You don’t have to be a training dynamo like distance running legend Steve Prefontaine to get in great shape. Truth is, it’s what you do when you’re not grinding that’s going to make or break you, fitness-wise. If you work out for an hour but treat your body like crap the other 23 hours, that sliver of gym time isn’t going to matter much. The good news? Emphasize fitness all day long, and you can look and feel better while actually spending less time working out. From morning to midnight, here’s what the perfect fitness day looks like.
8 AM: You wake up after 8 hours of sleep. Seriously, proper rest is crucial. It will decrease your stress levels, give your muscles time to grow and help your body recover from getting beaten up the previous day.
8:05 AM: Drink 12 ounces of cold water. Ideally, you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. If you weigh 160 pounds, that’s 80 ounces, so this gets you 15 percent of the way there. It’ll help your muscles fire faster and your mind and body feel less fatigued. It’ll also help you flush out toxins and feel fuller, so you don’t eat as much.
8:30 AM: Have a big breakfast. Not a plateful of carbs. An omelet with three to four egg whites and some vegetables, like onions, tomatoes and peppers. Make your omelet colorful. Team that with asparagus and half a cup of steel-cut oatmeal. This is the meal that’s going to power you through the rest of your day.
Funny thing about the vegetarian omelet: it’s still made out of eggs.
8:45 AM: Have you had breakfast yet? Do not skip breakfast! People set themselves up for health failure by missing this meal.
9 AM: Assuming you’re a desk jockey, do a little work. When you get phone calls, stand up and balance on your right leg while you take them. (In the afternoon, switch to your left leg.) You’ll create symmetry in your body, improve core balance and build ab strength. By standing up, you’ll also keep your energy up, burn calories and lower your risk of diabetes.
10:30 AM: Have a cup of green tea. It’s a natural stimulant, but it’s also going to boost your metabolism and serve as a great antioxidant. Plus, you’re not going to put sugar and heavy creamers in it, like with coffee. If you want to drop in some honey or lemon, knock yourself out. Those things are good for you, too.
11 AM: Go for a 10-minute walk. It’ll increase blood flow and improve mental alacrity on the job.
11:30 AM: Have a piece of sugarless gum. It’ll keep you alert, and the act of chewing will lower your stress levels
12:15 AM: Drink another 12 ounces of water.
12:45 PM: Stand up and stretch a bit. Hamstrings, quads, back, calves. More details here.
1 PM: Have lunch. Go with a piece of grilled fish, like salmon, and a big spinach salad. Use lemons and an oil vinaigrette dressing. In general, push the vegetables and leafy greens at midday. (Advanced tip: eat with your non-dominant hand so it takes you longer and you feel more full.) Wash it down with, you guessed it, a 12-ounce glass of water.