I met one of my best friends Jill, 11 years ago and we still talk almost weekly. When we met, were were both doing the fitness hustle, teaching a million classes a week, doing our own workouts on top of our classes and were obsessed with what we ate. When we talk now we laugh about our habits in the past and how we spent unreasonable amounts of time and energy on our food and workouts. As we have been laughing about this lately, I have thought about the biggest changes I have made, some which have come naturally, some which took a bit more effort.
- I don’t count anything anymore.
I have already written a blog on why I do not think meal plans or calorie counting works so I will not go into detail here but for years I counted so many things. I counted the number of meals I had in a day, counted calories, macronutrients, calories burned in a workout..if you could measure it, I probably counted it. If counting any of these works for you, great! I am not saying they are wrong or bad, they just stopped working for me. I had to free up my mental energy for other things. I have absolutely no idea how many calories I eat in a day now nor the amount of carbs or how many calories I burned in a workout. If I wanted to really know, I could come up with those numbers but the point is I do not really care. My goal is to feel good, function well physically and mentally, feel confident in my clothes and enjoy the way I move and eat. If any of these seem off, then I pay more attention to my eating, exercising and how I have been taking care of myself overall and adjust as needed.
2. I don’t have food rules anymore nor do I do food guilt.
I just wrote to my tribe earlier this week in my monthly email about how I use to have all these rules when I traveled but really I had all these rules all the time. No drinking during the week, one big dessert a week, one cheat meal a week etc. I still think it can be beneficial to have some basic personal nutritional guidelines such as not drinking your calories (except half and half and wine of course) but none of these are hard and fast anymore. Though I prefer not to drink my calories, if I wanted a milkshake or a some caloric drink, I could have it and not be upset at my self for “breaking” my rules. It’s just food. I also cannot do the food guilt thing anymore. If I choose to have something indulgent then I should own that and enjoy it and move on.
3. I spend more money on quality food
Through the years, the quality of my food is so much more important to me. I realize this could be partially due to having more disposable income to spend on higher quality food than I had when I was just out of undergrad and living very frugally while in graduate school. I am much more wary of our current food system. I also have much more knowledge and believe whole heartedly that not only food but quality of food can significantly impact our overall health and well-being. Though I still eat some packaged foods, I read labels, specifically ingredients diligently. I no longer do sugar-free or ‘frankenfoods’ such as fake meat products. I think spending money on high-quality food is one of the best investments you can make for your health.
Completing races 10 years ago in North Carolina when I was a ‘cardio queen.’
4. I workout about half as much as I used to.
I workout so much less now that I often wondered what I did at the gym. I often would do at least 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of lifting almost every day. For whatever reason, that was a rule I created for myself (I obviously used to like rules, see above 🙂 ) Some days I would workout in the morning and then go to hot yoga in the evenings or I would teach a class and do my own workout too. Now, granted cutting my workout time was basically forced when I had children since I just had less time overall but I found I could workout in about HALF as much time and LOOK THE SAME and maintain my weight. Though I want to continue to get stronger, faster and sure maybe a little leaner why workout twice as much for the exact same results? I think at this point in my life, my body shape is fairly set (without drastic change of course). I now workout much smarter.
5. I focus much more on strength than cardio.
I do a lot less cardio. Though I still compete in a few races every year to fuel my competitive side I do not train for specific events as much. Again, some of this is simply time. I am not willing to give up my Saturday mornings with my family for 4 hours of running/cycling. However, I realized I could get a lot more bang for my buck with strength workouts. If I am short on time, I can get a more effective, fat-burning, all body workout with dumbbells than simply going for a short run. The other biggest change with focusing on strength workouts is my appetite. Medium intensity cardio makes me want to eat everything in site, strength workouts do not. Though I still like going on medium intensity runs more for a mental benefit, I can definitely tell the difference in my hunger and cravings when I do a 3 mile run vs. 20 minutes of hard weight workout.
My life at 35!
Though my life was much different in my 20’s than it is in my 30’s and I have much less time and am busier, I can say that I am in better physical shape. I worked out a LOT more in my 20’s but I did not nearly have as much knowledge. I know how to recover, I know how to fuel my body properly, I know how to treat my body with much more kindness. Though in my 30’s I was pregnant twice, birthed and breastfed 2 children, I can definitely say that I am stronger, a little bit leaner and a whole lot smarter at 35 than I was at 25 and though I definitely feel my age some days, I am proud of what my body has accomplished and can currently do and have much more confidence than I did 10 years ago.
If you are looking for a way to be more efficient and cut your exercise time down, ESPECIALLY around the holidays, check out my 30 Workouts Under 30 Minutes E-Book that was just released Monday! 5 workouts are included in each of the following categories, Body Weight, Dumbbells, Metabolic Conditioning, Cardio Equipment, Various Equipment (Medicine Ball, etc.), Core/Yoga/Mobility. All of the workouts are short and effective, perfect for this time of year. You can pick your workout based on what equipment you have available!
The best part is, if you are unsure of certain exercises, new to weight training or just like seeing how the workout should flow, once you have purchased the e-book, you will receive a link to my You Tube Channel with short demonstration videos of all of the exercises and workouts!
The e-book is on sale now but ends at midnight on Friday, November 18th so don’t delay and grab a copy!! If you purchase it this week, I will be throwing in 6 extra workouts! That is 36 workouts for 1/3 of the cost of one session with a trainer!