9 Health and Fitness Hacks for Busy People - Ottawa

Use these Hacks when time is just not on your side.

We recognize that making the lifestyles changes necessary to not only reach your goals, but keep them in the longterm can be time consuming. 

Having an expert coach dedicated towards helping you make these changes can be a real time saver. By outsourcing your health and fitness planning you save time on;

  • designing workouts and knowing what is the best use of your time for your goals
  • tracking your weights, reps, sets, rest, etc.
  • knowing when to do which workouts and on which days
  • tracking your progress measurements
  • helping you decided what to eat and when
  • knowing how to prevent injury from overuse
  • researching all the nutrition, fitness and lifestyles components required for your success
  • overcoming obstacles (there are always obstacles)
  • and much more.
It’s not enough to just save yourself time, it needs to actually yield the result you’re looking for.

But what can you do if you're not currently working with a coach? Below we've outlined our best health and fitness "hacks" for busy people. Keep in mind that it's not enough to just save yourself time, it needs to actually yield the result you're looking for.

Fitness

1. The Mini-Workout

Even the most perfectly designed workout and nutrition program only works if it's done consistently. With the busy lives we live, it can be quite difficult to stick to almost any program. Especially when gym workouts tend to exceed the 60 minute mark. 

One of our secret's to success is the "mini-workout". Instead of keeping a strict guideline of having to always follow your current plan, have the flexibility of choosing a mini-workout when time is not on your side.

One of our favourite mini-workouts is the complex. A complex is great because it is designed to be efficient. Choose one piece (or set) of equipment and use it for the entire complex. This saves you a lot of transition time. In fact, there is little to no transition time while performing a complex. 

Popular complexes involve dumb bells and barbells, but you can use whatever works best for you. Other options included bodyweight exercise, TRX, kettle bells, resistance bands, etc.

Here is an example of a complex;

*Perform all exercises consecutively without rest. At the end of the set take 60-120 seconds of rest. Transition quickly from one exercise to the next. Perform 2-4 rounds. Don't change weights between exercises. Choose one weight that you will use for the entire complex.

Dumbbell (DB) Complex

A1. DB Shoulder Press X5

A2. DB Front Squat X 5

A3. Body Weight Step Back Lunge (to save your grip) X5/side

A4. DB Romanian Deadlift X5

A5. DB Bent Over Row x 5

Rest & Repeat.

Depending on how many rounds you perform, this can take you anywhere from 10-20 minutes to complete. Not only that but you will have just finished a challenging workout in very little time. 

2. Finishers

When you are training for the long term, you will want to make sure that you are taking the time to correct muscular imbalances and learning proper form. This is one of the big reasons why people fall of track. If you neglect to do this, you will either wind up with an injury or eventually plateau in certain lifts.

We know that this part can take some time and patience. In the meantime when you are working on fixing yourself up, it can be a bit slow on the fat-loss side of things. Learning new motor skills, removing excess tension and strengthening weak spots doesn't happen over night. When you only have so much time in the week to spend on training, often the fat loss tends to slow down or go "on pause".

This is why we love finishers! A finisher is exactly what it sounds like. Something to finish your workout with. The idea is that while we are doing the big picture work on fixing those hips and shoulders of yours, we can still move you forward in your fat loss goals.

Here are two examples of what a finisher might look like;

Tabata Bike

  • Using a stationary bike perform 20 seconds of maximum intensity/resistance (aim for 1 revolution per second). 
  • Follow this by 10 seconds of lower intensity pedalling. 
  • Repeat this for 8 rounds.

You can complete this in under 5 minutes and you only perform 160 seconds of work. 

*The "work part" must be as hard as you can for the 20 seconds to get the full benefit.

Modified Escalating Density Training (EDT) 

Choose 2 resistance training exercises that train opposing muscle groups. Perform 5 minutes consecutively without rest. Choose one weight for both exercises and transition as quickly as possible between sets.

Here is an example of a Modified EDT finisher;

A1. Flat DB Bench Press - 5 reps

A2. 1 Arm Bench Supported DB Row - 5 reps

No rest. Continue for 5 minutes.

Use one of these two finishers at the end of your next workout. If you perform a finisher at every workout you can be sure to accelerate your overall results. 

3. Social Fitness

We are social animals. We need to spend time with others to be happy and feel fulfilled. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Make your social time, your fitness time as well. 

Also it is often said that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. What if 1 or more of those people were into fitness? And if they are not, what if you lead them to be? By having a fitness conscious social circle, your likelihood of making health and fitness a longterm lifestyle change is significantly increased. 

When taking on new clients we always try to identify what their "limiting factor" is. This is the factor that will be the biggest obstacle for them. More often than not, the limiting factor is their social life. 

