Over the last decade I’ve tried to observe our world from a different lens and really understand the human mind and choices we make. One of the areas that fascinates me is overall human health. Now, I’m not a trainer or nutritionist, but trial and error over the years and vast amounts of my own research and plain logic led me to realize there are some core fundamentals to follow for long-lasting health. Even with all the advances in science and research, we still decide to make really poor choices on a daily basis that contribute to many health issues. Currently, the one plaguing our nation is obesity, and I’m not just referencing folks that are morbidly obese.  My explorations have led me to 5 simple truths about overall health that are shockingly simple but often overlooked. Whether you are trying to get in the best shape of your life or shed a couple extra LBs before beach season, hopefully these will help re-focus you on some easy things to keep top of mind for better health and fitness.

1. Drink Lots Of Water
I’m hoping this should not come as a surprise but drinking plenty of water is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Besides the fact that many medical journals say drinking a glass of water in the morning contributes to eating roughly 30% less calories a day, it just makes you feel good and has many additional health benefits.  I see a lot of folks start with coffee in the AM and then move on to a sweetened or sugary drink by lunch.  You wonder why you crash halfway through the afternoon? Lack of H2O is a big contributor.  Stay consistent with your water (at least 7-8 glasses a day) and you’ll be more full throughout the day and able to keep your energy up.

2. Sleep
I feel that sleep is one of the most misunderstood things we do as human beings.  Your body needs to “reboot” for the next day and getting at least 6-7 hours of sleep is vital for a full sleeping cycle to happen.  Plus, your body is working through that downtime to repair muscle fiber from your workouts and using stored fats to hibernate. Don’t you just feel really refreshed after a nice long night of rest? Do it. It’s good for you. Through my last round of P90X3 I stayed very strict to getting to sleep before 11 PM and noticed increased energy the next morning which helped improve my workouts. And to improve your comfort even further, I’ll plug a great company I use for my pillow and mattress. It’s like sleeping on a cloud. Check out HIBR and you’ll be saying “Thank you, Brian” in no time.

3. 30-Minutes Of Exercise A Day
You certainly don’t have to exercise to lose weight. However, working out for at least 30 minutes a day gets that adrenaline going and helps with overall health and your mood will actually improve. It’s a fact that people who work out consistently are in better spirits throughout the day. It’s true, look it up! Actually, I already did for you so go here. It doesn’t matter what you do but just get off your butt and do something. I’ve found it successful to mix up your workouts and routines regularly. Three main areas I focus on are Weights, Cardio, and Yoga. Weight training helps burn more calories and improves your over body tone and posture. Cardio (some, not excessive) helps with cardiovascular improvements and endurance. Yoga (even with some Pilates mixed in) helps “open up this ancient ol’ gristle”, as Tony Horton would say. It massively helps with balance and flexibility while improving overall strength in a lot of those little muscles.  I’ve enjoyed a lot of the Beachbody programs over the years and would recommend P90X 3 as a great place to start for an overall mix of everything.  All you have to do is show up and Press Play!

4. Smart Eating
You know the old saying “Weight Loss starts in the kitchen” and it’s so true.  For any significant weight loss you must focus on what you put in your body. I’m not going to go all nutritionist route on you. See, I’m a regular person, just like you. I’ve learned through trial and error and making sacrifices. That’s all eating healthy is about. There are so many great blogs and resources for recipes and foods that are nutritious for you. Check some out and try something new. Some of my favorite foods recently have been Quinoa, Hummas, Steel Cut Oats, and Sweet Potatoes (not all together, of course).  I’ve also found that it’s easier to stick to a plan by cooking a large amount and eating it over several meals. It saves time both in cooking and preparing meals each day for lunch. Check this article out for help.  Bottom line, just be smart with portions, stay away from crap; like fast food, soft drinks, and greasy snacks, and treat yourself every once in a while to your favorite indulgence.  It’s not always easy but you reap the benefits long term and that should be the deciding factor when making choices about what you put in your body.

5. Motivation
The other four points above are irrelevant if you are not committed to improving. Have you ever seen anyone not passionate or motivated about something become a success at anything? I didn’t think so.  You have to make the choice inside that you are going to push through the cravings, make an effort to hit the gym when you’re tired, and put down the soda in favor of the aqua.  In a practical sense, motivation or determination, is doing something when you don’t feel like it. The good days are easy. Everything flows nicely. It’s on the tough days that you have to preserver and stay committed otherwise you fall off that cliff and have to start climbing again from the bottom. Find something that motivates you and use that as the fuel to get you through the grind of the tough days.  Following a program can be helpful but also setting small, short-term goals makes you pass “checkpoints” on your path to success.  Do 3 workouts in a row or Bring your lunch for a week straight.  Achievable goals to get you moving in the right direction allow you to keep hyper-focused and present in the short-term while ultimately looking for long-term success.

There are a lot of things you can blame others for in life but your overall health is not one of them.  It’s a shame most people don’t take it seriously but I’ve realized the fact that some people just don’t care. They want to hear bones crack when they roll out of bed, or get tired walking up the stairs, or keep having to adjust their wardrobe.  I’ll never fully understand it.

But if you want to feel a little better or have more energy or maybe shed a few pounds or 20 then make the commitment in your head and heart and stick with it. Be consistent each day and set some goals and realize it isn’t going to happen overnight. Success breeds success and with each little “win” comes a monumental breakthrough.

Look forward to seeing you be the best form of you this year.

Thanks for reading