Many of us can’t spend most of our day training like a world-class athlete. But we certainly can get off the couch more and start eating and living healthier. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 20 percent of American adults get the recommended amount of exercise. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get off our butts!
Before we even try to turn to those fad diets, we should try affirming personal responsibility in physical activity. Even simple changes like walking instead of driving and keeping active instead of watching TV can make an impact. For example, I just recently started parking my car a little farther in the parking lot of the market or mall. It gives me the activity of a short walk, and it also prevents stress encounters with aggressive drivers in search of a closer parking spot.
Start with small exercises like walking or easy, short exercises and work your way toward a goal. There is no substitute for hard work, but once you overcome the hurdle of procrastination, you will start to make goals for yourself. Start small and soon enough you’ll find exercise, along with a balanced diet, will be the path to a healthy lifestyle. Finding motivation to stick with exercise on a regular daily basis isn’t always easy, but once you get yourself and your body used to physical activity, you’re on your way to a great start.
Eating Like An Olympian
Olympians like Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte consume about 6,000-8,000 calories a day. Athletes can eat and not gain weight because they burn as much as 6,000 calories when they workout. They need their fuel to keep them going. Some examples are a pound of pasta drizzled with olive oil (about 800 calories), a dozen eggs (about 840 calories), a pint of Ben & Jerry’s cheesecake-brownie ice cream (about 1,000 calories), pizza (about 2,000 calories).
But to keep the gold medal alive in our own kitchens, we mere mortals should be balancing our calories and exercise. Eating 6 small healthy meals a day is a sure-fire way to keep that metabolism up. Go for the 3 light meals a day and 3 small healthy snacks in between your meals. Here are some examples of foods that make you feel like a Gold medal winner:
Bananas: A fruit that provides nutrients including carbohydrates, Vitamin A, potassium, iron and natural sugars. This super fruit is also a great source of energy. The Jamaica sprinter and 100-meter world champion Yohan Blake has been known to eat about 16 bananas per day!
Peanut Butter: A favorite snack food amongst Olympians. Peanut butter is an energy booster and is loaded with protein.
Steaks, Chicken, Fish: And the winner here is protein! Every athlete needs their protein to supplement their muscles. Whether it’s salmon, grilled chicken or a tri-tip, these meats provide hard fuel for training. Ryan Lochte’s, as reported by an ABC News blog, favorite recovery meal is “grilled chicken breasts with Alfredo sauce, whole-grain spaghetti and a salad with lemon juice and olive oil.”
Oatmeal: The gold medal winner of all breakfast of champions because it has a low-to-moderate glycemic index and quality carbohydrates. Most athletes swear by the oats and prepare it in so many ways; with fruit, nuts, berries, fruit, even peanut butter!
Eggs: An simple yet quality protein choice by athletes all around. It also can be prepared in many ways; hard boiled, fried, and poached.
Greek Yogurt: According to a recent Olympic article by Appetite for Health, whey protein such as Greek yogurt “can help athletes gain and retain muscle mass. Containers of rich and thick Greek yogurt are in the shopping carts of many professional athletes, and are one of the most popular snacks of the superstars.”
Vegetables: There, I said it. Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Salads are a big thing for athletes. It builds up their nutrients and provides them with the essential vitamins and fiber. It is a must in our daily diet.
Water: Yes! Hydration, hydration, hydration! The single most important component of any athlete’s diet. Eight glasses a day or more is ideal. I often drink 8 ounces in the morning, fill up my Sigg Bottle and sip throughout the day. I also drink another 8 ounces before bedtime. So sip, sip, sip away.