Take a tip from 8-year-old you

Take a tip from 8-year-old you

Remember when you were little, and it was the last day of summer vacation – and tomorrow was the first day back at school?

Before bed, you chose your favorite outfit and laid it out so you would be ready. You (or your parents) might have planned your breakfast and morning routine so you could get out the door on time, ready to take on the all-important start of a brand-new school year.

(Or was that just at my house?!)

Anyway … somewhere along the line, most of us outgrew that nighttime prep routine – usually in our rebellious teenage years.

And then again, with all the craziness that happened last year, we stopped giving much thought to setting ourselves up for success in the morning.

This is pretty ironic, since for a lot of us, the morning can be one of the most stressful, chaotic parts of our days!

How you START your day will set the tone for your entire day.

Well, I have a little challenge for you.

Take a cue from 8-year-old “you” and think about the things you can do TONIGHT to get tomorrow off to a GREAT start.

Then spend a few minutes after dinner getting them done!

Maybe it’s making sure your clothes are ready for tomorrow … that your meals are planned and/or prepped … and your workout clothes are packed and ready to go … or if you’re working out at home (as I am!) you know what workout you’ll be doing.

Maybe you even go the extra mile and put together a quick to-do list so you don’t lose sleep worrying you’ll forget something.

It worked then, and it will still work now.

As I mentioned the other day, it’s the small habits we build into our daily lives that will help turn your 2021 goals into a reality.

Try this for ONE week and see what a difference it can make for you.

Heads up: I’ve got another great way to jumpstart those healthy habits – the Little Spring Dress Project, which kicks off on Monday, April 12. I’m just putting the finishing touches on it but, bottom line:

It’s a month-long challenge with results-driven nutrition, tips, motivation, and inspiration.

I’ll have more detailed info by the end of the week. 🙂

Keep up the greatness,

Wendy

6 easy ways to sneak veggies into your breakfast

6 easy ways to sneak veggies into your breakfast

HEADS UP! I am probably going to tell you something you already know, but that (if you’re like me) you also probably forget about sometimes.

Consider this your reminder!

Did you know that 90% of us don’t get enough vegetables every day?

90%! Pretty shocking, right?

According to the USDA, most of us need between 2 and 4 cups a day (less if you are smaller and/or less active, and more if you are bigger and/or more active).

But the truth is, most people don’t sit down to eat a big bowl of veggies every day.

This is why sneaking veggies into your meals (including BREAKFAST) is such a great idea! It’s a pain- and bother-free way to get more of them into your diet.

I have some ideas to get you going.

6 Easy Ways to Add Veggies to Your Breakfast

  1. Stir spinach or any other green into your eggs – or blend them into a smoothie
  2. Shred zucchini or carrots into overnight oats or chia pudding – or stir them into your oats while they cook (surprisingly yum!)
  3. Make a big batch of veggie hash (basically saute a bunch of veggies together) ahead of time, and when it’s time to eat, heat it up and add a poached egg or browned tofu on top.
  4. Add cauliflower or beets to a smoothie.
  5. Top your avocado toast with some salsa (yes, salsa counts!).
  6. Make a grain bowl with leftover quinoa or rice and stir in some spinach and goat cheese while you heat it up. This will keep you feeling full for hours!

Your assignment: Sneak some veggies into your breakfast a couple of days this week.

Post a photo of YOUR veggie breakfast over in the Facebook group! 🙂 I’d love to see it. Here’s the link: Wendy Fitness

You don’t have to overhaul your entire lifestyle to feel healthier and more energized fast.

It really IS about making small changes over time that you can actually live with!

Stay tuned .. in a few days I’ll have more info about the Spring Cleaning Challenge. It has some DELISH recipes!

If you’re looking for more healthy breakfast options, be sure to check out my ebook, Protein-Packed Breakfast Recipes! You can get it by clicking this link.

Protein-Packed Breakfasts

Protein-Packed Breakfasts

Quick Question: Did you eat breakfast this morning?

Of all the meals we eat, breakfast gets the least respect.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

  1. Breakfast is the most skipped meal. As many as 25% of us skip it every day!
  2. It’s often an afterthought – or even a problem! Because …
  3. When we do eat it, we want something that’s fast and requires no/little effort.
  4. And it’s even better if we can eat (or drink) our breakfast on the run.

