Getting in great shape is about so much more than just your workout! It takes discipline and dedication, not just to lifting those weights or running, but to being healthier in every area of your life. If you want to get in the best shape of your life, here’s what you need to do:
While eating right will provide your body with the nutrients required for fat-burning, muscle-building, and improved health, those nutrients won’t do anything if you don’t activate your body through exercise. All the protein in the world will be useless without the exercise to trigger the body’s muscle-producing mechanisms. Time to kick things into high gear with a good workout: resistance training, CrossFit, HIIT, sprint training, and cardiovascular exercise. The higher the intensity, the better the outcome for your body!
What does “eating clean” really mean? Basically, it means eating food in its most natural state possible: whole grains that contain all the fiber, bran, and minerals before the refining process; fruits, veggies, seeds, and legumes; animal proteins, both lean and with a higher saturated fat content; and, of course, plenty of natural unsaturated fats. The more natural (unprocessed and unrefined) the food is, the better it will be for your health. And, the better your body will respond when you demand performance or force it to burn the food you eat for fuel.
Increase Carb Intake Correctly
Many athletes make the mistake of overdoing it on carbs, thinking that carbs will provide them all the energy they need for their workout. Carbs are the best source of short-term energy (glucose), but remember that your body needs protein in order to build muscles and fats in order to activate stored fats. Carbs should be consumed primarily before and after your workout: first to provide the glucose needed for the training session, and then to replenish lost energy post-workout. If possible, avoid or seriously reduce carbs the rest of the day!
Coffee isn’t an alternative to a good night’s sleep! A good night of sleep will have a marked benefit on your body, boosting your metabolism and preparing you for a high intensity training session. To be truly fit, you need to sleep well EVERY night, not just once or twice a week. It’s time to start developing good sleeping habits, including a sleep schedule that you stick to no less than five nights a week.
Train Your Mind
Fitness isn’t just about having a strong body; it takes a strong mind to help you reach your goals! If you’re prone to quitting before it gets hard or you have a hard time pushing yourself, you’re never going to go as far as you could. It takes dedication and mental discipline to stay focused on your goals of getting fit. Work to improve your mind as well as your body. Consider taking up meditation, or practice mindfulness exercises that help you to gain control over the way you think and act. In the long run, a strong mind will go a long way toward helping you get in the best shape of your life.
Keep it Simple
Don’t get caught up in all the fancy diets, workout plans, or technical knowledge. Instead, keep it to the simple rules of eating clean, working out daily, sleeping more, and eating the right balance of nutrients. You may never become a world-class athlete, but you’ll definitely have what it takes to get fit and healthy. In the end, that’s really what matters, isn’t it?