If you’re anything like the 11 million people who watched the NCAA basketball tournament last year, you know that March Madness is known for the biggest college basketball tournament in the world. People from all over the world plan their days/weeks around when their favorite basketball team is playing in the tournament. People fill out all kinds of brackets in an attempt to earn year-long bragging rights in their family. March Madness, when it comes to college hoops, is a big deal! This year, as unfortunate as it may be, we have to think of the term ‘March Madness’ a little differently. Sports are cancelled, we are nearly through one-fourth of 2020, spring is right around the corner, and our nation is experiencing hardship unlike anything we’ve seen in many years. 360 million American are being asked to self-quarantine and practice social distancing in an attempt to slow the spread of the dangerous virus, COVID-19. If prioritizing health and fitness was difficult before, the massive stressor of our current situation doesn’t make things easier. However, instead of panicking, we can prepare. We can take small steps to use this unfortunate situation to help kickstart our health and fitness journeys.
Make Mornings your Best Friend
Right now, many of us are working from home. We’re being asked to complete our daily tasks without the most ideal working space and resources. This being said, it’s easy to experience stress under these circumstances. Our days are long and busy and the easiest excuse people often make is, I just don’t feel like working out after a long day of work. A real easy way to combat this excuse is to set your alarm a bit earlier in the morning and make your workout the first thing you do each day. In the past, it used to be taboo to complete a workout on an empty stomach. Now, with all the available research on Intermittent Fasting (stay tuned for our article on IF coming soon) working out on an empty stomach is something that makes much more sense. It also allows you to wake up, wash your face, brush your teeth and get after it. By setting your alarm one hour earlier each day, you can check your workout off before your day has a chance to get too stressful. Sure, it may be difficult to get up the first few times, but once you get in the swing of things, you’ll wonder how it was even possible to start your day without a workout.
Prepare your Food in Advance
A common phrase in fitness is, “You can’t outwork a bad diet!” This is true. If you’re making the effort to make training a staple in your daily itinerary, you owe it to yourself to make nutrition a staple as well. Many people think nutrition has to be extremely complex. This just isn’t the case. Most people can benefit tremendously from eating whole foods, plenty of lean protein, and limiting simple sugars and empty calories. Sit down with a pad of paper on Sunday morning and plan out your weekly meals. As your Sunday progresses, cook a week’s worth of the foods on your list. Each night before you go to bed, pack serving sized meals for the following day. Pack your meals and put them in a bag in your refrigerator. As you’re leaving for work or working from home, you’ll be ready to eat all day. By planning ahead you’ll limit senseless snacking and spending and you can build appropriate, long-term eating habits.
Make a Daily To-Do List
This is something that really made a difference in my day-to-day life. In the past, I would compile a mental list of all the things I had to accomplish for the day. Nothing would be organized and I would often forget tasks due to the large amount of things I set out to do each day. All this changed when I started making a nightly To-Do list. Each night before bed, I write a list of all the things I want to accomplish the next day. I write out my entire list and then number them based on the order that I want to complete them. This allows me to stay focused and pay attention to one task at a time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also get some satisfaction from physically crossing completed items off your list. During these stressful times, being organized will save you time and allow you to focus on things that really matter. Start your list each day with “workout,” and you’ll build healthy habits in no time.
This year, March Madness has taken on a completely different meaning. There’s no basketball tournament, in fact, there are no sports at all. Jobs are in question, gyms are closed, flights have been cancelled, there are so many stressors that we have been introduced to because of COVID-19. At a time where there are so many questions, we don’t have to neglect the most important thing in our life, our health. By working out in the morning, planning our meals in advance, and making a daily to-do list, we can destress ourselves and focus on being as healthy as possible.