Tips And Tricks To Cheating At Exercise And Being Healthy

I’m not an athletic person. Don’t get me wrong—I am a very active person, I love hiking and walking places and spontaneous dance parties and am happiest when I’m busy, but I’m not an “athletic” person. I tripped over my own flip-flop and fell down the stairs today, and if my life ever depends on my outrunning another person I’m done for. I get no joy from really busting my ass in a workout session or maxing out my squat weight (or whatever). However, I would still consider myself a reasonably fit, healthy person.

Instead of counting on two-hour gym trips, I focus on just trying to stay active throughout the day. I’m a Fitbit user (it’s awesome, I love it, get one), and honestly I usually burn more calories on the days that I’m just constantly moving as opposed to the days where I hit the gym for an hour but am then mostly sedentary. You’ve all heard the age-old tips of “take the stairs,” etc., and while those do make a big difference (they really do—hate to break it to you—get your butt off the elevator), they are only a starting place of all the sneaky ways you can fit exercise into your day.

  • Don’t waste 30 minutes searching for a prime parking spot. Park a couple blocks farther away and walk—the weather is getting lovely and parallel parking in tight spaces is stressful.  
  • Have a dance party whenever you can. Seriously. Crank your favorite song and bust some moves until you’re sweating—bonus points for jumping up and down and flailing your arms (those usually get my heart rate up!) ~cardio~
  • Sometimes I’ll set myself a challenge, like how many burpees can I do before my food is microwaved.  
  • Lunging across your apartment is way less of a pain than going all the way to the gym to do it, and wall-sitting goes well with tooth-brushing.  

When it comes to nutrition, I’ve worked hard to get to a place where I can say that I have a healthy relationship with food—so I usually try to stay away from trendy diets and fitness-hack-meal-plan type things. I wish I could sit here and tell you that healthy eating is this wonderful world of feeling bubbly and nourished all the time and I just love choosing salad over cheese fries— but it’s hard as crap. Some food cravings you can power through (*gazes sadly at the chips aisle in Kroger*) but others hit you in your soul. I have a couple go-to’s for those ones and I look for good advice on how to be smart about it ( Sandra’s site Supergreens expert is a great place to start.)

  • If you’re craving chocolate, throw ½ a scoop (or a whole scoop—feed your soul) of cocoa powder  or  into some oatmeal with coconut milk. Sweeten with agave or honey to taste and add some berries and voila—it’s still reasonably healthy, but the cocoa powder will kick your chocolate craving in the teeth.
  • Another good option is a chocolate/avocado smoothie. It sounds weird, but it tastes like chocolate mousse, I swear! Throw ½ a ripe avocado, 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder, a small scoop of cocoa powder, and either coconut or almond milk (amount depends on the desired consistency—in my opinion less is more) into a blender and blend until smooth. Sometimes I’ll add a small handful of greens or a dollop of Greek yogurt to keep things interesting.  
  • Unbuttered popcorn is a good go-to snack for salt cravings (I’m not a big pretzel person), and so is a small slice of whole wheat or gluten free toast with Marmite or Vegemite.  
  • I have the worst sweet-tooth—so for unspecific sugar cravings, I depend on “healthy fried apples” which is literally what it sounds like. Cut an apple into small slices, and plop it in a frying pan with some vanilla and cinnamon. Simmer until squishy and mouthwatering. Bananas are also good fried in a little vanilla and cinnamon.  

Some days I wake up and just really want a muffin. Like, REALLY want one. Some days I cave and go off in search of a zucchini muffin, but other (healthier) days I turn to my trustworthy “bake everything in my kitchen recipe.” Combine to taste: quick-cook oats, almond butter (or nut butter of choice), coconut oil, fruit (raisins, berries, diced apple, shredded carrotwhatever you have in your kitchen), agave or honey, an egg if you have one, flax and chia (optional) and a splash of whatever non-dairy milk you have laying around. The consistency should be reasonably smooth and a little thicker than pancake batter. Pour into muffin pans and bake at 350 until you can poke it with a knife & it comes out clean. Noms.

These usually make my life easier (and skinny jeans less daunting)–I hope they do the same for you! Any other tips or tricks? Tweet us @litdarling

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