Category: Healthy Hacks (Page 1 of 2)

This 5-part framework includes workout motivation tips that will help you stick to your plan and ultimately reach your fitness goals. Click through to download the guide or save for later!

These 5 workout motivation tips will never let you down

Starting a new workout plan from scratch can be as frustrating as it is exciting. I know because there was a time when I felt like I spent more time getting started than I did making progress. After years of experiencing that struggle, I’m here to tell you that it’s by far the worst part.

Think about it… during the first few days of a new workout plan, you’re probably not used to the new stress you’re putting on your body, you’re tired, you’re hungry and you’re not seeing any progress yet. What’s there to be motivated about?

That’s why your first few weeks of working out need to be treated differently than the rest of your days of staying fit. The following 5 workout motivation tips focus on sticking to a plan, minimizing obstacles and getting yourself in the right mindset to start making progress toward your goals.

Make a realistic plan

When you think about it, most of your small daily wins begin with a plan. When you cook dinner, you probably use a recipe (even if it’s memorized). When you drive somewhere new, you have directions. Why would your fitness plan be any different?

So what should your fitness plan look like? Start to answer this question by first analyzing your current situation. Ask yourself questions like: What does my day look like right now? Where can I squeeze in some free time to reach my fitness goals?

If you’re not a morning person, it’s probably not smart to schedule your workouts for the mornings. Likewise, if you’re rushing around in the evenings, chances are you’ll find a reason to skip your workouts at night.

Can you anticipate days when you already know you won’t be able to get a workout in? If you already know you’re going to struggle, plan a rest day for that day. For example, if on Thursdays you’re running from 8am to 8pm, you’ll just disappoint yourself if you schedule a workout and then miss it. Anticipate this early on and allow yourself some breaks as you need them.

Planning around your schedule is by no means a replacement for the motivation you’ll need to keep the momentum going once you start a plan. However, with some extra planning you’ll be able to remove a few of the obstacles that would usually cause extra problems.

Related: How to make your Google calendar the ultimate fitness tracker

Look backward, not forward

There’s a reason the first few days of a new fitness plan are always the worst. It’s because we tend to look toward the long road ahead instead of back at our accomplishments. That’s why it’s extremely important to set yourself up with small and attainable goals.

Minimize your efforts by rewarding yourself for going to the gym just three days in your first week. That way, if you work out on Day 1, you’re already 33% closer to crushing that first goal. Then continue that pattern. Continue to push yourself just a tiny bit every day and continue to remind yourself how far you’ve come.

What should these rewards look like? They don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. I like to mark the days I’ve worked out on a calendar or in a notebook. The visual marks alone remind me that I’m getting to where I want to be one day at a time. If that’s your approach, be sure to spend a moment thinking about the progress you’ve made every time you make that checkmark. Here are some more ways to reward yourself:

  • Treat yourself to your favorite coffee drink after completing all of your workouts for the week
  • More interested in wine? My weekly treat used to be a glass of wine and popcorn while watching Scandal on Thursdays. Olivia Pope approved!
  • Not all rewards have to be in the form of food. A relaxing bath with good music or your favorite podcast can serve as a great reward.

Measure your progress

The third workout motivation tip is about progress. It’s important to remember that the bathroom scale is not your only measurement for success. In fact, I would argue that it shouldn’t be a measurement at all. Try putting the scale away for a month. Measure your progress by tracking your workouts and your diet. Are you accomplishing the daily goals you’ve set for yourself? If yes, then it probably doesn’t matter what the scale says in the beginning..

I haven’t weighed myself in months for a couple of reasons:

  1. Because I don’t believe that a number on the scale can accurately tell me how healthy I am.
  2. Because body weight fluctuates for so many reasons other than a lift or drop in weight from fat.
  3. It sets the tone for my day… and I don’t want an object that sits on my bathroom floor to have that kind of power over me

If you must weigh yourself, I recommend only doing it once a week and at the same time every week. This will help you avoid small fluctuations in body weight that might not mean anything.

Here are some ways that you can measure success that don’t have anything to do with the bathroom scale:

  1. Take your measurements weekly (use a soft tape measure… I use one from my sewing kit)
  2. Let your favorite pair of jeans be your guide. This one is great for avoiding the scale. But, beware. The morning after a night of high sodium foods or alcohol will make you think your jeans have shrunk
  3. Progress measurement. How many workouts are you completing? What are your calorie and protein counts for the day?

Related: 6 common workout beginner mistakes

plan for mistakes

I hate to break it to you, but your new plan isn’t always going to work. Mistakes happen and sometimes sticking to the plan just isn’t in the cards. But, the real challenge comes with your reaction to those situations. Take some time to write down things that might happen that could pull you off track. What will you do in those situations? Here are some options:

  1. Workout twice on the following day – This one is probably the most intense. I must admit that I’ve been known to make the ‘workout twice’ claim and then never actually do it. If you’re worried that failing to workout twice the next day will discourage you, I would avoid this contingency plan.
  2. Turn a rest day into a workout day – This is my favorite contingency plan. It’s because my weeks tend to be a little unpredictable. Sometimes I plan on working out on Tuesday, but my day at work pretty much required me to get home and immediately veg out on the couch for 3 hours. It happens. In those cases I turn my next rest day into a workout day to make up it.
  3. Cut your losses and move on – If this is your plan, I’m cool with that. The major risk here though is never getting back to the gym. In situations like these, I try to ask myself ‘Is it better for my mental health if I don’t go to the gym today?’ That’s because sometimes I find myself realizing that a trip to the gym will actually make my day feel better.

