The bane of the working class is that despite having all the luxuries in the world, we seldom have any time. The perils of sitting at your desk for long durations aren’t good. In fact, research has shown that remaining stationary for extended periods of time (in this case your 9-5 job) can actually be detrimental to your health. There may be few who want to focus on their fitness but hectic schedules and perpetual excuses prove to be an irreconcilable hindrance. Yes, we have all been there and have had to make some excuse or the other to skip the workout or cheat on our diet. The good news is there’s a way around it, if you are willing to bring in a bit of discipline in your day-to-day life. And it won’t even involve too much of a lifestyle change since we know it can impact your work and personal life.
1. Know what you eat
Working long hours usually translates into hunger pangs that are satiated by dining out or ordering takeaways. It’s no wonder that India is not far behind on becoming the next obesity capital. With the average Indian putting in more than 52 hours in a week, working overtime has been largely accepted as a norm throughout the country. But this calls for no reason to not manage your health.
Meal prepping is the most effective and pocket-friendly way to tackle calories and save up. It gives you total control over what your food consumption and nutrition. Cooking one meal and then eating it several times throughout the week is a strategy many use to save time. And to avoid boredom with the same food, switch up one meal each week. Suppose you cook a large dish on a Sunday and have the same for lunch Monday through Friday. The workweek is when people are the most time-crunched and need a consistent nutrition rhythm, so keep to your cooking schedule, but prepare something different every Sunday. By just changing your lunch, you are introducing 25 percent more variety into your diet.
- Tweak your standard meals– Instead of cooking an entire new meal from scratch, you can just switch one ingredient and diversify without breaking your rhythm. For example if you always have a fruit and nut smoothie for breakfast, rotate the fruits (strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, banana, etc) and nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc).Or if you usually have a green salad with chicken for lunch, use different greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, etc) and protein sources (chicken, salmon, tuna, etc).This will give you nutritional variety without changing the meal so much that it causes you to deviate from your routine.
- Pop a multi– A supplement isn’t going to make drastic improvements to your diet, but it will help you fill in any deficits in essential vitamins and minerals. If you are eating the same thing most days, then your menu might be low in micronutrients such as zinc or manganese, and a multivitamin can help fill these small nutritional gaps so that you don’t have a problem.
- Maintain a Food Diary– Successfully maintaining a food diary means that you have to note down every detail about your meals, including portion sizes, number of servings, estimated calories, along with the time of day, where you ate (home or outside), and what you were doing during that meal (e.g: watching TV, working, at a movie). To start with, a food diary makes you far more accountable for your indulgences. Knowing you have to write down the calories in your impromptu midnight snack or post-work pub crawl immediately makes you more conscientious about the foods you choose. It can also cut down on the mindless eating we do sometimes, a bag of chips while working or watching TV for example. And what’s more, thanks to smart phones these days, there are several apps that will happily do most of the work for you.
2. Use HIIT to lose weight
Next time you hit the gym after your busy work day, add high intensity interval training (HIIT) to your workout regime. HIIT basically involves low to moderate intensity exercises alternated between high intensity intervals. It can be applied weight based training, bodyweight exercises or to running alone. HIIT is considered to be much more effective than normal cardio because of the high intensity you work your body at and enabling you to increase your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat.
One of the best methods for losing weight, without a doubt would be incorporating some kind of HIIT routine into your regular workout. Unlike monotonous cardio where you’re simply running at the same pace throughout, a HIIT routine will allow you to reach new peaks in your metabolism which will eventually lead to shedding massive amounts of calories.
The best part about is that you can customize the workouts according to your capacity. For example, one of the simplest HIIT workouts is sprinting your hardest on the treadmill for 1 minute and then slowly walking the next. You can add some variation to that by adding an incline to your sprints. Once you’ve gotten the hang of what exercises work best for you, you can create your own HIIT routines. But remember the key to making your workout successful is by ensuring that you’re working at full capacity with the ultimate goal of losing weight and getting fit.
3. Keep track of your progress
Now that you’ve got the basics right, a right diet and a good workout, what many of us tend to forget is that we fail to keep track of how it’s affecting our body. Keeping a food diary will help you keep tabs on your calorie intake. Similarly a workout log or diary is absolutely essential for consistent progress. Use your workout journal to record sets, reps, weights, and rest. It will help you in your future sessions to mark your progress and to trace back to details from the older sessions.You need to know how much you lifted in past workouts in order to improve in the future. This will also help you to schedule your workouts and add new exercises or weights according to the changes you note in your body. Get a planner or download a mobile app which will help you set goals and work towards achieving them. Check your numbers every month and set new goals according to your progress.