Trying to figure out what to eat and how to exercise is exhausting. It really is difficult to make sense of what works, what doesn’t and why. Since supplement scams are designed to shrink your wallet, not your waistline and most of the so-called diet gurus are nothing more than talking heads, we’re left to sift through all the misinformation on our own.
While most fitness fads come and go, there are some methods that have withstood the test of time. The methods that matter, the ones that actually work are simple solutions for eating, exercise and everything Else.
Healthy eating is not about dieting; it’s about fueling your body for life and performance. Food is not a reward, and you shouldn’t eat for gratification. You should eat to provide your body with vitamins and nutrients it needs.
Eat whole foods and avoid fake foods. Whole foods come from the earth. Fake foods come out of a box or bag. Start by eating 80-90% whole foods and eliminate the processed junk. Stick to lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
Be mindful of what you’re eating. You don’t have to count your calories, but do track your portion size; overeating and binging are a bad idea.
You do not have to eat six meals a day, or even three. Meal frequency isn’t linked to weight loss . Conversely, not eating, or intermittent fasting, has been shown to provide various health benefits. So what does all this mean? Here’s the trick: eat whole foods when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, repeat.
Don’t drink your calories. Avoid soda, juice, and energy drinks. Stick to water, tea, and coffee.
Eating healthy does not have to break the bank. Junk food and eating out is expensive too, stop lying to yourself.
Be wary of food packing and food labels. Whole grains, fat free, and gluten free is not the same as healthy, natural, and sugar free. The healthiest foods don’t have a label – think fruits and vegetables.
Fitness is not one thing, it is lots of things. There is no one right way to exercise; you just have to move more, more often. Pick activities that you like and do them on a consistent basis.
It doesn’t matter when you workout, as long as you’re doing it. The best time to exercise is when it works for you. Schedule your workouts like you meetings, put them in your calendar and show up ready to work.
You do have time to exercise, you don’t need a gym, and you can get started today. There are lots of workouts that do not require any equipment, but still deliver awesome results. Stop putting exercise off and start now!
Make a workout plan that includes strength training, even if it’s just bodyweight exercises. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn. You don’t have to bulk up or become a body builder, but you should be hitting the weights if you want to improve your body composition and metabolic output.
If you do go to the gym to get your strength training in, use free weights and do more compound exercises. Get under the bar and squat. Do more deadlifts. Learn how to swing a kettlebell. Plan for 2 to 3 workouts each week that include total body training splits. Keep the intensity high, always use proper form, and practice progressive overload. Record your workouts in a training journal. Cap your workouts at 45 minutes.
Cardio comes in different forms. Create a running plan that meets your goals. If you want to be an endurance athlete you better get used to going long. But, if you want to get fit, get faster, lose fat and build muscle do sprints instead. Fat burning cardio like interval training, running hills and sprinting is more effective, and takes less time than running long distances.
Stop doing crunches. There are way better ways to get a six pack. If you want to reveal your abs you’re going to have to dial in your diet, strength train and do some sprints. Simply doing more sit-ups will not make your abs show.
The most important take away from this article: eating and exercise is a personal thing. It’s not about what everyone else does, why they do it or how they do it. This is about you! What do you want, what are your goals and why does it matter? Figure that stuff out first and then make a plan, believe in yourself and get it done!
I don’t think that Ernest Hemingway was into fitness (I think he was more a fan of women and whiskey), but he nailed it when he wrote this:
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
You’re doing all this nutrition planning and exercise stuff to improve yourself so that you can be better today than you were yesterday. It doesn’t matter if someone is stronger than you, if they can run further faster. Who cares? All that matters is that you are stronger and faster than you used to be. Compete with yourself. Set you own records and then beat them.
Get comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone. Find out what failure feels like and then embrace it. Turn your weaknesses into strengths. Go big during your workouts, learn what you’re really capable of and then apply that mentality to your life. Live like you train, everyday.
Know this; getting fit is more mental than physical. You’re brain wants you to be fat and boring. But, you can fight back and take control of your body, your habits and your life.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you. Who you are and you will become is within your control.
“A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses.” ― James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
What choice will you make today; to become the person you want to be in the future?
Joe is a writer, trainer and fitness entrepreneur who co-founded Hybrid Athlete LLC, Kettlebell Cardio™ and Race Day Domination. Currently building @fittinsider, a platform for founders, executives, & investors redefining fitness/wellness. Investing in health/fitness companies