Get in the right mindset

Motivation is something you have to work on every single day. And man… it sucks.. Motivation is emotionally draining. Think of it as fuel you’re burning throughout the day. If you burn too much of it first thing in the morning, you won’t have much motivation later in the day. That becomes a problem especially when it comes to evening workouts.

So how do you account for that? Know that decision fatigue is a real risk and think ahead to limit the non-fitness related decisions you have to make all day long. Lay out your clothes for the day before you go to bed. Eat the same meal for breakfast every day and don’t waste your time analyzing things that don’t need to be analyzed.

I recommend paying attention to your day tomorrow. What decisions do you struggle with throughout the day? Which little problems are stressing you out? What can you do to minimize the fatigue those issues are causing?

Another way to combat the struggle of finding your workout motivation is to do one healthy thing every morning right when you wake up. Do a few push ups, take a walk or drink a glass of water. As mentioned before, the hardest part of getting healthy is taking that first step. Many times if you’ve already done one healthy thing first thing in the morning, it’s not too difficult to keep the momentum going.

Another workout motivation tip is to make sure you get enough sleep. This goes back to the decision fatigue we talked about earlier. It’s SO important to get enough sleep so that you can stay strong and motivated throughout your day. Decision fatigue happens much more quickly when you’re sleep deprived than it does when you’ve had adequate sleep. That’s why when you don’t get enough sleep you tend to make more bad decisions when it comes to overeating and skipping workouts.

My last recommendation is to keep a hand-written journal that reminds you of the habits and progress you’ve made each day. Keep yourself accountable by noting both your good and bad habits. We tend to stop journaling the minute we go over our calorie count or skip a workout. That’s the MOST IMPORTANT time to keep up with your tracking. Why? Because when you know the patterns and bad habits you face every day, you can take steps to fix them.

By putting these five workout motivation tips in place, you’ll be one step closer to reaching your goals. So what are you waiting for? Download the 5 part workout motivation framework and start developing your plan.

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Staying fit isn’t cheap. Instead of spending all your money on fitness, invest in a small home gym. For under $150 and five items, even the smallest apartment can replace your pricey fitness facility. Click through for a step-by-step guide to getting your dream home gym!

How to build your small home gym with $150

Staying fit isn’t cheap. Your gym membership, workout clothes and that Class Pass membership add up. Before you know it, you might be saying bye-bye to the pounds and your paycheck. Instead of spending all your money on fitness, invest in a small home gym. For less than $150, you can make the smallest space into the perfect little gym.

Follow these three steps and before you know it, you’ll be able to torch some serious calories without even leaving your home. Not to mention, you’ll be able to spend all that money you saved on something better than a monthly gym membership.

step 1: Find space for your small home gym

The location of your small home gym is just important as the equipment you put in it. Why? Because the smallest discomfort can become your anti-motivation. First consider where in your current living space you actually have room to store your home gym. If you’re in an apartment or studio, your options might be very limited.

Here are a few things you should consider when picking your perfect gym location:

What else will this space be used for? If you typically use your workout space for sleeping and relaxing, it wouldn’t be surprising if you found yourself ready for a nap every time you’re ready to break a sweat. That’s not exactly the best workout motivation. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice but to double up living spaces (gym/living room or gym/bedroom). If you must double up, give yourself some indicator that workout time is not nap time. Turn up your music or open all the windows. Remind yourself that it’s time to work.

Are there distractions? My number 1 workout killer is a messy kitchen. Even if I can get myself motivated to workout while my kitchen is a disaster, it’s very unlikely that I’ll be thinking about anything else if the mess is within eyesight. While I can’t guarantee that my kitchen will always be clean, I can make sure my home gym set up faces me away from the kitchen.

Consider using an unused space. If you have an extra room or space in your home, it’s not a bad idea to convert it into your small home gym. No, the TV might not be there and you might not have the best sound system. But remember, you need to get yourself into the best frame-of-mind for your workout. Just as if you’d leave your house to go to the gym, you’ll walk into your home gym to work out, and then leave when you’re done.

Find some sneaky storage solutions. I have this awesome end-table that hides all of my gym equipment. It’s been a total space saver and one of my best purchases ever. If you don’t want a new piece of furniture, flat plastic bins are great for sliding under a bed or couch and storing your workout equipment.

If you’re struggling, consider ways you might be able to make extra room in your living room or bedroom. Can you do some rearranging? Do you need all of your furniture? Can any of your furniture be relocated to a different room? You can make this work!

Related: 10 little habits for a healthy week

Step 2: Get The Most versatile supplies

Now you have your space. But the most important part is making sure you have equipment that is versatile and will help you meet your health goals no matter where you are in your fitness journey. The following items will give your small home gym the flexibility to work every muscle group without getting board along the way. Even more important, all of these items are small enough that they can be hidden away while you’re not working out.

Ab mat ($14.53): This piece of equipment is inexpensive and can be used for so many things. You can either get a yoga roll-away mat (which is easy to store and very functional) or you can get a thick ab mat (which feels super comfy when you lay on it!). Why do we think an ab mat is so great? It’s because your number one piece of fitness equipment is YOU. There are so many body-weight exercises that you can do for great results. An ab mat will help you do them comfortably.

Kettlebell set ($29.99): We like kettlebells better than dumbbells for one simple reason: versatility. With a kettlebell, you can do everything you can do with dumbbells plus more! Kettlebell workouts are calorie torchers and muscle builders. That means you can get a killer strength workout while you burn off hundreds of calories. Buy a few different sizes and you’ll be able to work your entire body and hide them in your closet when you’re done!

