20 of the best health and wellness hacks

As I sit in an inner-west Sydney bar thinking of my column's topic, it came to me via beer.

I sipped a +$10 ale from America's Pacific Northwest when the idea hit me – health and wellness life hacks.

I've never used the words life hacks. I hate the phrase life hacks. It's like 'LOL' and 'chillaxing'.

But if a few nuggets might improve our health and wellness? Then hack our lives we shall. Here are 20 ways to make some efficient and healthy improvements:

1. Preserve the herb

Never throw away fresh herbs – cut small portions into an ice tray, then add olive oil. Next time you're ready for dinner, just throw a herb cube into a hot pan and get cooking.

2. Prepare the 15 second smoothie

On Sunday, chop, blend, and prepare three different smoothies, (two portions each) then freeze. Each morning, add a little water to your blender with one block of smoothie contents – faster, cheaper, and healthier than any juice bar.

3. Get smart with Tabata and HIIT

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The slow, lingering, one hour workout is a thing of the past. Dr. Tabata and the founders of High Intensity Interval Training will pave the way for a lighter and toned physique.

4. Buy a skipping rope

It's the cheapest and most efficient piece of cardio equipment you can purchase. For the gym, office, home, and hotel – a skipping rope is man's best gym friend.

5. Use leftovers

Food court options can be dangerous to your health. Packing your own lunch with last night's healthy dinner guarantees portion control and a healthy-tasty lunch while saving some money.

6. Swap white rice for quinoa or cauliflower rice

White rice is stripped of its nutrients… quinoa and cauliflower rice are not. Make the swap – you won't taste the difference, but your body will feel it.

7. Flavour your water

Add lemon. Add mint and strawberries. Add cucumbers. Add frozen fruit. Add basil leaves. Add whatever you fancy to your water so you never touch fizzy drinks again.

8. There's an app for that

From bodyweight workouts to music that beats to your running stride… from calorie counters to banking apps that give your money to others if you're not achieving your workout goals - there's an app for that.

9. Do push ups every day

Add one. Every morning, drop for 10 push ups. Rest, then drop for another 10 push ups. Repeat in the evening. Every other day, add one. In just over a month, you'll be banging out 25 solid push ups – 100 every day.

10. Use commercials

They create time for a workout. If you're watching the tube, use commercial breaks to get in 15 squats and 15 sit ups. During the next break make it 15 push ups and 50 high knees. Mix it up every break.

11. Use veggies for pasta

Use cucumber, courgette, carrots … whatever. Making veggie noodles is an easy and healthy way to enjoy your spaghetti bolognaise. Cut down on the carbs while increasing the veggie intake – something Australia needs yesterday.

12. Post three home workouts on your fridge

With a skipping rope and five different bodyweight movements, there's always time to get in a home session.

13. Cook this. Not that.

Try cooking kale chips instead of potato chips. Bake sweet potato fries instead of frying them French. Little, healthy changes can be tastier.

14. Grab a coffee, and turn up the music

Science says a black coffee and some music are two of the best stimulants to get more out of your training session.

15. Be alarmed

For your back's sake, set your alarm on vibrate for every 15 minutes. Are you sitting at a desk all day? Set a reminder so you stand, breathe, squeeze your shoulder blades together, then relax your shoulders. Stress less while correcting your posture more.

16. Portion control your dinner

Drink a big glass of water before dinner to fill your tummy, chew some gum while cooking to avoid snacking… and use smaller plates and commit to one helping? That nugget still works.

17. Fast twice per week

Have your last meal by 3pm. Sixteen hours later enjoy breakfast at 7am. Science shows overnight fasting is a superb 'do nothing while losing weight' weight loss tool.

18. Eat less sugar

Look in the pantry and bin the top 5 high-sugar items – things like fruit juices, fizzy drinks, varied chocolates, biscuits, and sauces (tomato, barbecue) – do you really need them?

19. Get a bit of Zen

One day per week, walk twice as slow. Keep your phone in your bag. Forget about work. Walk by the water. Smile at people. Hold doors. Notice the architecture. Feel the sun. Breathe. Relax. Be calm.

20. Skip the elevator, and take the stairs

You've heard it a million times, now do it a million times.

As I order my Uber and settle up, the barman rambles about some amazing indie band I should Spotify before they go mainstream because he's got a knack for such things, so I interrupt with:

Me: "Help a lad out. Got any life hacks for me? Give me just one more."Him: "I eat my Cheezels… with chopsticks. It avoids dusty-orange digits (waves his fingers) mate."

There you have it. Life Hack #21 is: Use Chopsticks to Avoid Trump-Orange (that's a new colour) fingers when eating Cheezels.

This list is long, and the internet has thousands more. And though I hate the phrase, I'll be the optimist because maybe some small hacks can make a heck of a difference in your healthy lifestyle.

What are your favourite hacks? Let us know in the Comments section.

Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.

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