Today as I type this its Jan 18th. Last Monday was the day that a lot of us in my neck of the woods went back to “real life”. The kids went back to school, adults went back to work and the entire world began their New Year’s Resolutions to eat better, and finally get back into shape. Sadly, after only a week and a half of exercise, healthy eating and resolving that “this will be the year”, a lot of us have already fallen off track.
As a Personal Trainer, I love the new year because it’s the time when people are open to change. They’re open to being better versions of themselves and really cool transformations can happen when we’re ready for them. However I often find our eyes are bigger than our stomachs so to speak when it comes to these January goals.
I certainly don’t want to be the one who tells you to stop setting your goals so high. I love high achievers and I want you to reach your goal. However my 13 years in the Fitness Industry as well as extensive research indicates that 99% of the time…this doesn’t work.
There is so much information on how to eat, how to exercise and what potions to chug. It’s just plain exhausting and confusing to know where to start. So I decided to boil down all my advice over the years to these 3 things. If you do nothing else for your health this year, do one of these things. I can guarantee by choosing one of these habits , you will see and feel a positive change in your body and your health. Not to mention, you will now have gained a new habit that you can possibly stick with the rest of your life.
Just Move Your Body
I’m not going to overwhelm you with all the great reasons why exercise is good for you because, quite frankly unless you’ve been living under a rock,
you already know this.
So if we already know that exercise is good for us, then why aren’t we doing it? I believe the key to getting started is to pick a form of exercise that you honestly like to do. Don’t worry if it’s the latest and greatest trend or if your friend down the street says you should do it. Move your body in a way that makes you feel good. Walk, play golf, go skiing, take a Zumba class or do some yoga at home. It’s not important what you do, it’s just important that you do it.
I get asked a lot about which exercise is the best. I could of course give you a laundry list of answers on why one is better than the other. However, if you are currently inactive, here is my response to you.
“The Best Type of Exercise is the one you will do!”
2. Eat some vegetables
Your Mom told you to do it and now I’m telling you too. If you change nothing else in your diet, change this. Don’t even worry about what type of vegetable to eat (no carrots and peas are not bad for you) just get started.
Vegetables of all kinds carry tons of vitamins and minerals that prevent disease, give us energy and help our body to heal. They are literally powerhouse foods. The Canada food guide tells you to aim for 5 or more servings of fruit or vegetables a day. If you are already doing this then please keep going and feel free to add even more. If your current vegetable of choice is none, work on adding veggies to at least one meal of your day and go from there. I like to throw some greens into my smoothie in the morning as a little “insurance” in case the day gets away from me. Try my recipe below for a yummy nutrient packed start to your day.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie
Makes 1 Serving
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1 tbsp natural peanut butter/almond butter
1⁄2 banana or 1⁄4 avocado (optional)
1 handful of spinach or kale
Combine in blender and blend until smooth.
3. Get more sleep
How many times have you stayed up to watch “just one more episode” of your favourite show? Or burned the midnight oil finishing up some work projects?
Inadequate sleep is not only detrimental to our overall health, it also inhibits our bodies ability to maintain a healthy weight. One 2004 study found that people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours. Researchers believe this may be related to our bodies hormonal response to sleep deprivation. When we don’t sleep enough, our body release a hormone called Grehlin. Grehlin is a particularily annoying little fellow that tells our body that it is hungry and makes it harder to control our appetite.
On a positive note, when our body DOES get adequate sleep it increases the hormone leptin (the one responsible for making you feel full) and decreases your Cortisol (the hormone related to belly fat storage).
So the next time Netflix gives you the 17 second countdown to the next episode, hit the power off button and recharge YOUR battery with some shut eye.
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