Resistance bands ($30.75):  Resistance bands are super portable and the exercises you can do with them are pretty much endless. In fact, most heavy gym equipment can be replaced with just a few resistance bands! And they’re soooo lightweight which means you can take part of your home gym with you on vacations or to work (so there are no excuses for skipping your workout!).

Medicine ball ($39.68): Our advice to you: get a medicine ball that can be thrown, dropped and slammed; and is still easy to hold on to for core exercises. Handles are nice but they limit the use of the equipment. There are many workouts that utilize medicine balls that can act as your cardio because you’ll need to throw or slam the ball. Investing in one you that don’t have to worry about breaking is key. Plus, they can be a great stress reliever!

Water Bottle ($11.00): I know this sounds silly but it’s so important! Get a bottle that’s easy to drink from and is durable. You may not want to constantly open a cap or be worried about popping open a top. There are plenty of bottles now that have a no-spill straw and are covered in rubber to help with durability. Chances are, you’ll drop it at least once, so make sure you keep that in mind before buying something breakable.

step 3: Make it yours

The last step in creating a really great small home gym is to make it a place you actually want to be. Because let’s face it, you’re not going to develop a fitness habit if you hate your workout space.

Think about things like music, decorations and the view. Are there inexpensive ways you can brighten up the room a bit? Inspirational framed messages are always an inexpensive option and you’re probably going to want some sort of music to cover up the sound of your heavy breathing! Here are a few ideas and considerations:

Music: The great thing about a small home gym is that you don’t have to use your headphones (although you might still want to if you have roommates or family members living with you). If you can get away with blasting some workout tunes, a Bluetooth speaker is always a great option.

If new technology isn’t in the cards (or you forget to charge your speakers), just play some tunes through your phone. HINT: You can put your phone in a glass to amplify the sound.

Journal: I have a thing for journaling. Especially when it comes to my fitness routine, I get a major kick out of tracking my progress. If you’re also a journal lover, keep a note pad in your new gym space so that you always remember to track your progress.

Add a little luxury: Why not stock up on towels, headphones and bottles of water? Hey, it’s your gym, right? Make it feel like a really nice gym and reward yourself with an upscale atmosphere. Buy some cute towels and hang a few pairs of headphones on an adorable key ring holder on the wall.

Keep it clean (or just clean enough): Remember, this is YOUR space. If it gets a little cluttered from time to time, invest in some cute baskets or boxes that you can easily throw your gym equipment into. The key here is that you want to enjoy your time in your workout area. Don’t add another hurdle to your workouts by forcing yourself to clean up pre-workout.

Related: Workout motivation: 19 hacks to get you back to the gym

bonus: More small home gym tips

Treat your small home gym like a real gym (aka: put on your shoes!). Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can skip the workout gear. Unless of course, you’re doing yoga or Pilates. Going barefoot can lead to injury. Not to mention, you’re less likely to get in a good workout mindset if you’re not dressed for one.

Show some skin: One of the best small home gym perks is not having to worry about, well, other people. Stay cool in a sports bra and short shorts or workout in your undies if that’s your thing.

Get in and get out (or start, finish and then put the gym away). When your workout is over, your first reward is getting the heck away from your workout area. You should be sweaty, tired and full of endorphins. Leave to go take your shower and avoid going back to your home gym until you’re ready to work out again.

Stick to a schedule: It’s tempting to put off working out when you can go to the gym without leaving your house. Having a home gym is no excuse for not keeping a schedule. Get your workout in at the same time every day. This will help you develop your workout habit and stay motivated.

Do you already have a small home gym? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Note: If you click through one of our links and then make a purchase, we will receive a small commission. Yay! Please note that this commission does not affect your purchase price. Also note that we think you’re really cool for clicking on our links.

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The initial hurdle to getting fit is finding the workout motivation to get you to the gym. The first few visits are the absolute worst. Luckily, we have 19 hacks that will help get you to the gym and going back over and over again. Pin this and reference for tons of motivation!

Workout motivation: 19 hacks to get you back to the gym

The initial hurdle to getting fit is finding the workout motivation to get you to the gym. The first few visits are the absolute worst. Luckily, we have 19 hacks that will help get you to the gym and going back over and over again.

1. Plan shorter workouts

Just because you’re working out today doesn’t mean you have to be in the gym for an hour. Even a 10 minute workout will get your heart rate up and burn some calories. Once you finish a 10 minute workout, you might find yourself sticking around for another 10 minutes since you’re already dressed and in your workout mindset.

2. Pay if you don’t go

This is a little trick I stumbled upon a few months ago. I am not a morning workout person. Almost nothing gets me out of bed  (other than work) in the mornings. Then I discovered ClassPass and their late cancellation fee. Sounds like a pain in the butt, right? Well, it is. But there’s nothing I hate more than paying for a class and then paying to not go to a class. Don’t get me wrong. I grumbled and pouted every single morning. Until it was over. Then I was so happy to have gotten my workout out of the way for the day. That feeling of accomplishment that starts in the morning lasts with you all day.

3. Sleep in your gym clothes

Another morning workout  motivation hack is to sleep in your gym clothes. Gym clothes and pajamas aren’t all that different if you think about it. They’re stretchy and comfy and can be wrinkled without judgement. The struggle is so real in the morning, especially when it comes to physical activity before sunrise. Roll out of bed ready to go. Put your hair in a messy bun and get your booty to the gym!

