Welcome back to the Millennial’s Guide to Healthy Living on the Go! Did you start planning menus, workout plans or shopping lists? If so, great! If you missed part 1, click here to go back.
Part 2: Variety
Once you’ve been on a plan for a while, you may start to get bored. This is why fad diets often fail — because they expect you to do the same things over and over and over. If you’re looking to make a lifestyle change, it’s important to add some variety in all aspects of your plans to stay on track.
Sick of the same old chicken? Look up some new recipes! There are tons of healthy recipe bloggers out there that can help to spice up your dinner table. And don’t be afraid to experiment on your own, too!
If this is how you feel about what’s on your menu for this evening, it might be time to try something new.
Have fun with it — spend some time finding a delicious healthy recipe and plan to make it on a day where you have some extra time to play around in the kitchen.
Some of my favorite food blogs are Skinny Mom’s Kitchen, SkinnyTaste and Hungry Girl, but Pinterest is also a great way to find new recipes — just be conscious of the ingredients and be sure to keep tracking. You can check out my recipe board if you need some inspiration, but fair warning — not everything in there is healthy lifestyle friendly. Feel free to follow me while you’re at it ;)
You will probably develop a set of “go to” recipes as you get used to your new schedule, but it’s also important to switch it up and try new things once in a while to keep things interesting.
Each week, I almost always have a pasta meal and some type of grilled chicken, but I also try a new recipe every few weeks. If I like it, I add it to my recipe book so I can make it again.
Your workout may also start to get boring if you’ve been on the same schedule too long. You should vary your exercises and intensity so your workouts don’t get too easy for you. You won’t be bored if you’re pushing yourself hard enough.
Try a new workout class or a new machine. Increase the weight or duration of your workout. Vary which days you do which routines. Or try a new program or interval workout you find on the internet. Mix things up and don’t let yourself get in a rut!
Try using machines in a new way.
(Warning: Do not attempt: this pup is a professional)
However you decide to vary your workout, make sure you’re getting a good mix of both intense cardio workouts and weight training for all your muscles. I usually try to include at least 2 or 3 intense cardio sessions, 1-2 days of ab exercises as well as weight training days for arms and legs.
Also, when you set a new schedule, make sure you aren’t doing the same exercises or machines every day. This will get old much quicker than a routine that is different every day.
Everyone has a different philosophy on what schedule is most effective. Longer cardio. Short intense cardio. Heavy lifting. But there is no magical formula — the key to success is commitment and hard work.
Just pick what works best for you and stick to it. This may take some trial and error. So if you’re not seeing results, increase your intensity and re-evaluate.
Here is an example of my current weekly workout schedule. For my weight training days I do a circuit of the weight machines, but you could try free weights, bands or whatever works best for you. I typically do 3 sets of 12 and increase my weight over time as it becomes too easy to lift.
- Monday: (PM) Boot Camp class
- Tuesday: (AM) 20 mins stair climber or treadmill intervals and arm weight training
- Wednesday: (PM) 30 mins heart rate interval on the ARC Trainer and leg weight training
- Thursday: (PM) Spin Class
- Friday: (AM) 30 mins heart rate interval on the elliptical and ab exercises
Doing this helps me get to the gym every day, but also ensures that I don’t go too easy on myself. However, I also realize that this schedule must be flexible. I spend a few minutes every Sunday preparing for the week ahead to decide how I can fit my workout in.
For example, if I have an event after work on an evening workout day, I may work out in the morning that day. If my legs are sore, and I’m supposed to lift that day, I do arms instead and move legs to another day.
But I never let myself skip a workout. By specifying the exercises, duration and time of my daily workout, I prevent myself from making excuses to skip something or take an easy day.
When you start to lose motivation and you dread getting up in the morning or dragging yourself to the gym after work — It’s time to switch things up.
Since I’m in grad school, I make a new schedule before every semester to best fit my class/work schedule. I plan out which days I’m going in the morning, over lunch, or after work, and I stick to it. I use a mix of group classes and individual workouts to keep me interested and accountable to myself.
How do you vary your workouts and meals? What are some of your favorite recipes and exercise routines? Share below!
I also stumbled across this article today called “Why you’re not losing weight in your 20s” — check it out for some bonus tips!