“Cooking is just so inconvenient for me” – we hear this far too frequently these days. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times where conveniences like pre-made meals and eating out are an absolute life saver. But if the majority of your meals come from a prepared source I challenge you to reconsider how you look at food preparation choices.

Recently, I was deeply engaged in a podcast that talked about the benefits of constant movement. Not just going to the gym every day or using a standing desk, although those are very important practices of their own. It was about how the world has become so reliant on “conveniences” that in a spin of irony, we are actually being more inconvenienced at the same time.

We were born to move all day every day, but it seems that:

  • We don’t physically carry our children as often and for as long.
  • We don’t gather fresh food daily and take time to prepare it.
  • We don’t walk or run from point A to point B.
  • Many of us do little to no physical labor on a daily basis.
  • Those of us who do partake in physical labor do so for 1 - 2 hours at a time and then sit or stand still for the remaining 14 hours.

This made me realize the benefits I could be getting every day from the activities and movements that are programmed into my routine. There are a lot of them, but an important one that has changed my life over the last few months is my food preparation.

Cooking is active recovery and mobility.

You know that the right nutrients can help you recover, but spending time in the kitchen is valuable, nutritious movement. Chopping, reaching, bending down, opening, standing, stirring, grating, cleaning - the light movements involved in cooking multiple times every day will add up to some healthy additional movement and blood flow.

Go that step further and gather your ingredients from the market or store more regularly than once per week. And if you can, walk there!

Cooking is more nutritious.

You will never get a more nutritious meal out of a package then you will by making it in your own kitchen.

Cooking is your daily dose of mindfulness.

Cooking requires a level of mindfulness, concentration and focus that keeps you present with what you’re doing– there's no room for distractions when you’re working with knives and stove tops! Not to mention if you track your food, you’re adding an extra step that requires even more focus.

Cooking earns you life points.

Cooking may not come naturally to some, but it really isn’t that hard to learn. Stop saying “I can’t cook” and get in there and prove to yourself you can. Start learning more about cooking methods and ingredients. This is a life skill you will never regret and will reap the benefits of forever.

Cooking is good for your creative soul.

When you’ve got the basics of cooking under your belt the next step is adding your own creative flair. I’m not much of an artist myself but when it comes to whipping up an amazing dinner using only the ingredients left in the pantry or that will fit my macros, I am Picasso.

Cooking is optimizing your mental, physical and emotional performance.

Staying in control of your nutrition, moving well by being constantly active and being mentally present are all important if you’re looking to strive in your performance and longevity. When you think of it like this, is taking the time to cook at least one meal a day really something you want to miss out on?

I challenge you to “do it the hard way” as often as possible and watch it pay off physically and mentally. When you have to make your bed, see it as an opportunity to move. When you have to turn off the TV, get up and turn it off from the TV rather than using the remote. When you go to the grocery store, choose the furthest away parking spot.

I would LOVE to hear how you are finding small ways to move in your daily routine - share your #TeamWAG #WAGGoals with us!