Here are five things that you can do to both edge yourself up the ‘healthy ladder’, and offset the inevitable consequences of some of the most common vices. Piggybacking new behaviours or actions onto the back of things that you are already doing day-to-day is a great way to establish new habits, and build them into your daily routine so they are grounded. Its as if you are using the things you already do as the foundation for the new behaviours. Here we go;

  1. Piggyback water with coffee (or tea)

Most of us don’t drink enough water, but take plenty of caffeinated drinks, which coincidentally dehydrate us even more. Piggy back drinking a glass of water with each cup of coffee or tea and you will be hydrated and energised for the day!

  1. Piggyback a walk with large meals.

Eating too much and exercising too little is a very common problem, and it is doubly important if you are trying to loose weight. After each meal, take it upon yourself to head our for a fast 20 minute walk, which will be great to aid your digestion, clear your head, and give you a fat burning boost after the meal.

  1. Piggyback a workout with a night out.

Getting your health and fitness back on track should not mean a life of abstinence and solitude. Socialising and going out with friends is a very important part of life, and should be maintained regardless of your goals. Of course ‘socializing’ means different things to different people, but the one thing you can do to offset effects of a night on the town or a big meal out is to workout beforehand. It’s a nice feeling heading out after a good strength session in the gym, and the night out wont set you back so far either.

  1. Piggyback breathing with getting up in the morning

Having a morning routine is a great way to get the day off to a good start consistently, and spending 5 -10 minutes on breathing slowly and deeply can really help you clear your head, and get stuck into the day on your own terms, as opposed to rushing around from one place or another (physically or mentally), as can happen when that period between getting out of bed and walking out the door is a bit chaotic.

  1. Piggyback top drawer nutrition with each training session

Developing new and improved eating patterns is a major challenge for most of us, and can really be the difference between getting lean and strong, or staying the way you are. A great place to start is with your breakfast, but another great piggyback strategy is to nail your first meal after each workout. If you are training 4 times per week, that’s 4 meals, which is probably about 10-15% of your overall food consumption for the week. 10-15% improvement off the bat is a serious step up, and considering how easy it is to focus simply on the meal after training, you are definitely winning if you implement this one!

This article is by Ainle Ó Cairealláin MSc CSCS.

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