For the last 13 years I have been so lucky to call my passion my job. I get to help people navigate down their health and fitness path. I get to motivate people to rediscover their self-confidence. I get to inspire people to see in themselves the strength I know they have (both literally and figuratively speaking). I’ve had the privilege of working with professional athletes, weekend warriors and complete novices. I’ve had clients with goals of losing weight, gaining weight, getting a muscle up, rehabbing form surgery, prepping for cancer treatment and so much more.
With each one of these amazing people I have worked with, not one journey is the same. However, they all follow the same basic principles. Eat healthy, exercise often, sleep well, and keep stress levels low.
The longer I am in health and fitness, the more I see how funny of an arena it is. People are trying to always be on the cutting edge of the latest diet fads or the newest 3-week detox challenge. They want the most effective exercise programming to get their desired results yesterday. Often times I see people go extreme with one aspect of health, but the other areas suffer greatly.
People just make it too damn complicated! Really health and fitness is pretty simple! Try not to overthink it. Below is my 4-step process to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) For Your Health. I’ve also included bulleted tactics to help with chances of success.
4 Steps to K.I.S.S. FOR YOUR HEALTH
We all need 7-9 hours of quality sleep in our adult lives. I don’t care who you are or how you feel with less, you NEED at least 7 hours! Our organs literally start to lose function with less and the “fogginess” we feel is actual toxins in our brain because they didn’t flush out during inadequate sleep. Steps to good quality sleep.
- Give Yourself a Chance: Get in bed with enough time to actually get those 7-9 hours.
- Unplug: As a society we are glued to our computers, our smart phones and our TVs. Turn everything off 1-2 hours before bed.
- Room Set Up: Keep the temperature low. Get rid of artificial light (alarm clocks, phones, TV’s, etc.). Black out shades if you like and a firm mattress.
- Routine: Have a bedtime routine that works for you to calm your body and brain to prime yourself for a good night’s sleep.
I used to be the person that slept for 4-5 hours a night and thought I felt fine. I was exhausting my adrenals while thinking I was conquering the world. I was training for marathons before dawn, coaching from 5am-8pm with a 1 hour break to slam some food and take my dog for a walk. I felt great… until I didn’t. Sometimes we don’t know what we’re missing until we have it. Sleep is a prime example! So, I encourage you to learn from my mistake and give yourself a week of 7+ hours of sleep a night and see how you feel (shoot for 8, but 7 minimum).
This is the great debate. Eat grains, don’t eat grains. Eat meat, don’t eat meat. Eat carbs, don’t eat carbs. Eat paleo. Eat Keto. Count macros. For the love people… it really is simple.
- Say No To Drugs: Don’t eat sugar (or things with sugar… read food labels)! Sugar will kill you. Studies show it is actually more addictive than cocaine.
- Protein Power: Your protein should have had a face at one point (aka: been an animal)
- Taste the Rainbow: Your plate should be colorful with an assortment of veggies.
- Carb Craze: Make sure your carb sources are nutrient dense (grains are not nutrient dense). Time them around workouts and adjust amount based on how you feel, look and perform.
- Fat is Awesome: Eat it regularly… fat doesn’t make us fat.
- Know Your Farmer: Eat quality food and ideally from your local farmers/ranchers.
- Hydrate Your Life: Drink water… lots of water.
We are made to move. I myself do and I also encourage my clients to move every day. Yes, we don’t have “off days”. We have days we train harder and days we just move. Unless you are training for a specific sport or event, your weekly training should involve some of each of the following.
- Strength: Lift heavy stuff
- Joint Function: Move joints through full range of motion
- Bombproof Core: Core specific strength (isometric, rotation and anti-rotation)
- Be Athletic: Move in all planes and do unilateral exercises
- Sprint: All out efforts with adequate recovery (3:1)
- Plyometrics: Jump, Hop, Leap, Bound, be explosive
- Be Supple: Mobilize/Stretch/Yoga
- Simply Walk: Walk all the time. Walking/hiking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise in my opinion.
Low Stress Levels
And here is the kicker. You can be doing all of the things above to a “T” and if your stress levels are up in the rafters, it will take a toll on your body. Stress is killing us. We live in a society where people thrive on the idea that “more is better”. More money, more stuff, more work, more…more…more. We have to rein it in people! We have to set expectations that challenge us but don’t kill us. We can’t base our self-worth on the outcome. living in the past and anticipating the future and we have to just be. We have to breathe. We have to enjoy the people we love. We have to realize we are enough.
- Just Breathe: Literally try to focus on your breath every day at least once. Maybe you take 10 deep breaths when you’re feeling stressed or maybe you dedicated 6 minutes of breath work every morning with your coffee or maybe you meditate with breath as your focus.
- So What, Now What: I stole this from a conversation I had with my brother-in-law about a podcast he heard (can’t remember the guys’ name). But basically we are all going to have crap land in our lap once in a while. “So what, now what”… basically see it, accept it and move forward. Dwelling isn’t going to help.
- Just Be: This is the old way of living being brought back into mainstream and is really fricking hard… but also very important. Try to stop focusing on what has happened or anticipating what’s going to happen and really be in the moment you’re in right now.
- Declutter: Your life, your closet, your desk… get rid of the crap that is distracting, that is taking away from the things that matter. I’m not saying live with one mug, one outfit and a chair, but I am staying think about the things you have in your life (tangible and not) and if it doesn’t bring joy or purpose to your life and your goals, consider saying goodbye to it.
- Love: This one is big. Love yourself, love those around you and all of a sudden the negativity and stress that sits on your shoulders starts to decompress a bit. Simply put, things seem nicer!
- Get Outside: I’m a firm believer in the power that Mother Nature has on our beings. We spend a lot of time indoors. Get outside daily, do your breath work, take in the senses of nature and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.
If you made it this far through this lengthy post, thank you! Take these simple concepts to heart, maybe even write them down and see how you can start making small daily habits fit into this mold. Strive to achieve the basics, forgive yourself if you come up short some days, and for crying out loud K.I.S.S. For Your Health!
Favorite Quote of the Week
“You can’t know what you think if you don’t spend time in your own head.” ~Susan Caine
Favorite Exercise of the Week
Building on the last two weeks, this plank variation starts to incorporate rotational and anti-rotational movement. As well as shoulder stability and multi-planar movement.
Favorite Recipe of the Week
In keeping with the theme of KISS… this “recipe” is a go-to for us several times throughout the week. Basically it’s ALL the veggies we can get ahold of, left over meat, a little goat cheese and topped with my homemade salad dressing.
- 2 handfuls of spring mix salad
- 1/2 large lemon cucumber
- 1 handful of fresh tomatoes from the garden
- 1/2 small avocado
- 1 left over baked chicken thigh
- Some goat cheese crumbles
- Homemade Salad Dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar and spicy mustard mixed together)
- Put it all on a plate and enjoy it!