The New Year is here. Which means that new goals, resolutions and opportunities await. Like any other new year, this one gives off the sense of starting over and maybe trying out some new things. Whether you have 2018 resolutions or not, a new year is great time to set yourself up for success with your health and your entire life. This doesn’t have to be super overwhelming or include massive life changes, so instead here is a list of simple resolutions that can make a big impact in your life.
1) Get more sleep
Most people struggle with this one. To make this as easy as possible, start slow. Go to bed 5 minutes earlier each night and slowly increase it as you go along. Gradually add in some pre-bedtime rituals like a quick hot shower, reading a couple of pages from a good book or magazine, or meditate for a minute. If you find yourself lying in bed thinking about all of the things that you need to do tomorrow, then start a pre-bedtime practice of making a quick list of your next day’s to-do items. That way you’re able to lie back knowing that you won’t miss anything. Keep your room at a cool temperature and sleep with ear plugs and an eye mask for total quiet and darkness. When you’re well rested, everything else is so much easier.
2) Drink more water
Aim for 2-3 litres of water per day. Things like coffee, tea, soda, or juice don’t count. In fact, caffeinated beverages are a natural diuretic so it can cause dehydration if you’re not sipping on your H2O. One trick that works great is to drink a tall glass first thing in the morning. Right after I roll out of bed and brush my teeth, I chug a nice tall glass that way I always start my day out hydrated. Water in the morning will help your body wake up and start working as it is 100% necessary for your body to function all the time. Water aids in digestion, regulating the metabolism and improving circulation.
3) Move more
For us sedentary individuals with desk jobs, sitting is the new killer. Sitting down for too long increases the chance of dying from ALL CAUSES. That’s right. So be sure to get up and give yourself a quick stretch, shake out those legs and walk around. Aim to do this every 30 minutes. It’s tough when you’re swamped at the office, but it’s necessary so get to it.
4) Get outside
The great outdoors are great for a reason. Being outside helps to regulate the circadian rhythm (for sleep) and is a great mood booster. Getting exposure to sunlight during the day gives off a nice energy boost and being exposed to moonlight signals your body that it’s time to hit the hay. This may be more challenging during cold winter months, but try it out even if for only 1 minute.
5) Take a digestive enzyme
This is a great tool that can help you lean out and stay that way. I started taking a digestive enzyme on the advice of my coach during my first contest prep 2 years ago. This supplement can help your body absorb more nutrients by helping with the breakdown of amino acids, fatty acids and simple sugars. It just makes the whole process much easier on your body. I take one daily, first thing in the morning before breakfast. I also take an additional one before and after any large and heavy meals; it helps to reduce bloating and that icky feeling you get when you eat too much. Just be sure to check the ingredients first as many companies go for the cheap enzymes and add in things like animal bile (EW!). Go for the plant-based ones here that contain enzymes extracted from fruits like pineapple (Allmax Nutrition is my go-to).
So there you have it, five easy things that you can slowly start to incorporate into your life to help you feel great and be healthy. As for my 2018 resolution, well I’ve decided that more sleep is my main priority. It’s tough to go to bed earlier, but I’m already feeling the difference just 2 days into this year. And in terms of my big goals I’ll be competing at nationals in July with the opportunity to earn that coveted IFBB Elite Pro Card. My training is in full swing and I’ll be sharing every bit of it along the way!