With Thanksgiving right around the corner (and a slew of other holidays to quickly follow), you’re facing tough challenges that can directly affect your health. Not only do you have to get up every day and do this thing called running a business, but now you have to do it at a time of year when holiday cookies and eggnog seem to be everywhere you turn and one more holiday get-together may mean you no longer fit into your party wear.
No pressure. Really.
With so many fitness obstacles in our way this time of year, I decided to ask a herd of fellow entrepreneurs for the hacks that help them stay healthy during the holiday season and beyond. With so many great ideas, together, we’ll find a way to keep you heading in the right direction—with your business and your waistline. So take a sip of your Skinny Peppermint Mocha, and let’s get going.
With both Apple (HealthKit) and Android (Google Fit) making huge strides in fitness with their new operating systems, it’s easier than ever for smart business owners to make fitness a part of their daily routine. Both HealthKit and Google Fit make it easy for users to share health data, from steps walked to caloric intake, between apps. But where can you go if you want a more in-depth way to track your fitness? Here are the three most recommended apps to keep your fitness on track:
MyNetDiary. No need for PC and Apple users to argue here: This app is 100 percent Web-based and accessible from any OS, can communicate with a plethora of other health and fitness apps (just click Apps & Devices for the list) and has its own iOS and Android app versions. By tracking food intake and fitness output with this app, the company claims members will lose an average of one-quarter pound per week. Cost: There’s a 14-day free trial. Annual plans cost $60 per year ($5 per month), or you can buy one-, three- or six-month memberships.
Lose It! Talk about an app that’s everywhere. Lose It! is available for iOS, Android, Nook and Kindle as well as from your desktop in a Web-based version. The app has a massive built-in database of foods and learns your favorite foods as you go, storing them for easy logging. While the free version is great for simple fitness tracking, the real bang for your buck comes from the paid “Pro” version, which lets you sync and share/import data from other fitness gadgets and even allows you to create challenges where you can motivate a group of people to hit a goal you define. Check out its entire list of features right here. Cost: Free or Pro versions; Pro cost $39.99 per year.
Strava. If you need less from the food logging and diet side and more from the fitness tracking side, distance lovers will love Strava. I used this app religiously when I lived in Colorado and was cycling all the time. This tool makes it easy to tracking your steps, runs, rides and ski runs, and it has iOS and Android versions along with being compatible with several leading GPS tracking devices currently on the market. The free version is plenty good for tracking activity and keeping you honest about how far your runs and rides take you. The Premium version is great for people who work in groups to track fitness. Like Lose It!, you can create challenges and leaderboards and even establish goals so you can strive for PRs (personal records) each week. Cost: Free or Premium version; Premium costs $49.99 per year or $6 per month.
Mealtime and Snacks
My Fit Foods. This grab-and-go meal service appears to be taking the nation by storm. With locations in Arizona, California, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas, business owners in those states have few excuses left for not eating right. This company believes in one thing: Healthy food can be fast. You can order in advance and pick up a few days' worth of food at a time or drop in and grab a few meals to go. You can even eat in-store. Meals are by and large gluten-free and come in small, large and family portions so you can practice calorie and portion control with ease. The food is nothing short of fresh and delicious, and there’s always a wide variety of meals to choose from to suit any palate. (Note: I’m a customer and have received no compensation for sharing my love for the company and its food.) Cost: Meals range from $6 to $12 each. House accounts are offered, and some locations partner with local delivery services to bring your meals to your door.
Plated and Blue Apron. Skip the grocery store (because seriously, who has time?). Both of these companies deliver fresh ingredients right to your door so you can whip up your own healthy meals. All you need are incidentals like olive oil, salt and pepper. Each week (or every time you order), a box of ingredients is delivered right to your door, along with a step-by-step recipe. If you’re flying solo, be warned: Both services require you to order either three or four plates per order, which means you’re cooking upfront to preserve freshness and will have leftovers. For those with two or more people in your household, these services aren’t a bargain compared to doing your own grocery store shopping, but they combine efficiency and healthy eating delivered right to you, which you can’t really put a price on. Cost: Plated: $15 per plate, $13 per plate for members, four plate-per-order minimum; Blue Apron: $9.99 per plate, three plate-per-order minimum.
graze. Tired of staring at the vending machine like it’s your mortal enemy? A graze subscription might be just the ticket. Simply log in your taste preferences (the company has more than 90 snacks to choose from), and you’ll receive a box of hand-selected, healthy snacks every week or two, depending on your subscription preferences. Cost: Boxes cost $6.99 each.
Fitbit. It’s sleek, and frankly, it’s pretty sexy. Fitbit has evolved from a one-trick (or one-band) pony into an innovative fitness tech company with solutions for every style and fitness goal. With six different Fitbits to choose from, you’re sure to find one that meets your fitness tracking goals, whether you're tracking movement to sleep patterns. The best news is, they all integrate with many of the popular health- and fitness-tracking apps out there, including those listed above. Soon-to-be-released versions will include heart rate monitors (Charge HR and Surge) and built-in GPS tracking (Surge). If you’re a fashionista, grab the custom-designed Tory Burch band. Cost: Models range from $59 to $249 with interest lists building now for the upcoming Charge HR and Surge models.
UP band by Jawbone. As with FitbIt, this tracker from Jawbone is wearable fitness tracking in a sleek design. With price points a bit below Fitbit's, you may want to snap one up, but don’t buy one of these devices without finding a retailer where you can try one on. Jawbone’s UP collection comes in everything from a small, clip-on version to two wearable wrist models, which are all able to track everything from your steps to your sleep patterns. Cost: $49 to $179
Microsoft Band: Look at the design of this thing—wow! And while it might be from Microsoft, it’s completely compatible with iOS and Android apps in addition to the Windows Phone. You can indulge in guided workouts, and it comes with built-in heart rate tracking (which is an upsell for FitBit and UP bands); GPS technology is also built in. It’s even made to work with Microsoft’s Cortana software, which is like a personal digital assistant that keeps your life and schedule on track, and fully syncs with your phone so you can see incoming calls and text messages (yes, even for non-Windows Phone users). Want to see it in person? Find a Microsoft store, and have a look. Cost: $199.99
Now you're ready to go bravely into the holidays. And maybe you’ve even found a gift idea (or three) for the tech- and health-savvy recipients on your list.
Your business demands that you be fit enough to run it the way you need to. This list should get you right on your way—the right way.
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