The fact is, there are a LOT of studies investigating whether we even need to eat breakfast in the first place.

However, many of those studies have linked eating breakfast to being healthier.

People who eat breakfast tend to have:

  • Lower levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol,
  • Less risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, or being overweight.
  • Better memory and concentration.

But the fact is, researchers don’t know whether all of that is caused by eating breakfast – or whether people who eat breakfast tend to have healthier habits.

Either way, that’s a solid enough reason to eat breakfast! It sets the tone for your entire day.

Remember: It’s the small things that we do every day that add up to big results.

What did YOU have for breakfast this morning!?

My no-fail breakfast choice is LEFTOVERS – from dinner the night before!

I know that might sound weird but during my old contest prep days, I learned that eating a square meal for breakfast kept me feeling fuller longer, gave me plenty of energy, AND helped me avoid cravings later.

Need some new and delicious ideas for breakfast? I thought you might! 🙂

I just released a BRAND NEW recipe book (free!) – The Protein-Packed Breakfasts Recipe Guide. Get your copy here:

Protein-Packed Breakfast Recipes

Make it a great day,

Wendy

PS: I’m SUPER EXCITED to announce that the Spring Cleaning Challenge is ON! This 4-week transformation challenge will help you FOCUS on cleaning up your diet so that you feel energized, fit, and generally amazing as we head into summer. Yay! I’ll have details about dates, etc. very soon.

How to stick with your fitness routine

How to stick with your fitness routine

This was originally published back in 2011 … I’ve updated it and guess what? It’s still true!

It’s a roller coaster many of us have ridden …

You’ve been spot-on with your clean eating. Your workouts have been pretty stellar. Basically, you’re killing pretty much every area of your program.

And then … pizza happens. Or maybe an extra glass (or two) of wine. And then you miss a workout or two.

Suddenly, you are a failure. You suck. You can’t stick with anything. So, you do the only thing that makes sense. You throw up your hands and give up. 

DON’T DO IT! 

That’s an example of black-or-white thinking, and it never works. I’m gonna help you stop that, now.

How To Stick With Your Fitness Program

A while ago at a wellness class at my gym, we talked a lot about food and what/when to eat.

One thing that struck me is how we think that there are mythical humans – human who are NOT us – who always eat “perfectly” and who never indulge and/or are rarely tempted.

That person doesn’t exist. That’s a robot. Everyone slips up now and then, and it’s the way that we THINK about those slip-ups and manage them that makes all the difference.

Sometimes there’s pizza at work, and it shows up at the exact wrong moment – when you’re hungry or tired (key times when we are at risk), or when you least expect it. 

Let’s not forget about the times you’re at your wits end: stressed, emotional, too busy, and just plain “over” everything. Or your friends/family are pestering you to JUST GIVE IN this ONE TIME.

These are not the result of any intrinsic weaknesses in YOU. They are problems/hurdles/obstacles that we all face.

And the way to solve them isn’t to point the finger at yourself … instead, look at the situation and try to figure out how to fix THAT.

I’m going to outline a few real problems/situations from my own life, and how I (mostly) work around them now.

Riding The Struggle Bus

First of all, it’s hard for me to talk about being on the struggle bus because I am afraid I’m letting people down. They always seem so disappointed to know that there’s not going to be a day when they magically wake up and poof! all of these little struggles disappear. 

Wouldn’t it be great if there was hope for this? Yes, it would. 

The good news is that avoiding struggles gets easier the more you practice certain habits. But even then I find myself circling back around to a few key problems.

Breakfast

I get up really early because I go to work really early. But I don’t want to get up any earlier than I have to. I really, really, really don’t.

Even though we’re hearing all about the powers of intermittent fasting, studies continue to show the importance of eating breakfast, and I know if I don’t eat a good meal early in the day, I’m gonna be hungry later.

Well, I don’t want to prepare a full meal in the morning. And I won’t. I know this, because several times I planned to cook breakfast and it didn’t happen and I ended up grabbing something in a rush, which wasn’t the best way to start the day.

So now I cook my breakfast the night before. 

Some nights (like last night) when I get home after 7 p.m. and then the phone rings and the dog starts barking and I have a gazillion things to do, I don’t want to precook my breakfast.

