How to Simplify Your Workout in 5 Steps

I want to start this post about MOVEMENT by talking about MEDICINE.

What do you think about when you visualize that word?

Doctors?

Pills?

Surgery?

Tests?

Clinical “diet plans” ?

Don’t get me wrong. Modern medicine is amazing. But it doesn’t always have to be the first line of defense.

Food is medicine. We’ve talked about this before. In fact, it’s the most powerful form of medicine because it is something you give yourself EVERY day.

There’s another kind of medicine I want to talk about today.

Exercise!

Unfortunately, many of us (yeah, me included!) are lazy and want to have things done FOR us. Medicine is easy, right, because you just have to pop a pill.

Exercise depends on YOU. Not a pill. Not a doc.

You must make the time, the effort and the consistency.

You can’t rely on the doctor or pharmacy to help you with this one – and that’s likely why it becomes the form of medicine you are less likely to prescribe to.

 

OK, now think about your childhood.

Did you play? I’m assuming you did – and you probably weren’t unhappy about it!

Were you worried about food as much as you are now? I doubt you even cared if you ate dinner. In fact, you probably fought dinner in order to keep playing!

I want you to keep that in mind and TAKE THE ‘WORK’ OUT OF YOUR WORKOUT.

Make it fun.

Make it something you enjoy during (and after – a “man I feel like a million bucks. Why would I want to eat french fries?” kind of day).

Cool, Jess….buuuuuuuuuuut…..how do we collect enough motivation to even get started?

I know, right?

Electronics (bless ‘em) help us do any and everything. They are also a total curse.

We have elevators and escalators to move us around and are often not able to take the stairs.

We drive everywhere.

We’re addicted to our phones.

We work ridiculous schedules that don’t allow for the time to produce enjoyable movement.

We balance family and job and school and social life.

Obligations. Exhaustion. Little energy for anything but…Real Housewives.

And takeout.

And a few cookies because I had a killer day and I deserve it, dammit.

Yeah… it’s not easy to get started.

But the time you spend in making this major life adjustment WILL BE REWARDED.

 

Daily movement, in some form, will make you feel better each and every day. Your body CRAVES movement. It was built to move.

That means, we need to find a physical routine (big or small) and we have to do it more than once a week if we want to see results (mental and physical).

Otherwise, it’s like watering a plant with a few drops and expecting it to stay healthy that way.

(It won’t happen)

EXERCISE IS

·      Effective

·      Free (can be!)

·      Abundantly available

·      Tailored to you – you can do whatever you want

When you compare that to modern medicine – drugs, surgery, more drugs – I’m sure you will find a long list of risks to sign off on before your treatment begins. Is the “reward” worth the risks? I can’t help but laugh at some of the drug commercials on now, with the full 30 seconds spent on telling you how much they are going to mess up your body or lead to death. ?!?!?!?!

 

ANYWAY, here are my tips to get started (and stay there):

1. First, you need to recognize that movement is essential to health. No amount of kale can replace daily movement (big or small).

Be more aware of signals your body is giving you. What excuses are you making? They are likely signs that your body is craving movement, not fighting it. Try to reverse this thinking. This looks like “I am feeling achy and sluggish. That means my body NEEDS movement and flexibility. It does not mean I need to rest more on the couch eating ice cream.”

2. Attitude is so key. You need to be positive, as cliché as that is.

“Can’t” = won’t. “Try” = nope, lounging with Netflix will win. You need to tell yourself that you are doing this for the good of your body and you are taking CARE of yourself. This positive attitude will go so much further than the negative thoughts and associations with the gym. Treat the gym the same way you treat happy hour or advancing your career.

3. Commit to movement. Figure out what it is that you enjoy so that you don’t totally hate working out. You don’t HAVE to spend 30 minutes on the elliptical. You don’t HAVE to run. You don’t HAVE to do yoga.

Try a bunch of shit and see what sticks.

What you actually wake up saying you are down to do. What you feel good doing and when you feel amazing all day after. Do that. And commit to it. That means you need to schedule your workout in the same way you schedule the rest of your life and it has to become a non-negotiable.

