Prioritize and execute: focus on the most important aspects of your nutrition and training programs first before implementing complexity.
It sounds obvious, but it’s not.
The glycemic index of carrots is unimportant if each day comes to a close with mindless snacking on whatever food is conveniently available.
It’s not necessary to worry about hitting macro splits perfectly every weekday if weekends are spent “letting it rip” on burgers, pizza, and booze.
Periodizing olympic lifts doesn’t matter without a strong foundation of goblet squats and pushups.
With all the nutrition and training advice thrown at us all the time, it is so tempting to get sidetracked by “the next big thing.” It is all too easy to be “mowing the lawn while the house is on fire;” focusing on something new and special when everything else in terms of your health is in chaos.
The people that have the best results with their nutrition and fitness are the ones who consistently good at the most simple tasks:
Choose high quality, less-processed whole foods that provide adequate nutrition.
Make half of your plate veggies at lunch and dinner. Try following one of our basics, the Plate Method: 1/2 plate non-starchy veggie, 1/4 plate lean protein, 1/4 smart carb. By doing this, you will make sure you are getting sufficient protein and fiber to help you stay full and satisfied until your next meal.
Do a pantry and fridge clean out. If it’s not in the house, you won’t eat it! When you go to the store, make a list and STICK TO IT. Avoid buying foods that aren’t providing ample nutrients.
Limit consumption of processed foods and sugar sweetened beverages. Especially stay away from diet sodas and other energy drinks. They contain artificial sweeteners that cause us to crave more sugar.
Eat three meals consistently per day full of vegetables and lean protein. Add in two more balanced snacks and you are set!
Drink 60-80 ounces of water each day and decrease alcohol consumption to four drinks per week max.
Move your body every day
This should be a mix of strength training, cardio, and “everyday movements” like playing with the kids or taking the dog for a walk. The people who do the very best long term regarding their nutrition are the ones who have movement ingrained in their daily routine.
Regulate emotions without food and eating
Emotional eating is when food is used to make ourselves feel better. We turn to food to fill our needs instead of our stomach. However, not only does this type of eating NOT fix emotional problems, it usually makes the problem worse by adding the guilt for overeating. Even if eating the unhealthy food feels good in the moment, the feelings that triggered the eating are still there.
Using food as comfort or to stop feeling bad every once in awhile isn’t a problem on it’s own. But just because it is normal to look to these foods in tough times doesn’t mean you have to succumb to the cravings all the time. This blog covers this topic in more detail on how to break this cycle and start handling stress without turning to food.
Rest and recover
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, get about seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and make sure your room is cool and dark. Another tip: Turn off all your screens and unplug for a while before bed.
Listen to your body. A little muscle soreness is totally normal! If you’re sore all the time though, you might need a rest day in which you do some light, enjoyable activities.
De-stress as often as you can. I know your life is super busy. Mine is, too! But take some time every day to unplug, meditate, go for a walk or do something that calms you and takes your mind off the grind. Put down that phone and feel some sunshine on your face!
Stretch! Just about everyone could do with a little more mobility—especially if you sit at a desk or perform repetitive movements all day. Try to build in a little time to regularly loosen up, or block off some time in the evening when you’re watching TV.
These high impact fundamentals are simple, everyday skills that if learned and practiced consistently will make a significant difference to your health and wellness, no matter your goal or level of knowledge.
It’s simple, not easy, but mastering these essentials will lead to a lifetime of success.