So many people are looking for a quick fix with their bodies and health. They make huge claims and promises to themselves and their friends only to fall flat on their face.
“I swear to lose 20lbs!”
“I will quit soda forever!”
“I’m gunna get ripped!!”
I’m not here to burst any bubbles. By all means get out there and show the world your ripped self by summer, but until then here’s some stuff that will make you a healthier, stronger, leaner, more mobile and a generally more tolerable human being.
I can promise you this: If you adhere to these tips (and few more of your own), you will most likely get to your ideal body as a byproduct of living the lifestyle that is health and fitness.
1. Drink Lemon Juice with Apple Cider Vinegar
I’ve been doing this for years now as soon as I wake up and it’s done wonders for my digestion. The enzymes from the ACV and lemon will help stimulate your digestive track (hint hint, you’re gonna be clean) and does an amazing job and waking you up without the need of coffee. Don’t worry. Coffee still happens.
It’s just 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar and juice from one lemon in glass of lukewarm water.
If it’s too strong for you, add a teaspoon of raw honey to lessen the kick. I incorporate cinnamon, turmeric and some cayenne occasionally for a super-charged starter that will most likely help me live forever.
2. Stretch More – Especially Before You Go to Sleep
This INSANELY easy tactic will do wonders for you. You’ll sleep better, wake up feeling less tight, and have more energy. You will simultaneously get a better night’s sleep and drop the stress that keeps you up late while becoming more in tune with your body.
No need for a 90-minute yoga session here. My nightly routine involves setting the timer for 10-30 minutes and going through a series of stretches and movements that help loosen up and alleviate tension for me. My routine will be different from my clients’ or from yours. Make this your own based on your trouble areas.
3. Drink 2-4 Cups of Green Tea (Decaffeinated if You Must) a Day
One of the main reasons green tea is so good for is EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) which has been shown to possibly lessen the likelihood of certain cancers, increase fat-burning and performance, help with mental clarity and much more.
Stopping at different points in the day for a cup of tea is, at the very least, therapeutic and allows you to sit back and breathe for a minute or two. That in itself is important for most of us. Make it a habit to stop at least once a day for a cup of tea and ponder what is really important in life, Daniel-san.
To expand on your mental health, very few things are as powerful as meditation is on cultivating a stress-free, creative, focused mindset. If you’re one of those people that say you can’t meditate because you can’t still your mind, then join the club. The point of meditating is to learn how to control and manage thoughts and, therefore, your mind.
When you try and force it, it won’t happen. When you relax and allow thoughts to travel through without giving them any attention, you learn to separate the noise from the useful. You create a buffer from stress, worry and anxiety as you put this into daily practice. 10 minutes a day will keep the doctor away (in my opinion) and the more, the better. Find the time and toss the excuses. Get it done.
5. Drink Water. Lots More Than You Think (Just Not All at Once)
So simple, yet so ignored. When clients mention to me that their weight loss has stalled, they don’t feel as good as they have, or their sleep is off, my first question is almost always, “Are you drinking enough water.”
What’s easy to do is easy not to do. I don’t care how you do it, but get the amount of water you need every day without fail. Only a small percentage of dehydration is enough to weaken you and make you fatigue faster. Drink up, buttercup.
6. Laugh More
I measure the emotional success of a day by how hard I laughed at any given point. Barring illness or tragedy I make sure to laugh on the daily.
This means being with or talking to people that will elicit that kind of response. Why? There hasn’t been a definitive study to prove laugher will cure ya, but if you’re laughing, chances are you’re enjoying life and not letting things bring you down. Find something or someone that makes you laugh at least a few times a week. If it’s a hearty enough laugh session, at least it will be good for the abs.
7. Walk More
Walking is my therapy. Sometimes I listen to something educational or inspirational, sometimes I bust out my “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” mix, but most of the time it’s just me. There are a couple of reasons to do this.
The first is that it allows me to go over issues/problems clearly and in-depth to find the best possible solution. Walking helps oxygenate the brain and stimulate your creative juices giving you extreme amounts of clarity. The second reason is at the end of the day it’s only you. You can surround yourself with friends and family, but if you aren’t comfortable by yourself, then no one will satisfy you. Learn to enjoy the hell out of yourself.
