Health

7 Ways to Get in Better Shape

Is it just me, or do you find yourself talking about getting in shape year after year and never really getting there, too? I sort of fell of the diet and workout wagon. Again. Some weeks just don’t allow for as many workouts as I’d like and I maybe overdid it on the paleo cookie dough.

A new workout has me feeling really motivated so I want to talk about what I’m doing and hear from you, too. If you’re one of those people with really toned arms, tell me all your secrets. But I won’s stop until I finally get there. If you want to get in better shape, let’s motivate each other and finally do it. We still have just over 40 days to make a difference (before summer) and together, we can make it happen.

Here’s how I plan on finally getting in better shape

1. Keep workouts consistent

Having trouble getting or staying motivated? Find something you love and make sure it’s not a challenge to get there.

A couple of weeks weeks ago, I took a class at Pilates ProWorks and where has this workout been all my life? I went 3x a week the last 2 weeks and am aiming for 4x this week now that I’m less sore between classes. It’s not hard on your joints so it’s great for delicate flowers like myself (2 knee surgeries and back issues, thank you) and I can feel every single muscle working.

I’m still spinning twice a week at Flywheel (great metabolism booster/fat burner) and will likely mix in FlyBarre class once or twice a week since I enjoy it. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

2. Stay Hydrated

This is a tough one for me because I am terrible at drinking water throughout the day and have a thing for losing water bottles. Since I can’t live off La Croix, I’m adding cucumber or watermelon and mint (dynamic duo) to my water with the hopes that it will motivate me to drink more water.

Do you have any tips for drinking more water if it’s something that doesn’t come naturally to you? Help!

3. Eat clean

I’m back to my mostly paleo roots because I feel good when I eat clean. I have a smoothie or eggs each morning, a lean protein and vegetable (or smoothie) for lunch, and a lean protein and vegetables for dinner.

When I need a snack I’ll have an rX bar or JicaChips which might be the best invention ever. And when I’m in the mood for something sweet, I’ll have a small cup of frozen fruit. Does the trick (almost) every time. Last year I tracked my macronutrients using MyFitnessPal and it seemed to work so I’m considering giving that another go.

Be sure to keep your fridge stocked with healthy options, have something healthy as a backup in the freezer, and find a healthy take-out option. For me, it’s kitchfix which has tons of paleo options.

4. Eat slowly

I’m really bad at this one but remember to not eat a plate of fries like you’re never going to see another fry again. Not that I’d do that… *insert eye roll

5. Get some shut eye

Instead of staying up until midnight, I’m aiming to get to bed earlier and have been trying to go to sleep between 10-11. Sleep is so important.

6. Say bye bye to booze

This one is the worst and I fail at it regularly. For now, I’m not drinking on weeknights and am skipping my beloved wine for tequila soda with a little lime. It won’t be long before I’ll want rosé on a patio so I’m going to need to come up with some ground rules. Every sunny summer day calls for patio drinking so I need to figure something out.

What’s your diet/workout plan? Do you have any tips for eating slowly or staying hydrated? Please share them in the comments below!

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  • barbara @hodge:podge

    For hydration I use the tall Starbucks tumbler cup with a straw full of water with a lemon. I teach kindergarten where it’s just go-go-go all day, so it’s easy to grab and sip. I drink at least 2 a day which is about 2 litres, or 8 cups!

    • Ohh smart! I should get one of those. Thanks for the tip!

  • Sarah

    I love taking classes and am trying to make doing it a priority as part of my self-care, but being a recent transplant to Chicago from the East Coast, I’ll be honest — the priciness of exercise classes here is a bit shocking to me! Maybe it’s because I used to just go to yoga classes at a studio that only charged $12-$15 per class, but with popular workout classes here ranging from $23 to nearly $30, it’s pretty cost prohibitive to go more than 1-2 per week. Might just have to stick with running shoes + good weather!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Classpass is always a great option if you want to mix it up but I’ve found that if there’s something you really love, it’s usually best to just pay to go unlimited if you’re going to do it 4-5 days a week, OR run and take 1-2 classes a week. I don’t like working out alone so while it’s not cheap, it makes me happy and feels like a worthwhile investment, and I eat out very rarely which balances things out.

      hope that helps!

      Danielle

    • Jenn

      Sarah, I’m generally someone who has to go to classes to workout, otherwise, I get really lazy. One of the best things about living in/near a city is that once the weather gets nicer, there are a lot of free outdoor classes! Maybe you can look around and see if there’s a free class near you? I know Nike and Lululemon offers free classes. I dislike running, but I love hiking and other outdoor activities, so on days I don’t feel like heading to a gym, I hike the nearest trail or go kayaking. I’m not sure if you’re the type that needs a group setting to motivate you to work out, but I’m sure Chicago also has some running groups.

  • Janine

    I found that it works best for me to have multiple water bottles, each one having a specific purpose. One is assigned to my yoga bag, one to my gym bag, one for just around the house, and one sits on my desk at work. I’ve also found that I tend to prefer beverages with flavor, so if I notice that I’m lacking in water intake, I try to drink unsweetened herbal tea (decaf) during the cold months and unsweetened iced tea during the warm months. I also use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes a lot. The flavor of the drink changes as the fruit melts more, and then I have a mini snack when I finish my drink!

