With summer coming to an end in all its fiery glory, you're probably asking yourself why you seem to consistently choose ice cream over the squat rack. I know I sure am.
But bathing suit season is one of the lesser reasons that should inspire you to hit the gym and eat better. Getting fit is about so much more than that. It's about your health and living a better, cleaner life.
Yes, getting fit requires effort and is time-consuming. It's not like you're spending six hours binge-watching your favorite shows.
But though you may feel dismayed about your body goals, you shouldn't fret. The process isn't as complicated as it sounds, and there are tricks that can help you get into better shape without putting in an inordinate amount of effort.
It's as simple as adjusting your routine. By making small changes, you'll see big differences in your body in no time. There's nothing to it, really.
How, you might ask? We'll show you with this straightforward guide. Here are 12 tips to help you get fit without even trying.
1. Start each morning with lemon water.
Each morning, you want to start off on the right foot. After a long night's slumber, your body can feel as dry as the Sahara desert. Lest you wind up looking like a desert-dweller, you must counteract this by turning to the powers of citrus and (obviously) water. Citrus is life.
Lemon water offers a little twist on the glass of water you'd normally have first thing in the morning. It'll punch up your routine, satisfy your citrus tooth and bring added nutritional value: According to the FDA, one medium lemon contains 40 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C.
2. Don't forgo that morning cup of Joe.
It's pretty common to hear people say they're trying to wean themselves off coffee because they question whether it's actually beneficial. But as The New York Times pointed out, there's a solid body of scientific evidence showing just how healthful coffee can be.
According to researchers, moderate coffee drinkers — a group that includes people who drink between two and five cups of black coffee per day — have a lower risk of heart failure, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Studies have also shown that coffee drinkers have lower cognitive decline than non-coffee drinkers, and that they have a reduced risk of developing diabetes, according to the Times.
Bottom line: If you enjoy coffee, you should continue drinking it.
3. There is more to breakfast than just having it: Don't skimp on protein.
Having a doughnut for breakfast might be delicious, but it doesn't help you in the long-term. Instead, have food that is protein-packed. Stick with eggs and some sautéed spinach or even a protein bar without added sugar. Pro-tip: Stay away from grains, as they can make you feel sluggish.
4. Do a wall squat while you're waiting for the subway or bus.
Waiting for public transportation is boring, so why not make the most of it? Stand with your back to the nearest wall and drop into an isolated squat. It sounds easy, but you'll be feeling the burn in those quads after 30 seconds.
And don't worry about the little kids staring at you while you practice your wall squat — they don't understand the struggle. Their peering eyes matter not, so focus, focus, FOCUS!
5. Use a standing desk.
Standing while you work may not sound like much physical activity, but it can actually make a big difference in your fitness. According to the BBC, standing burns more calories than sitting, and doing so for an extended period of time definitely adds up.
Plus, if you spend a few hours each workday standing, you're getting a head start on your evening workout. On top of that, it's a legit excuse to get away from your annoying coworkers (not that you have any of those, of course).
6. Hold in your abs while you grocery shop.
While you're out running errands, squeeze your abs. I'm talking tight: Pretend like someone is about to punch you in the stomach and you need to brace for impact. Over time this simple exercise could help to strengthen your core.
7. Don't skip meals, just eat more of the good stuff.
Instead of making yourself miserable with diets or counting calories, just stick to eating more of the good stuff. You don't have to be hungry all the time to get fit. Choose snacks that are actually good for you. Instead of a bag of cookies, eat an avocado with some balsamic vinegar; instead of a bagel, have an apple.
It's all about choices, people.
8. Do a standing plank while you read.
When you're catching up on articles, the news, the tabloids or a good book, plank instead of lying down. Balance your elbows on the side of your couch and suspend yourself in a tilted plank. Do this for two to three minutes, and you'll start to notice a difference in your core strength.
Why wouldn't you want to tone your abs while you're deciding whom to side with in the latest celebrity feud?
9. Podcast while you cardio.
Let's be real: The elliptical and treadmill are kind of dull. The trick is to distract yourself when a playlist just isn't enough to curb the fatigue.
Hack your cardio blues by listening to a podcast or an audio book. There are so many great podcasts to choose from. Plus, if you're learning something AND working out, you'll feel way more motivated to get through that physical activity.
10. Eat natural peanut butter.
Peanut butter is delicious — there is no arguing that. The problem is that certain peanut butter products contain added sugar and other ingredients. Make sure you choose a peanut butter that only contains one thing: peanuts. Clean eating is easier than you thought!
11. Meditate and practice your breathing.
It may seem counterintuitive, but meditation is actually one of the building blocks of getting fit. Being centered means getting better sleep, increasing your productivity and having more energy to work out. If you start and end your day with a few minutes of meditation and practiced breathing, you'll also find that your overall mood will naturally improve.
12. Stop ordering in.
This one may seem obvious since cooking your meals means making healthier meals, but there is actually more to it than that. Even if you don't cook, ordering take out (instead of delivery) will get you out of the house and walking.
And as any healthy person knows, it's super important to incorporate as much walking as you can into your everyday routine. It burns calories, gets you off your butt and makes you feel accomplished.
And you can still have those magical order-in nights — just save them for a rainy day.