8. Eat Vegetables – More Than You Think You Need
Do I need to expand on this? I’m not. Eat your greens (and other colors, too).
9. Lift Heavy Things Regularly
Ah, strength. A great workout cures just about everything life throws at you. Beyond the ego and aesthetics of being strong and lean, I look at the elderly around me as a glimpse into my future.
The 70 and 80 year olds I know that lift weights regularly are vibrant and full of life. They’re happier and just enjoy every day with the vitality of those half their age. On the other hand those that don’t, well, we’ve all seen the unfortunate side effects of inactivity in our family and loved ones. The body degrades slowly at first and then what seems to be at an exponential rate. From there it’s all downhill as posture goes and then balance.
Long story short start lifting heavy regularly to avoid this grim future. You don’t need to be hitting back-breaking PRs every day (or ever really) but it needs to challenge you.
10. Go to Sleep
This is your free recovery session. Instead of shelling out the big bucks for methods and supplements that aren’t even proven yet, just get some sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep for you can help improve your memory, will naturally increase growth hormone, and can potentially help you live longer. Bonus points for going to bed and waking up at the same time each night and day.
11. Journal Daily
This is your life and you only get one. “If it’s worth living, it’s worth recording,” as Jim Rohn once said. I truly believe journaling is one of the best things you can do for mental health. It allows you get the good the bad and the ugly from your day out on paper. It’s incredibly therapeutic and just as in my walks it allows me to hash out the details and work through issues I’m having with my business.
It takes a bit of discipline to actually sit in solitude and open up your journal, so suck it up for a few days and you’ll eventually be doing it on the regular. I recommend setting up an appointment with yourself to write either in the evening or first thing in the morning. Make it a part of your routine.
12. Match Your Behaviors with Your Goals
Have a mission and work towards it every day. Ask yourself how what you’re doing make you healthier.
Being productive and making progress is one of the best feelings in the world. You feel sure, confident, and stress-free. It’s those who battle with what they want right now and what they want most that live a life of regret and stress. Don’t be that person. Decide what you want and go for it every damn day.
13. Cook for Yourself
Cooking is an underrated skill as the choices for foods around us are just about limitless. The problem is no matter how clean you think you’re eating, you really never know what’s going into your foods if you’re not cooking it yourself.
I’ll always remember when I worked in a restaurant as a teenager. I would order a side of chicken and broccoli along with a side of beans. A very healthy meal, right? After a couple of times eating this meal I realized something was up. I finally watched the cook prepare it. A ladle of oil went on the chicken as well as on the broccoli. A FREAKING LADLE!! That means I was eating an extra 30g of fat (at least). No bueno.
Be in control of your diet and start cooking. At first, make it easy and always cook using things you enjoy. I promise it gets easier and is FAR more satisfying than most restaurants.
14. Cut Out the Sugar
Excess sugar creates an inflammatory response that we still don’t have a full grasp on what the potential long-term damage can be. The notion that sugar feeds cancer is still highly debated and the evidence is swaying in the direction that it does not, however, excess sugar does create a host of issues from obesity and diabetes to digestive problems and arthritis.
Put it this way. Have you ever had a huge serving of sweets and felt REALLY good about yourself? On occasion, I love me some donuts (probably more than I should), but if you’re taking in sweets daily – regardless of how it fits your macros, you will not be performing at your best (unless you’re an elite athlete training hours and hours a day).
Keep that sugar in check.
15. Stop Giving a Shit
Words to live by. If you’re the type of person that is constantly worried what people think of you, you are always going to have a level of stress you’ll never be able to rid yourself of.
There are few things more liberating than knowing who you are, why you do what you do, and making no apology for it. Does this mean you have carte blanche to be a dick? No. Compassion and consideration are important, but overly worrying about your image means you’re not living life on your terms. Stop giving a crap of what people think about you and do what needs to be done.
My challenge to you is to start making a strong effort to instill a few (or all) of these ideas into your life and see what happens. Nobody’s perfect despite what their moms say. You can only work towards progression, not perfection. So if you falter, that’s ok.
Always remember it’s what you do most of the time and not once in awhile that will make the greatest impact on your body.