One of the biggest barriers to implementing healthy lifestyle changes is time.
We’ve all said it before: “If only I had more time, then I would ______!”
Here’s the thing: sometimes we spend more time THINKING about how much time it will take to do a workout, prep a healthy meal, go for a walk, etc. than the time it would take to just DO the thing. Right?! And then once we finally do it, we wonder why we didn’t just get to it in the first place because it really wasn’t that bad, and it really didn’t take as much time out of our schedules as we anticipated. Plus, we usually end up feeling pretty darn accomplished afterward, yes?!
In my fitness and nutrition coaching practice, through both my private Best Self Project Mentorship and through my group membership option, the Empowered Together Coaching Club, I help my clients create what I call a legit fit lifestyle, which incorporates the 4 pillars of movement, nutrition, self care, and of course mindset. As part of my philosophy, I do not require my clients to use extreme methods or make huge overhauls to their current lifestyles in order to get the results they want.
It’s always music to my ears after about a month or two in, when a client says to me: “I can’t believe it doesn’t really feel like I’m doing a lot of work to feel and see these changes!”
That’s the whole goal: to get to a place where our healthy habits are things we just DO, without them needing to be yet “another thing” on our already very busy plates.
You might be wondering, “but HOW do I get to that place?,” and it’s a good question. The answer is that we can’t try to do everything at once, which tends to be a really hard pill to swallow for us high-achieving women who want to do it all. I promise, you will have more success breaking things down, keeping things simple and realistic, and tackling one thing at a time. This takes trust that YES even a few minutes here and a few minutes there COUNTS.
The small actions you take consistently will be the ones to yield the biggest results, NOT the grand, “perfect” actions you take once in a blue moon.
To help you get started, I want to share with you 10 very simple steps you can take TODAY that will make a difference in how you feel overall and won’t take a large amount of time out of your day. In fact, each of the things below can be done in less than ten minutes!
10 Legit Fit Habits That Take 10 Minutes or Less
1. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.
Yes, even BEFORE you drink your morning coffee! I know, I know. This doesn’t mean you can’t have your coffee still. But after you’ve been asleep all night, you haven’t consumed any water in several hours. Your body needs it to wake up and stay more clear, focused, and energized throughout your morning, and when we are well-hydrated we sleep better, we make better food choices, and we have more energy for our workouts. Me and my clients find that when we start our day with #WaterFirst, it sets the tone for making healthier choices all day long. One action always begets another action, so even something as seemingly basic as starting the day with water has a trickle down effect. Also, hunger is often confused with thirst, so when we ensure we are hydrated appropriately, we can feel true hunger cues versus not being sure if we are hungry and then eating something anyways.
2. Perform a morning body scan.
A body scan is when you pause to tune into your body and get very clear on how you feel, both emotionally and physically. So many of us wake up feeling anxious and frazzled right off the bat: we have things to do, and we feel like we need to hit GO right away in order to get everything done. We immediately check social media and email, we jump right into work or things around the house, and we scan the day ahead in our planners. When we do this, we neglect the person who needs to function at their best to do all these things! When you take 5 minutes to name how you feel emotionally and physically, it helps get you grounded and centered for the day, and you can better identify what actions will actually serve you the most. For example, if you are feeling tired and sore, perhaps opting for a long leisure walk instead of a high intensity workout is a more aligned choice for you.
3. Eat a protein packed breakfast.
I don’t necessarily care what time you eat breakfast, but I do recommend that whenever your first meal of the day is, that you make sure it includes a solid protein serving. This will help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling fuller for the rest of the day ahead, which will translate into less cravings and likelihood of overeating later on. One of my go to breakfasts that I make in 10 minutes or less every morning is scrambled eggs with sweet potatoes, veggies, and a little feta crumbled on top. I actually roast the sweet potatoes and veggies ahead of time, so all I have to do is heat them up in a pan and cook the eggs! If you are someone who prefers a more grab and go breakfast, try something like Greek yogurt with fruit + almond butter or a protein smoothie made with your protein powder of choice, yogurt, cottage cheese, or even tofu!
4. Go for a walk.
Heading out for a walk is another thing that doesn’t have to take a long time. If you don’t have time for a longer walk during your day, try breaking one up into 3 different 10-minute walks throughout the day. Perhaps at work you take a 5 minute stair break or do a couple of laps around the office. If you work from home, try just walking 5 minutes up the street and back to your house. This really can do wonders to increase your energy, improve your focus, and bring you back to whatever you were doing feeling refreshed. Your non-training movement, as I like to call it, is going to be just as important – if not more – than your time spent training.
