Let's be honest, there's simply too much information out there regarding fitness, health and wellness. It’s completely understandable why one would have a hard time finding the basics that they need to get started. There’s so much information regarding how train, eat and even supplement your body that some of this information even contradicts itself. Then what?! Who are you supposed to believe? Even when someone asks me to give them advice on how to improve their fitness lifestyle it’s like asking a pilot to give you tips about flying a plane, there's just too much to cover. It’s a vague question with way too many answers and each answer leads to more questions. So what are the must needs or the most basic components one needs to do and incorporate into their lifestyle in order to feel and look better?
1.) Drink more water – I’m sure you’ve heard of this one before countless times and yet it's the one most fail to even start. It’s simple, your body is compromised of 60-70% water. Your organs are filled with it, your muscles and your brain as well. Being hydrated not only affects you internally but your largest organ; the skin feels it too. Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. It allows for all the basic metabolic and biochemical functions of your body to take place. So if you want to maintain a healthy looking skin tone, avoid headaches, ensure optimal performance and more be sure to be drinking plenty of water a day. Drink a minimum of 8, 8oz glasses of water per day. If you are active preferably even more. A gallon a day is a great place to start. Not a water drinker? Add a little flavor to it with a 0 calorie enhancer.
2.) Exercise at least 3-4 / week – I’m not going to get into too much detail here regarding sets, reps, what style is the best etc…This post is simply to recommend you to do some sort of physical activity and or movement 3 to 4 times a week for at least one hour. The general consensus recommends 30min daily but let's be honest, that's a great start but not enough. I would encourage some type of strength training as the benefits of performing a strength and conditioning style workout are that your bones, ligaments, cartilage and muscles will get stronger. You also may avoid problems with posture and bone density. I'm sure you don't care too much about that now but wait until you are older. You'll be caring then.
3.) Increase your protein consumption – As this article is mainly orientated to those who are just starting their path into fitness, its important I point out that most likely you are not getting enough protein in your daily nutrition regimen. When most ask share with me what they eat I immediately know that it's not enough. Specially if you are starting an active lifestyle. How do I know this? Because most people eat on average 3 times a day and get maybe 1 snack in there. This is not enough. Be sure to be consuming at least 1g of protein per lbs of weight. If you weigh 135lbs then try and eat 135g of protein daily. Protein is not only needed for the famous muscle building but also for so many other activities your body goes through on a daily basis. Just because you are eating more protein will not mean you will immediately bulk up or build muscle. You must have a strength program to help you with this goal.
4. ) Understand what you eat – This is probably my most important point on the entire article. Most people don’t look at what they eat. They eat because it taste good and not because it will do them well. Start looking at the ingredients of foods and look at how many ingredients they have. Try buying most foods that don't come in packages, that don't have labels all over and that you can find in the non processed aisles. Your body will be thanking you later. After all, your body will be absorbing all of those things you probably can’t even pronounce.
5.) Be consistent- It’s new year’s eve and you are committed that at the turn of the year you will start your path to being fit. Right about the end of January a full month has passed and you quit because you didn’t see the results you wanted. This is something I hear all the time. Unfortunately it takes a bit of time for your body to truly change and YOU must be in control of being consistent and balancing everything so that you don’t give up. You can't expect years of lack of activity and eating poorly to disappear just because you decided to commit for a few weeks. Failure is part of success and quitting because you didn’t get your results in a matter of 30 days is unacceptable. Stop putting a number to how many days you need to get fit, it’s a lifestyle not a race so be committed to stick with it for the rest of your life.
6. ) Avoid the Obvious – How many times have you heard “ Avoid fast foods, cigarettes, high amounts of caffeine, carbonated drinks, alcohol and high sodium foods” ? Well, you’ve heard it for a reason. These components do not improve your overall health at all, in fact they affect them negatively. So why keep them part of your lifestyle? Sure, once in a while it’s totally fine to grab your favorite cheeseburger from your favorite fast food place, but don’t make this a habit or a way of rewarding yourself for all your hard work at the gym. Avoiding these things over time will tremendously improve your quality of life.
7.) Have Alone time – You might be wondering how this has anything to do with being fit. Well being fit doesn’t just mean being physically fit, it also means being mentally fit as well. By having some time alone to do what you enjoy most or simply relax you clear your mind of everything and anything that you feel affects you negatively. Stress can be the #1 killer and so you must have some time on a daily basis for yourself. If you have a family just take 5-10 min daily to relax and find a place that’s quiet for you to breathe deeply and gather your thoughts for the day.
These are just 7 very basic things that if you do on a regular basis will not only improve your quality of life but also improve your health. I’ll point out that as I mentioned, stress is a huge factor to poor quality life choices and many other negative factors so be sure that anytime you feel stressed to do point #7 and have some time to think for yourself. You’ve got one body, take care of it as it will take care of you.