Health and fitness are usually made to seem so complex. If you read a lot of fitness magazines, you’re told a variety of confusing advice. It’s enough to make your head spin.
For example, some health and fitness magazines tell readers that eggs, butter, and meat are all bad for you, while others will tell you those same things are actually good for you. Then you’ll start to hear running is good for you, and the bodybuilding and primal crowds will scoff at long-distance running. You might also hear that lifting weights is the best way to get in shape, and others might laugh at that. You’ll hear a million different variations of the best workout, how to keep track of your nutrition, how to prioritize your workout sessions, how to measure fitness, and what supplements you need to take.
In other words, it’s enough information to make you want to give up. Fortunately, health and fitness don’t have to be so complex.
As a matter of fact, you can boil it down to five simple rules:
- Practice a Few Different Exercises
Generally speaking, bodybuilding routines will have you doing about 3-4 different exercises per body part. That’s because they believe the more muscles you can get involved in your workout, the more it will challenge your cardiovascular system. The bodybuilding workout, however, can be too complicated for most people. Instead, keep it simple in the weight room; squats, deadlifts, presses, pull-ups, and rows are all great methods to rely on. In fact, you can do a lot with those lifts.
Of course, you’ll eventually want to mix up your workouts with some variations, but there’s no need to do 10 different ab workouts. If you’re doing bodybuilding exercises consider things like push-ups, burpees, squats, lunges, and planks. Pick a few and focus on the others later.
- Enjoy Yourself
Whatever activity you choose, make sure it’s fun. In other words, if you feel this particular activity isn’t for you, move on to something else. Focus on the fun part, not the hard part. Or, you can learn to love the hard stuff. For example, if you want to become more flexible, look into yoga. There are so many benefits of practicing yoga on a regular basis. It allows your body to open up and master difficult poses, and helps bring peace to your mind.
Again, make it fun, or you won’t have any motivation to improve your fitness. In the case of yoga, to make sure it’s not too hard at first, start with a gentle yoga. Focus on just getting moving and enjoying the activity at first. Start small, and build yourself up with baby steps. After all, yoga is one of the best ways to quiet your mind and prepare you for a glorious sleep after a harried day.
- Never Smoke
At this point, we should all know the dangers of smoking, but it bears repeating: There is absolutely nothing more damaging to an individual’s health, fitness, and well-being than smoking. It’s associated with several diseases, such as cancer, long-term respiratory disease, and heart disease, as well as premature death. According to the American Cancer Association, smoking causes one out of every five deaths in the United States, killing more people than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, weapons, and illegal drugs.
It’s also been reported that your body will actually start repairing the damages caused by smoking within days of stopping according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Monitor Your Calorie Intake
Believe it or not, keeping a calorie intake in balance with calories burned is vital. Obesity is one of the gravest health threats in the world, and public experts have spent decades on the front line trying to fight against it. During a recent study in The New England Journal Medicine, they found that obesity has doubled in more than 70 different countries since 1980. They also learned that it accounts for more than 4 million deaths every year. Another study found that obesity is now the second leading cause of death, behind tobacco.
Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight or just maintain your current body size, the need to control your calorie intake is important. By monitoring how many calories you consume, you not only empower yourself to lose body fat but also develop healthy habits.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Compute your ideal calorie intake.
- Keep track of the calories you consume.
- Divvy up the calories you eat throughout the day.
- Read labels.
- Change the way you drink.
- Control your portions.
- Eat Real Food
One of the most important rules on this list is to watch your nutrition, because if you don’t eat right (the majority of the time), it doesn’t matter how much time you spend in the gym – your body won’t see any improvements. So aim for real, whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. That means stay away from processed, refined, fatty, and sugary foods. Veggies, fruits, lean meats, dairy, nuts, beans, whole grains, eggs, and seeds are what you want to gravitate to.
Prepare your own meals if possible – food from the convenience store often have added ingredients, as well as extra salt, fat, sugar, and preservatives harmful to the body. If you follow this diet – with plant foods making the bulk of the diet – it’s hard to go wrong.
You didn’t gain weight overnight, and you won’t lose it that way either. Learn how to enjoy the process, the activities, the real food, and getting healthy and fit will almost be an afterthought to this new, amazing lifestyle.