As a Personal Trainer and Gym owner, the common conception is that health and fitness comes naturally to me. The truth is, just like anyone, I work for it. Everyday I make conscious choices to improve my habits for long term health & as a bonus I get to help others do the same. Below are my top 10 for staying in shape all year round, non-negotiable, lifestyle choices that I choose to do and live by, to help keep my nutrition, training and results on track.
1. Get Outdoors
As a general rule I get outdoors at least once per day. Getting outside and moving is not only important for your body, but for your brain. Fresh air, bright colours and movement will get your heart pumping, creative juices following and you will feel more healthy and positive for it.
I normally hit 15000 steps per day. However, on those days I am stuck in the office and I simply can’t reach that, I’ll just get out for a 20 minute power walk or a run around the block. God gave us legs and arms, don’t be lazy, get out and use them. Finding a hobby can also assist with staying active. For myself it is surfing and cycling. So swell depending, I can go out for an hour surf or weather permitting a cycle.
2. Eat your veggies first
My meals are all based around loads of colourful veggies. Thanks to our Thermomix, we can create tasty salads and veggie slaws in minutes. Alternatively Woolies and Coles make slaw packs, zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice ready to go.
Fill your plate with colour and you will be receiving the necessary amount of fibre you need, to not only stay healthy but also to keep you fuller longer. This will also help your body stay regular and get rid of toxins, which will assist in weight loss. Sadly we live in a time where most of the world thinks that it’s ok to live off processed rubbish, that companies get to call ‘food’. Swap the processed products for real food that hasn’t been altered, then you are able to have your proteins, starches and good fats which complete your meal.
3. Sleep Well
Most of the time this is a choice. Turn off the technology at 7-8pm, so you can settle your mind and calm down for a good nights rest by 9pm. Stimulation like screens of phones and iPads, as well as TV’s will often leave you feeling unsettled. This can contribute to you not being able to fall straight asleep and waking through the night. Also take naps if you can. I like to have a midday nap for 20 minutes. Working/family life is around 15-19 hours a day, so having a mid day 20 minute booster can really help keep you feeling fresh for the afternoon and evening. Try this sleep timer on your iPhone to adjust your sleep.
4. Train like you mean it
One of the most common questions I receive is, do I enjoy training? Honestly the enjoyment comes in waves, but no matter how I feel I always do it. Depending on my own personal goals at the time of year, I change my cardio to suit.
Weight training and yoga is non-negotiable. By committing to this, it keeps me strong, moving pain free, both now while I’m young and as I age and it’ll keep me feeling energised and mobile.
5. Prepare Your Food
Food prep has been done for hundreds of years for various reasons. Sadly in the last 15 years, as life has become more demanding, our body’s health has become less of a priority and convenient foods have moved in. Now people are paying the price, with disease, mental health and obesity skyrocketing.
Make the time and honour your body with the correct fuel to get you through the day. I have learnt to really enjoy cooking. Not only do I get to be creative with flavours that I enjoy eating, but it’s a great way to spend quality time with loved ones in the kitchen. My family are all great cooks and we share ideas to keep the food interesting. Food prep in my household is 2 times per week. Nikki, my wife, sorts out the veggies while I crank up the Webber BBQ with around 3kg of different kind of protein sources. We have it down to a fine art now and it takes us around an hour each time we prep for a few days worth of food- (It use to take us 2 – 3hours.)
6.Eat Organic or Pesticide Free
Where possible we stay clear of pesticides, while buying and eating local. By reducing pesticides in your diet, it will take the load off your liver. This will allow it to focus on the real wastage to get rid of, which in turn will enhance fat loss, while also reducing allergies and inflammation.
We go to our local markets at Miami and Burleigh. The produce is 100 times fresher than the super markets and more often than not, the organic prices are very similar to those in large supermarkets. Plus you are buying local and supporting small businesses. We also purchase all our meat in bulk and for doing so the butchers are more than happy to provide a discount. Miami butchers are great. If I buy a month worth of meat, I not only get the best organic, grass fed meat, but below supermarket prices.
7. Magnesium, Zinc & Greens powder
Every morning before food, I have a Greens powder with a fibre like psyllium husk or LSA. It is one of those supplements that freshens you up instantly. Throughout the day I also have Magnesium and Zinc. These are the kinds of nutrients that are also easily depleted with regular exercise. Gaba magnesium is my go to before bed, knocking me out for a solid 6-8 hours sleep. If anyone has trouble sleeping I’d definitely recommend this supplement.
8. Yoga and stretching mobility
People love to come to the gym and train their bodies hard. However one of the biggest road blocks people have is injury and sadly this happens through not putting enough time into stretching and their flexibility. A big training load requires a good stretch, deep into areas that you just can’t get into, from a quick 5 minute roll and stretch before you workout. I personally attend a yoga class once a week, also do a few evening stretches at home and even ditch the desk at work and lay on a yoga mat whilst on the laptop. Looking after your flexibility will help prevent injury. Sadly, once you are injured it will affect your training and everyday life through aches and pains. Look after your body now and don’t pay the price later.
9. Eat for health, not for fat loss
People love to ask if I have a cheat day and smash out a block of chocolate. The answer is no, cheat days are toxic for your brain. I am human and love tasty foods and like to make my own or head to one of our local restaurants. I don’t worry about carbs and sugars etc, however I choose foods without toxic oils and ingredients that I don’t know what they are. Yes, this does rule out deep fried foods, cakes etc. I like raw chocolate (see recipe) and raw desserts, whilst also eating my own relaxed meals without feeling sick.
Foods that are high in toxins really knock you around. It can make your feel lethargic, moody and frustrated, upsets your hormones and puts pressure on your liver, making it harder to lose weight. If you want to be healthy, my best advice is to stick to clean foods. Aim for the long term of health, set the new standard of what healthy is to you and stick to it. You will be surprised at how amazing you will feel and the weight will just fall off you.
10. Eat regularly
This is the first thing most people need to adjust when they come into their first nutrition consult. If people don’t eat regularly, their blood sugar drops, which usually results in poor food choices due to feeling light headed, shaky and simply starving. I know if I am coming close to my 3 hour eating window as I start feeling low on energy and my stomach tells me. I eat every 3 hours with either snacks or a meal from our Nutrition For Training Guide. Most would wonder why they don’t have energy; it’s more than likely that they aren’t fuelled correctly and have nothing for their body to run on.