FIT, HEALTHY, and HAPPY: 9 Guidelines to being fit for life

On Site Coaching in Paoli - OPEX Upper Main Line

Fit, Healthy, and Happy: 9 Small Changes to Jumpstart a Healthy Future


Life is about rhythm. The sun rises in the morning, the sun sets in the evening. We as humans desire energy when we are awake and desire the ability to sleep deeply at night so we are rested, and can recover from stressors within our given lives.  In an age filled with maximum technology availability and excessive usage of devices, common dietary advice that often suggests a vast quantity of processed foods and sugars, and a society that promotes long work hours in high stress environments for people to make ends meet, it can be hard to maintain your health and happiness. 


So, how can we combat against some of the external forces and stressors our lives present on a daily basis? Our coaches meet with our clients beginning on day one, before any fitness programming is prescribed, to extract and discuss these lifestyle factors. Why? Because if a coach does not truly understand the stressors, and lifestyle elements of each individual, he or she cannot appropriately prescribe an accurate dose of physical stressors in the form of exercise and fitness. In a lot of cases, we see clients coming to us in search of balance, and fitness for the long haul. In many of these instances, these folks have been overworked, overstressed, and overtrained due to factors of their lifestyle, and potentially may be coming from a previous history of bouncing between high intensity group fitness models, and are feeling a bit burnt out. We have a lot of success in helping these types of clients re-define fitness, find balance, and find enjoyment and fulfillment with aligning these elements of lifestyle with what they need in regards to fitness. 


Life can be pretty hectic, but having a coach in your corner to help guide your journey within fitness can take the guess work out of it. However, even if you don’t have a coach, we’ve created a shortlist of some easy guidelines that anyone can follow to make one small change at a time, that will yield some big time results for the future of your health and wellness!! 


1.Clean Eating: Plain and simple, the most effective thing we can put into place with a new client, is to evaluate their current nutrition practices, and help guide them to better food hygiene. This means, for the bulk of your dietary intake, eating lean meats and fish, a multitude of healthy, colorful vegetables, and good fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, olive and coconut oil, and grass fed butter to name a few.


a. Additionally, consider taking a probiotic supplement for gut health. So much of our auto immune system being healthy relies on what is going on in the gut. When we eat low quality foods, or eat too much at once, our digestive tract can become permeable, leaking undigested food particles into the body creating an overall toxic result over time. 


b. CHEW your food! Sitting down and chewing your food will help your gut stay healthy and working at its best, we can better assist with the breakdown of food and overall  nutrient absorption by chewing what is on our plate. Eating our meals in a low stress environment, and enjoying the process of fueling our bodies is great for keeping the gut happy!


2. Drink lots of water!! This one is well known, but under practiced for many of us. Drink 8-16 oz first thing in the morning upon waking, and drink at the very minimum, half of your body weight in ounces throughout the remainder of the day.  For the many of us that struggle with hydrating properly, use tricks like setting an alarm on your phone, or carrying a water jug with required markers for intake to be met at various points throughout the day.


3. Over Eating or Under Eating: Evaluate if you are over-eating at any point throughout the day, or if you are under-eating for your overall daily intake.  These two factors can be detrimental to your health, and recovery with training.  Over-eating during meals can create an inflammatory response similar to that of eating foods that your body does not tolerate well. Under-eating will leave you under nourished and can interfere with your bodies ability to recover from exercise and daily stressors properly.  Many of our clients do not eat enough food—and we can typically show them this data within their first week, and help restructure their nutritional framework to help increase energy levels, promote fat loss, and aid with developing strength. 


4. SLEEP: We were meant to sleep when it is dark, and wake with the natural light of the sun. Although, sometimes we hope we could function at our best at all times with little to no sleep, (work more, rest less right?!) NO! Typically we evaluate the lifestyle factors for a given client and try to give a realistic recommendation for helping that client get adequate sleep, and we also show clients how to increase the quality of sleep with unwinding principles mentioned below in step 5. Generally speaking, we recommend clients get a minimum of 7 hours or more per night, and that they try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday. Doing this for 30 days should help reset your circadian rhythm (internal clock) and put your body back into a more natural state with daily energy levels, and the rising and setting of the sun (light) and moon (dark). 


5. UNPLUG: Try turning off all blue light screens and getting away from cell phones and devices 2-3 hours before bed time.  This will help with getting better sleep and with your bodies natural production of melatonin.  Blue lights found in many of the screens (phone, computer, tv) that we use everyday (especially around times we should be winding down for sleep and rest) will restrict the natural production of melatonin as our bodies react to the light during those times. 


6. MOVE: Simply put, it is imperative that we, as humans, are active and making an effort to move in some fashion every day.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but having a coach and a structured exercise program is a great place to begin.  Movement and exercise promotes energy, mood, and blood flow throughout your body, while also helping you build strength, and increase your functionality by training in a fashion that best compliments your lifestyle and the required daily stressors you face. 


7. REDUCE YOUR STRESS: Change your perspective. Easier said than done right? However, it may be a bit more simple than you think. It simply takes some self awareness and designing a plan to better manage the parts of your life that contribute to high stress.  One simple way that you can reduce stress in your life, is to simply be aware what is causing your stress, acknowledge that you can only change what you can control, and that ultimately, your happiness is your choice. When stress levels rise, take a deep breath, be aware of what is creating the problem, decide what you can do, leave behind what you can’t control, and execute a game plan to work through it. 


8. REST: This one is one of my favorites. As a society we tend to believe that we need more before we need less.  Ask yourself this question: Is more always better? or is BETTER always better? I think we know the answer to that! If you are someone who finds themselves rarely taking rest days, (and I don’t mean rowing a “5K for time” for recovery) I mean actual, legitimate rest that might include going for a long walk with your dog at most, then you may need to consider the toll that type of output is taking on your body.  If you’re  very resilient, you may be able to last a bit longer than others for a while, but your success will be short lived in this type of training environment as it won’t be long before you find yourself overreaching, or over-trained.  Your body will only be as strong and as ready as you allow for it to recover.  The Bottom Line: You need 1-2 rest days per week at minimum. Schedule your rest days.


9. Reflection and Gratitude: Making time each day to reflect about all that is good in your life, what you can do to improve your business, relationships, training, etc, and doing some genuine soul searching at times can be very refreshing, as well as beneficial for your overall well being.  People put a lot of energy into the time they spend working hard in the gym improving their bodies ability to function and perform. Why is it any different for the time we spend reflecting and working on our mental fitness. Read often, and be active in learning something new everyday and trying to better yourself personally and professionally. At the end of the day, be able to set some time aside (even if its a small amount of time) to reflect on the positives, and feel grateful for our families, friends, health and wellness, our jobs, all that surrounds us, and the opportunity to wake up again tomorrow, Go Forth, and chase greatness. 


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