5 Tools that help me stay healthy
I have mentioned a few times on here that I really struggle with food and binge eating. There was a time in college where I finally realized that I needed to approach food differently. I had to seriously repair the relationship with food that I had because I felt like it had complete control over me.
As I mentioned in my 5-day cheat day post, a friend from school did a presentation on intermittent fasting and it changed everything. I had heard about intermittent fasting before but only in the way where you fast for a day or two. I had even tried going without eating for a whole day and proceeded to eat massive quantities of food the following day. After hearing my classmates presentation, I did a little more research into it, figured out a schedule that worked for me and gave it a go.
When I first started, my split was a 16:8 fast to feast ratio. So at 10am I started my feasting window, and at 6 pm I began my fasting window. Not going to lie, waiting for 10am wasn't so bad, but not eating after 6pm was the hardest part. I had grown accustomed to snacking after work and school and snacking had become such a habitual thing that breaking that habit made me feel a little crazy at times. Nevertheless, I stuck with it, giving myself a break when one was necessary, and have never looked back. It was actually really helpful while I was travelling Europe because our eating schedule was never consistent. I had gotten really good at suppressing my feelings of hunger until I was supposed to be eating, and so when I would get hungry at impractical times while travelling, I could suppress that hunger and tell myself I would be eating soon enough.
Now I have been able to modify my feast to fast times around my work schedule. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday when I work into the evening, I feast between 8 and 4pm. On Wednesdays and Fridays when I work super early in the morning, I fast until work is done and usually finish my feasting window anywhere from 6pm to 8pm. On the weekends I usually try and return to the classic 10-6 feasting window, but that changes all the time depending on what's going on.
This probably comes as no surprise but getting a proper education in health and fitness was a huge game changer. Developing a real understanding of the complex mechanisms that control the body and mind has made fitness really fun for me. I am not able to use science to make the most of my workouts and meals.
I am not saying that everyone should go out and get a fitness and health diploma like me! This is actually why I created this website. I want to bring what I learned and share it with the world; making it truly accessible to everyone so that all of you can go out into the world and the gym with a plan for how you can live your healthiest life.
I certainly plan on tackling these in the future on this blog, but if you want to get a head start on educating yourself on health and fitness concepts, start with the basics: anatomy, basic exercise physiology (energy systems*), and macro- & micronutrients.
Having a Program
After education, this has played a huge part in changing my fitness game. When I was growing up I used to write up little programs for myself but with just a basic knowledge of what exercises worked my lower and upper body. Through my education I gained a deeper understanding of how to build a smart program for myself. Last holiday season I decided to create a strength-based program - I wanted to get stronger without putting on too much size. Using what I learned in school, I built a 16 week program with exercises, reps, sets, weight, and rest times and it completely revolutionized my time in the gym. I went in with purpose and was able to track my progress from week to week.
In the new year I am going to be uploading more blogs on program design and will be sharing some of my programs with you so that you too can create your own programs and experience the benefits of smart programming!
The Perfect Pair of Workout Tights
Okay guys... this one is completely unique to me. It may also seem ridiculous but I have always worn the typical workout brands - underarmour, adidas, nike, etc. When I worked at Victoria's Secret last Christmas I fell in love with their sport line because the colours were beautiful, they didn't fall down when I ran, they were super squat proof, and they had been specifically designed for women!
Then one fateful day I received a comment from a sportwear company. They were based out of Norway, and due to my love for the Scandinavian countries, and my innate curiosity for things new and undiscovered - I looked into what they had on offer.
1. International shipping!
It takes 3-4 weeks to be delivered, but at least it doesn't come with duties and taxes like gymshark (: (: (:
2. B-E-A-U-tiful Fabrics
Literally the softest things in the world. So figure-flattering, and breathable, and squat proof (a must).
3. Just a nice company
Every time I give them a shoutout they send me a direct message to show me some love and say thank-you. It is something so simple, yet so effective.
I am not at all affiliated with this company, I actually just love them.
How has this sportswear company been a game-changer? With such beautiful fabrics, and designs that complement women's bodies I feel SO GOOD when I wear them. Part of living a healthy lifestyle is about learning to love your body. I have struggled with that aspect of fitness and health for a long time, but whenever I have my famme sportswear gear on I immediately feel super confident. Some women can feel amazing with a great lipstick or a beautiful pair of shoes, but for me, it is a beautifully designed pair of workout tights.
Last, but certainly not least, mindset.
This really is the biggest game changer of them all. My mindset has had to go through a massive reconfiguration. For a very long time fitness was only achieved by looking like a Victoria's Secret model - or at least being the slimmest girl in the room. Skinny was the goal, not fit. A good diet was one that was perfect all the time and under 1500kcal's. Going to the gym was the only way to achieve optimal fitness and I had to be there for hours to achieve it. Running was the only way to slim down.
Slowly but surely I have been able to change all of these old ideas. Now fitness is a much bigger goal. Is my mind well; are my relationships healthy and supportive; am I happy; can I move well; can squat and bench my own weight; can I deadlift without ever feeling it in my back; do I sleep well at night; do I pee clear; am I pooping at least once a day; how often am I getting sick; etc. etc. The list is massive.
I have also stopped looking beyond myself to measure my fitness. It isn't 'am I as skinny as her? It is am I better than I was yesterday in any of the above mentioned things. My diet is based off of an ever-evolving pool of information and it's application to my individual circumstances.
Going to the gym is certainly a piece of the fitness puzzle, but it isn't the only one, as I am sure I have made very clear by this point. Also running is certainly not the only way to slim down.
My fitness mantra is that fitness is not a phase or a fad, it is what I do every day to live a long and healthy life. Doing something good for yourself every day, whether that is working out, eating well, sleeping well, being with the ones you love, taking care of your mental health - whatever! - will ultimately serve you well in the long run :)
There ya have it folks! The 5 things that have been major game changers in my fitness journey are:
1. Intermittent Fasting
3. Building a workout Program
4. Good workout clothes
5. Healthy mindset
The last thing I will say about these are that they have been amazing tools for me, but what works for you may be different. This is the beauty of health is that it is unique to every person. How you feel great may be very different from how I feel great. Accepting this has been the bonus game changer in my life.
Do something good for your health today :)
Riri's Discoveries blog documents Riri's most recent research, her travel adventures, and her personal fitness journey.