I consider myself extremely blessed to have the opportunity to speak into the lives of so many people during their fitness journey. You may find this surprising to learn, but very little of my time is spent discussing exercise. Sure, when I’m training clients or athletes we are exercising with a plan and a purpose. But, my focus extends far beyond strengthening of muscles or the heart. What I hope to instill in every person I have the privilege of training is the knowledge, skillset, and inspiration to lead a healthy abundant life.
Below is a list and detailed description of all the aspects of healthy living I advocate for on a daily basis. No category is more important than the other and deficiencies in one or more category will severely limit the function of the others.
1) Sleep: How well and how much you sleep affects your health and performance. Sleep is critical for proper hormone levels, mental health, recovery, and much more. Get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every night. Avoid bright lights and electronics one hour before bed so that your brain can release melatonin, allowing you to fall into a deep restful sleep.
2) Nutrition: What you put in your mouth will determine how successful you are. Eat at least three meals a day; consisting of a lean protein source, a vegetable, a healthy fat, and a fibrous carbohydrate. Avoid highly processed foods like packaged goods and fast food. Don’t count calories, but pay close attention to your body composition and energy level. If your weight is creeping up and body fat is increasing, you need to reduce your overall caloric consumption. If you are losing muscle mass and suffering from low energy, it’s a good idea to increase your overall caloric intake.
3) Hydration: Water plays many roles in the human body. It aides in the absorption of many nutrients, helps the body eliminate waste, and plays a critical role in proper function of every system in our bodies. Sip water regularly throughout the day. An easy way to tell if you are adequately hydrated is by the color of your urine. If you are drinking enough, your urine will be pale yellow. Avoid sodas and consume alcohol and coffee in very limited amounts.
4) Stress Management: Chronic stress wreaks havoc on our health. It can disrupt sleep, cause indigestion, affect mental health, limit how hard you can exercise, and so much more. Maintain a healthy balance in your daily/weekly schedule, allowing time for work, rest, recreation, and family/personal time. Focus on what is important in your life instead of the things that seem urgent.
5) Physical Activity: Physical activity takes on many forms; i.e. exercise, manual labor, leisure activities, sports, etc. The benefits of physical activity include building and maintaining muscle mass, improved balance and coordination, increased brain activity, and improvements in mood. Not to mention, it helps in maintaining a healthy body composition by burning calories. Engage in one hour of physical activity 4-6 days per week. It can be broken up into smaller segments totaling an hour for each day.
6) Inner Tranquility: There are positive and negative influences on us each day. These influences come from external and internal sources. The reality is that whatever we feed our mind and spirit will grow and eventually take control. If there are areas in your life that stand in opposition to where or who you desire to be, then develop a game plan to conquer it. Personal finances, broken relationships, negativity, self-doubt, addiction, vices, bad habits, etc. are just some of the things that can create huge obstacles to achieving your dreams. Anything that robs your inner peace limits the energy you can devote to being healthier and happier.
I challenge everyone reading this blog post to take an honest look at themselves and evaluate which areas they struggle with the most. Then work to make positive changes in your life not because you “ought to” or “should,” but because you love yourself and want a healthy abundant life filled with joy and adventure.
One Body! One Life! CARE For It!