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With busy lives comes many decisions. When our brains are consumed with who’s, what’s, where's and when’s, we tend to focus on speed and convenience more than anything, meaning exercise and nutrition can fall by the wayside.
The solution is preparation. Being prepared ahead of time means you need to make less decisions on the go, and allows you to focus on the important things when it counts. This blog breaks down the three most important areas of your life that you can - and should - be more prepared to live a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Preparing your meals ahead of time is an efficient and cost-effective way of ensuring you’re eating healthy throughout each day.
Whether it’s a busy work schedule or getting the kids ready for school (or both!), mornings are usually a mad dash of getting out the door as quickly as possible. As a result, you often don’t have time to put together a lunch for yourself, so you’ll likely just grab an assortment of random snacks out of the cupboard to keep you going and plan to buy something from the nearest lunch bar instead.
It’s really easy to fall into this habit because, well… it’s easy.
Be preparing your meals ahead of time, all you need to do is grab your container out of the fridge in the morning; one less thing to think about after you wake up. You’ll also save money by not having to buy lunch each day.
The best way to do this is to set aside a couple hours once or twice a week and make everything in bulk. Meal prepping isn’t just chicken and rice (although that is a quick and easy combo) - there are many healthy and tasty recipes you can find online to ensure you don’t get bored.
Invest in a set of good microwaveable containers. With good containers, all you will need to do is pop your lunch in the microwave (if it needs warming) and you’re ready to go. If you’re cooking in bulk, a good set of kitchen scales will make it super easy to portion out your food, so you’re getting consistent portion sizes each day - this reduces your chances of over or under eating.
Another way to ensure you’re ready for the day ahead is to make sure your bags are packed the night before.
If you’re planning to head to the gym on the way to/from work or on your lunch hour, you’ll need to have your gym clothes, towel and water bottle with you. If it’s not packed and ready to go when you wake up, it can be tempting to use this as an excuse to skip exercising that day.
This doesn’t just apply to your food and gym clothes - it’s a good habit to get into with your work bag, the clothes you plan to wear and anything else you might need the next day too. The fewer decisions you need to make in the morning, the better.
You don’t need to have a super strict, crazy intense exercise regimen to work out, but if you have a fitness goal then you’ll need to prioritise moving your body a few times throughout each week.
Plan out, in advance, what you’re going to do for each time slot you have available. This will mean different things depending on your goals: you might want to focus on a specific muscle group (legs, arms, etc), or just cardio exercise (treadmill, bike, rower, etc). If your “go-to” workout is walking or jogging outside, maybe you want to plan out the easiest location to get to for each workout day.
Having all this planned out ahead of time means you don’t have to think about it - you just need to show up and get active!
Remember: something is always better than nothing. If you need to move your days around or have less time to work out, a little bit of activity (like a 10 minute walk) is better than no activity at all. The challenge is to make the best of the time you have, and not give up.
Being prepared for the day ahead is going to make each morning much smoother and simpler - and we all know that how we start each morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Now that we’ve entered the month of February, it’s natural to see a drop in motivation from your “New Year, New Me” phase - and that’s why it’s especially important to make sure you’re doing everything you can to be prepared, and make it as easy as possible to continue exercising and working towards your fitness goals.
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