Why not transform your social life from a limiting factor into something that is working for you? 

Next time you plan to meet with your best friend, why not go for a long hike and catch up?

Or the next time your grandkids come to visit, why not plan a family bike trip?

Not only will you save yourself time by checking off 2 of your daily needs at once, but you will leave feeling great about the fact that you got to connect with your loved ones in a fun and healthy way.

Nutrition

4. The Super Shake

 We recognize that making a smoothie or homemade shake is nothing new. What we have noticed with most people we work with however, is that they are already making smoothies in an attempt to make healthy choices. 

The only problem is they aren't exactly sure of what to put in it. An intention to make a healthy choice can quickly turn into a sugar bath that leaves your blood sugar levels crashing and in turn makes you hungry and tired.

It is important to make your shake resemble a regular balanced meal. Make sure that your shake has each of the following; protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, veggies and something to liquify it. These parts are the essential blueprint of the Super Shake. Anything else is an extra based on your personal preferences.

Here is an example of a Super Shake we make;

  • 1 scoop favourite protein powder (whey protein, plant protein, hemp protein, etc.)
  • 1 handful of greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
  • 1 thumb sized healthy fats (1/4 avocado, 1 tsp nut butter, etc.)
  • 1 cupped handful of fruit (frozen berries, banana, apple, etc.)
  • dairy alternative to liquify to desired thickness (almond milk, coconut milk, water, etc.)
  • Extras: ice, cinnamon, vanilla extra, mint, 1 square of dark chocolate, etc.

Why have a Super Shake? 

When you are in a rush either in the morning or on the weekend, most people opt for skipping a meal or eating something quick. Unless you are intentionally skipping a meal to fast, this is probably not your best option. When most people eat something quick it is usually either incomplete or processed food. In other words, it is usually something that isn't helping them move closer to their goals. 

The Super Shake will allow you to not only make something healthy but can take literally 5 minutes to make. The bonus is that but you can take it to go and have it on your way. Talk about healthy fast food! 

We've found that having a Super Shake for breakfast helps our clients to;

  • feel more full during the day
  • prevent eating foods like cereal, toast, pop-tarts, high carb options, etc.
  • prevent over snacking during the day
  • have more energy at work
  • keep them focused and on track
  • make better food choices

If you find yourself rushing in the morning and unable to make an ideal food choice for breakfast, try the Super Shake for 7 days and see how you feel. This is one of the easiest health and fitness hacks you can do.

5. Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Intermittent fasting has quickly become a staple for many who want to live a healthy and lean life.

The basic idea is... don't eat for a planned period of time. According to research, we are are not meant to be "grazers". Our bodies have been designed to withstand periods of time without food. Certain mechanisms are in place which in turn, make us healthier and more lean. At least that is what the research has shown. 

If you feel this might be a good fit for you, it may be a new way to live your life.

Click here for a good resource on IF.

For most people they will enjoy the idea of losing fat and weight control. But there are many other proposed health benefits to IF including; improved blood lipids, reduced blood pressure, improved blood sugar control and more. 

Here is an example of our favourite way to fast;

The 24-Hour Fast

  • Saturday: Dinner, 6pm
  • Sunday: Breakfast, 10am

1 scoop BCAAs in 500mL water

1 scoop Veggie Greens in 500mL water

1 green tea

  • Sunday: Lunch, 2pm

1 scoop BCAAs in 500mL water

1 scoop Veggie Greens in 500mL water

1 green tea

  • Sunday: Light Dinner, 6pm

We recommend doing more research about IF before trying it yourself. With that said, people are noticing that this is more than a passing fad. If you feel this might be a good fit for you, it may be a new way to live your life.

6. Delivery Service

Studies have shown that the average person spends over 2 hours per week on grocery shopping. Wouldn't it be great to have that extra 2 hours do something else?

Well you can get that time back. It's actually quite easy. Having a go-to delivery service for your meat, produce and other groceries is probably the easiest way to save yourself time and still make healthy choices. 

In fact, many people are going this route because 1) it's convenient and saves time. 2) the quality of the food is usually much better (not shipped overseas from a foreign country, filled with pesticides, GMO, etc.)

Here are some links to local farms that deliver produce, high quality meats and even ready made meals.

Meat

Produce

Meal Delivery

It may take you some time to find the right one for you, but I think that once you find a farm or service that you like, it's really hard to go back to spending that extra time grocery shopping.

Lifestyle 

7. The Daily Destress

Life comes with stress. Both good and bad. Good stress keeps us on our toes, forces us to perform and achieve goals and makes us stronger, better people. Bad stress is relentless, never seems to end and puts us in a hole more than it helps us.

It really is about finding a balance. You can't remove stress, but you can reduce it and recover better from it. 

