Coach Bassma here again!
Have you ever heard the saying, “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
That’s what my husband would tell me (and still does) when I would feel overwhelmed by the huge thing I was trying to tackle. Whether it was a weight goal on the bar, or nursing school, he would remind me to just look at what’s in front of me and do the simple stuff and everything else would follow.
A lot of us get overwhelmed at the thought of starting a health and fitness journey. We overhaul everything at once and focus on too many small things at once. We spin our wheels, get overwhelmed, fall off the wagon, and then get discouraged that we aren’t cut out for the healthy and fit life.
Well, I’m here to remind you that EVERYONE is cut out for the health and fitness life, so long as they’re willing to put in at least 1% effort every day (remember, something is better than nothing).
You might be thinking, “well how do I get started? What am I cut out for? What should I focus on?”
Regardless of your goal, most people could benefit from focusing on these five things I’m about to list out. They will benefit you whether you are older or younger, an elite athlete or a gym newbie, any gender, health condition (so long as your doctor clears you), really, anyone!
1. Sleep – for whatever reason, when people need to get stuff done like study for a test, or binge watch some Netflix, sleep is the first thing to go. However, sleep is probably one of the first things you want to focus on when working on improving your health. Sleep is when the body does it’s healing, it improves mental clarity, reduces stress, and so much more. If possible, aim to get 6-9 hours of QUALITY sleep. Some ways to help your sleep is by having a bedtime routine, avoiding scrolling on your phone just before bed, exercising earlier in the day, and avoiding foods that upset your stomach just before sleep.
2. Water – this is your reminder that summer is coming (if you’re in the northern hemisphere). That means that you’re going to sweat more due to the hotter weather. It’s even more important now more than ever to get your water in to stay hydrated. Some ways to remind yourself to do that is to get a labeled water jug (for motivation), mix in something like liquid IV (or another flavoring electrolyte agent), take scheduled water breaks, and drink a glass of water with your meals. How much should you be drinking per day? An easy rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divide by 2. That’s how many ounces you should aim for.
3. Eat the rainbow – aim to incorporate fruits and vegetables of many colors into your meals. Different colored fruits and veggies carry different micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). By eating a variety of colors you’re giving your body a variety of nutrients AND fiber. Not only is getting enough fiber in important but getting a variety in will make your gut bacteria happy. Yea, fun fact: you’re feeding millions of good bacteria in your intestines when you eat. Those bacteria help keep you regular, protect you from harmful bacteria, and even influence the signaling between your digestive tract and your brain. How cool is that?
4. Move more – no one said you have to go to a gym. Even incorporating a short walk every day can help! Movement in general helps with our blood circulation, heart health, sometimes aches and pains, and especially our stress levels. Think of creative ways to increase your movement each day. Take the stairs, park further from the store, take a stretch break every hour if you work a desk job. Your body will thank you.
5. Increase your protein – your DNA’s purpose in every cell of your body is to encode for chains of protein. Those chains are made of amino acids. Where does your body get those amino acids? It can make some, but some it needs to get from the food (specifically protein) that you eat. By upping your protein intake, you not only give your body the building blocks it needs for its everyday stuff, but also to build muscle. A bonus is that protein takes a little bit more calories to digest, so just by increasing your protein, you’re increasing the calories you’re burning day to day.
Start with one of these and focus on improving it this week and see how you feel! Maybe incorporate another and another as the weeks go on.
By focusing on these big things, you can get a kick start to your journey without overcomplicating it. As you build these habits, it will become easier and easier to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle.
Arrow Nutrition and Training, LLC