4. Treat ‘yo self

What would make you sooooo happy after a workout? Is it a smoothie you usually wouldn’t spend time making? Is it a Starbuck’s latte? Or all of the above? (Try this: 1 scoop  Cookie’s ‘n Cream protein powder, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup cold brew coffee, 1 cup almond milk. Blend. It’s heaven!) Reward yourself with something that will get you moving and excited to finish your workout.

5. Make it a date

You might be willing to break a date with the treadmill, but you’re much less likely to break a date with a human. Especially one you don’t know very well. Schedule workout ‘dates’ with the new girl in the office. You’ll feel guilty ditching her so your fear of letting another person down will serve as great workout motivation!

6. Pre-workout motivation

I think it would be absolute torture to drink a pre-workout and then not work out. The key here is to take the pre-workout before you can talk yourself out of it. For example, for this hack to work, you’d want to make sure you make it a habit to reach for it right when you get home from work every day. Then move it! You’ll want to get changed and in the gym ASAP before the drink kicks in!

7. Multi-task with something you love

This one rarely fails me. As long as I’m binging on a great book or a TV series, I actually want to get my workout started. In order for this to work, find some sort of media (TV, a book or a podcast) with GREAT reviews from not just the internet, but a good friend. Then only allow yourself to watch/listen/read while you’re working out.

Related: Health hack: Get smarter while you workout

8. Schedule a race

This workout motivation hack will work if you’re a little afraid of failure. If the idea of not completing a race is scary enough to get you training, this hack might be for you! Schedule your race, determine what you need to do to train for it, and then stick to your schedule. The bonus will be how great you feel once you’ve reached your goal.

9. Write down your goals

It’s hard to keep yourself accountable if you haven’t officially written out any of your goals. Write down your fitness related goals and then break them down into smaller goals. Keep track of them in a journal on a regular basis. The act of writing down what you’re trying to accomplish will keep your objectives at the top of your mind.

Related: 3 guidelines for sticky goals

10. Get really organized

Buy a notebook, use your Google Calendar, open up a Word Doc. Whatever your process… get yourself organized. It’s so easy to ditch your plan if you don’t have one. Pick a planning day (Sundays are mine!) and write down every single workout you’ll do for the week. Don’t stop there. Predict the challenges you’ll have and plan a reward for completing all of your workouts.

Related: How to make your Google calendar the ultimate fitness tracker

11. Find virtual workout motivation

You may or may not be a lover of all things Facebook. But one thing I’ve learned recently is that there is a Facebook Group for almost everything. If you’re looking for a community of like-minded people trying to reach similar fitness goals, there is a motivational group waiting for you.

12. Make it a competition

On the other hand, a little friendly competition might give you some workout motivation as well. Challenge your girls to a workout challenge. Set individual goals, track your progress in a Google Doc and get competitive!

13. Try something new

Always wanted to try ballet? Try it out. Never tried Pilates? What are you waiting for? Working out does not have to be a chore. In fact, it shouldn’t be. You will be much more successful if you find something you love and stick to it. Some people need to switch things up on a regular basis (that’s me!) If you find yourself wanting to try all sorts of workouts, I recommend signing up for ClassPass, which will allow you to pay one monthly fee and attend a wide variety of classes.

14. Plan ahead

Pack your gym clothes, plan your healthy snacks and get ready to be successful before your workout even begins. The more you plan, the harder it will bee to skip a workout. If everything you need is in its place and ready to go, your excuses will become limited and all you’ll have left to do is go to the gym.

15. Set (very) small goals

Like, I’m talking tiny. Commit to working out for 1 minute or doing 1 push up each day. The idea for this hack is that once you finish a one minute workout, you’ll do more… and more… Read more about that here: Mini habits will help you start working out

16. Combine cardio and strength

Why spend twice as much time working out? Workouts that combine strength and cardio can cut your workout time in half and allow you to continue burning calories throughout your day (after your workout is over!). This is the ultimate workout hack! Try some of our favorite short workouts that combine strength and cardio.

17. Buy some workout clothes you love

It might hurt your bank account a little, but in the long run, it could be an investment that’s great for your health! Similar to hack number two, if you spend money on workout clothes, you’ll be motivated to use them. Also, I don’t know about you, but I always feel wayyy more athletic in new gym clothes.

18. Find a fitness app you love

My Runkeeper app and my Fitbit app not only make working out fun, but their push notifications remind me when I’m slacking. These smartphone apps were designed to keep the fun in working out. As a technology lover, I find myself very motivated by fitness tech.

19. Find a plan and don’t quit it!

Pick out a plan and stick to it for a few days. I know… it sucks when you start, but you’ll find that you begin feeling more and more motivated as you begin seeing results. The real trick? Don’t stop. Keep doing something and you begin to form a habit that doesn’t go away. Then, you’ll become your own workout motivation.

Note: If you click through one of our links and then make a purchase, we will receive a small commission. Yay! Please note that this commission does not affect your purchase price. Also note that we think you’re really cool for clicking on our links.

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In this article you'll learn how to make your Google calendar your favorite fitness tracker and workout planner in 5 easy steps. Click to see how or save this pin for later!

