Modern day western society dictates we live busy lives. We all want to be healthy, but we haven’t all quite got the time to follow the new Atkins no carb fodmap with extra protein and a side of backflip diets and we also wouldn’t ever leave the house or use our mobile phones if we were to believe every single ‘become healthier study’ published nowadays.
So here are a few simple tricks to implement to help you become healthier right away! You’re going to want to read this right to the end!
Exercise- Try to make up the majority of the days in the week exercising for at least an hour (4 days minimum). 1 hour is 1/24th of your day! If going four days per week that’s 4 hours out of a weekly total of 168 hours – hardly a stretch. The average person will sleep for 7 work for 9, so that leaves 8 spare hours a day! So “not having time” is definitely an invalid excuse.
Training- You don’t need to be doing these two hour training sessions that these ‘Instafamous’ people claim they are doing. Jason Statham once said it right when he said: “Your body is like a piece of dynamite. You can tap it with a pencil all day, but you’ll never make it explode. You hit it once with a hammer: Bang! Get serious. Do 40 hard minutes, not an hour and half of nonsense. It’s so much more rewarding!” (1). Let’s face it, he’s in ridiculous shape, so we could all learn a thing or two! So get in, get your heart rate through the roof, lift heavy stuff, stretch off, get out.
Hydration– We all should be drinking a minimum of 2 litres of water per day. Personally I strangely struggle to consume enough water when a glass is sat in front of me, but as soon as I walk around with a bottle, I hit my targets for the day easily. So when you’re sat at work, get 2 clear plastic bottles, get a sharpie pen and draw straight lines running horizontally across the bottles with a 1cm gap in-between each line. For every half hour you have that bottle sat in front of you you must get below that next line.
Sleep– How old is your mattress? If it’s sunken or out of shape it may be time to get a new one. You spend up to a third of your day in bed, do you really want this to be a restless and uncomfortable place?
Also; sleep is vital to allow our body and mind to recover fully from the days events. This needs to be a calm, relaxing and deep sleep to maximise the benefits that come from sleeping. So like a lot of other things in life, get yourself into a routine. For me I take my pre bed supplements around 9:30 and aim to be in bed for 10, to which I then usually read for between 10-30 minutes. Ensure the room is as dark as possible and all electronics placed on the far side of the room. Put your phone on flight or silent mode so that you aren’t disturbed mid sleep by that annoying group chat.
Caffeine- Try to limit yourself to 2-3 coffees per day. I personally love my coffee so 3 is my absolute limit. 1 to wake up, 2 to poop and 3 as pre workout. Never reach for a coffee post 4pm. Regardless of what you feel your caffeine sensitivity is like, having caffeine in your system can greatly affect your quality of sleep! And as I mentioned in the previous point, sleep is kinda important.
Food– To achieve any kind of physical results, it’s all about calorific input to output. Within this, your calories will be made up of the three macro nutrients: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats (there are also micronutrients, but focus on the macros in the beginning). Our diets in the UK are generally fairly high carb based as we like our chips/fries, crisps and bread. For an instant improvement, try to cut out the crisps and chips and instantly swap for a better form of simple carbohydrates; fruit. Or better still, swap for some organic nuts which will fill you up for longer.
In terms of when to eat what. A rough guideline is as follows: Breakfast: Protein + Fats. Snack 1: Nuts + Fruit. Lunch: Protein + Carbs. Snack 2/pre workout: Fruit. Dinner/post workout: High protein + Moderate carbs.
When eating– Switch off the tv and avoid scrolling through your phone! Concentrate on what you are doing. If you can focus on what you are eating then you will find that you will break down the food a lot better than if you have something there as a distraction. Due to the smaller size chunks of food, your body will then be able to digest and metabolise these foods better. This may also lead to you feeling fuller sooner and therefore not over eating.
Healthy food labels- Don’t be misled by ‘healthy’ ‘organic’ ‘high protein’ ‘wholegrain’ labels. Yes they are better than their alternatives, but that doesn’t necessarily make them beneficial for your goals. Changing your body is all about calorie output and input through macro nutrient input. Yes you may be eating organic potatoes, but you may have already hit your daily need for carbohydrates, so in actual fact you may be better off with some avocado. Try to develop an understanding of the different food groups, as a fairly common and generally successful way to lose body fat is to lower carb intake and raise your fat intake.
Training the brain- I can’t preach to the high heavens that I’ve been doing this for years, because honestly I haven’t. But I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my business, health, relationships, training, general knowledge and understanding of nutrition since I started reading and reading regularly over the past 2-3 years. I try to read for at least an hour a day from good sources. I rarely read the news as there is very rarely anything positive in there so, it just puts me in a bad mood. But I read a lot of business books, books on nutrition, articles on human performance, books on strength training, self help and success books, articles on bodybuilding and that’s just to name a few.
Steps- Stop being lazy, just walk!
Hatred/jealousy/resentment towards others– This sounds cliche but imagine it’s your last day on earth…. would you really wanna go out knowing that you’re holding negative feelings towards others? Let it go, fix it, or use it as motivation to improve your life (when looking at celebs, bosses, Instafamous figures etc).
Sitting at work- A lot of people reading this will no doubt work at a desk, heck I’m sat at a desk writing this. But every twenty minutes, stand up, have a stretch, walk around and get the blood flowing. Sitting in these positions for extended periods of time doesn’t do our bodies any favours whatsoever. Keep limber, keep loose, and again ….. keep that water bottle flowing.
Set realistic achievable goals– So you see this Z list celebrity lost *5 stone* on this eat blended chicken farts diet, training 3 times per week. Most of the time that’s bullcrap! They ate well, had a trainer train them twice a day because they’re desperate to get in shape for an event, then sell us these get fit quick DVD’s to make some extra cash. Is this realistic for you as a working mum who has to go out and work for 9 hours a day, whilst juggling three kids, all of whom have their own extra curricular events to get to. The two lives are just not comparable! You unfortunately have to adjust your goals accordingly. Fitness is all about bettering yourself day by day, not by living on the three C’s diet to lose a whole bunch of body fat in a short period of time.
Stick reminders all around the home- Why are you doing it and what are you doing it for? Visual reminders are an extremely powerful way to stay on track. Even as a trainer I have notes on my cupboard and on my phone that I glance at regularly which keep me accountable for my nutrition. A lot of goals are often ruined by what we eat when in the comfort of our own home after a tough long day at work. When we are busy and on the move, we make the right choices such as eating clean and training hard… But when those work clothes come off, and the comfy clothes go on all hell breaks loose. Physical achievements are just that… they have to be achieved! Which means you are going to have to go through some hard times. It just depends how bad you want it. Make it easier by sticking notes up or hanging up that favourite pair of jeans you cant quite fit into currently! That should give you a kick up the backside to keep going!
Relaxation– A lot of people are so focused on smashing goals, pleasing their boss, impressing colleagues, being seen to be the hardest worker, commuting long distances to get that slightly better paid job etc. but a massive part of our health problems are stress related. Find a release that you really enjoy: football, horse racing, holidays, reading, golf (just a few of mine), dancing, dinner with friends, running, sailing, chess, meditation whatever it may be. If you are fortunate enough to really love what you do for a living, then carry on doing that if you find yourself completely relaxed when doing so. If not, search for those things that you really enjoy, as these breaks will allow you to live a much happier and more fulfilling life!
And finally, adjust your mindset. You don’t want to lose weight; it’s fat loss you’re after! Health should not be determined by a number on a machine that you step on. I know plenty of 100kg guys that are far healthier and stronger than some that are 75kg!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you find motivation from some of these points to better your life today!
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Yours in health.
- Mens Health