Resolutions are great, habits are better. Try these little changes recommended by the experts at JDP Health & Fitness.
1. Drink More H2O
Dehydration affects physical and mental performance, energy levels and mood. Drink 250ml of water each hour (more when exercising) to stay hydrated.
2. Start A Diary
Recording your daily food intake and activity levels makes you accountable for your daily actions. Write down three things you’re grateful for too, to feel good about life.
3. Fix Breakfast
Swap cereal for a low-carb and high-protein breakfast – think eggs and avocado – to keep your blood sugar levels stable until lunch for better fat loss and better energy.
4. Get Some Vitamin D
Most Brits are deficient in vitamin D because we don’t get enough direct sunlight to make it. A good-quality supplement can prevent short- and long-term health problems.
5. Go For A Walk
Talking a lunchtime walk, even for just 20 minutes, can increase your levels of energy and reduce feelings of stress, says a study in the Journal Of Environmental Science.
6. Get In Tune
Listening to music that has between 120 and 140 beats per minute can help you train harder without feeling the extra effort, according to research. Make a playlist today.
7. Clear Your Mail
Every “ping” from your email produces a spike in cortisol, the stress hormone. Try checking your emails just twice daily or deleting unimportant mail straight away.
8. Love Lunch
Often get an afternoon slump? Cut back on carbs and instead base your lunch on lean sources of protein and plenty of veg for an energising and muscle-building meal.
9. Eat More Fat
Unsaturated fat (found in avocado, coconut and fish) is good, saturated fat (in red meat and dairy) is OK in moderation. Trans fats (in processed food) should be avoided.
10. Sleep Sound
Sleep more deeply for longer by making your bedroom as dark as possible: artificial lighting affects your body’s melatonin levels and decreases your quality of sleep.
11. Take Omega 3
If you don’t eat two portions of fish per week and don’t want to eat more, then think about taking an omega 3 fish oil supplement. It helps with both brain function and fat loss.
12. Eat Your Greens
Swapping grains for greens not only reduces your calorie intake, it also gives your body more of the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to look and perform better.
13. Stand Tall
Do band pull-aparts to improve posture. Hold a band with hands shoulder-width apart, then stretch it across your chest. Do 100 reps while you’re watching TV. Browse exercise bands on amazon.co.uk
14. Go Green
Switch one of your daily cups of tea for the green kind. It has a mild fat-burning effect, as well as antioxidants to reduce cell damage. Add a slice of lemon for a hit of vitamin C.
15. Batch Cook
A bit of meal prep is a great way to eat better all week long. Do a big cook on a Sunday and chill or freeze lunch and dinner for the rest of the week so you’re not tempted by takeaways.
16. Shake It Up
Still drinking just protein and water? Upgrade it with a handful of blueberries for their antioxidants and some chia seeds, which are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids.
17. Cycle More
Commuting by car, train or bus – as opposed to under your own steam – is linked to depression and stress, says Swedish research. Try to walk or cycle some of the way.
18. Think On Zinc
Low levels of zinc, an essential element, will make you mentally and physically tired. It’s depleted by sweating so take a supplement if you think you might be running low. Browse zinc supplements on amazon.co.uk
19. Eat More Meat
If you are training hard but not adding lean muscle mass, you might need to eat more protein. Aim to eat 1.5g-2g per day of bodyweight, so that’s 120-160g for an 80kg man.
20. Shop Online
Doing your food shop online isn’t just cheaper and more convenient, it enables you to order more of the foods you should eat and less of those you know you shouldn’t.
21. Screen Break
Sitting at your desk all day is bad for your back and your eyes. Every hour, get up and go for a five-minute walk – maybe even go and talk to a colleague instead of sending an email.
22. Abs Stretch
Perform a cobra stretch after every set of crunches – which shortens your abs muscles – to stretch them our and force the muscle fibres apart for bigger, fuller and deeper abs.
23. Get A Buzz
Having a coffee before a tough training session will free body fat for fuel as well as lowering your perceived rate of exertion – in short, it makes exercise feel easier.
24. Make HIIT Work
High-intensity intervals torch fat, but only if they’re truly intense. Bursts of effort should last no more than 30sec. If you can keep going for longer it’s not intense enough.
25. Don’t Worry
Paralysis by analysis is common, and it’s easy to get fixated on over-analysing your every daily action. Don’t. Keep doing these basics right and you’ll be in great shape.
26. Treat Yourself
There’s no point swearing off booze or curry for ever: that’s unrealistic and will only make you miserable. Have the odd indulgence – just get back in the gym the day after.