How to make your Google calendar the ultimate fitness tracker

Oh technology. We love you and we hate you. To be honest, I’m a pen and notebook kinda girl. But, I’m also the kinda girl who refuses to cart around a pen and notebook when there’s a technologically more efficient way. That’s why I’ve set out to make my Google calendar an efficient and reliable fitness tracker.

why you need this

Are you wondering why you need a fitness tracker? Think about it this way… Your workouts are appointments with yourself. If you don’t schedule an appointment it’s SO MUCH EASIER to tell yourself you’ll do it another day. On Mondays, for example, why work out? You have 4 week days left to get to the gym. On Tuesday you decide to go to happy hour with some co-workers (because you had nothing else planned!) and so on…

Does putting a workout on the calendar prevent you from missing the workout? No. But it does allow you to visualize your healthy week early on. A fitness tracker allows you to motivate yourself, to think through your goals and to remind yourself of why you’re doing all of this. When it’s Wednesday and we haven’t been to the gym yet, our brains are already exhausted from making excuses. Don’t make it easy for yourself to just start over next week.

Here’s what I needed

Yes, there are a ton of fancy apps out there that can be used for fitness tracking. But I found all of the bells and whistles to be more than I was looking for. First and foremost, I wanted the following:

  1. An online solution that would keep me on track with my workouts
  2. A tool that could be accessed across all of my devices
  3. A tool that could track all of my workouts (classes, workout pins, my own developed workouts)
  4. A tool that would allow me to enter all of my workouts for the week (or month) quickly

the ten minute rule

The tedious typing. Most of the apps I’ve used required you to individually manage your workouts by entering each one into your calendar. Boo! Even when I took the time to think through my workouts AND type them into an app, I had a hard time motivating myself to do it every week. Ten minutes or less seemed to be the magic number. Anything more, and I ran the risk of not planning ahead and ultimately skipping workouts throughout the week.

Related: 10 little habits for a healthy week

sometimes the answer is right in front of you

I use my Google calendar and Gmail for organizing my life. But, I always struggled with adding every single workout in my calendar as its own event. That’s when I realized that of course there’s an easier way. And it’s powered by one of my very favorite things: a spreadsheet. Follow this step by step guide to learn how to schedule your workouts and keep a fitness tracker in less than 10 minutes each week!

What you’ll need

  1. A Google account
  2. Three or four workouts you’re excited to do this week
  3. The .csv template that I’ve created for you

step 1:

Open up your Google calendar by going to this link: https://calendar.google.com. Then, on the left sidebar, click the little down arrow and select Create new calendar.

Google calendar fitness tracker. Select create new calendar.

step 2:

Name your calendar and add a little description and the location (if you want!) Otherwise, a name only will work just fine.

Google fitness tracker. Name your calendar.

When you click back to calendar, you should see your new calendar in the left sidebar!

step 4

step 3:

Open up your .csv template and add as many workouts as you want. I’ve only added 4 in this example, but it’s so easy to add a month’s worth of workouts if you’re doing a 4 week plan. Or if you want to plan week by week, just add your weekly workouts to your fitness tracker.

Fitness tracker. Add your workouts to the template

Here’s a breakdown column by column:

Column A: This will be what shows up on your calendar as the name of your event

Column B: This is the start date. Just put the date of your workout here. It’s important that you don’t change the date format in this file. The import tool is very picky when it comes to formatting!

Column C: Start time. You’ll notice the template uses a 24-hour clock. When you enter your time, you can use the time you would use for a 12-hour clock (with AM and PM). Just make sure you add a space between the time and the am/pm. For example, use ‘6 pm’ instead of ‘6pm’. You’ll notice that when you move out of the cell, the time will convert to the 24 hour clock time.

Column D: End date. Obviously, your workout will not last more than 24 hours. Just use the same date you used for Column B

Column E: End time. Same story as Column C with the 24-hour clock!

Column F: You’re not working out all day long, so just keep the word FALSE (in all caps) in this column for each event

Column G: This is where you can add a link to your workout, your entire workout, or general notes about your workout

Column H: Add your location. This can be an address or a general location.

Column I: Unless you would like your calendar to be accessible by search for other people, just keep the word TRUE (in all caps) in this column for each event

step 4:

Save your file in a .csv format.

FItness tracker. Save file in .csv format.

step 5: Upload your calendar

Go back to your Google calendar. Click the little gear icon and access your settings.

Fitness tracker. Select settings.

When you click the calendars tab, you should see an import calendar option in the middle of the page. Click it!

FItness tracker. Import calendar

Then click browse and find the .csv file you saved. Make sure your calendar name is your ‘workouts’ calendar. Then click Import.

Fitness tracker. Browse and upload

Now, when you go back to your calendar you should be able to see all of the workouts you added.

Fitness tracker. check your new calendar

Now make it fun

I like to color code my workouts so that they stand out against all the other things I have going on in my week. You should be able to toggle between all of your calendars (including your new workouts calendar). The first few times you do this, it might take a few extra minutes. But, once you’ve mastered the process, you’ll be able to easily manage all of your workouts just like any other fitness tracker. Don’t forget to grab your template for easy tracking!

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Having a healthy week does not have to take up all of your time. In fact, it shouldn't. Otherwise you're unlikely to get healthy and stay healthy. In fact, you can do most of the leg work it takes to have a really healthy week in a couple of hours next Sunday. Click for a free checklist or save this pin for later!

10 little habits for a healthy week

Having a healthy week doesn’t have to take up all of your time. In fact, it shouldn’t. Otherwise you’re unlikely to get healthy and stay healthy. You can do most of the leg work it takes to have a really healthy week in a couple of hours next Sunday.

Planning and prepping for a healthy week all at one time will allow you to get everything out of the way so that you don’t have to actually think about it later in the week. That’s important because as the week drags on and you become more focused on other things, your brain gets lazy. Your brain will tell you things like, “You don’t have time to be healthy today.” Or “You deserve to skip today’s workout, you’ve worked so hard this week!”

