5 Healthy Swaps to Get You Ready for Summer

The weather is getting warmer!  (Finally, it's almost May...)  Which means that summer is right around the corner.  Check in with yourself.  Now that the year is almost a third of the way through, how are your healthy habits stacking up against what you vowed to do at the beginning of the year?  If you've stuck with your plan and are making this year THE year, props. to. you.  Seriously.  It's not easy!  But if you've gotten off track, or need a little boost, take this as a reminder to get back in the groove.  If you need a push in the right direction, here are 5 super simple healthy swaps you can make RIGHT NOW to jump start your healthy living and get you ready for summer.

5 Healthy Swaps to Get You Ready for Summer

1 | Juice for Water

Warmer weather calls for even more hydration than the colder months.  It also means that juices of all kinds are stocked to the max at grocery stores and restaurants (think lemonade, cranberry juice, and fruit punch).  Most of these juices have TONS of added sugar, which can lead to dehydration among many other health hazards, so swap out the sugary sips for a nice glass of H2O.  If you're one for soda in the summer, grab a seltzer instead - you still get the carbonation with no additional calories.

2 | Added Sugar for Fruit Infusions

I know this is a popular one, but it's for good reason!  Add some lemon, watermelon (so good), strawberries, or limes to your water for a flavor boost.  Like sweetened iced tea?  Try adding some fruit to that as well!  Strawberries in black iced tea are delicious!  Cut back on the added sugar in your drinks, and you might just feel less bloated and a bit more refreshed.  Who doesn't want that in the summer?

3 | Fried for Baked (or Grilled)

Alright, I know you know fried foods aren't great for you.  But I'm not just talking about the drive-thru french fries or bucket of fried chicken.  I'm talking more along the lines of the potato chips at backyard barbecues, or the fish 'n' chips at the boathouse.  Picnics, outdoor parties, waterfront restaurants, you name it, you're bound to find some type of fried food at these places.  When you encounter them, try to opt for the baked version.  Baked chips are pretty delicious, and they definitely satisfy the salt craving.  In my opinion, baked potato wedges are just as good as fries (as long as you get them super crispy!).  If fried chicken or fish is what's on the menu, ask for it grilled instead.  Just about every restaurant can accommodate that request.

4 | Mayo for Greek Yogurt

Also common among the backyard parties and family gatherings is your classic potato or egg salad.  These are usually made with tons and tons of mayonnaise to get that creamy consistency.  A great substitution for mayo is greek yogurt.  You get a lot more added protein which will keep you satiated longer, and if you opt for the nonfat version, you'll be cutting the large amount of fat from the mayo entirely.  Another great option for smaller mayo substitutions is avocado.  Talk about an added flavor punch and lots of healthy fats!

5 | Indoors for Outdoors

This one is my favorite of the 5 swaps (maybe in addition to the fruit-infused water).  Everyone loves being outside in the summer, but a lot of us work inside during the day.  If you can, try to take a walk outside during your day, or make it a point to get some fresh air on a break.  The warm sunshine will do wonders for your mood, and there's nothing like a nice walk outside to reinvigorate your spirits.  The activity will do wonders for your productivity as well.  And hey, with the way this spring has been lately (at least in the northeast), we have to take advantage of all the sun (and warmth) we can get!

Readers: chat with me!  What healthy swaps are you making right now?  Any that are listed here?  What would you add to this list?  Are you excited for summer?  How have you been staying active?

Simple Tips to Stay Moving and Active During Your 9-5

This post has been featured on the online publishing network BlogHer, and on the fitness & lifestyle website, The Body Department.

A lot of us, myself included, work in an office environment and are sitting at desks all day, Monday through Friday.  Staying sedentary during the workweek can wreak havoc on your body over time, even if you are finding time to fit in a workout.  That said, there are so many easy ways to stay moving and active during your 9-5 (or whatever hours you find yourself in that desk chair).  I hope you can utilize some or all of these tips to help you and your coworkers combat the sedentary lifestyle that offices and cubicles can sometimes foster.  Here are some of my favorite ways to keep your body moving:

Simple Tips for Staying Active During your 9 to 5

1 | Set a timer

Might be obvious, but setting a timer either on your watch or computer will help remind you to get up, stretch your legs, and move throughout your day.  If you can, try to set it to go off every hour once you get into work.  Getting up out of your desk chair will not only help keep the blood flowing, but it will also help you maintain focus on your work and allow for small, frequent breaks. 

