Ok so last post we had part 1 of the lean & healthy habits checklist, just to recap we had:
1. Have you eliminated processed fake foods from your diet?
2. Do you limit alcohol?
3. Do you take an Omega 3 Fish Oil or Krill Oil supplement?
4. Do you take a multi-vitamin or ‘greens’ supplement?
5. Do you regularly exercise?
6. Do you exercise with adequate intensity and consistency?
You can scroll down the page to the last post to read or re-read if you like…
So I hope you identified a couple of things that you can improve to get you closer to your goals. If you did identify some things to improve and you haven’t been working on them then there’s only 1 solution, TAKE ACTION!. Don’t wait for a perfect time cos it will never come, taking imperfect action right now is better than the perfect plan which never quite eventuates. I myself fall into this trap of waiting for a better or more convenient time to do things and have been trying to stop this as I know it’s really just procrastination.
Ok, here’s the next 6 habits, and remember there’s no particular order (although i think the number 1 and 12 are the 2 most important)
7. Do you regularly stretch, foam roll, massage?
We live in a unique age where we now spend most of our days sitting hunched over, typing on computers. Needless to say, our bodies are not designed for this or used to this, and there is a price to pay in terms of being very ‘tight’ and weak in certain parts of the body like glutes, legs, back, neck, ‘core’ forearms/wrists etc . Add in regular exercise and all of a sudden its very important we properly maintain and take care of ourselves. To be a fit and healthy person its important to regularly stretch muscles that are tight for YOU, and plenty of foam rolling, massage etc to maintain tissue length and quality. It’s very hard to optimise question 6 (training with adequate intensity) if you’re not doing this too. If you’re reading this then there’s a good chance you train at The Fit Stop anywhere from 2-4 times per week, that’s 2-4 times per week you can ALWAYS consistently squeeze in this stuff before and/or after a session.
8. Do you drink enough Water?
In reality, there are no real studies on water to give us any real conclusive guidelines as to what is ideal. Somewhere along the line someone recommended 8 glasses per day and this seems to have stuck. Whether or not that is true or not, given the fact that so much of our body is made of water and water is involved in so many physiological functions it’s a good idea to hedge your bets and assume a decent amount of water will probably do us some good. Put in another way, there’s good rationale for avoiding dehydration so you don’t hinder your ability to burn fat, or exercise with adequate intensity. A couple of litres per day give or take is a good rough guideline I think.
9. Do you eat enough Protein?
It’s not about high protein, or low carb or anything like that. The fact is if you cut out a lot of processed crap foods, (the biggest offenders just happen to be carbohydrate based) then we’re left with only a finite number of other, natural foods to make up our diet, one of them being quality protein. If the bulk of most people’s diets were composed of processed high protein foods like hot dogs, sausages, meat pies, bacon, salami, and high sugar protein bars then I’d tell you to cut out a lot of your protein too. Good quality protein however is important for muscle repair and growth (and therefore body composition results), as well as providing an array of nutrients not replicated in other food sources. I haven’t yet come across a client who eats too much so its not that i’m advocating ‘high protein’, I’m advocating higher protein for most people given their goals and where they’re starting from (building up lost muscle tissue and metabolism from being sedentary for a while). This is also on the assumption its displacing a lot of processed foods and not in addition to these foods.
If you’re doing some resistance training then you should also be having a protein recovery shake within 30mins of finishing, there’s numerous studies that show you’re in a unique physiological state after intense exercise and this ingested protein will be shuttled straight into your muscles to immediately kickstart the recovery and re-building process from your strenuous workout, which is essentially what needs to happen in order to get results. You don’t progress and improve yourself whilst training, you progress and improve by recovering from your training and coming back fitter, stronger etc.
10. Are you eating enough Veggies?
In a nutshell, veggies are really good for you, you NEED veggies to be healthy. No other food source provides the biggest nutritional bang for your buck calorie for calorie. Eat unlimited veggies and for most people reading this, you’d feel much better and lose more weight if you doubled or tripled the amount you’re eating at the moment on a daily basis.
11. Do you take time to de-stress?
Whilst its important to push yourself hard when exercising, it’s also just as important to find some time to relax and ‘de-stress’. In our crazy modern world it’s easy to live in a constant state of stress, with a constant bombardment of information and communication 24 hours a day. De-stressing can take many forms and it will depend on your personality. Many people use exercise to de-stress and that’s great (for some people exercise is an additional stress), some people meditate, some people do yoga, and some people just chill out, read a book, go for a walk, or play golf. Just do something that you enjoy and allows you to stop thinking about crazy stuff. Stress will increase your blood pressure, and will also increase your stress hormone Cortisol. Unfortunately Cortisol will noticeable hinder your ability to burn body fat, especially on your stomach. A lot of people take a holiday or make a big change in their life situation, and find it easier to lose weight all of a sudden; I think reducing stress can play a big part in this.
12. Do you have a good attitude?
Whether you’re going to be successful in achieving any body composition or fitness goals you have, will be determined by your attitude more than any other single factor alone. Your attitude will dictate how disciplined you will be sticking to basic habits every day, if you APPLY and TAKE ACTION on the advice and information given to you, how easily you come up with reasons to skip training or justify poor eating habits, and how you respond to change, challenges and set backs. Your attitude will determine your realistic expectations and whether or not you’re willing to put in hard work to get what you want or if you expect huge results from minimal effort and cutting corners. Your attitude will determine if you can push yourself in training to get results, or whether you just try to get through an hour of exercise with as little discomfort and work as possible. It will determine whether you perceive everything as ‘too hard’ and mentally give up before you even start or whether you look at things as an exciting challenge to tackle with positivity. I’ve known people who will skip training if they have a sore pinky finger , and I know people who will train through the flu the day after they’ve put their back out and can hardly walk because there’ll be something they can do and some progress they can make (NOT that I necessarily encourage this, but it’s an indication of attitude). In all my years meeting and training literally hundreds of people, I can safely say that attitude and results (in anything not just health & fitness) have a HUGE correlation.
and thats a wrap, this is definately not an exhaustive list, i’m sure I could think of a few more things If I had to, but if you get these 12 main things dialled in you’ll be kicking goals in no time, you’ll look and feel better than ever, you’ll live longer and enjoy a better quality of life, reduce your chances for a whole bunch of health problems and you’ll NEVER go back.
More importantly, ask yourself where your current habits will get you in the next 2 years… or 10, 15, 20 years?