We all know how important it is to exercise and eat healthy. But as soon as life gets busy, our healthy, active lifestyle is one of the first habits to go. Whether you’re on the road as a state titleholder or you’re prepping for the next big competition, following these 4 simple steps will help ensure that you stay on the wagon with your health and fitness goals.
Mornings set the stage for the entire day. Just like you wouldn’t run flags on a horse that hasn’t been warmed up, you don’t want to start your day without fuel in your belly. A healthy breakfast includes some type of protein with complex carbohydrate (ex: greek yogurt with bran cereal or scrambled egg with whole wheat toast). There are many “grab and go” options for those busy mornings making the healthy choice the easy choice. Just be aware of the added sugar in many breakfast foods. The daily added sugar limit for women is 6 teaspoons (25g). Some yogurts have that much sugar in one serving! Be sure to review the nutrition label before diving in.
Tip #2—Map out your meals like you’d map out your road trip!
Before hitting the road, you always follow the same steps; plan outfits for appearances, check the weather, map the route you plan to take… and plan your meals! The last item is often left until the last minute or skipped altogether, but it shouldn’t be! Be sure to take the extra time to hit the grocery store to pick up healthy snacks (fruit, nuts, cheese and protein packed peanut butter balls*) and plan pit-stops that coordinate with healthy dining options. Your nutrition shouldn’t wait until the last minute!
Tip #3—Working out doesn’t always have to happen in the gym
Whether you’re saddling your horse, cleaning stalls or signing autographs, everything counts! This may mean that you add a few bicep curls while holding the saddle or sprint with the empty wheelbarrow after you’ve dumped the smelly contents into the pile. You can also add small movements like calf raises while brushing your teeth or heel raises while sitting at an autograph signing. Everything adds up! Track your movement with your phone or a Fit Bit to give you encouragement throughout the day.
Tip #4—Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!
Fluid is essential to so many functions in the human body! Water is the best option to stay hydrated because it is calorie-free, tastes great and is often free. It may seem like a good idea to drink several cups of coffee or grab an energy drink when you feel tired, but the extra sugar and caffeine often lead to an energy crash. When you drink water your body will thank you with clear skin and a healthy digestive system. Invest in a great water bottle and fill it up regularly! Women generally need 2 to 2.5 liters of water a day, so if you’re thirsty when reading this, you probably need to drink more!
Erin Kyle (MRW 2010) is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She currently lives in Laramie and works at the University of Wyoming as the Fitness Coordinator.
Protein Packed Peanut Butter Balls
1 cup dry oats
½ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup chocolate chips
¼ cup sunflower seeds
Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll into small balls and place on baking sheet. Refrigerate for an hour. Pack into serving size snack bags (2-3 balls per bag). Grab and go!
*Modifications: Substitute almond butter for peanut butter. Add a scoop of protein powder for a little extra punch.