Author: Alex Mogannam, Health Contributor
Excuses—the little demons inside of us that justify why a triple brownie milk shake has nutritional value because milk has protein. They tell us we deserve happy hour after a long day, when we really know hitting the gym would be better for those last ten pounds that need dropping.
Excuses also tell us that we don’t have time for anything, especially ourselves. You may use one of these excuses or you may use all of them. Either way, it’s just not going to work anymore. Since we are all smart girls here, we are most likely always on the go, getting an education or pushing for that career. Life can distract us from taking care of ourselves. You are blessed with one beautiful body and it’s time to put the excuses aside and take ownership of what’s rightfully yours.
Below are a series of tips that I like to call Excuse-Busters. Some are exercises that can simply be done at work or home at your own pace and some are diet tips to help make healthier decisions throughout the day. Please note that if at any point you find yourself making excuses as to why these tips will be just too difficult to follow, you might need to figure out just how important your health is to you. Trust me, fit girls have more fun. And there is a fit girl in all of us. It’s about time you met her! Let’s get to it!
Excuse-Busting Exercises: 12-20 repetitions/3 sets
Floor Bridge: How long have you been typing away at that desk? Two hours? Eight hours? Guess what? Your hips are not happy. Sitting for long periods of time shortens our hip flexors. That means, over time we will start to lean forward excessively. The floor bridge reverses that tightness.
- Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees up; feet on the floor.
- Step 2: Raise your hips in the air while keeping your feet planted on the ground, creating a bridge. Squeeze your glutes (your booty) like there is a pencil between your cheeks. This will tone your butt too so squeeze away!
- Step 3: Lower your hips slowly toward the ground without actually touching.
Chair Squat: Just in case you didn’t know, your glutes aren’t actually glued to your chair. You can get up whenever you need to. In fact, when you sit for long periods of time your legs don’t get the proper circulation needed to function properly. Hence the desperate need to stretch after long periods of sitting.
- Step 1: Stand one foot away from the base of your chair.
- Step 2: Sit down (with your arms out in front of you for balance) till your butt hits the edge of the chair then immediately stand up, thrusting your hips forward and squeezing your glutes. Make sure your heels never come up and you shoulders are pulled back.
Wall Push-up: Yes, you can do a push-up! Let’s just modify a bit. So far we have a core exercise, a leg exercise, and now we need an arm exercise.
- Step 1: Place hands on the wall just right outside your shoulders. Step your feet back a few steps so you are somewhat at an incline.
- Step 2: Bend your elbows to begin the push-up while keeping your stomach in and head pulled back. Let your heels come off the ground.
- Step 3: Push back away from the wall, straightening your arms completely.
***When doing these exercises, the most important thing is that you breathe. Exhale when lifting up in the bridge, standing up from the squat, and pushing back from the push up. Inhale when coming down toward the floor in the bridge, sitting in the squat, and coming toward the wall in the push-up.
As a fellow girl-on-the-go, I rely a lot on convenience. I drive everywhere, I eat in my car, and I can turn anywhere and anything into a gym. With that said, always being on the go develops habits; some good and some bad. Below are some solutions for the habits that add pounds to the scale.
Your Morning Caffeine: I know your caramel macchiato is probably your number one weapon when it comes to conquering the 7:00am sleepies. But the truth is, you are starting your day off with straight up sugar. Processed sugar is the reason why we gain wait. It is too hard for our body to break down so it sits in our bodies, making us fat. The substitute: if you’re addicted, try the sugar free syrups. A couple pumps will satisfy the craving. If you want to quit cold-turkey, my go too pick-me-up is a short black coffee with some low-fat milk and cinnamon.
Cinnamon is a metabolism booster so I add it to anything I can. Make sure that you don’t consume more than 16 ounces of coffee a day. When the body needs energy, it turns to fat stores as fuel. Coffee basically prevents that process from happening.
Your Grab-and-Go lunch:
Follow these simple guidelines:
- Lean Protein
- Whole Grains
If these guidelines feel limiting, get creative! How about a brown rice spicy tuna roll with seaweed salad on the side? Or a half turkey sandwich (hold the mayo and cheese, sub with avocado and you’ll stay more full longer) and a big salad with a vinaigrette. Or (my favorite) run to the mall and grab some Korean! Just get a meat with no sauce and ask for extra veggies if they don’t have brown rice. Make it spicy too! Add as much hot sauce as you want. Spicy foods control your appetite and boost your metabolism. Go ahead! Get crazy with the sriracha!
Snack time: No matter what, I always keep a bag of almonds on me. If I have clients back to back, I never know when I am going to eat next. Instead of starving and devouring enough food for a family of 10 later, I keep myself satisfied with my quick snacks. Below is a list of trainer approved, non-perishable snacks:
- Protein Bars/Shakes
- Kale Chips
- Trail Mix with Dark Chocolate
So next time you’re stuck on the train, waiting to get home and eat, pop a couple of almonds in your mouth and it will be easier to control your appetite. Snacks are important because they prevent us from going into starvation mode. When we don’t eat for many hours, our body thinks it’s starving (a little dramatic right?) and the next meal you put in your mouth, no matter what, will turn to sugar to give you energy. And you know what sugar does!
Remember, it’s hard enough to be woman in this world. We have to fight for our jobs, our rights, and even our choice on what we do with our bodies. We have a lot of obstacles in our way. Don’t let excuses and a hectic schedule become yet another hurdle to jump over. You are capable of a healthy lifestyle and it starts with healthy choices!
Questions, comments, concerns? Want more? Like Dynamo Fitness on Facebook and message me! I promise I won’t bite.