2 | Take the stairs

This is one you probably hear a lot, but that’s for a good reason.  Make a conscious effort to take the stairs instead of the elevator every chance you get.  Work on the 8th floor of your building?  Great!  Work those quads and glutes on the way up to and down from your office.  This goes for life outside the office, too.  Take the stairs at the mall, the airport, your apartment building, etc.  Take ‘em any and every chance you get - it’s a mindless way to work your legs more than you would have otherwise.

3 | Use your lunch break to your advantage 

Your lunch break can be used for so much more than just eating.  Do you have some officemates that want to get active during their workdays, too?  Multitask and grab ‘em to go for a walk around the building or block.  You can catch up while you move.  Going out for lunch?  If you can, walk there instead of driving.  Also see tip #5 for more ideas on multitasking during lunch.

4 | Deliver memos in person

Instead of shooting off emails that discuss quick topics, try getting up out of your chair and walking to the person’s desk/office to deliver the message in person.  You’ll get a chance to talk face to face with someone you might not otherwise have talked to.  This also goes for intra-office phone calls.  Go chat with the person face to face and add even more steps to your day.  Added bonus if the person works on another floor (refer to tip #2)!

5 | Try a few exercises in your office  (No, really!)

Think those push ups or planks need to be saved for the gym or fitness class?  Why's that? There’s nothing stopping you from doing a few reps during your workday.  Need some ideas for what exercises you can do?  Check out the Fitness Friday series here on the blog for mini workouts you can do absolutely anywhere – office included.  Even better if you grab a friend and do them together!

My hope is these tips give you a good idea of some super easy ways you can combat a sedentary workplace lifestyle.  I also hope this post serves as a reminder of the importance of moving your body frequently throughout the day.  Try adding a few of these tips into your routine each day and stick with it for a few weeks.  You just might be surprised to see your mood improve, your focus become more acute, and your overall attitude change for the positive.

Readers: chat with me!  What do you do combat the sedentary lifestyle of working in an office?  Any tips you have that I didn't mention here?  Share them below!

12 Days of Fitness Challenge: Day 10 - Jumping Jacks

Guess what!  You only have 3 days left of the Fitness Challenge!  I want you to focus.  Finish strong.  Give these last few exercises all. that. you've. GOT!  Ready??

It's back to cardio today with jumping jacks!  This post will be quick - and without a demo picture - because, let's face it, we've either known about, seen or have been doing jumping jacks ever since elementary school gym class.  That's not to say they're a great cardio workout, though!  If you're bored of the traditional JJ's, try these variations:

  • Option 1: crazy jacks - like a traditional JJ in that you're bringing your arms overhead, but instead of jumping your feet out wide, raise one knee up to waist level as you raise your arms.  When your arms come back down, bring that leg down to the ground, and switch to the other leg as you raise your arms up again.
  • Option 2: lateral criss-cross - instead of raising your arms above your head and jumping your feet out to the side, cross your arms straight out in front of you as you hop, and/or criss-cross your feet as you do so.  If you do this variation, try to alternate which arm/foot is crossed on top or in front, respectively.

What I want you to do is get through 100 jumping jacks (any type) dispersed throughout the day in whatever way you choose.  You could break it up into 4 different sets of 25 each.  You could do 50 in the morning and 50 after dinner.  You could do 10 sets of 10.  It doesn't matter!  As long as you get through 100 by the end of the day.  Remember, every healthy choice counts!

Now go get started, and have fun with it!  Do your first set right now, as you're reading this.  Get your butt out of your chair, off your couch, and move! :)  You'll feel better - I promise!  Remember to check in using the hashtag #12daysfit and let me know how you're doing.  I'd love to see some action shots on Instagram and Facebook!  If you're not on social media - no worries!  Comment on the post for today and tell me how you do.  Until tomorrow, have a healthy and happy day ahead! :)