The COVID-19 pandemic has forced fitness aficionados to get creative with their workouts — and provided untold opportunities for online wellness experts.
One such expert is Rebecca Louise.
She’s among the most popular fitness experts on YouTube, with more than 620,000 subscribers. The videos on her channel have garnered more than 400 million views.
Louise also hosts a popular health and fitness podcast called It Takes Grit and her new book — “It Takes Grit: The Go-To Guide to Level Up Your Life” — is being published next month.
A lifelong athlete — “I have always participated in sports and was the captain of my high school track, soccer, field hockey and netball teams” — the United Kingdom native emigrated to California a decade ago on a whim: “I came here to get my commercial pilot’s license.”
She earned that license but before she started putting it to professional use, she began working on various YouTube fitness channels and discovered what she calls “my true mission.”
She resonates with subscribers, as well as her 500,000-plus Instagram followers, because she shares stories of her own struggles: an eating disorder; being bullied in high school; divorce and job instability.
Ahead of the release of “It Takes Grit,” Louise shared with us the “10 healthy habits that changed my life”:
1. Create a morning routine.
“Making my morning routine a priority improved my physical and emotional health, and it will help you too,” promises Louise. She gives herself enough time to have a quick healthful breakfast (more on that in No. 2), listen to online personal development material, read for a few minutes to reinforce the personal development material and then gets her body moving. “Getting in a workout before you tackle the day will produce positive endorphins and give you a sense of accomplishment.”
2. Never skip breakfast.
While some fitness experts subscribe to intermittent fasting, Louise is not one of them. To her, not eating breakfast is “like trying to start a car with no gas in the engine; it’s not going to move.” But rather than opting for carb-filled quick fixes like cereal and toast, which will turn into sugars in the body, she says “starting my day with a healthy smoothie changed everything. I was no longer hungry or tired by mid-morning, I felt more energized, and was able to maintain my blood sugar levels.”
3. Drink as much water as possible.
It’s the simplest, least expensive way to impact your overall health. And while it’s easy to forget to drink water sometimes, Louise suggests that you “get a big jug or water bottle that you can fill up at the beginning of the day, keep it close, and work your way through it.”
4. Count your protein intake.
Protein is the building block of lean muscle and what keeps you feeling full. Louise aims for 100 to 110 grams of protein daily but optimal protein intake is determined by height, weight, body type and activity levels, so determine your needs and then prioritize your protein consumption.
5. Listen to your body — and eat when you’re hungry.
There was a time when Louise tried to fast after 7 p.m. — and forced a many a boyfriend to join her in the practice. But she found that her body went into “starvation mode” if she tried to go that long without eating. That’s why, she says “if you are hungry in the evening, go ahead and have a healthy protein snack — just avoid sugars.”
6. Consume the RIGHT kind of carbs.
For too many people, “carb” is a four-letter word. But that just means they don’t understand that the body needs certain kinds of carbs. “For a long time, I thought carbs were the enemy and avoided eating them,” recalls Louise. “Turns out healthy carbs, such as those in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are great sources of energy that help build lean muscle.” She warns against extreme low-carb diets because they tend to “affect brain function, making you moody, tired and irritable.”
7. Vary your workouts.
You never want your body to become accustomed to what’s coming next. That’s a recipe for hitting plateaus and losing motivation. When you vary your workouts, be it body weight, high-intensity interval training, Pilates, yoga or other activities, she notes that “you are shocking your body into different directions and working on strength, endurance, and flexibility. It’s overall health that you are looking for, not just a six-pack.”
8. Drink a post-workout shake.
No matter your activity of choice, your muscles are in need of recovery. And the first step in muscle recovery is protein, which is most easily consumed in the form of a recovery shake. Louise notes “whey protein is considered the best for post-workout because it hits the muscles faster than any other protein source.”
9. Give yourself rest days.
Be sure to plan off-days or active-rest days into your fitness plan. As Louise explains, “Rest is a key element in getting results, along with nutrition and exercise. When you work your muscles, you are tearing them down. Giving them time to repair enables them to build back stronger and bigger.”
10. Regulate your sleep.
“After a day of work, evenings are usually unproductive, so give yourself the best shot at using your time more efficiently by waking up earlier and going to bed earlier,” Louise recommends. Among the benefits, she says, of choosing an earlier bedtime: “You won’t be tempted to binge-eat in front of the TV.”
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Online fitness expert shares secrets that ’changed my life’