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.
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.
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.