If you could stop worrying about the things that are currently bothering you, what could you start to worry about? What else could you focus on and accomplish?
For many of us, some of those fundamental worries include wishing we looked better, felt better, and had more confidence. What would happen if these were taken care of? How would you feel?
Starting with a basic nutrition and fitness routine can do wonders for your productivity, performance in school, health, appearance, sleep, confidence, and overall happiness. Whether you're a three-sport athlete, performing artist, or a techie, optimizing and automating your nutrition and fitness will allow you to focus on improving the things beyond your basic confidence- things that will separate you from the pack.
You DO NOT have to sacrifice eating great-tasting food and workout 2x per day, 7 days per week to build great habits. It's all about knowing yourself, sticking with a fitness routine you enjoy, finding foods that are healthy and taste great ("On Meals"), and rewarding yourself with meals where you get to enjoy your favorite not-so-healthy foods ("Off Meals"). While everyone's ideal structure for eating and working out will be different, following some basic principles can help you find your perfect routines.
- For exercise, perform activities that you enjoy doing or at least can tolerate. Doing things you hate will make it substantially more likely that you won't stick to a routine.
- Don't do the same workout every time. Try to mix it up- jog one day, then ride your bike, then swim, then do some resistance exercises, play sports, dance, go on a walk with friends or family, etc.
- You should be doing something pretty active at least 3x per week, preferably closer to 4-6x per week.
- Warming up, cooling down, and stretching when you are working out can help decrease soreness and recovery time, increase flexibility, strength, and speed, and prevent injuries.
- Don't deprive yourself! That is why you have On Meals (to eat healthier) and Off Meals (to eat not quite so healthy)!
- During your normal weekly routine, or On Meals (breakfast, lunch at school, dinner at home), stick to your healthier foods. You should be aiming to eat On Meals at least 2/3 of the time and ideally higher. Below are some guidelines to help you identify healthier meal options.
- Avoiding foods with added sugar, simple carbs (white bread, white pasta, cereal), fried foods, and instant meals alone during your On Meals will dramatically impact your overall health and appearance.
- You should be consuming a lot of protein (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, protein shakes with low sugar) and healthy fat (nuts, olive oil, natural nut butters, hummus) relative to the amount of carbs you consume, which should be primarily from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The primary reason for most people gaining weight or struggling to lose weight is too many carbs, not because of fat!
- For any grain products (bread, english muffins, buns, pasta, etc.), substitute white/multigrain for 100% whole wheat or even a flourless option like Ezekiel Bread. Make sure to check the ingredients to verify that there is no "enriched" flour.
- On your Off Meals, enjoy yourself! The Off Meals are what make a balanced diet enjoyable and sustainable!
Using these basic principles to make even slight changes in your nutrition and fitness habits can be a game-changer- whether you're looking to put on muscle, lose some unwanted weight, or just feel and perform better.
If you are really serious about getting healthier and happier, check out our partners at Integrated Health and Healing. They are fantastic and specialize in helping adults and families with nutritional and spiritual cleansing, then building amazing habits around food, thought, and energy.
Work on setting a fitness and/or nutrition goal that gets you excited. Use some of the principles above and craft a plan that will help you achieve your goal! For example, right now I am mixing in tennis 3x per week with the weightlifting routine Christian Bale used to bulk up for The Dark Knight trilogy.
What did you think of this post? What about the basic principles? Let us know in the comments!
Need some help on getting started? Check out our Call To Action Post on prioritizing your schedule and taking action today!