The bottom line is, we need to outsmart our brains, and we can do that by taking some time on Sunday to prepare for the week’s struggles.

1. Write down your health/fitness goals

Writing down weekly goals won’t necessarily keep you on track, but it’s a lot easier to give up on your goals if you don’t have any! The act of jotting down a list and putting it in an accessible location is the first step in keeping you accountable for your healthy week. Commit to this healthy habit each Sunday as the first step in your successful week.

Your weekly goals should support your long-term goals. If you ultimately want to lose 10 pounds, make this week’s goal to lose 1 pound. Your goals should be attainable and get you one step closer to that big thing you’ve been really wanting.

2. Plan weekly workouts

Your next step is to decide which workouts will help you accomplish that weekly goal. Choose to do something every day of the week. Even your rest day should include a walk or 30 minutes of stretching. Why? Because in order to form a habit, you need to make it second nature. If you work out every single day, soon it will feel like you’re missing something if you don’t exercise.

Related: Mini habits will help you start working out

Your workouts should be tailored to you and no one else. If in the past you’ve struggled to fit in a 45 minute workout every day, then focus on short Tabata workouts or HIIT workouts. Or, if you really hate running, then don’t run! Find something that actually motivates you!

3. Plan weekly meals

The meals for your healthy week should support your workouts. If you plan on spending a lot of time in the gym, make sure your meals support that. For example, if you know you’ll be craving some serious protein after an evening workout, then don’t plan a vegetarian dinner. Prior to Sunday, take note of your cravings and make sure you have something healthy to satisfy them throughout the week.

4. Wash your gym clothes

The number one thing that blocks me from getting my workout in? Not having clean gym clothes. It doesn’t matter how motivated I am, there’s just no way I’m going to do a load of laundry and THEN get to my workout. At the beginning of each week, wash all of your gym clothes so that you don’t run into this blocker.

5. Put together gym outfits for the week

Take the workout clothing prep one step further and match up your outfits. While a mismatched outfit probably won’t keep you from working out (unless you’re REALLY dragging), you’re likely to feel better and get the most of your workout if you’re not worried about that middle school band t-shirt you’re rockin’ at the gym.

Another benefit to pre-matching your outfits is that you can easily see what you’re missing. It’s a lot easier to see that it’s time for some new gym socks when you can’t find seven matching pairs at the beginning of the week.

6. Pack your gym bag with everything you need

Fill your gym bag with anything you need except for your clothes. My gym bag always has my favorite dry shampoo, hair ties, body wash and deodorant. If you want to take things a step further, pack an extra set of make-up so that you don’t have to worry about remembering your make-up bag every morning.

Think beyond toiletries. Do you need any workout equipment this week? Refer to your workout plan (that you should also pack!)

Also, divide protein supplements and healthy snacks into easy portions. Throw them into your gym bag and have one less thing you have to think about the night before your workout.

7. Pick out your workout playlist

Find a killer workout playlist to support your healthy week. Or, find an awesome book or a really great podcast. Workouts don’t have to be boring. In fact, I’m the biggest proponent of workout multi-tasking. Choosing your workout ‘distraction’ can get you excited and motivated for tomorrow’s workout. Once you choose your distraction, download any media, find your headphones and make sure everything is easy to access.

Related: Health hack: Get smarter while you workout

8. Pack up for tomorrow

Each night, clean out your gym bag and pack a new clean workout outfit. Your gym bag packing should be a breeze since you’ve already packed most of your bag and planned all of your workouts. Make sure you refill your snacks and supplements if you need to. Otherwise, you’re ready to go!

9. Plan your healthy breakfast

This should fit right in with your meal planning. To make things easy, try to plan some grab-and-go breakfasts for the week. Small portions of oatmeal or smoothies (I make mine in a Ninja Blender and take individual portions with me to work) are great! Because you’ve done all of your planning, you should be able to grab your quick breakfast and gym bag and get out the door!

10. Go to sleep on time

This is a healthy habit many people take for granted. You are wayyyy less likely to stick to your plan if you’re too tired to think straight. Even if you’re not a morning workout person, less sleep will make you want to eat more and exercise less. Get enough zzz’s to set yourself up for success every single day.

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7 simple stress management techniques for couples

Relaxation and stress relief tips

Last week sucked for Aaron.

It’s not because the weather wasn’t great, or because work was frustrating for him. He got to go fishing and he actually had several days off in a row! No, life sucked for Aaron because I was having a particularly stressful week. And the reality is, when one person in a relationship is going through a tough week, so is the other person. Even the smallest of frustrations can completely offset the balance of a household.

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Mini habits will help you start working out

My workout schedule was formed by one accidental habit.

I don’t know one person who hasn’t struggled with a workout plan that feels like a seesaw. Up and down, with its peaks in January and April; and lows from November to December. Even those who have been able to overcome the seesaw likely remember a time when they too had to navigate that playground of distraction.

A couple of years ago I was on the seesaw. Really, I’d been on the seesaw since I’d been old enough to understand that eating too much and exercising too little was supposedly recipe for disaster. Now looking back on photos from ages 14-22 makes me want to go back in time to tell my younger self to eat those carbs, yes, all of them… Enjoy them while you can… with a milkshake!” Now, at age 26 it really WAS time to cut back on life’s edible gifts. Unfortunately I was also going through a breakup and there was a lot of alcohol to be consumed and fried foods to be had.

I’d been on the seesaw since I’d been old enough to understand that eating too much and exercising too little was recipe for disaster.

