Fitness Friday: Tips to Sustain a Healthier You for Life
As you embark on this fourth of July Weekend, some of you may be concerned about getting side tracked from your fitness goals or maybe you are not happy with the status of your health right now. The problem is you may be unsure where to start, what you should or shouldn't do because we have all seen the commercials on TV and the banner ads online:
-The secrets to being fit like Hollywood stars
-The Ten Facts of Fitness
-Three stage weight loss formula
-How to get ripped in 25 minutes a day
There is a lot of people who want you to spend money on their products and you have to hope that what they promise is true for you. These gimmicks may work, but are not for everyone. Some of these "fitness gurus" are manipulative and want to entice you to buy a product or service. The truth is that the real key to being healthy and better fitness is based in what you do every day, not in the products you take or whose workout program you choose to use. So instead of trying to sell you on a product or program, let me give you my fitness tips to live by that you can use the rest of your life:
1. Drink More Water!
Did you know that over 60 percent of the human body is H2O? In fact, your brain and heart are composed of 73 percent water! But as a society people spend so much time drinking coffee, soda, juice, and alcohol then forget they need clean water for their body to properly function. Many people who suffer daily headaches, dizziness, inability to focus and muscle cramps it's because they are not hydrated enough. Also during these summer months it's even more important to drink water and avoid dehydration.
Here is what I recommend: when you wake up each morning, drink 8 oz of water first thing. This will jump start the re-hydration of the body after hours of your body using the nutrients in your system to recover during sleep. Just drinking coffee in the morning is not enough because while the caffeine is a quick jump start for increased focus and coffee is an amplifier for blood circulation, water first thing in the morning stabilizes the functionality of the brain and other organs. Then through out the day, attempt to consume two to four liters of water. This seems extreme to some people but over the course of the 12-18 hours per day you average being awake, drinking a little every 15-30 minutes some water will go along way to maintaining your body is hydrated through out the day and you don't have to deal with the annoying side effects of lacking hydration.
2.Eat Good, Feel Good
Sounds too good to be true? Well the food you eat every day has a profound impact on how your body functions because at the most basic level of nutrion and human biology is this truth: Food is Fuel! The higher quality food you eat can directly correlate to the better you will feel. The human body is a biological machine of numerous simultaneous processes operating to make you function each day. If you wouldn't put Regular Fuel in a Luxury Vehicle or Premium Sports Car, then you shouldn't do that to your body. This sounds simple but in truth we live in a world with fast food places every few miles and "deals" at the supermarket on over processed foods. So here are my solutions for you to eat better every day:
-If your great-great-grandparents wouldn't recognize it as food, then you don't need it!
There are tens of thousands of food dishes that have been around for centuries and they are full of quality foods with Macro-nutrients your body needs. If something doesn't "taste any good" maybe it was produced wrong; the solution isn't to drown all your food under condiments that pump your body full of sodium and preservatives it doesn't need. Remember that essential nutrients can be found in the major food groups: Protein, Carbohydrates, and Healthy Fats.
-The 80/20 rule: If you plan for 80 percent of the week to eat healthy while treating yourself the other 20 percent of the week, this method is proven to be healthy option for anyone no matter what your health and fitness goals may be. The biggest problem with many of the trends and diets is that the initial shock to your system is not sustainable for your health long term. But if you decrease how often you "treat yourself", your metabolism will recognize what you are trying to do and will learn to function more efficiently. You can program your body to be more healthy!
3. Prioritize Fruits+Vegetable+Protein in every meal
When you eat enough fruits, vegetables, and protein you get valuable nutrients your body needs while also eating food that satiates hunger cravings. When you eat until your stomach is satisfied you will have less room for "bad food" that you have become so accustomed to cramming your meals with. Protein doesn't have to just be animal products like chicken, beef, turkey, and fish; beans and nuts are also solid forms of protein you can consume. So next time you order out or make a meal at home, make sure you are getting some fruits and/or vegetables along with protein every time you eat. You will find over time you will feel better and create eating habits to make you less likely to grab snacks or deserts so quickly.
4. Exercise 4-6 days per week for 30-60 minutes
We all have busy schedules and we tend to think we don't have time for exercise. The reality is that we have time for what we prioritize in life: our favorite TV shows, going out to the bar, scrolling through social media, etc. With all the stuff we cram into our days, but how much of it is truly "necessary"? Prioritizing your your health is necessary for living a happy and functional life. Exercising once a day 4-6 days per week only takes up 4-5 percent of your week, which is much less time than you spend at work or sleeping each week!
Also being physically active consistently doesn't mean you have to lift weights or go run every day; do activities you enjoy half of the week then take the other days doing something that is challenging. If you enjoy running or playing a sport, do that consistently every week, then take a couple days to do some strength based exercises. Or if you love to pump iron, find a couple days per week to get in some Yoga or Functional workouts. The more variety you have in your week with exercise, the more functional your body will operate and the better your body will respond to the fitness regimen you are practicing.
Following these principles will not just help you to be more healthy, but also will improve your overall quality of life in ways that you can sustain for years to come. And don't we all want to have happier, better lives?
*Josh Hennig is more than just a Daily Host and Producer for 973 ESPN Atlantic City: Josh is a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS) from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and studied The Psychology of Weight Control. Josh is a former NASM Certified Personal Trainer and studied Fitness Supplementation. Follow his personal IG for more Fitness and Life stuff: @joshuashennig