it with a little bit of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and olive oil, salt and pepper. My other favorite lunch is soup. I love soup! Sometimes I’ll make a big batch on Sunday and eat it all week for lunch—easy and healthy. A few of my favorite soups are this Mexico City Style Soup, Chicken Noodle and my favorite, Curried Butternut Squash Soup. Dinner: Dinner is Rob’s favorite meal, so I always try to make something healthy and yummy for us. A few of our go-to meals have been baked chicken or salmon in foil packets with vegetables and quinoa or coconut rice. We also love cooking Asian food, which is an easy way for us to get lots of veggies in, and tacos, because tacos are delicious and I’m from Texas. If we do tacos, I always use corn tortillas and usually chicken, pork or fish for the protein. Instead of doing rice and beans as a side, I’ll do a little cup of black bean soup or a side salad with cilantro lime vinaigrette. Yum, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! For me, being healthy, isn’t about being restrictive, maintaining a specific weight, counting calories or going to the gym a certain number of times each week. It’s a lifestyle. I want to wake up every morning and feel rested and ready to tackle my day. It makes me feel great to do something positive for your body and mind and about feeling amazing and energetic in my everyday life. The way I feel when I’m regularly working out and eating healthy is the biggest motivator to keep doing them. There’s really no substitute for feeling alert and happy, is there? What do you do to stay healthy and fit? Any workouts I need to try?! BTW, 6 yoga poses for strong abs, and 15 pieces that will make you want to workout.