I feel like I am constantly reading the same things over and over when it comes to health and fitness! When a trend hits, it hits us all like a bus. Trends are trendy, but keeping is basic is cool. Here are some fresh tips that make sense AND are actually the real deal:
1. Stop doing crunches and sit ups!
Crunches do not "give you abs." There really isn't one exercise that will give you abs; many things done consistently over a long period of time can attribute to you leaning out enough to "see abs." Not only are you wasting your time doing sit ups, but you are making your posture worse! Any kind of crunch only exacerbates forward head posture and our shoulders rolling forward - which we get plenty of from all our phone and computer use. Trainers and most fitness classes love to make people do sit ups since it makes you think "it works!" It doesn't. Do planks and the dead bug. Those are the only sit ups you need.
2. Go to sleep!
If you think sleep and your weight are two separate factors, think again. The lack of sleep and therefore energy will leave you reaching for extra food. Your body will produce hormones that will leave you feeling less satiated with your normal food intake You'll also be dehydrated and less focused and forget energy for the gym!
3. Drinking a Rockstar will not make you one, so don't drink them
Rockstar, Monster, Redbull, and all the other drinks that contain zero calories but will give you endless energy are bullshit. Please stop putting all these foreign chemicals into your body. They interfere with hormone function and could just sit inside you undigested for who knows how long. The amount of caffeine in some of those drinks is more than anyone should consume at once!
4. Do not eat anything labeled sugar free
We all know sugar isn't good for us. Just as bad? Sugar free products. The body can't recognize fake sweeteners and neither can your taste buds! Your body will think it is getting something sweet - but actually isn't so say hello to even more sugar cravings!
Laughing is a natural anti-depressant. It produces many happy hormones aka endorphins. Having a life filled with joy is just as important for your health as a life filled with kale and yoga. Having the ability to laugh gets you through hard times, builds memories, and helps you bond with your loved ones.
6. Cut back on alcohol
...or give it up altogether. That doesn't mean never drink again! Every time alcohol goes into your body, your organs are working overtime to process the toxin. Yes, alcohol is a toxin. It also inhibits muscle repair, gets stored as fat, and takes a toll on your liver. I personally enjoy wine and a margarita now and then but choose not to drink more than. With that being said, it is just as healthy to enjoy happy hour with friends - just not every night.
7. Stop doing cardio at the gym
I talk a lot about the benefits of strength training and building muscle. I am not saying cardio is bad for you or a waste of time. I have worked with many people who loathe cardio but do it with the hopes of losing weight. Trying to get stronger, burn calories, and change your metabolism for long term success all happen WITHOUT doing cardio. Of course if you are injured or have some other kind of circumstance - something is always better than nothing.
8. Don't diet
Another topic I discuss plenty so I will keep it short: diets do not work since no on can maintain them long term. Deprivation will backfire and leave you feeling hungry, your metabolism will slow down, you could potentially miss out on nutrients, and will end up where you started before starting your diet. Do not go on a diet.
9. Do not rely on your Fitbit
Calorie trackers and calorie reads on cardio machines are not completely accurate. They have no idea of your metabolism make up or body composition. Tracking moving and tracking actual calorie expenditure are very different. I am all for anything that motivates you. Just don't assume it will be totally accurate. Listen to what your body tells you about a workout, not what a machine tells you.
10. The trick to reaching your goal/s is to work on it forever
This past tense way we refer to our goals implies they have a life span of 3 or 6 months. "When I ___" or "once I ___" implies a completion or an ending. Of course a maintenance phase for any goal is normal. That doesn't mean you will have to work less or face less challenges. It also does not guarantee that your life will change or instantly be better once you reach this goal. The life span of your goals is YOUR life span. If you want nice teeth you don't just brush and floss for a consistent three months and then after that only brush once a week, right?
11. Rethink your warm up
Yes, a jog or five minutes on the elliptical will technically warm your body up. However, there is no preparation for dynamic movement. A dynamic warm up prepares your muscles, joints, fascia, and blood for the most movement of your day. A proper warm up ensures you will get the best out of your workout and will help prevent injuries or strains.
Foam roll, do a dynamic warm up, and then you are ready for your workout!
12. Know your feet!
Shoes matter! Do you have flat feet, neutral, or high arches? Make sure your shoes support your kind of feet for your kind of workout. Do you need shoes to absorb impact? Shoes to help with lateral movement? I personally wear down shoes fast and they get a little stinky! I found a pair of inserts that work well with my flat feet. I use superfeet inserts. They are sturdy and I can replace them instead of my shoes.
Roll your feet out with a lacrosse ball! You would be surprised by all the tension you find. Stretch your arches, toes, and achilles just as you would stretch the rest of your body.
Do some work barefoot. Brush your teeth for one minute standing on your left and one minute standing on your right. Show those feet love! They've taken you far right?