The days of heading into an office to work were, admittedly, easier – we were up and walking around more frequently, we had a clear time of the day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we actually left our homes for more than just a walk. With companies setting tentative return dates as soon as Summer 2021, it’s more important than ever for us to build healthy routines that get us moving and eating right, even when we’re stuck at home more often than we’d like.
It’s not just about being healthy, but being productive, too. Working out can soar productivity by up to 21 percent. Eating well helps, too: research from the CMI found that those who ate nutritious, whole foods more often were more creative and alert at work. Many of us feel like we’re at a lag with these routines that can help us boost both creativity and productivity. So, I sat down with fitness coach and virtual trainer Allegra Paris to get some quick tips on how to build a workout and nutrition regimen that’s easy, works alongside our hectic schedules working from home, and allows us to be more present and productive for our work.
Best Practices For Meals Throughout The Week
I don’t know about you, but looking up from a midday meeting and realizing it’s lunch time again can spur some added stress. What to eat? Order in again? Paris strongly recommends meal prepping on Sundays, so you always know what’s on tap for each meal. “Sure, you’re going to be at home throughout the week, but meal prepping and knowing what you’ll have for every meal will keep you strict and prepared, which will take away some of the decision fatigue,” she advises.
Paris also recommends eating with the intention of enhancing your energy. “Eat your carbs in the morning with breakfast so you can burn them out throughout the day. I actually recommend having your biggest meal in the morning for this boost of energy from the carbohydrates,” said Paris. “Then, prepare a small, light meal for lunch with high protein. Something easy I always recommend are turkey or chicken meatballs and I add in tons of veggies. That way, when your day is super hectic and you’re getting hungry, you can run to the fridge and grab lunch, fuel up quickly, and get back to your productivity.”
When asked about the latest fad of intermittent fasting that many entrepreneurs enjoy, Paris did say that if you’re ever going to try it, now is to the time. “We aren’t on the go-go-go as much as we used to be, so our bodies can handle it,” she said. “Your brain still functions really well in the morning without food, and this can help you be more productive.”
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Best Practices For Getting Active Throughout The Day
The importance of exercise – even light exercise – cannot be understated for those who want to feel their best and give their best attention and creativity to their work. But, many of us have let go of workout routines because of gyms and fitness classes being closed or not being what they used to be.
“What’s happened through quarantine is that people are realizing that they don’t need such intense workouts, like the intense group classes,” said Paris. “I advise to get a yoga mat, go outside while the weather is nice, and just stretch for 15-30 minutes! Meditate throughout it. This gets the blood flowing, the brain working better, and it flushes out lactic acid.”
For workout times, she goes back to planning on Sundays. “Alongside your meal prep, plan the week and set aside 45 minutes to one hour each day for physical activity,” she said. “You can follow classes online, or go for a brisk walk with ankle weights just to get your heart pumping.”
In addition to this one workout, Paris says to make sure to get up every hour to stretch and drink tons of water. “Try to stretch a different muscle group every time you get up, or do some kickbacks and lateral kicks to keep the glutes activated. Any hip-opening stretches are especially important since hips get tight from sitting at your computer all day.”
Best Practices For A Mindful Routine
Ultimately, these tips are all about wellness, which begins in the morning. “Give yourself just a 15-20 minute window every morning without your phone. Grab your yoga mat and do a full stretch routine, or do some meditation or prayer, whatever feels good to you,” said Allegra Paris.
As for the stress we’re all continuing to feel with uncertainty about global circumstances looming, Paris once again highlights the power of getting moving. “Physical activity releases endorphins which can help to appease stress, so fit it in however you can. Sweat is what is going to make you feel better – a walk, hike, or run. If the week is too hectic, find a way to incorporate a workout routine on the weekends, too.
Remember that at the end of the day, you’re a human! You can’t do your best work without taking care of your body, and while we’ve all had to be flexible on how to manage most meals and workouts at home, it’s never been more important to take care of ourselves so we can do our best work.