I am a firm believer in make everything I can, simple. The more complex things are, the more I struggle with it. So I will work to simplify anything if it will save me time and a headache in the long run. Fitness is no different. I work with a variety of clients and they all have differing opinions on what works for them or in some cases they are trying to figure that out and need my help. I will always attempt to simplify the situation and give them a small number of things to concentrate on to chip away at the goal at hand.
A few months ago, I wrote on the Wall of Aspirations a list of four things that I thought were vitally important in achieving any fitness related goal, no matter the size. I felt like if anyone concentrated on these four items, a lot of their problems would be minimized. Of course, there is no “one stop shop” when it comes to these things, some things work for some people and some don’t. Life will always be life and there will always be exceptions to the rule. However, I write to you today to expound on this list of four, with the hopes it will simplify your fitness quest and help you achieve better long-standing results.
Prepare Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
You either prepare to succeed or you prepare to fail, there is no in-between. If your nutrition is your limiting factor, focusing on preparing your own meals versus eating out or not eating at all, sets you up for success. It is a lot to ask of someone to do this. Most people wake up as late as they can get by with and scoot out the door on their way to work or school. If that is you, prepare yourself something in advance or make something simple like a shake or have a Quest bar (no Power bars Coby!). Regardless of your choice eat something. There is too much research that says eating breakfast, particularly protein packed breakfast, aids in boosting metabolism and helps fat loss. Like Nike says, Just Do It.
Drink 1 Gallon of Water
No matter how you slice it, water is important. It has zero calories, keeps your hydrated and decreases the hunger mechanism. Drink it and drink a lot of it. My advice as always been at least 100 ounces a day, but if you go that far you might as well go with a gallon (128 ounces). If you drink that much, you will feel SO much better, that I will guarantee you.
Workout at Least Four Times
I ask my clients to be active at least four times per week and bare minimum work with weights at least two of those days. We need activity in our lives. And on half of the days during the week we need vigorous activity (i.e. lifting weights). Make this a priority and make time to be active or you will have to make time to be sick and tired. The choice is yours but the outcomes could be so much better if you follow the rule.
Here is the big one. The one no one talks about as it relates to fitness. Sleep. If you lack sleep or quality sleep the following can happen; elevated Cortisol levels leading to increased fat retention, impaired Glucose control leading to irregular blood sugar levels and retention of body fat, and increased adipose tissue retention, basically meaning you will hold on to your fat longer. The part about sleep that people forget is the release of growth hormone, a hormone that decreases body fat and increases muscle tissue aiding recovery. 7-8 hours of sleep is optimal but if you cannot do that, napping has its place as well. To be your best, you must sleep…period.
Simplifying things will more often than not make things better and I hope this list helps a few of you out. I would love to hear about it! Shoot me an email if you’d like.