We all know that if you’re serious about getting - and keeping - amazing fitness results, eating well and being active need to be a part of your DNA. That means creating a sustainable, enjoyable, regular practice for yourself that you do all year, every year, for the rest of your life. "I do the same exercises I did 50 years ago and they still work. I eat the same food I ate 50 years ago and it still works." - Arnold Schwarzenegger - Now, I realize that maintaining a picture-perfect exercise and nutrition routine all the time isn’t entirely realistic. Indeed, the people who succeed at reaching their health and fitness goals are pretty good most of the time, instead of 100% perfect some of the time. Major life events happen. Big unforeseen stresses may pop up. And sometimes you may actually want to take a short break - perhaps while on vacation. It sounds cliché – but if your own fitness isn't one of your absolute highest priorities in life, you're never going to make it a lifelong, sustainable practice, and you're never going to get the results you're after. There's no such thing as a "good" or a "better" time to start. Shit is always going to happen in our lives, and the only way to prevent said shit from derailing your fitness is by making it a top priority, now and forever. How you go about doing that is up to you. If you don’t build yourself an exercise and healthy eating lifestyle that can withstand everyday challenges and roadblocks, you’re not gonna get results. Period. Many of my clients are coming across extra challenges right now, with summer schedules, vacations, family events, and kids at home instead of in school. Many of them are finding it more challenging than usual to make time for fitness. Yes, it may be extra difficult right now - I get it - but these things are not excuses for taking a break completely from workouts for weeks at a time. So, What Would Karina Do?™ in various situations that seem designed to take us off course from our all-important fitness and healthy eating plans? CHALLENGE #1: Keeping up with fitness and healthy eating while on vacation. What Would Karina Do? I book only places that have full kitchens available, so I can make my own food. I use VRBO, HomeAway, and Airbnb when planning vacations, and very rarely stay in hotels (when I do, 80% of my luggage is food, and 20% is personal stuff). I pack my TRX, resistance bands, jump rope, swim gear, and running gear. I get my workouts done early in the mornings so I have the rest of the day to do whatever I want. CHALLENGE #2: Going out for dinner with friends, or for work events. What Would Karina Do? I get restaurants to make me something off-menu if they don’t have what I want listed (I do this all the time as a vegan). Otherwise it’s pretty damn simple making healthy choices. Lean protein, salads, stir fries, healthy sides like edamame, etc. If you’re watching your portion sizes and you know what you’re ordering is going to be huge (ask first), get the staff to pack half your meal to go before they bring it to your table. CHALLENGE #3: Being invited out for drinks (it’s patio season, after all!) What Would Karina Do? I don’t drink, but if I did, I’d have one if it was something I enjoyed (it’s not). Note that I’d have one drink, not eight. I often order sparkling water (add whatever flavouring you want, like a lemon wedge) and as long as I have something to sip on, nobody seems to care. If your friends whine, guilt trip you, or otherwise make a big deal about your drinking-related choices, you need new friends. CHALLENGE #4: Having young kids at home from school during the summer with nobody to look after them, so you can’t make it to your personal training appointments. What Would Karina Do? I don’t have kids, but I don’t think that should prevent me from making some suggestions here. Several of my clients bring their kids to their training sessions if they have to. I’ve been known to carry around a client’s baby in a wearable carrier while my client works out. Older kids hang out and read or play iPad games while their parent trains (and often, the kids join us for part of the workout!) Teach your kids early that you need “me time” to work on yourself. You’ll be a better parent, and you’ll teach your kids about prioritizing fitness. Also, realize you don’t need to head to the gym to work out – especially if your gym doesn’t have childcare. Take the kids out to the park and do a bodyweight routine on the playground while they run around. Go for a run with your kid in a stroller. Use resistance bands and a TRX suspension trainer at home. CHALLENGE #5: "My kid is a picky eater and/or likes treats, so I end up eating all the junk he/she eats because it’s in the house." What Would Karina Do? I gotta say, this is the most bullshit of all excuses. Even people without kids use this one, about their partners/roommates/other people they live with! There is absolutely no reason your diet should be dictated by your kids (or anyone else, for that matter). Why are you teaching your kid(s) to eat crap you wouldn’t eat, anyway? If you absolutely can’t get your kids to enjoy the types of foods you'd like to eat, or make separate meals if you have to, remember that you don’t have to eat something just because it’s in the house. Read this awesome article for more on this topic. As the author, Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, writes, “Stop using your kids as an excuse to eat crap.”
Download Karina's 350-item vegan grocery list!
Need inspiration for healthy plant-based eating? Need to spice up your daily meal routine? Download your free vegan grocery list! With more than 350 healthy items (some of which might be new to you), you'll be a vegan nutrition superhero in no time.