  • Jenn

    Thanks so much for this post Danielle! I’ve been on and off with trying to stay healthy and motivated. My friends and I have created a challenge for each other to set a personal goal (lose weight, meditate more often, work out X number of days) and reach that goal within 3 months. If we all meet our goals, then we get to all go to the spa! It’s been quite motivating – we’ve been keeping each other updated by posting daily in our own private facebook group.

    I’ve heard a lot of benefits of pilates, I should definitely try a class, especially since I can’t do any physical activity that are too hard on the joints. As for staying hydrated, I’m a huge tea lover, so I always have a mug nearby. Once I get tired of drinking tea throughout the day, I switch to water. I think the key is to just have a glass sitting near you but close enough that you can still see it. It reminds me to drink more. I definitely have to agree with you about eating slowly, but fries are my weakness!!

    Do you have any tips for going to bed earlier? I’m having trouble getting to bed earlier and sleep is super important. As for booze, maybe you can restrict yourself to no alcohol unless you have worked out that day? That way, you can at least justify some of the calories you’re drinking. I use My Fitness Pal to track calories, I stopped tracking macronutrients as I was getting sick of monitoring everything. I actually make sure I budget some calories for drinking and limit myself to no more than two glasses. I also schedule a workout the day after drinking so I don’t feel too bad about it.

  • Martha Gannon Souza

    Same for water! I use lemon or lime (will definitely try those other combos, so thanks for the suggestion) and drink out of a straw. I don’t know why, but straws make it easier for me to drink. I always use glass bottles (even travel ones) because the taste of metal or plastic bottles is gross to me, but throwing a straw in there helps! I also drink plain Seltzer (Polar to be exact). Having that at home in the evening at work with some lime is so refreshing! In regards to booze, I hear you. But I stopped drinking on weeknights about a year ago and haven’t looked back since. Truthfully, I don’t even have drinks during the weekend that much anymore. I don’t miss feeling dehydrated (even after one) and now I can assure you that when I do have a drink, I am the cheapest date in the world. My husband appreciates it! 🙂

  • Amanda Palecek

    I would highly recommend tracking macronutrients! MyFitnessPal is great, but I prefer to use MyMacros+. It allows you to set specific macronutrient goals, whereas MyFitnessPal doesn’t allow that (on the free version). The best part about tracking macros is that you won’t have to give up your rose on the patio – it’s all about moderation and fitting the foods and drinks that you enjoy into your daily intake. I hope for some wellness/fitness post updates from you!

  • Jessica Bradford

    Get it girl 💁🏻

  • Meredith

    Have you done a Pilates Jump class yet? Such good cardio mixed with Pilates but not bad on the knees like running!

  • For work out plans, I recently just started a new job that’s about an hour away from home (that’s just one way) so my schedule has been a work-in-progess. My new schedule is waking up around 4:45-5AM for a workout at 5:15/5:30AM at the gym. I tend to do about 45 min. I love weight lifting so here’s my schedule:
    Monday: Legs with a glute focus
    Tuesday: Back + Biceps
    Wednesday: HIIT, Abs, + Shoulders or a yoga class (once a month I do a yoga class)
    Thursday: Chest + Triceps
    Friday: Legs with a quad focus
    Saturday: Shoulders + Abs with HIIT OR a workout session with my trainer for a full body workout
    Sunday: REST
    For eating well, meal prep. Yes, it’s a pain, but it’s so worth it. I don’t pack every meal on Sunday, but I do make stuff that I can just throw in together like shredded chicken, brown rice, quinoa, roasted vegetables, etc. I try to make food on Sunday and Wednesday. I always pack my lunch bag the night before (with all my snacks). It beats being tempted to go out all the time and spend money. Breakfasts are usually either eggs with avocado and toast or overnight rolled oats with strawberries and chia seeds. Dinner is usually part of whatever I made in the meal prep time. My husband and I will be moving closer to our jobs so I think I’ll have more time to make a fresh dinner every night when I’m closer to work. For now, it’s constant leftovers from meal prep.
    Same for water! I use lemon or lime (will definitely try those other combos, so thanks for the suggestion) and drink out of a straw. I don’t know why, but straws make it easier for me to drink. I always use glass bottles (even travel ones) because the taste of metal or plastic bottles are gross to me, but throwing a straw in there helps. Starbucks has some awesome glass ones as well LifeFactory and My BKR. I currently have a cute glass bottle from HomeGoods that cost me $4. The brand is called Manna.
    I also drink plain Seltzer (Polar to be exact). Having that at home in the evening after work with some lime is so refreshing! In regards to booze, I hear you. But I stopped drinking on weeknights about a year ago and haven’t looked back since. Truthfully, I don’t even have drinks during the weekend that much anymore. I don’t miss feeling dehydrated (even after one) and now I can assure you that when I do have a drink, I am the cheapest date in the world. My husband appreciates it! 🙂

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