But I cook it anyway (last night I scrambled 3 egg whites, 1 egg, and a cup of broccoli, adding in some goat cheese). It’s in the fridge waiting for me, and will be microwaved and eaten with a slice of Ezekial bread as soon as I press the “publish” button this post. (Note: I’m on a med that requires me to take it first thing in the morning and to wait an hour before eating, which is why I didn’t eat it as soon as I woke up. 🙂  )

Running Out of Food Mid-Week

This is embarrassing to admit, but every Thursday night I found myself going through the drive-through for supper.

And I was doing this while still sweaty after teaching a high-intensity group exercise class. My stomach would be grumbling and I’d be mad at myself for putting crap into my body, even if it was from the “healthy” and “low cal” menu.

Sometimes when voice on the drive-thru speaker asked, “Would you like some nachos with that?” I would answer, “yes.”

Driving home, I’d be hating on myself. I would be all, “WHY DO YOU ALWAYS DO THIS? WHYYYY?”

And then I realized: hmm. I always do this. Why?

Duh. I was out of food at home. I was hungry. I needed to eat something immediately after class. Why didn’t I already have something on-hand?

There was a reason.

See, I tend to rock my lunches and dinners all week long …  until Thursday. I work late both Wednesday and Thursday nights, and by Thursday all the proteins I precooked for the week on Sunday are gone.

And I am HUNGRY when I leave work Thursday night because I cap the day off by teaching a group ex class. Here’s a formula that will also apply to you.

Hungry Wendy + No Food In The House = Danger

Planning = Winning

What I do now is plan ahead for this. I find time during the day on Wednesday or at lunch Thursday to make sure I have food for later. Nothing that requires much prep but is more than a salad-bar salad. Yes, it’s a pain to find that time, but that little bit of pain is worth it in the long run.

Perhaps that’s a big “duh!” but it’s that kind of silly little problem that often derails our plans and makes us think we’re failures with no willpower and that we should just give up.

Look closely at the times you tend to slip up on your eating plan, and see if there’s a pattern. And if there is one, come up with a strategy that helps you work around that problem.

  • Maybe you eat on Friday nights because you’re lonely or it’s become a form of entertainment for you. Entertain yourself with something else!
  • Donuts at the office on Tuesdays? Bring something else, something healthier and lower calorie, to eat instead. And avoid being them around them, if at all possible.
  • Weekends – always an issue. Have a plan in mind.
  • Eating out. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about eating out that makes it feel like an “occasion.” But if you do it a lot, it actually is just another meal. Think about what  you’re going to eat and how you’re going to ask for it to be prepared before you get to the restaurant.

It’s not so much about willpower as it is about identifying the problems, and then solving them.

Now, off to enjoy my eggs. 🙂

Are personal trainers “rent-a-friends”?

Are personal trainers “rent-a-friends”?

I’m tidying my website and found this article I wrote for the Bangor Daily News in 2011. I wrote it after a fitness franchise banned trainers from its facilities. 

I considered deleting this but I have an even stronger belief that if you want to get fitter and stronger, you’ll benefit from occasional tune-ups with a good trainer.

Should you hire a personal trainer?

It definitely won’t hurt and it probably will help. You might not need long-term training, but when you’re lifting heavy weights or performing specific exercises, you’re challenging your body. You need to know how to do that correctly so you get stronger and fitter, not injured. This can be invaluable whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting your fitness journey.

I’m a trainer and I love working with other fitness pros to get stronger and better! They keep me honest and working to my potential. 🙂 

Bucking the trainer-as-friend trend

By Wendy Watkins, Special to the BDN

A while ago, making a big splash in the fitness industry, one of the bigger gym chains decided to ban personal training.The CEO said trainers were basically “rent-a-friends” for clients.

I’m a personal trainer and I admit it: Sometimes I have to nudge a few of my clients to chat less and exercise more during our sessions. Some talking is important because it helps the trainer judge how hard the client is working, plus we get to understand the stress-causing factors in a client’s life that might be affecting their bodies. But trainers are there to help clients safely challenge their physical limits, not to be a therapist or confidant.

Is one-on-one training really necessary? It depends.  (Click for the rest, which coincidentally explains how I ramped up some clients’ results …)