10 Nuggets of Knowledge for a Healthier Life
When it comes to living a healthier life, it's easy to get overwhelmed with so many different factors.
You have to eat healthy foods for nutrition... but you have to eat the right amount. You need to exercise often, but too much can be bad. We need to try to sleep more, even though the new season dropped on Netflix.
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Water? Drink too much of it and you could die. But if you don't drink enough, your cognitive and physical performance suffers.
So yeah, it's overwhelming.
A Little Backstory
When I say I've lived an unhealthy life, but fitness has changed my life... here's what I mean.
So 2010 rolls around and I've managed to amass quite the arse. I was 370 pounds and 60% body fat. After a bet that I wouldn't go to the gym, about 18 months pass and I'm looking at 255 pounds on the scale.
"I'm actually outworking a crappy diet," is all I thought to myself. I just finished 90 minutes on the stepmill, burning around 1200 calories.
So as I tried to eat less, I still couldn't. I wouldn't.
I met some powerlifters in my local gym and after one of them said I had some potential, I was hooked. I started lifting heavy, being smart, and making better food choices. Some time passes and I had built some muscle, along with some fat. I was 300lbs at 28% body fat, happy with my strength, and lifting was life.
Some crappy things happen in life, very bad binge eating and reckless eating habits have come back, lost weight, gained more and I was looking at 400 on a scale. I hurt, I was disgusted, and I felt trapped.
I started making specific changes in my efforts for fitness — nutrition was my problem. You can't out exercise a crap diet, and you will revert back to your bad habits under dire stress.
So fast forward to today, I'm at 284 pounds and I'm feeling better.
What changed? Why are things working out better now?
These 10 nuggets of knowledge are what I've learned over the past 6 years. Eat them up.
10 Nuggets of Knowledge for a Healthier Life
First thing's first, this crap won't happen overnight. There's a process to it and that's why it's called a journey — buckle in for the ride.
Motivation comes and goes, the important part is to find something you enjoy and keep doing it. Finding and building the right routine will help you embody living healthy. This is important for long-term success.
There's no magic pill, and starving yourself doesn't get you too far — trust me.
1.) Small Workouts Still Count
This one digs deep for me. You see, I used to be that guy that changes his work schedule to go to the gym.
I would usually be in the gym around two hours total, and it was my life. Just like the mailman — rain, sleet, hail, or snow... I was there.
So here's why I told you this — small, imperfect, impromptu workouts still count. Just because you want your workouts to be "perfect" and you want to "feel right," doing SOME exercise is better than NONE.
A short 10-minute workout could be the stepping stone to a bit more energy through the day and could help you make a healthier dinner decision. Get up and do bodyweight exercises in between your TV show's commercials.
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to happen.
2.) Having a Plan Helps Motivation
Do you ever get amped up to do something but feel like you're just spinning your wheels?
Do you have a goal or plan for your fitness?
Time-limited challenges spark our motivation. There are so many plans and challenges you can try to accomplish — 14-day plank challenge, 28-day squat challenge — you name it.
So find your goal and make a plan. Any movement will get you healthier.
3.) You Only Need to Know a Few Basic Moves
If you check out anything fitness, you're going to see a buff dude doing heavy something's. When first starting out, you can learn a few moves that you can do daily workouts with.
These moves include:
Many people opt for the gym, but get overwhelmed. You can create a huge change in your body if you consistently perform these moves.
Create your own workout and make things fun.
4.) You Can Get a Lot Done in 30 Minutes
Are you one of those people like me who tells themselves they have to spend an hour in the gym and then add another hour to driving... even when the gym is down the street?
Like I said earlier, any time spent exercising isn't wasted. Spending 30 minutes in the gym could mean you do some high-intensity interval training, some strength training, or a combination of strength training and cardio.
5.) Find What You Enjoy
The gym isn't for everybody. If you really don't like the gym but still want to exercise, try some other options.
What we prefer to do is often based on our personalities — I'm an introvert and I definitely don't want to get into a crowded group fitness class. But you might like a boxing class, a kettlebell, spin, or rowing class.
Try it all out and see what resonates with you the most. It's easier to make it part of your routine when you want to participate.
6.) The Weight Loss is Slow
Losing weight is a slow process. But abs are made in the kitchen, so your nutrition plays a major role.
Trust me when I say you can't out exercise a bad diet. It's not worth it.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at rest. Cardio is great for fat loss, but you're going to need to lift some unless you want to be skinny-fat.
Trust the process, log your food, and stick with the exercise.
7.) Movement is life
Do you have a few minutes while you wait on your brown rice to cook? Do some jumping jacks.
There's a lot of downtime in our days, I know you can find at least 10 minutes. Take this time to dance, jump around, or "act like a kid." If you're out of breath, bonus points.
8.) Eat for Fuel
What you put through your body affects your performance. I eat mostly foods that I cook fresh, but sometimes I like to try something different.
I bought a decent frozen pizza, and it wrecked my stomach. All of the old pains I used to feel daily were back.
You need to have the lifestyle change if you want long-term success. Need something before your workout? Try an easy to digest snack like a banana.
Do your best to eat food with fresh ingredients and make your plates as colorful as you can.
9.) It's Going to Suck
The more I think about why losing weight sucks, I think it's because we have to change our habits. Since we are creatures of habit, we like to go into that "autopilot" mode and let things play out as they always do.
That drink in the morning, that midnight snack... all of that is a habit. The part about weight loss that sucks is changing that habit — that resistance, that urge to do it. It all sucks.
What doesn't suck is how great you feel after a week of eating nutritious foods.
Now you don't have to immediately jump on the toilet in the morning because you ate like crap. The weight will start coming off, you'll start feeling better, and you'll start making healthier choices naturally.
10.) Consistency is Key
The only reason I ever got relatively strong — 550 squat, 303 bench, 605 deadlift — was because I was consistent. I loved the mental and physical abuse, I loved having goals to strive for, and I loved the changes in my body.
I've only lost 100+ lbs twice now because I went back to these nuggets of knowledge.
If you truly want to achieve the body you want, it isn't impossible, it just takes one change at a time.
Start weighing, measuring, and tracking your food — whatever it is.
Start finding time to exercise daily.
Keep your sights set on your goals and ask yourself if what you are doing is help you get there or not.
Ideally, lift some weights to build some muscle, improve your metabolism, and have a decent physique once you are thinner.
There's not a lot to losing weight, we just have to make the commitment.
It's a lot of work. It's a lot of change. It's all worth it.