Remember my friend Joel, who opened his own gym back in June? I’m so happy to have him on the blog today sharing his expert-level advice for staying fit and healthy. He won’t cut you short!
It’s scientifically proven that it’s easier to not do something than it is to do it. For those of you who haven’t exercised in a long while and have gone through the “maybe tomorrow” banter with yourself
too often, stop it. Stop it right now.
It’s time to get up and get moving. Today’s the day you’re taking the next step. It’s very daunting, of
course! Nothing good comes easy though, right? Let’s talk about five easy habits that will jump start your progress.
1. Cut the sugary drinks.
Look at the following list of foods that you could eat for the same calorie count (and less simple sugar count) than your average canned soda:
- 5 oz grilled chicken.
- 5 oz. ground turkey.
- 4 slices wheat bread.
- 3/4 cup oats + 1/4 cup blueberries.
- 1 cup cooked quinoa.
- 1 1/4 cup white potatoes.
- 1 cup cooked brown rice.
If any of these sound like a decent amount of food, it’s because it is. Liquid calories don’t register with the body like solid food calories; it’s much easier to drink more calories than it is to eat them (think milkshakes vs. a single hamburger). Anything you would drink that would taste good (that has excess calories) is loaded with sugar that serves no energy purpose in your body while you’re just sitting around.
2. Stop eating processed foods from bags and boxes.
I’m with everyone else when I say I love crackers, cereal, candy, and other salty and sugary goodness that comes in a bag or box. These foods are terribly fat and sugar dense, and our bodies naturally desire these food sources. They’re energy sources, and to our bodies, the denser the better. We have to fight the constant urge our body gives us to eat more than we should. Fat is energy; the more energy that’s in the body, the less work it has to do to survive. Therefore, the more fat that’s in your body, the more prepared you are to survive with no food. Don’t let your body fool itself into thinking you’ll starve tomorrow.
3. Drink more water.
You’d be shocked how much more energetic you are when you have to get up and pee every 45 minutes. Not only does drinking more water keep your body’s processes running efficiently, it’s also good for your skin and mental health. Hydration is key. On top of that, if you’re making forced habits to drink more water, it reminds you you’re doing it for a purpose: to get up and hit the gym.
4. Be a caveman.
Hunting huge animals and killing them with a stick is probably a pretty effective way to get in shape, right? I tell all my clients: “If you can kill it, or it comes out of something you can kill, or you can pick it out of the ground or off a tree…eat it.”
This pairs well with not eating or drinking anything processed. With junk foods in your diet, it’s amazing how many excessive calories you can eat in a day without feeling “full.” When you eat whole foods, I can almost guarantee you can’t overeat. Unless you’re a competitive eater or have the mindset of one (guilty as charged), then you will not, I repeat, will not overeat on whole foods. If you care to challenge me, eat only lean protein sources and carbohydrate sources (besides bananas) for four weeks and tell me if you’ve gained weight. I’d love to hear your story. Don’t forget to document it and take pictures!Want to get fit? Here are 5 #tips for getting started. #fitness #health Click To Tweet
5. Look in the mirror…naked.
This one’s not a punchline. Look at yourself in the mirror while you’re naked. It’s so easy to wear flattering clothing to cover yourself and dress attractively. By all means, please wear what you look attractive in! It’s a great confidence booster. However, it’s incredibly common (more in women than men) to avoid mirrors and always wear clothes in their own houses. One of the first things people do is go home and change without taking a glance in the mirror.
I need you to check yourself out.
If you’re intimidated by what you see in the mirror, or feel unsatisfied, or develop harsh feelings about yourself just by seeing your reflection, cut that out. Now. The mirror is a device to measure your progress. If you’re not comfortable looking at yourself, by yourself, how can you possibly feel comfortable in intimate situations? Long-term relationships suffer when the individuals in those relationships aren’t confident in themselves. You’d be amazed the kind of confidence boost you receive just walking around clothed after you’ve attained your “picturesque” naked physique. If you really want to make things interesting, grab your favorite junk food and eat it in front of the mirror.
Joel McCauley, CPT, is owner and operator of Freedom Fit Gym in Ashland, Va. To learn more and follow along, check out his website and no-nonsense fitness and health blog, and follow Freedom Fit Gym on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.