I had just started working out with a personal trainer who I had an embarrassingly obvious crush on. Because my new single status also meant I didn’t really have much of a life in the evenings, I found myself… I wouldn’t say stalking…. I would refer to it as innocently visiting the gym on a more regular basis to do really easy workouts. Sometimes I would start my workout, realize he wasn’t there and then force myself to finish because certainly everyone would know I was there to see him if I didn’t.

After awhile I found myself trying a little harder every time I went to the gym. I’d already done the hard part. I was inside the gym, I might as well get in a good workout. I also found myself visiting the gym even when I knew cute trainer boy wouldn’t be there. I didn’t realize it at the time, but finally, all of the inputs I needed to form a habit were present.

After awhile I found myself trying a little harder every time I went to the gym.

While I can’t give all of you a hot personal trainer to encourage you to form a healthy gym habit, I can help you re-create this scenario in your own way.

I’ve been reading a lot about how to start habits lately. One of my favorite takeaways is from BJ Fogg who actually put together an equation for creating habits which is this:

B=mat

B= behavior

M=motivation

A=ability

T=trigger

Motivation, ability and a trigger are all needed to create a new behavior. In my case, my behavior was changed because I was motivated by the cute trainer, I always had the ability to workout on a regular basis (and so do you!), and the trigger was his work schedule (he worked A LOT, so I was all set).

The last important piece of creating goals is the reward. My reward at the beginning was seeing the cute boy… and toward the end it was the feeling of accomplishment and endorphin rush I got after a good workout

As I mentioned above, I can’t recreate this, but I find that whenever I want to start a new healthy habit, motivation is what I can’t keep around on a consistent basis. So, my new process for habit creation is all about the mini habit. I learned about this after reading Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. Also, BJ Fogg has a great Ted Talk about his Tiny Habits. The gist is this: Commit yourself to a habit that is too easy to fail. Here are some examples:

  • Do one pushup a day
  • Drink one glass of water a day
  • Walk around the block once a day
  • Meditate for 5 minutes

By creating a mini habit you have both the ability and the motivation to move toward your larger goals. Soon, you’ll find yourself adding on to your mini goals and creating new ones. So far I’ve added 2 new mini habits to my daily routine. At 2pm every day I add $5 to my savings account and right before bed I stretch. These habits are so simple… but that’s the idea! Now I have no excuses to skip them.

Checkout BJ Fogg’s Ted Talk or read Mini Habits and let us know which habits you’ve started!

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Don't give up on your workout goals. Use these guidelines to develop goals that stick. These three tips will help you start your fitness journey. Read them now or save them for later!

3 guidelines for sticky goals

I want to start off this post by saying no matter what your fitness goal is, there is no one right way to go about achieving that goal. But, there are certain universal rules like you can’t eat 2 pizzas and drink a case a beer a day and not have a beer gut.

I just moved to Columbus a few weeks ago and during that weekend the Arnold Sports Festival was in town. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this festival, it’s a 4-day event that draws in fitness fanatics from around the world, specifically those interested in body building and fitness competitions.

Now, normally this is my cup of tea since I am a personal trainer and sport performance coach. But I found myself seeing all that is wrong with what this festival promotes. Don’t get me wrong, I do think seeing the models and competitors striving to look fit and ‘perfect’ is not necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t believe it’s a sustainable lifestyle for a normal person.

If that is not your lifestyle, here are some general guidelines to start a plan and then stick to it. Just remember to start small and then build on these goals. Expecting yourself to run before you walk will lead to small let-downs that can discourage you right off the bat.

be consistent

Whatever your goal: weight loss, muscle building, or even just a start at a healthy lifestyle, you have to start being consistent. This could start as small as eating a low calorie dinner 3 times a week and nothing after, to going for a 1 mile walk before work in the morning. They can be extreme like not eating over 1400 calories for all 7 days. The more often you do something, the easier it will be to continue. If your goal is to work out 4 times a week, try making it a goal to just be physically in a gym 6 days a week. Getting there is the first step and the more often you do it, the more likely you will feel like something is missing if you don’t do it.

Related: 6 common workout beginner mistakes

Set fitness goals you don’t hate

I love having goals and aspirations. I think they apply to every facet of life and fitness and health is no different. But your fitnesss goals must be most firstly: attainable and secondly: fun to do. An example of a bad goal is: I want to lose 20 lbs. in two weeks and do nothing but starve myself and do cardio.

This is bad for a couple of reasons. One: that’s no fun at all. (I’ll be the first to tell you I hate cardio). And two: if you are somehow successfully, when you go back to a regular diet and lifestyle you’ll gain everything back and more. An example of a good goal is: I want to lose 5 lbs. in two weeks. It’s getting to be spring outside so I’ll obtain this by going for an extra walk or jog or walk outside and I’ll swap my usual high calorie lunch out for a lower calorie salad. When you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll enjoy seeing the results and you will be more motivated to build from there.

Do things together

Having someone else to serve as a support system can be a very powerful weapon. Finding someone who will motivate you and not convince you that it’s OK to miss your mark is key. If you and your other person are on the same page then the goals are much easier to achieve, and not to mention much more fun. Walk the halls on your lunch break at work or commit to going for that dreaded 6am run before work. An accountability partner will make you feel like you’re committed to somebody other than yourself.

I hope this helps and remember, no matter how you approach your first goals, be consistent, make it fun and do it together.

-Aaron

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It’s so easy to ignore healthy habits while your brain is saying ‘mmm, piña colada!’ We think it’s actually MORE important to stay active and healthy during vacation so that you don’t spend the week feeling off balance. These 5 tips will help you enjoy vacay even more. Read now or save this for later!