If you had an interview – would you skip it? I hope not. Your gym date needs to be of the same priority. Literally put your workout days into your calendar so that nothing can be scheduled over top of them.

4. Movement can be whatever you need it to be. You don’t even have to go to a formal gym or class each time. Movement can also be some stretching in your room when you wake up. It can be a 30-minute walk at lunch-time. Or it can be a run with the dogs after dinner. You can literally find everything (some free) on the internet – I’ve done Blogilates 6 minute workouts for free, Yoga Glo streaming yoga for $18/month and the 7 minute workout app for free on my phone. Or I’ve taken the kids for a walk during the day. There is always time to do something. Find the something that works for you. (for the record, I am mostly walking right now!!)

5. CHOOSE to do more. Every day we are faced with something more active and something where we can be lazy. Examples: take the stairs; take the elevator. Walk to work; Uber to work (within reason, obvi). Walk during lunch; scroll through Facebook during lunch. Grocery shop; have groceries delivered. Whenever you are faced with something where you have the opportunity to be active – do it!

Remember – keep balance and find the joy.

You don’t want to be 100% working out everyday to the max, especially if you’ve been rather sedentary for a while. It’s important to move and it’s important to rest as well.

Find that joy you had when you were little. Enjoy the movement you are doing. Don’t worry about the million other things you have to get done. I promise you will feel so much better about ALL of those things after you are done (and you’ll probably be better at completing them, too!)

Potato Soup and Ugly Produce

Next time you go to the grocery store, look at the produce. Like really. Do you notice a difference (other than size) between one carrot and the next? One tomato and the next?

No way! (unless they are rotten, of course)

Surprisingly this is no coincidence. Each year 1 trillion dollars of food is wasted and much of this can be attributed to the beauty standards our society holds for fruits and veggies. This food is waste either by getting tossed at the farm, rotting in warehouses, or going unsold in stores until it's inedible

I wonder how it started. As in, who was the first person to say that all apples had to look the same? I prefer that my produce look different from piece to piece. Hell, I can’t make cookies all the same shape, how can I expect mother nature to make all of my potatoes are exactly the same? :-P

If you are caught up in the aesthetic, that’s cool, but I invite you to try a service that will carefully choose your produce for you. It’s like going for a natural birth but having a doula. Starting a plant-based diet but hiring a private chef. Have someone help you make the switch. AND be able to trust that everything you get will be just as nutritious and delicious.

Quality control, you know?

Misfits Market gives these otherwise undesirable products I’m talking about a shot to be turned into your next recipe. Products that may slightly imperfect can easily be chopped up and turned into a pie or hearty soup.

Speaking of - check out my soup recipe below.


Misfits Market’s founders hail from Philadelphia and I had the chance to speak with them both one-on-one. They come from a long line of tech startups, and yeah - they are super smart. They saw a unique opportunity to create a business from wasted produce, which not only provides a salary, but does something amazing for the world, food waste, and the people who benefit from the inexpensive and conveniently shipped boxes each week.

Misfits Market provides an array of fresh produce including apples, peaches, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, broccoli, lettuce and other leafy greens, onions, peppers, and other seasonal things, at a fraction of the cost.  All of the products come from organic and local farms, which helps to support farmers.

Give them a try - get 13-16lbs of fruits and veggies weekly for $19 (approx 50% savings) and looks like this:



Or get 22-26lbs of fruits and veggies weekly for $34 which looks like this:


Potato Soup!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp grapeseed or avocado oil

  • 3 potatoes, peeled, cooked and chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped

  • 3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (I like 5!)

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk or 1 1/2 cups of other non-dairy milk

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

  • Optional: squeeze of lemon or apple cider vinegar

Cook potatoes until soft (microwave, oven, or boil the cubes). Then heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until they soften. Add the cooked potatoes, veggie broth, milk, salt, pepper and paprika and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend in batches in your regular blender - but make sure you are careful so it doesn’t explode on you!

Add the blended soup back to your pot, add peas, and heat through. Taste and add additional spices as needed and voila! Sometimes at this point I like to add a little bit of acidity to cut the fat taste - some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar!