Ask the Professional: What life hacks do you use to help promote a healthy and active lifestyle?


by Hailey Brady, BS, ACSM-CPT

Planning workouts ahead of time.

Schedule them and treat them like any other meeting or appointment. If you know you’re not going to workout on Fridays, don’t schedule workouts for Friday! Be realistic and set yourself up for success by scheduling your workouts at a time that works for you. Check your gym’s group fitness schedule and see if there are any classes you may enjoy. Step outside your comfort zone and try something new, even if you don’t love it you’ll still get a great workout! If you need accountability plan to workout with a friend several times a week. I know I’m less likely to bail on my workout when I make plans with a friend.

Planning grocery shopping and making a shopping list.

I used to roll my eyes when my mom would tell me to make my grocery list and to never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach…but its so true! I’ve made the mistake of going grocery shopping when I was hungry on too many occasions. I end up grabbing everything that catches my eye. Goldfish, sour patch kids, ice cream etc. Save yourself the struggle. Have a snack before you go, and stick to the list.

Preparing meals and snacks ahead of time.

I know this may sound tedious, but preparing my breakfast, lunch, and snacks at the beginning of the week has saved me so much time. Not convinced? See my reasoning below:

  • I save money: I pack my lunch everyday instead of eating out
  • I keep myself accountable and prevent impulse purchases
  • I stay on track for my health and fitness goals: I pack one serving of vegetables, 2-3 servings of fruit, a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread, hard boiled eggs, some nuts or seeds, etc. I also portion out protein powder into Ziploc bags and keep a few in my backpack in case I need it after my workout.
  • I keep my stress in check: I portion out my snacks and make my lunches for the week on Sunday or Monday evening so that I don’t have to do it every single day after work. Then I put it all in the fridge and I’m set. All I have to do is throw it in my lunch bag before I head to work. I don’t have to think ‘What am I going to have to for lunch today/ tomorrow?’ because I’ve already packed it for the week.

Start with buying reusable Tupperware and packing correct serving sizes of snacks ahead of time. This makes for a perfect grab and go option when you’re headed to work in the morning or running late for an appointment and don’t have time to make something.

I personally enjoy having a hot breakfast every morning. Protein bars or a piece of fruit may work for some people, but I like to have egg and cheese on an English muffin. Just like my lunches, I make my breakfast sandwiches ahead of time. Once a week I’ll toast five English muffins and cook five eggs. I’ll add a piece of extra thin cheese and a little hot sauce and they’re good to go.

In the morning throw it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and flip half way through.

Make a routine that works for YOU.

I eat the same thing every day for lunch. There may be some variation here and there but my staples stay the same. Try to find some staples that work for you. The fruit and veggies that I pack can vary depending on what’s in season. While this may sound boring to some, it works for me. If you’re looking to make health priority, don’t focus on what works for others, find what works for you, make a plan, and stick to it.

Check out more ‘life hacks’ from the professionals below:

LifeStart Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and CPT, Randi Komisar

Randi likes to plan out all of her meals, snacks, and sometimes even workouts the week before as well. “This helps me avoid unnecessary purchases at the grocery store, although I somehow still end up with something off list due to my curiosity! I like to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday and then switch it up for dinner. Not only is this process fun for me, but it also takes away the guesswork of what I'm going to eat. With my meals taken care of ahead of time I can focus more on the things that need my full attention at work and life in general.”

LifeStart Assistant Manager and CPT, Becca Egan

Becca suggests trying productivity apps to remember to drink water or keep up with other healthy habits throughout the day. “I've tried to add something healthy into my life every month as a challenge. For example, for the month of February I challenged myself to drink green tea every day. Another thing I challenged myself to try was to drink a whole glass of water before I left for work in the morning, and before I had any coffee.”

LifeStart Fitness Director and CPT, Ashley Schroeder

Ashley packs her backpack the night before with any items or clothing she needs and three water bottles. She also has her food prepared ahead of time so she can grab it and go. “That way, when I wake up in the morning I just have to put clothes on, wash my face, brush my teeth, and head out the door!”

Hannah Ranfranz

Hannah’s go-to life hacks are her lunchbox and planner. “My Jaxx FitPack makes meal prepping easier with portion sized containers and helps me take my meals with me everywhere I go. I would not make it through my week without my planner. I work three jobs so managing my schedule between all three can be tough. With the hour-by-hour time slots in my planner I can be sure that I stay on top of my meetings, appointments, classes and clients.” Hannah uses her planner to schedule her own workouts into her day as well. “When I put something in writing instead of the calendar on my phone, it helps me hold myself accountable.”