6 tips to improve your health
There’s always some new health and nutrition research coming out that adds to the information and misinformation out there. Sometimes it can be super exhausting and confusing to sort through what’s useful, what’s not really all that useful, and then there are those that might be downright dangerous!
At Velocity Fitness Group, we aren’t training athletes or people looking for drastic body composition changes. If you pay enough money and put in enough effort anyone can undergo dramatic changes over 8-12 weeks. What we do here at Velocity is focus on what happens at 13+ weeks. We want clients who understand that health and fitness is a long term goal, and they’re looking for a Personal Trainer that helps support and educate them on lifestyle changes for ongoing success. Our ultimate goal and purpose is to empower our clients to take ownership of their day to day actions and decisions.
We do this by taking our clients through the M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System – a mnemonic that covers 6 tips you can do to improve your health.
- Make Time For Sleep
- Adhere to 80/20
- Remember to Stay Hydrated
- Take Care of Your Gut Health
- Incidental Exercise Is Key
- Activities That Are Fun
- Learning & Understanding Is Key
Easy to remember right! I would probably be right to say that most people know that the first 3 things especially are super important, however the key things that people are missing is the understanding and subsequent empowerment that truly leads to reaching your health and fitness goals.
- Make Time For Sleep – aim for 6-8 hours sleep a night and a regular sleep schedule. Don’t use electronic devices for an hour before bedtime or in bed, or use blue blocking glasses if necessary. WHY? Sleep is crucial for the mind to reset and decompress. Continued poor sleep or deprivation leads to significant decrease in cognitive function. If you’ve been exercising, sleep is the time the body uses to repair and recover, so poor sleep will result in sore joints and muscles and lead to potential injuries.
- Adhere to 80/20 rule – fill your diet with whole and unprocessed foods such as colourful fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, small amounts of nuts and healthy fats. Then you can treat yourself guilt-free with some of the stuff you enjoy. WHY? Studies have shown that motivation has a finite meter, if you are constantly making decisions about what food or drink to consume, you burn through this meter pretty quickly and have little remaining when you make the choice between salad or McDonald’s for lunch. Also, those people who follow a strict diet tend to binge when they make a food decision that falls outside of the diet and then take an “oh well” approach and eat all the things, and may suffer the horrible guilt and depression that follows.
- Remember to Stay Hydrated – 8 glasses a day right, but how big are your glasses? I like to keep a refillable stainless steel or glass bottle with me at all times. Keep in mind that coffee, tea, juice, and fruits and vegetables also hydrate the body so don’t worry about being too fixated on the “number of glasses per day”. Drink when you’re thirsty, more when working out, preferably fresh water. WHY? Humans are around 60% water, and a small drop in hydration levels has major effects. For those working outdoors and active jobs, it could have debilitating physical effects, while for office workers it can impact on cognition and attention span.
- Take Care of Your Gut Health – one of the most interesting and exciting developments in health is the importance of the gut and your little buddies that reside there – known as the microbiome. WHY? There are links between gut health and a myriad of issues – anxiety and depression, autism, Alzheimer’s, mood swings, hormone imbalances, and many more. From a fundamental health and fitness perspective, a healthy gut means all that effort, time and money you are spending to eat good food is worthwhile as you can absorb maximum nutrition. Stress is one of the biggest killers of your microbiome, so take steps to reduce stress such as meditation or mindfulness activities, read a good book, and generally make time for yourself!
- Incidental Exercise Is Key – Going to the gym or going for a run 4 or 5 times a week generally seems pretty healthy right? However, that’s about 3-6 hours of exercise and activity in a 168-hour week, so it’s important to stay active and mobile the rest of the time. WHY? It doesn’t do much good if you sit down for breakfast, drive to the station, sit on a train, walk a short distance to work, sit at a desk all day, and do the same on the way home! Constant sitting has been shown to affect longevity as much as smoking. One easy thing would be to leave to or from work a few mins earlier, and walk to the station, or get off a stop or two earlier and brisk walk it the rest of the way. Learn to look for and take opportunities for incidental exercise – stairs instead of escalators, walk instead of taxis or Ubers, or go and talk to colleagues or boss instead of shooting off another email.
- Activities That Are Fun – too many people associate “exercise” with going to the gym or for a run, which makes it harder for them to take the first step to even start! Exercise is any activity that gets the body moving, elevates the heart rate, and requires exertion. Now there’s one key activity that I’m sure everyone can think of, and hopefully if you’re doing it right, you’re enjoying it too! Apply that similar principle to your exercise regime – I hate running, but put me in a 1 hour boxing class and I’m totally in my element. For you it might be a basketball game, tennis match, kicking the footy with mates or kids, bushwalking, or any number of fun activities. Find one that you can regularly attend, and it’s a great way to spend time with friends and make some new ones too. WHY? You’re more likely to exercise if you actually enjoy it!
- Learning & Understanding Is Key – Now I’m sure that much of what I have mentioned you probably know is important! Of course you should sleep right, eat better, and exercise more. What the M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System gives you is a framework to educate yourself and understand these key aspects. You might feel sore and sorry after a hard workout, but knowing that you need lean protein to rebuild muscles, and complex carbs to refuel energy, and a good nights sleep to repair your body, you can make the right decisions and be in the position to take ownership of your health and fitness goals and journey.
As a Personal Trainer, it might seem strange that I am not telling you to get a PT! Well, we still have a powerful and important role to play, especially for those people who have not had a history of exercise. Our philosophy is to provide you with support and education, not just prescribing a training or eating plan. By integrating the M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System with your 1 on 1 or Group Sessions, you have increased your likelihood of long term and sustainable results because you develop good exercise, sleep, and food habits.
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