Fit for the Right Reasons

Embarking on a journey to better you is hard. Changing habits that you’ve had all of your life takes mental toughness, willpower, and consistency. Setting short and long term goals then working towards them leads to success; so long as these goals are realistic and can fit within your everyday lifestyle.

I’ve sat down with over 100 people to discuss their current habits and how to work towards living a healthier lifestyle. I would say 60% of people want to start working out for vanity reasons while the other 40% have to start exercising because their doctor told them it is absolutely vital to their health. We need some middle ground here people!

If you want to look like that huge ripped dude with a rippling 6 pack, or that girl with strong quads and buns of steel -sure it’s possible – but I can tell you now that those people have made nutrition and exercise their life, everything they do from the moment they wake up to when they go to sleep involves healthy, structured eating along with planned, consistent exercise. They plan and pack their meals and do not skip out on their workouts even if they are tired or have a million other things to do. They don’t find time for fitness; they make time (clearly some indiviuals have the added bonus of good genetics, but we can’t all be that lucky). To some this may be unrealistic, and that is okay.

This isn’t to say you can’t look the way you desire, I’m just not one to give false promises. I need to emphasize how much work and dedication gaining muscle and/or loosing fat takes. Today’s supplements and rip-off “ab machines” loves to give the general population false hope while taking their money. The truth is you must eat well, be active, and take it upon yourself to learn about your body.

I want to encourage your average Joe who works every day and has a family to take on healthy habits so he/she can live disease free with the unrestricted ability to participate in everyday activities, along with the confidence to hold their own during recreational sports or anything else that requires a degree of physical fitness.

If looking better is the motivation to get you started, use that. However there are endless reasons to improve your nutrition and get moving that has nothing to do with the way you look on the outside. In fact, most of the positive changes start inside your body – where it really counts.

 

 

 

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He Says, She Says

Buying a new car would be considerably easier if your choices were limited. Instead you have to choose the type of vehicle; used or new; the cost; the horsepower; 2 door or 4; to lease, finance, or buy; to upgrade the interior or keep it basic; mileage; insurance; colour; and god knows what else.

To make things easier you decide to ask around and get the opinions of others. The problem is everyone offers you different suggestions – the soccer mom opts for the minivan, the environmentalists pushes the hybrid, and the construction guy wouldn’t think of buying anything but a truck. Doesn’t help you much does it? These people have the intention of helping you but instead leave you more confused than when you started.

The same thing happens when embarking on the journey to become more fit and to eat healthy – Jessica says carbs will make you fat, Billy says you have to lift weights 5 days a week to gain muscle, and Sarah swears by intermittent fasting while doing endless bouts of cardio. Considering the hundreds of different ways to train, along with all the fad diets and opinions of others, how the hell do you know what to choose?!

Back to the car metaphor – besides wanting to help, these people have something else in common; they ended up going with what would suit their needs best and stuck with that. The same thing must be done when it comes to your health.

Seeking information from others can be helpful but often times ends up adding to the confusion. You bounce around trying techniques that may have worked for others but leaves you feeling worse than when you started. Here are some tips that have taken me years to learn and apply to my current life:

Determine your goals, ones that do not oppose each other: You can’t be a power lifter and run a marathon while expecting to be great at both. Choose your focus and stick with that. You can be good at lots of things, but great? I doubt Sid the kid can play basketball as well as he does hockey, and I can imagine he has been perfecting his hockey skills his entire life; even if he wasn’t the best at first.

Seek advice from a FEW KNOWLEDGABLE people: Most people like to talk and act like they know it all even after minor success. If you need information regarding losing weight and/or choosing the right exercises; speak with a reputable dietician and personal trainer. Considering the advice of others has its place, so long as it doesn’t leave you feeling more confused.

Too much of a good thing is still too much: It has taken me years to come to terms with this fact. Doing endless bouts of cardio or excessive weight training sessions will leave you flat and weak. More isn’t always better, and finding a healthy balance is tough. Seek advice from a trainer who can help you program your training is a good option. If you’re new to exercise, my advice is to start with 2-3 full body weight training sessions/week and 3-4 moderate intensity cardio activities for 20-30 minutes/week.

You cannot out train a bad diet:  You may have heard this saying before. Unfortunately it’s a fact and there is no way around it. Sure, you’ll see improvements in your body composition and likely even drop a couple pounds just from the addition of exercise to your life. However, it isn’t until you change your poor eating habits will you see significant changes in how you look and feel. Exercising does not give you a free pass to eat more crap.

Have a plan, stick to it, and document your progress: Walking into a weight room without a plan is pointless. You need structure, consistency, and dedication for anything to work. Changing things up too often does not allow your body and mind the time it needs to become bigger, faster, and stronger. Have a plan ready, document the weights you use, stay consistent, and strive for improvement.

Take a Walk

Walk in the park

I’ve always enjoyed walking. Long before I began taking my fitness and health seriously, I walked regularly. Going for a leisure walk should not be underestimated, nor should it be considered boring. It provides many health benefits and is great for those who cannot, or do not like to run.

I won’t get into all of the benefits of walking (great for heart health, blood pressure, stress relief, and more); I just wanted to share my love for this simple act. Whether you take a stroll on a warm sunny day, or a cool fall evening, or even in the rain, it may just give you a new perspective on things.

I am pretty good at overwhelming myself with thoughts that ultimately do me no good. Thoughts related to work, money, relationships, and god knows what else. However, these thoughts seem to dissipate as my walk goes on, and by the end it all seems so miniscule.

Take a second to look up at the sky, at the clouds, and the swaying tree tops. Look at the grass, the flowers, and all the little creatures along the way. Breathe in the air and appreciate the beauty this earth has to offer. After doing so, you may just realize that the world is so much bigger than your concerns.

Even if you don’t feel up to the trek, go anyways. I can almost guarantee your max 5 minutes will turn into 10, and then maybe 20. Take your music with you, or invite a friend if you like company. I’m lucky enough to have my best friend (Laska, my dog) come with me every time.

Take a walk.

I’m keeping it short and simple today. Thank-you for reading!

Tips Towards Good Health

So far I have 28 tips towards good health! I plan on adding to it as they come to mind, and if you would like me to elaborate on any of them, as I know they are very general, feel free to leave a comment! Thank-you for reading.

  1. Drink lots of waterWater
  2. Consume more fibre
  3. Whole grains only, not white
  4. Relax on the dairy
  5. Fill up on vegetables
  6. Use healthy oils
  7. Move more than you sit
  8. Skip the sauces and condiments
  9. Processed foods suck
  10. Prepared frozen meals also suck (in most cases)
  11. Deep fried foods really, really suckNo fast food
  12. Learn how to cook
  13. Make most, if not all your meals at home
  14. Take a good multivitamin everyday
  15. Omega 3s are your friend
  16. Exercise regularly
  17. Adopt/keep a good attitude
  18. Don’t use food as a reward
  19. Eat breakfast every morning
  20. Try new things
  21. Eat frequently & never starve yourself
  22. Know your body and how it responds to certain foods
  23. Light & healthy snacks before bed onlyKnow thyself
  24. Have healthy snacks on hand, always
  25. Alcohol = excess empty calories
  26. Even too much of a good thing is still too much
  27. Work on controlling portion sizes
  28. Find physical activities you enjoy