Fit, without investing time? Do this!Aug 12, 2023
Last weekend, I talked to an entrepreneur who's in a dilemma:
She wants to start exercising, but she's also fully devoted to her business.
It’s like an inner tug-of-war, as she feels like she has to sacrifice on one end or the other.
And you might relate:
Feeling guilty for not training, yet also guilty for taking time away from work to do so.
In our hectic lives, it can feel like an uphill battle to focus on our health.
But that’s no reason to give up - even if you can’t hit the gym for a while:
You can boost your health through simple lifestyle habits.
Here are my favorites to help you look better, reduce stress, and enjoy more.
And the best part:
You don't have to carve extra time from your day!
January this year was a wake-up call for me:
My fiance and I traveled to Cancun, Mexico for vacation.
We hadn't seen each other and I was looking forward to a great time:
Sun, Caribbean beaches, and Quesadillas - a welcome escape to the Austrian winter.
But while I was lying on that beach, all I could think about was work:
Clients to text, ideas for posts, and even a sense of guilt for not "working harder".
And you might relate:
We tend to be on alarm 24/7 because our boundaries between work and rest got so blurry.
It’s hard to disconnect mentally from your work, especially if you’re an entrepreneur.
There’s always something you could be working on:
More client calls.
Those thoughts about “doing more” will haunt you, even once you lay in bed.
It’s a recipe for chronic stress if you’re never able to disconnect (even when you lie down to sleep).
Distress is the arch enemy for weight loss:
It leads to cravings for foods like chocolate, less motivation to move, and worse sleep.
The easiest way to reduce it is to declare “I am done” after work.
You’ll condition yourself to stop ruminating about work, which allows you to relax.
Even if you knock into your bed right from your desk, you’ll sleep better.
Also, set a clear goal for what you want to do each day to avoid “open loops” (more about those HERE).
Ideally, you design a little routine to end your day to make this habit even more powerful.
Mine looks like this:
- Write down 3 learnings and wins of the day
- Set my goal for the next day
- Close tabs on my laptop and clean up my desk
This takes only 5 minutes, helps me to relax, and sets me up for a powerful start in the morning.
2) Work Standing
NEAT is the most underutilized factor for weight loss.
It’s a fancy acronym for the energy your body utilizes through activity that’s not exercising:
Walking stairs, gardening, cooking, or picking up groceries are some examples.
If you can increase it, you’ll have a huge advantage for staying (or getting) lean.
You’ll naturally use more calories throughout the day, without doing cardio.
One of the best ways to do so is through working standing:
Standing requires 50% more energy than sitting - depending on your body weight (and source of data), this can add up to 50 calories per hour.
Let's say you work 60 hours per week, all of that sitting.
If you switch to 40 hours sitting and 20 hours standing, you’d burn an additional 1000 KCal - without doing any exercise!
Keep in mind that these numbers are rough estimates and can vary based on individual factors.
Changing your working position has been shown to kick you into a flow state faster:
If you've hit a productivity block working sitting, try standing up.
Your brain will think that you’re just starting with work and you’ll feel less fatigued.
So overall, doing a chunk of your work standing helps you:
- Lose weight
- Get into flow faster
- Sit less, benefiting your health
It’s one of the most powerful ways to improve your health, without carving out any specific time.
3) Advanced Hydration
Let's go a little deeper than "just drink more water".
There are two specific instances I want to highlight:
- a) Early morning:
The first thing most people drink is coffee.
I get why you might do that - you want as much energy as possible ready to crush your day.
The problem with that is your body craves water after sleep.
Think of it like a plant that hasn't been watered for a while.
Dehydration leads to:
- Reduced creativity
You’ll barely be able to keep your eyes open when you hop on your computer once the effect of caffeine wears off.
Hold back with caffeine for at least 30 minutes and let your body go through its natural wake-up process.
Before you go to sleep, put a big glass of water on your nightstand and drink it right after you get out of bed.
- b) The second instance is before meals (if you want to lose weight):
Water acts like a sort of "appetite controller" and can help you eat less without feeling hungry.
You’ll feel more satiated and might eat less food during your meal.
This helps you control the amount of calories you take in and reduces cravings.
If you tend to eat unhealthy snacks and want to stop, this will be a game-changer for you.
Have a large glass of water 30 minutes before your meals, and when you feel food cravings.
4) Eat mindfully
How do you eat?
Do you sit down and take your time, or do you inhale it while you're working or on the run?
I've been guilty of the latter in the past and stopping it has been vital to enjoy my food again.
But it’s not just a matter of enjoyment:
Stuffing your food while you finish the project for the day, sit in a boring Zoom meeting, or while you check EMails on your phone decreases satiation.
