What are the key areas we need to focus on in order to maintain health and fitness?
I believe there are six key areas that, if focused on, will enable effective health and fitness maintenance.
Consistency: Whatever your health and fitness goals, you need to create a good set of habits in order to create long lasting change. In my experience, habits are built around consistently performing an action over and over again. Repetition is the mother of all skills and sooner or later your body will adapt to what it habitually does. Whether it’s eating better or exercising a certain way, it all comes down to how consistently you perform this action over a period of time.
Water: The most effective weight loss supplement in the world is a glass of water. I’m not going to go into the benefits of drinking your daily dose- it’s well publicized. The problem people have is taking action and executing that knowledge. I fill up a three litre container every day and carry it with me wherever I go. People look at me as if I’m crazy and ask me all sorts of weird questions, but at the end of the day, who cares. Get that water down whatever you have to do!
Sleep: A domino effect begins when you don’t have enough sleep- one that affects every part of your life. The human body needs to heal and replenish itself. When you’re deprived of sleep this natural healing process is interrupted and you feel tired and irritated during the day. This knocks on, leading to fatigue and missed meals (or pigging out). One study has quantified this, showing that people who have an average of four hours sleep per night are 73% more likely to be obese than those whose who have seven-eight. There is a reason that God created day and night- the ‘lesser light’ is meant for sleeping and rejuvenating the body.
Stress: when controlled, pressure can be a good thing – it’s how diamonds are made after all. Pressure forces us to take action and implement change, but it can also turn to stress when things go wrong. Stresses causes the body to produce inordinate amounts of the hormone cortisol, which inhibits fat metabolism. Cortisol can also make your life a living nightmare, both emotionally and physically.
So how can we make pressure our friends and prevent it from turning into stress.
Here are some tips:
- Improve time management and organization skills
- Enjoy regular massages
- Relax and breathe deeply
- Lighten up
- Learn to listen better
- Spend more time with optimistic people and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Regular exercise: Get out there and go for it. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore, so find something you enjoy doing. Find a walking buddy, take up a sport, take your pets for a walk or play with your kids. Schedule time in the morning before work for your daily exercise, or stop watching the news and use that hour in the evening to exercise. Don’t wait till it’s too late- seize the opportunity to get into shape now.
Food: What you eat is 70-80% of the battle. Our bodies are an ever transforming mass of complex systems which require correct nutrition in order to run at an optimal level. Every second a couple of thousand liver cells die, but the good news is that if your body is functioning well, the same number of new ones are created. Since our bodies are forever in a state of renewal, the fuel we consume is critical. Without proper nutrition the healing process breaks down.
Antony Worrall Thompson’s The Essential Diabetes Cookbook, published by Kyle Cathie, Photography © Jonathan Gregson Pot Roast Chicken with Leeks, Green Beans and Peas
A delicious simple stew that you see in many of the unpretentious restaurants in France
8 new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
55g / 2oz pancetta or smoked streaky bacon lardoons
6 boneless, skinless thighs from free range chicken, halved
750g / 1 3/4lb leeks, trimmed and washed, cut in 2.5cm pieces
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1 sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
120ml / 4 fl oz dry white wine
4 anchovy fillets
115g / 4 oz extra fine French beans, topped and cut in 2.5cm pieces
115g / 4oz petit pois
12 cherry tomatoes
Juice of ½ lemon
Ground black pepper
- Place the new potatoes in lightly salted water, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile in a large saucepan spray a light coating of olive oil, add the lardoons and cook for 5 – 6 minutes over a medium heat until golden. Discard excess fat then add chicken and brown all over.
- Next add the leeks and garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring regularly before adding rosemary, bay, soy, white wine, anchovies and part cooked potatoes. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 15 minutes. Then add the beans, peas and cherry tomatoes. Cook uncovered for 8 minutes before adding the lemon juice and seasoning.
- Spoon into 4 warm bowls and serve with warm seeded bread.
AWT: I’m a leg man but if you prefer breasts please feel free although I don’t believe they will be as juicy.
Why you won’t get results!
We all know one (I definitely know a few), those people out there that are ‘kidding themselves’. They blame other people; they don’t take responsibility for their actions and have enough excuses to fill a book. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there before. I used to be a big time blamer but then I realised something. I wasn’t going to get too far if I kept doing it, and those of you looking to take your health to the next level aren’t going to get there if you don’t accept responsibility!
Dr. Robert Resnick, a psychotherapist in Los Angeles, makes it easier to understand. E+R=O or Event + Response = outcome. At some stage in our lives we are all in very similar positions. Whether it is our weight, our relationships or our financial situations we all come across these hurdles, the difference is our response.
Having been in the health industry for 9 years I’ve heard every excuse under the sun. Most of them are as poor as the one we used at school – ‘sorry miss, my dog ate my homework’. As a trainer, we are constantly thrown excuses from people who aren’t willing to accept responsibility for the way they look and for the poor results they have achieved, BUT every now and then you get a gold client.
14 months ago Nicole Rodgers started personal training with one eye firmly fixed on her weight loss goal and the other on her target date, her friend’s wedding. Like all other clients with strong goals I was hoping that Nic would do all I ask and that there were no excuses.
Without any excuses Nic started her push to achieve those realistic but challenging goals she had set. Each goal setting session we had she would come back to me with her homework complete and the scales showing the benefits of it. There were no ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ or ‘sorrys’, just high fives all round as she got closer and closer to her goals. Living in the eastern suburbs of Sydney has brought about some interesting experiences for me. I once had a younger client who wouldn’t pay $6 for car parking to come and train, I didn’t waste much time with her.
Nic’s situation wasn’t easy, she had just started a new job, the job was based on the other side of the city, she was spending her spare time trying to find somewhere in Sydney to live, her starting salary made personal training a tight squeeze and on top of all that she was travelling from the Blue Mountains every day! That’s 3 hours of travelling! Nic’s commitment and dedication to the tasks that I had set for her was incredible. Every trainer has had one of these clients at some stage, a client who doesn’t blame anyone else, who doesn’t make excuses, a client who just gets on with the job. Nic is one of mine.
If you’re serious about being successful, not only in your health but in all areas of your life, assess them every three months. Which area of your life is the weakest? What do you need to work on? If you don’t think you can be honest with yourself, ask 3 people that you respect most for their opinions:
- Health – Do you need to lose weight? Do you have bad skin? Stomach problems? If you don’t have a flat stomach, both male and female, then I would say you need to lose weight.
- Friends – Are you being a good friend? Do you call your friends regularly? Are you there when they need you?
- Career – Are you where you thought you would be? If not, why? Are you going to blame your boss?
- Financial – What’s your financial position like? Are you struggling to pay the bills? What are you doing about it?
- Recreation – Do you have down time on the weekends? Are you ‘chilling out’? Are you hanging out with your friends?
- Family – Do you have strong bonds with your parents? Brothers and sisters?
It’s likely that some of you will conclude that everything is fine. Get real. There is always an area of your life that can be improved. Take responsibility.
Now that you have your ‘list’ the next step is to do something about it. This is where it all begins. You are in control of your own destiny. Where you end up is a result of the choices you make right now. Good luck.