Trying to get in shape? Here are five things that will help: Take the stairs. Drink lots of water. Eat well. Get plenty of sleep. Make exercise a daily habit.
And while those are excellent pieces of advice, you probably knew that stuff already. So we spoke to Becky Phillips, a personal trainer in Aubrey, Texas and a Top Pro on Thumbtack who works with people of all ages, shapes and sizes, to find a few more simple things anyone can do that will show results if they stick with it.
While you’re doing these things, keep in mind that the best part of getting in shape isn’t necessarily changing the way you look, but changing the way you feel. “I’ve had a lot of clients who come to me and their main goal is weight loss or trying to achieve a certain look,” Becky says. “But as I train them, they realize the most important thing isn’t changing their aesthetic, it’s changing the way they feel.”
“Your joints should be a like a well-oiled machine. If you’re using them, you’ll probably find that your pain goes away and you start to sleep better. Aesthetics is just the icing on the cake.”
Here are her tips for five simple things you can do every day to keep your body looking good and feeling great.
1. Do Compound Exercises
Becky says one of the most efficient exercises anyone can do is compound moves. “Do a straight leg deadlift into an upright row into a shoulder press,” she explains. This means you’re hitting two or three muscle groups within the same exercise, which saves time while also increasing your power and endurance (and there are so many different moves, you’ll never get bored).
2. Eat 40/40/20
“If you’re trying to maintain or lose weight, your daily intake should be 40 percent protein, 40 percent fat, and 20 percent carbs,” Becky says. “People use to think fat was bad, but we need good fats to live.” What you don’t want to do, she says, is have carbs be more than 20 percent of your diet. You want those fats to be healthy fats, like almonds, avocado, mozzarella cheese, salmon, etc. And don’t feel like you have to eat all of those carbs. It’s okay to eat less!
3. Sit on a Fitness Ball
“Sitting on a fitness ball at work will make your core stronger,” Becky says. She recommends you start out in moderation and sit on the fitness ball for 30 minutes a day and then add 15 minutes each week. “It engages your whole core, strengthens your lower back, and makes your posture better,” she says.
4. Do Quick Exercises at Work
Do something active for a few minutes every hour. “Pick up the fitness ball every 60 minutes and do 20 air squats,” Becky says. “Just squat and touch the fitness ball to the ground; you’ll be amazed how much that firms your lower body and it wakes you up when you’re getting sleepy.”
She also suggests toe raises (“come up on your toes and work your calves”) and shoulder presses with the fitness ball (“press the ball up and down above your head 30 times”). A fitness ball is perfect for the office because there’s so much you can do with it in a small space.
5. Keep a Food Log
“Record everything you put in your mouth—drinks, gum, peppermint candies—so you really know the calories you’re consuming,” Becky says. That way you’re making sure the calories you do eat are worth it. “When people record what they eat and drink, they lose a lot of weight. When you see it on paper, you’re amazed at what you eat in one day. It holds you accountable.”
Becky Phillips is personal trainer and Thumbtack Top Pro who loves seeing people’s lives transform into something they never thought possible by becoming physically fit and healthy. Find her on Thumbtack.