You're more likely to overeat and still be left hungry afterward.
That’s the opposite of what you want for shedding body fat.
Additionally, you tend to chew longer - which is linked to better gut health.
When you eat, treat it as sacred time, just for yourself.
You’ll enjoy your meal more, feel satiated, and can relax.
5) Daily walk
You know that I'm a big fan of walks - for good reasons.
Walks help you:
- Reduce stress
- Prolong your lifespan
- Improve your posture
- Boost your mental clarity
- Help you release tense muscles
They’re the perfect workout for entrepreneurs and creatives.
If you have a break at work, experience a productivity block, or need a few minutes to relax, get some steps in.
Also, consider taking virtual meetings or calls on walks!
All you need is a phone with good video quality and a headset that can cancel out surrounding noise.
I go for several walks per day:
- A short one in the morning
- Short walks between working blocks
- A longer one around noon
- One in the evening
If you’re not in the habit yet, start with one 15-minute walk per day.
They can change your life.
6) Protein to your first meal
"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!"
Have you heard this saying before?
Well, most people’s breakfast sucks:
- Some cereal
- Maybe a bagel
- Butter and jam
- A cup of coffee
- A piece of bread
This is an "empty meal":
A meal that has a lot of calories, but barely any nutrients - and no protein
All you get is a bunch of short-chained carbs, leading to food cravings two to three hours later.
It’s no coincidence that there's coffee and cake with the first break at work in many offices.
Make sure to get some protein with your breakfast.
My #1 breakfast is scrambled eggs with onion - I get a good amount of protein, and it tastes delicious.
If you're low on time, consider having a protein shake for breakfast.
You’ll be satiated longer than through a breakfast like the one mentioned above.
“Meditation is time spent with yourself” - Jay Shetty
Before you jump at me because you don’t have time for that, hear me out.
I'm not telling you to sit still for an hour of your day.
All you have to do is to integrate some stillness into your day.
For example, meditation is great to take a break between blocks of work.
Most make the mistake to hop on their phone, checking emails or WhatsApp when taking a break.
The problem is that these activities are more stimulating than the work itself!
Afterward, it will be harder for you to get back into the flow because your motivation and your focus will be lower.
If you want to get two birds with one stone, try a walking meditation.
8) Single task
Society is obsessed with productivity.
And while getting 5 things done at once sounds appealing, multitasking is a myth.
It doesn't increase your productivity, it destroys it.
Your brain can’t do different tasks parallel - instead, it switches between tasks.
And every time you switch tasks, you’ll lose focus.
That’s like trying to cook three different meals at once:
You’ll burn two, have one half-raw, and you're left with a messy kitchen, taking you an extra hour to clean up.
On top of that, multitasking leads to higher stress and anxiety - the last thing you need as an entrepreneur.
Both can lead to unhealthy coping strategies, such as leaning toward comfort foods.
Read a full article on unhealthy coping and how to get rid of it HERE.
9) Mobility during work breaks
No matter how much of a productivity genius you are, at some point you'll have to pause and recharge.
I’ve already given you two ways to use your work breaks effectively (meditation and walks) - here’s another one:
Do some simple exercises or stretches.
If this is embarrassing in front of your colleagues, I get it.
While I worked in an office and took a break, I locked myself in a toilet and did some wall slides.
Wall slides are perfect to keep your shoulders mobile and release neck and shoulder tension.
If you take three breaks during work, you can do all three options I gave you in this article:
For more exercises like the Wall Slide (that you can do in 5 minutes), read THIS article.
10) Order vegetables with your meal
This is vital if you eat at restaurants a lot.
“I can't lose weight because I travel a lot and eat in restaurants many times per week” is a common belief I hear on my calls.
Truth is, restaurants aren't a problem - if you know a few tricks.
The most important one is to add vegetables to your meal.
Vegetables are great because they’re packed with nutrients and satiate you for a lengthy period.
And you can do this at any restaurant:
Even if you're at a Pizzeria, you can get vegetables as a side, or a salad.
If you want, you can even have some protein like chicken with it.
Suddenly you got a much more nutritious meal, than if you just ordered a pizza.
While strength training is the best habit to improve your quality of life, it’s not the only one.
Just because you're going through a phase where you can't hit the gym and prepare every meal yourself doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel.
No matter how stressful it gets - there are always options.
Start implementing some of the suggestions I gave you in this newsletter.
They will change your life.
If you want to learn how to get your dream physique in 2 hours per week, without counting calories, endless cardio, or fad diets, click this link to hop on a free 1:1 call with me.
You'll walk away with a clear strategy to reach your goals - no matter how busy you are.
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