5. Do a 10 minute or less workout.
Your workouts do not need to be 60 minutes in order to count. You absolutely can get an effective workout in 30 minutes or less, 20 minutes or less, even 10 minutes or less! Don’t believe me? Set a timer for 10 minutes, and then perform as many rounds as you can of the following 4 exercises, doing 10 reps of each: pushups, squat to overhead press, lunge to bicep curls, and bent over rows. Something is better than nothing, and remember that consistency will always trump perfection!
My signature Fit On the Go and Lift On the Go programs are the exact workouts my clients use on busy days when they just need to get *something* in. The workouts are designed to be done anytime, anywhere, and with minimal equipment. They are all 30 minutes or less, and there are entire sections dedicated to 10 minute or less power up workouts too! You can learn more and grab your copy by clicking here.
6. Do some mini meal prep.
I hope by now you are sensing a theme: that your habits don’t have to be all or nothing! Meal prep does not need to be hours at a time, getting every single meal and snack prepped for the entire week ahead. How can you spend 10 minutes in the kitchen that will help make life easier for you later on? Consider throwing some veggies on a baking sheet and roasting them to have on hand for the week, throwing some shredded chicken in the crockpot, or making a batch of lentils or quinoa. All take 10 minutes or less to prep! Maybe it’s taking 10 minutes when you get home from the grocery store to cut up your veggies, and maybe it’s taking 10 minutes to assemble some jars of overnight oats for the next couple days. Pick one thing and get it done!
7. Plan ahead.
At the beginning of the week, sit with your planner and get organized. Think about what your intentions for the week are. Set your goals and get super clear on HOW you will make them happen. Consider putting your workouts into your calendar so you can make the commitment to yourself ahead of time, treating them like you would any other appointment. Remember if life does get in the way, you can always be flexible and adapt accordingly! You can also think about things like when you might be able to get to the grocery store, and when you will be able to spend some time for YOU. How might you need to adjust things to keep your week as stress free and enjoyable as possible? Have you over-committed with too many plans on deck? Can anything be eliminated? Is there anything enjoyable on the books that will allow you to fill your cup? Taking 10 minutes to think about these things ahead of time really can help you feel more grounded and in control of your week ahead!
8. Carve out quiet time.
Your quiet time should be exactly that: quiet. Consider simply sitting in silence with your eyes closed for 5 minutes without any additional distractions, performing a deep breathing exercise, writing in a journal, or doing a guided meditation. One of my favorite meditation apps is called Insight Timer, and you can filter the meditations on there by both category and time. Head to the 10 minute or less category, select one to try, and just clear your mind! Another way I like to spend quiet time is to hold a child’s pose, and take 10 deep breaths with my arms stretched out in front of me, another 10 with my arms walked over to the right, and another 10 with my arms walked over to the left. This could be a really nice way to transition between different parts of your life, such as when you get home from work and need to switch gears into family mode.
9. Set a wind down alarm in your phone at night.
For those of you who have a hard time getting to bed at a decent hour and know you need to get some more shut-eye, try setting an evening alarm in your phone. Think about what time you need to be in bed, lights out, in order to get your desired and optimal amount of sleep to feel your best the next day. Set an alarm in your phone prior to this time to remind you to start winding down. This wind down time might include finishing up a TV show or chapter in your book, organizing a few things for the next day, brushing your teeth and getting ready for bed, etc. Often times, when we think we need to be in bed at 10:30, we don’t start making moves toward bed until 10:30, and before we know it, it’s after 11. Setting the reminder takes only a few seconds, and it can have a big impact!
10. Use the 5 Second Rule.
Finally, consider using the 5 Second Rule. This is something I learned from Mel Robbins’ book, The 5 Second Rule (read it!). It’s essentially about shutting down our minds and acting on a goal before we convince ourselves otherwise. So sometimes when I’m going back and forth on whether to work out, or whether to do something, I just stop, take a breath, say okay, and then count down slowly: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Then I GO. No more thinking. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, ACT. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s super simple, it only takes 5 seconds, and it’s definitely effective!
These are the ways it’s done, friends! You do not have to white knuckle your way through unrealistic perfectionist expectations and huge lofty changes in order to get the results you want.
Truly, the fittest and healthiest people I know AREN’T the ones always dieting or spending their lives in the gym. They’re the ones making consistent choices that support their goals, day after day, month after month, and year after year.
Let’s chat! What are your favorite quick ways to maintain your legit fit lifestyle habits in ten minutes or less? Which one of the tips from my list resonated with you the most that you think you will give a try?
Want more guidance around how to build a legit fit lifestyle that you absolutely love living? I invite you to join my free Facebook community, the Legit Fit Lifestyle Lounge. The members of this group know that fitness is so much more than a number on the scale or the size of our jeans, and we focus on keeping things realistic, simple, and sustainable when it comes to movement, nutrition, self care, and mindset. You can request to join here!