Words + images Jaye Bowden
At the beginning of 2016 I struggled to balance everything in my life. Work stressed me out, university assignments piled up; I constantly felt agitated and drained. I was on edge with friends and family and my mental state was in complete chaos as my self-esteem slowly leaked down the drain.
Then I began to realise one of my problems was that I’d let myself become so busy I hadn’t been investing any time in myself, my body and my happiness. I was allowing myself to become swept up in the chaos around me and I couldn’t enjoy anything in my life. So I decided to change my lifestyle and eat healthier, take advantage of my gym membership once again and start working out more.
Here are a few little fitness suggestions and meal plans that really helped uplift and change my outlook on life and my general wellbeing. This includes my go-to meal plan options that give me the booster I need to feel happy and healthy throughout the day! I hope in sharing these, you might feel inspired to try them out and find what makes you happy, too.
Be sure to have a chat with your doc first about any possible allergies or injuries you might be worried about!
My go-to meal suggestions
- Banana on toast with peanut butter, coconut, muesli and cinnamon
- Cacao porridge with banana, raspberries, strawberries and almonds
- Homemade baked beans with sweet potato mash, baby spinach and feta
- Banana, honey, cacao, soy smoothie
- Hummus spread on quinoa rice cakes
- Chopped zucchini, carrot, capsicum and dip
- Roasted spiced chickpeas and/or almonds
- Rigatoni pasta with broccoli, tomato, baby spinach, zucchini, mushroom, garlic and onion with a splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar
- Burritos with lettuce, salsa, brown rice, cheese, corn and beans with a meat of your filling. Wrap in a tortilla and foil then heat for 1-2 minutes in a hot grill
- Brown rice and a spiced Indian curry packed full of veggies plus oven-baked tortillas sliced into makeshift dipping chips (meat optional)
- Home-made veggie nachos with beans, tomato salsa, guacamole and a light sprinkle of cheese
- A light ginger-chilli vegetable stir fry with a lean meat such as chicken and a side of quinoa brown rice
Jaye’s Workout Ideas
For me, working out isn’t about pushing yourself to exhaustion and overworking your body. You have to listen to and love your body, or else it can be far too easy to push yourself to breaking point. I find four different styles of work-out effective in keeping me energised, while also genuinely having fun.
Into the wild
Throw on your hiking boots and a cosy raincoat and head off to your favourite wilderness destination to have a wild trek out in nature with your closest pals. It’s always a fun adventure and great exercise because you’re walking over all kinds of different terrain. It also gives you the chance to get some peace and soak up the scents of the damp moss, the ferns and the crisp air. Some of my favourite locations to hike are in Fern Tree or at Mount Field National Park.
The gym is great to discipline yourself and exercise when it’s too wild, wet and windy to hike outside on your favourite trail. A recommended gym routine that works for me is: 20 minutes treadmill, 20 minutes cross-trainer, 10 minutes rowing machine, and then sets of squats and sit-ups before cooling down with gentle stretches. IMPORTANT: if you have any injuries or you’re worried about using the equipment, be sure to have a chat with your doctor and the gym staff first.
Let your hair down
This is one of my personal favourites. When you’re home alone and you have the chance to – clear some space in your lounge, blast your favourite playlist and be completely free – jump up and down, do squats or sit-ups, dance and stretch; get your whole body moving to the music and have fun with it. Be spontaneous and have a boogie for half an hour until you work up a sweat.
Yoga is another amazing form of exercise that helps stretch your entire body, focusing on working out muscles by holding complicated, pretzel-like poses. It’s a physical challenge and also can help you to bring yourself into your body and focus on your breathing. I always feel incredibly peaceful and relaxed after a yoga class. It completely helps me unwind after a stressful day, and the instructors are mostly very down to earth and kind to Yogis of all walks of life. I recommend Fit Hot Yoga in the city!
Please always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise plan for you. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.
There are also a number of helpful youth service providers in Hobart who specialise in health related issues experienced by young people. If that’s you, make a start by contacting Headspace Hobart, a free youth-focused health service for young people aged 12-25. Make an appointment by calling 6231 2927 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. For crisis support and help right now call Lifeline on 13 11 14.