Staying Fit

I’m writing this right now because I have yet to find the motivation for working out today.  I’ve already summarized the chapters for my upcoming Staffing quiz, returned e-mails, Facebooked and read my blogs.  The only distraction left is this.  But I’m hoping that writing about this will help motivate me!

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk in the halls and classrooms of Gerlach Hall lately about how people think they’re so fat, out of shape, or not at their target fitness level yet.  Even though it’s been rainy and cold and nasty out for the last several weeks, Spring Fever has set in, and people are thinking about their beach bods.  I know I am.  My favorite line from the Fox comedy, American Dad, is “I’m straight skinny, but I’m gay fat.”

So, how do you find the time to work, study, go to class, and still find time for your fitness?  I have no idea, because I haven’t quite struck that balance, but here are my tips:

1. Don’t eat after class.  I know it’s tempting.  But eating a full meal, like I used to do, at 9:30 after getting home from class is awful for your body and your goals.  Bring food to class with you, and eat then, not later.

2. Don’t eat out.  This is a tough one too, but when you eat out, you have no control over your caloric intake or the ingredients.  That Tai’s chicken sure tastes good, but the sauce is full of sugar, oil and chemicals.  I make three days worth of meals every Sunday evening.  It’s a good way for me to end my weekend on a nice mellow note, I blast some music, get lost in the process and I get full control over what’s going into my body.  I bring these meals with me to class and the temptation to stuff my face afterward is gone.

3. Choose healthy snacks and stop drinking soda, even if it’s diet.  There are studies that show that diet sodas can actually contribute to weight gain and make your body process sugars differently in other foods you eat.  I strictly drink water and for snacks, I either eat rice cakes or almonds.  Sometimes 100 calorie granola bars as a treat.  Keep ONE small portion on hand for class for when you’re really really tempted and your self control has been battered by a seriously long lecture.

4. Cut back on that booze and carbs.  I’ll admit, I love a glass of wine after class.  That paired with the full meals I was eating was wreaking havoc on my body.  I’m not saying totally abstain, but find another stress reliever for the end of the night.  Cut back on those carbs too.  If you’re sitting on the sofa with a belly full of carbs, you’re in trouble.  I’ve been substituting sweet potatoes for bread or rice.  Just wash, wrap in saran and nuke for 6 minutes and you’ve got a sweet, tasty, filling substitute.  If you really can’t give up carbs, try quinoa.  It’s similar to rice in carb values and texture, but is a complete protein, the only one of its kind in the plant world.  It’s also nice and filling.

5. I’ll admit, I’m the worst about this one.  Drink lots of water.  When you’re dehydrated, your body’s metabolism goes on the fritz and you start to retain water.  I add a splash of lemon to mine to liven it up.

6. Work out.  Duh.  This is a tough one when it comes to time constraints.  I normally don’t get a workout in on Monday’s and Wednesday’s because I have an earlier class, but I try.  Get a few in at least every week.  Get P90X and some weight bands and you have an instant gym in any of your rooms and a very effective, 45 minute workout.  Run up the stairs of Gerlach with your abs contracted, two steps at a time.  Jump rope every day.  It’s a full body workout and you can burn as much as 15 calories per minute.  It’s not much, but it’s something.

7. Have something to work toward.  For me, I’m going to Orlando in 15 days where I will be lounging around pools and beaches for 5 glorious days.  That’s my goal and it’s kept me motivated.  If you’re not heading anywhere for the break, try thinking about a target waist size or shirt size.  (Remember, losing pounds doesn’t always mean getting fit.)

8. EAT.  This seems contradictory to a lot of people, but starving yourself will kill your metabolism.  Eat a large, healthy lunch, don’t forget breakfast, and snack throughout the day.  This will keep your metabolism roaring like the furnace that it should be.  Also allow yourself one “bad day” a week, where you just get a ton of calories.  This will prevent your metabolism from plateauing and is a good way to celebrate your day off from your work outs and reward yourself for your hard work.

Those are my tips.  And now it’s time for me to go work out and put my money where my mouth is.

PS – I dropped two waist sizes in three weeks following this plan