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1. Have an athlete-friendly meal delivery subscription.
Someone else will cook a meal that you know is healthy and bring it right to you.
What could be easier than that?
Pro tip: Look for a service that offers meals for athletes — they’ll offer double the lean protein (30-40 g) along with fibrous veggies like salad, steamed beans or broccoli.
2. Keep the ice cream, cookies, and chocolates out of the house.
Make “laziness” work for you by making it harder and more inconvenient to reach for high-calorie, low-nutrition, easy-to-overeat foods.
If you want sweets, you have to go get them. At 10 PM, when you’re snuggled into your sofa binge-watching your favorite TV show, it’s going to be a lot harder to motivate yourself to get up and go to the grocery store.
Pro tip: Keep a colorful assortment of dried and fresh fruits around for dessert instead.
3. Use a meal plan.
Don’t make fresh decisions every day, or keep meal choices totally open-ended all the time.
Instead, make decisions in advance and work from a template.
Pro tip: Every few days, sketch out the meals you’ll eat for the next few days. Check the list daily so you know:
- what to buy at the grocery store;
- what to pre-prep;
- what meal you’ll eat at what time (or when you’re really hungry).
4. Keep chopped, ready-to-eat vegetables in the fridge.
Put them front-and-center so you see them and can get to them easily.
Pro tip: To make your favorite salad veggies even easier, store them “restaurant style”. Clean and sterilize one of your refrigerator’s crispers, dump chopped veggies (loose) into it, and cover them with a damp paper towel and a couple of ice cubes.
5. Don’t be hungry and in the grocery store at the same time.
Treat grocery shopping like a surgical operation: Have a plan (like your meal list from Tip 3). Get in and get out efficiently. (See if you can make a game of it.)
Pro tip: Focus on the perimeter — the produce, meat, and dairy sections. Don’t even go down the processed food aisles, so you won’t be tempted.
Shop with a basket instead of a cart to limit what you can buy (it sneaks in an arm workout, too).
6. Keep shake-ready ingredients in the freezer.
Frozen chopped fruit can be dumped straight into the blender and will make your super shakes extra thick and cold.
Pro tip: Are there any greens in your fridge “on their way out”? Stick them in a gallon bag in your freezer. Once frozen, crush them to make flakes. This reduces the space they take up and makes them simple to add to shakes.
7. Keep a batch of cooked grains handy.
Whole grains take time to cook, but if you make a batch on Sunday, you’ll have it in the fridge to use in grain bowls and stir-fries all week long.
Pro tip: Make two batches, and portion one out by the cupful to keep in containers in the freezer. Brown rice reheats nicely in the microwave. It’s like having home-made minute rice on hand.
8. Help your kitchen coach you.
Keep your kitchen as clean, pleasant and clutter-free as possible so you feel relaxed when you enter it (stress = cookie binges). Have an edible plant (like sunflower sprouts) growing on the counter for when you feel like snacking.
Pro tip: Make the fridge door a “vision board” with post-it notes reminding you of your goals, inspiring pictures, and cool looking magnets.
9. Just put on your sneakers.
Having them on your feet often just makes you feel like getting active.
Pro tip: For that matter, consider just wearing comfortable shoes all the time, so you’re up for anything.
10. Keep workout gear in your face.
Have a kettlebell, resistance bands, a dumbbell or two, a pull-up bar, and/or a suspension trainer in your home or office so you’re more tempted to use them.
Pro tip: Do “trigger training”: Leave the gear in various places throughout your house, and whenever you pass one of them, do a few reps. Over the day this adds up quickly without eating up too much time or leaving you wiped out.
11. Pack your “mobile gym” when you travel.
Book hotels with gyms and/or pools. Toss a jump rope or resistance bands into your suitcase along with a list of bodyweight-only exercises (like squats and pushups) that you can do anywhere.
Pro tip: A kayak bag (20 L capacity) folds up small enough to fit in a carry-on but turns into a ~40 lb kettlebell once you fill it with water.
12. Turn your car into a locker room.
If you drive a lot, be prepared with gym clothes and a healthy snack so you don’t make counterproductive decisions in desperate moments. Keep a shaker bottle with measured protein powder and greens under the seat — just add water.
Pro tip: Keep a container of several changes of exercise clothes, shoes, and towels in your trunk so you’re ready to move no matter where the day takes you.
13. Schedule workouts like you schedule meetings.
Put them on your calendar and treat them like any other appointment.
Pro tip: Put everything from workouts, to laundry, to work meetings, to rest and recovery on your calendar so that very few things are “unexpected”. Most of our routines are pretty predictable.
14. Move social gatherings to parks and gyms.
It doesn’t always have to be a bar or restaurant. Make your next date outside (frisbee?) or at a climbing gym or trampoline park.
Pro tip: This goes for professional networking, too. Instead of sitting down at a coffee shop, get coffee to go and have a walking meeting.
15. Have only half a car (or less).
Sharing a car with your partner or a friend means you’ll have to walk or bike more (some Precision Nutrition staffers have invested in cargo bikes so they can cart their kids along with them).
Pro tip: Walk on errands, even if your destination is on the outside edge of “reasonable”. For example, instead of driving seven minutes to the post office (or asking your partner to do it), take 25 minutes to walk there. That’s 50 minutes walking rather than 15 minutes sitting in the car, but the errand only took an additional 35 minutes from your day.
16. Combine walking and working.
Moving while you brainstorm or take a work call helps you focus and avoid the I-sat-at-a-desk-all-day soreness.
Pro tip: Get a used treadmill for a couple hundred bucks off Craigslist and fit it with a SurfShelf for your laptop. Now you can write, edit, fire off emails…all of it while you walk.
17. Separate yourself from your work once per hour.
Work for 50 minutes, then step away from your desk for for 10 (may we suggest a walk, some stretches, or some squats?). Cycle this for your workday. You’ll find that you still have energy and focus by the end.
Pro tip: Install anti RSI software, which “locks” your computer for 5-10 minute intervals every hour so you’re forced to give work a rest.
18. Turn family and friends into coaches.
To create a supportive environment, be explicit with loved ones that you’re trying to eat better and get fit — and why. They don’t have to participate, but ask them to help. That takes the pressure off them to do what you’re doing, and most people (especially kids) like “helping” in some way. (Kids love to nag, so hire them as your alarm clock and workout reminder.)
Pro tip: Involve your family in goal-related activities, such as menu planning, meal prep, and rep counting. This reduces resistance by giving them ownership, meaning you won’t feel you’re the “other”.