Six hacks for a healthier life

Alex Vietinghoff - Reshape your life (Tom Bateman/AQ)

Some people have told me that no matter how easy I make working out seem, they aren’t going to go to the gym. They might feel intimidated, uncomfortable, too out-of-shape, too busy, or it just isn’t their thing. But they still want to live a healthy life. So here are six tweaks or “hacks” you can do to your life to make yourself a little bit healthier. And when it comes to your body, every bit counts.

  1. One of the obvious ones is to always take the stairs instead of the elevator. This is amazing for your legs and glutes (butt muscles.) Just associate it this way: Stairs = tight butt.
  2. To keep your metabolism high, eat six meals a day rather than three big ones. So you have a big breakfast (always have breakfast, it fills you up and fuels you up for the rest of the day) full of protein. The more protein in your breakfast (eggs & bacon!), the fuller you’ll feel during the day. Next you would eat between breakfast and lunch; just some trail mix or a yogurt cup to tide you over. At lunch you should eat a smaller meal. Then another snack between lunch and supper. At supper, make sure not to give yourself huge portions, and same goes for the final snack later in the evening. If you can, you’ll want to spread these meals roughly three hours apart and load up on protein to keep you full. Try to stay away from refined carbohydrates like bagels, muffins, and cereals. Doing all this keeps your metabolism going, and burns a lot more fat.
  3. Now I know that sauces can be delicious, but when you order a wrap or sub, say no to the sauce. They’re full of bad fats. Also, try switching fries for a healthier option, like sweet potatoes or rice.
  4. Pick one day a week where you walk or bike to work or school, every week. After a month, switch it to two. Another another month, switch it to three, and so on. You’ll find that not only does it give you exercise, but walking in the summer is very relaxing.
  5. Pick one food that you eat that is bad for you, like chips or pop. Resolve to eliminate it from your diet, or limit it to once a week. Use the same technique as above (one day a week where you can’t eat it, two days after a month, and so on.)
  6. Carry a water bottle at all times. Drink from it first thing in the morning, and right before you go to bed. Just constantly drink from it. Not only does your body need water to live, but sometimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re really just thirsty. And water can stave off hunger pangs a little if lunch is far away.

These are things that everyone can do, fit or not. My hope is that when you start shaping yourself to be more and more healthy, you’ll become as addicted as I am.

Alex Vietinghoff is a certified ski instructor, works at the J.B. O’Keefe Fitness Centre and is currently studying to be a personal trainer through Fitness NB. He is also vice-president student life of the St. Thomas University students’ union. Questions or comments about his column? Contact him at


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