We all carry a load of stress every day and as described in this article, that load is like the straw on the camel's back. The camel's back is strong and it can carry the load for a long time. But one day, it only takes that last straw to break it's back. 

That's how we are with stress. We can push ourselves to the maximum, until one day... we can't and everything comes crumbling down. That is why it's important to de-stress regularly.

Performing a daily de-stress can work wonders in your life. 10-15 minutes per day of active de-stressing can really go a long way.

Ideal forms of de-stressing don't involve drugs, alcohol or electronic stimulation. Find ways to relax, bring down your heart rate and blood pressure and unwind.  

Here are some of our favourite de-stressing activities;

- going for a walk in the woods

- calling a close friend or family member

- journalling

- reading a good book

- taking a bath

- going for a leisurely bike ride

Find a way that truly relaxes you that only takes 10-15 minutes at a time. Don't do them just to say you're doing them. Fully embrace your de-stressing activity. Be aware your thoughts, aim to calm yourself and to feel good. This is called being mindful. If you do this 7 days a week, you will be shocked to see how much you can lower your stress levels and feel better in the long run.

8. The Office Mobility Routine

The World Health Organization has ranked physical in-activity as 4th place amongst the biggest preventable killers (up there with HIV, heart disease, etc.). One of the cures for this is moving more. 

But wait! Moving more might actually make the situation worse. The first step is to move better, then move more.

An essential part towards moving better is performing basic maintenance on yourself. Waiting until an injury to get treatment is the old way to take care of yourself. In 2016, people take care of themselves everyday. To quote Benjamin Franklin, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

10-15 minutes of daily basic maintenance wins over 1 hour of stretching per week. 

The office mobility routine is one that can be within the confines of your own office. With this you will need to invest in some basic tools like;

- lacrosse ball

- softball (not a ball that is soft, but a baseball)

- foam roller

- a peanut

- rolling pin, highlighter

With these tools start focusing on the tissues that are overly tight. Rolling (a.k.a. smashing) these tissues is a great start. We recommend taking a problem area and focusing on that one spot for 10-15 minutes a day for 2 weeks. 

Then assess the effectiveness of it. If it works for you try integrating other areas. For a large list of videos on areas to work on visit Mobility WOD by Dr. Kelly Starrett. There is simply no one better to explain these things than him. He's pretty funny too.

Here is an example of one our favourite ways to perform basic maintenance;

Rolling the foot (great for preventing plantar fasciitis) 

- While sitting on a chair, take a lacrosse ball and place it underneath your heel.

- Using the ball of your foot as a swivel point, swivel side to side and roll the lacrosse ball underneath the heel with enough pressure to make a difference. 

- Gradually work your way towards the centre of your foot.

Moving more might actually make the situation worse. The first step is to move better, then move more.

- Then using the heel as a swivel point, place the ball under the ball of the foot. Repeat the same action and gradually move towards the centre of the foot.

By doing this everyday you can be sure to make serious changes in the tension your feet and lower limbs have. In turn, preventing things like plantar fasciitis.  

9. In-home Body Work

Although it is important to perform basic maintenance on yourself, we highly recommend getting a professional to help propel you further with your mobility and wellness needs. 

If you consider the time it takes to travel to an appointment, get ready for that appointment and then travel back home, you might want to consider having them come to you.

Ever find it hard to relax and just fall asleep outside of your own home? All the more reason to have them come to your home. 

Here are some examples of in-home body work that might work well for you;

Deep Tissue Massage - I don't know of many people who don't enjoy a nice massage. 

Active Release Therapy - Although this can be quite painful, it is also extremely effective for releasing hypertonic tissues. 

Fascial Stretch Therapy - This is our favourite type of body work. Not only is it pain free, it addresses the connective tissues in a way that most therapies do not. At Evertrain (dependent on location), we offer in-home Fascial Stretch Therapy for those who prefer the enhanced relaxation of their own home.

To learn more about Fascial Stretch Therapy visit www.stretchtowin.com

At the end of the day, we all need that extra little care to help prevent injury and to de-stress. Having someone come to you is a great way to save time when you're busy. 

You can reach your goals on a busy schedule.

This guide will describe the 3 key aspects any busy professional over 50 should focus on for success with their health and fitness.

Conclusion

Having a comprehensive fitness, nutrition and lifestyle plan is the best way to go. But in all honesty, integrating all of those components into your current lifestyle is far from easy to say the least. 

A small change performed regularly far outweighs making a lot of changes for only a small period of time. Pick one of these health and fitness hacks that works for you and commit to doing it on a regular basis.

Then when you have more time or your life situation changes, commit to more. 

We hope these little tricks can help you move closer towards your health and fitness goals. If you want help getting there, contact us for more information about how we can help you.

Yours in health,

The Evertrain Team