5 ways to stay healthy on vacation

Vacation is hard work.

We know we deserve it and we know it’s necessary to take a break, relax and indulge a little (or a lot). Unfortunately, the easiest way to put a damper on a beach vacay is the sluggishness that hits you at 2pm. That’s when you realized you’re hot, sweaty and 3 margaritas in and all you want to do is take a siesta–air conditioning on full-blast.

It’s so easy to forget that while your brain is saying ‘mmm, piña colada!’ today, usually at this time you’re about to hop on a treadmill. We think it’s actually MORE important to stay active and healthy during vacation so that you don’t spend the week feeling off balance or worse… just asleep. Think about it, exercise gives you energy and endorphins. Take those away and add some drinks, a little dehydration and the hot sun and you’re definitely not set up for a superb holiday.

Aaron and I took a quick trip to Cancun last week. We booked it 2 weeks in advance and found an awesome deal. Apparently, so did about 2,000 college spring breakers. Let me be honest. We saw a lot of boobs. Luckily, we’re both only slightly out of our college years and not yet NOT down with the times, I guess. We were able to park ourselves on a sun bed by the beach were the college kids were prohibited and enjoyed observing the chaos.

My favorite time of day was waking up long before the hungover college partiers for a quick workout and a walk on the beach. It was gorgeous. The early wake-up call (we’re talking 8am, nothing crazy) set us up for an awesome vacation day. While there’s no way I’m going to lie to you and say we didn’t eat like a million calories and forget to count our margaritas, we were able to make the most of our 5 days with a few tricks. By the end of this post you’ll be ready for your own holiday in the sun.

Use the beach (or the trails, cliffs or parks)

Double up and forget you’re exercising by exploring your surroundings. Even just walking on a sandy beach not only works your leg muscles harder than you would on a flat surface, but you also use your core to stabilize yourself. You worked your abs pre-vacay, don’t stop now!

Photo Mar 01, 6 37 47 PM

Don’t underestimate the hotel gym

At first glance, our hotel gym was terrible. It was tiny and about 20 degrees hotter than it was outside (sweat more, burn more calories!). Luckily though, we went early. Tiny gyms are great for quick circuits that get you in and out quickly. There were a couple of stationary bikes so we did this circuit: 1 minute bike, 10 squats, 10 jump lunges for 15 minutes. We followed that with 10 shoulder presses followed by 10 crunches for an additional 10 minutes.

Related: Our three best 30 minute workouts!

Join in

Vacation is the best time to dip your toes into things like Water Aerobics and Zumba. Why? Because if you look like a fool no one knows you and everyone’s drunk anyway. Check with the front desk or the concierge to ask if there’s a class schedule. Some hotels also have partnerships with gyms in the area to provide discounts to guests

Photo Mar 02, 10 26 14 AM

Jump (and walk) the Waves

Don’t knock it until you know how many calories you’ll burn. Water walking burns 563 calories per hour. Add some wave jumping to that and you’re doing even better. Yes. You’ll look silly. Yes. People will laugh at you. Just hang on to your shorts.

Go for a Swim

There aren’t many exercises that work almost all of the muscles in your body at the same time. I’ve always been a fan of swimming (I’m an Aquarius). Get up before there are children in the pool and get your workout in.

Add just one or two of these tricks to your vacation routine. We promise we won’t ask you to do anything else during your time off! And leave a comment with your own tips for the best vacation day ever!

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What’s your marathon?

Hey there, this is Aaron. As a lifelong sports nut, I’ve never really gotten into writing and nerdy stuff but I am going to give it my best shot.

As a personal trainer, I see many different types of people with many different goals and aspirations. None of them are better or worse than another, just different. What needs to happen no matter your point in the journey and wherever the end point, your goal must be specific and attainable. It sounds so simple but it is crazy how many times I have been in a first-time session and had to help steer a client in the right direction. When you commit to a goal, be specific, decide when you’ll get it done, and break the goal up into smaller parts.

When you commit to a goal, be specific, decide when you’ll get it done, and break the goal up into smaller parts.

I know everyone knows the saying ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint,’ and in the fitness world it couldn’t be truer. During a marathon the end goal is the finish line at mile 26.2. But what happens along the way?

You have your start. You’re all fired up you get to try out your new clothes and show everyone around you that you made this decision to race and you’re super excited about it. When you take that first step, miles 1 through 3 are awesome and fun and full of encouragement and high fives.

Then you get into miles 3 through 10. Here the initial excitement is wearing off, and now you start the grind. This is where you get 10 miles in, the first 10 lbs come off, it’s where you’re seeing results; and the work and the consistency are so important. This is where you find out what keeps you going and what small goals you can set to eventually reach your ultimate goal. Get through mile 5, do 5 more push ups, or go for 5 more minutes.

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Mile 13.1 is special. Now you are halfway through and need to look at what has worked and what you need to do to finish this thing. Maybe more weights. Maybe more rest days. Maybe join a class you have never tried just for the heck of it. From half way to the finish line it’s all about you. People on the course know you now and excitement and novelty have worn off. Now you put your head down and finish this thing.

And here is the finish line!!!! Finally all the work and time and energy has paid off. You reach that goal, throw your hands up and cheer. But here is the part no one thinks about. What’s next? Do I run this same race again? Do I look for a different town or change of scenery? Or do I change races altogether? That is up to you to decide. Once you finish one it’s so much easier to do it again because now you have the tools and drive to make it happen. Whether it’s a big transformation or mastering a certain exercise, all goals deserve the same focus and attention.

Share with us! What’s your marathon?

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