Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Fill your tool box with the basics first

Sleep is just one of the basic tools you need to have before you focus on other areas of your health.

I love seeing my own clients and other people’s results, either in person or on social media. But what I don’t agree with is when they put it down to one thing or person which got them this result.

There is no one product, fad diet, personal trainer, gym or fancy equipment that will get you the results you want and help you maintain them. If someone claims they got a result from just one thing they are either lying and trying to sell you something, or they are just not aware of other factors which came into play.

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Instead of claiming that a miracle happened from using one thing, think of these methods as tools. If you go to work with just one tool in your tool box, then somewhere along the line it just isn’t going to be enough.

You also need to have the basic tools before you start adding all the more specialised equipment.

So what are the basic tools:
Sleep
I’m going to jump straight in here with this one because it’s the first thing people, including myself from time to time, neglect. If you aren’t getting enough sleep either at night or through napping, then your body isn’t going to be able to perform at the level it is meant to for any sustained period of time. During sleep your body rests, repairs and builds. If you don’t get enough sleep your hormones are all over the place, you make poor food choices, some of which can result in you not being able to sleep when you want to. Then the vicious cycle starts all over again.

Nutrition
If you can control what goes into your month you are more than half way there. Jumping on fad diets which cut out food groups and depletes energy supply, may not be the best option for everyone. Unless you have some food allergies, you don’t have to complicate your eating plan. Add extra fruit and vegetables to your diets, especially veg. Consume quality protein and not just in the form of meat, you also need to control your intake of carbohydrates to suit your needs. You can normally tell when you’ve had too much by the way you feel 20 minutes after eating. You also have to consider what fluids you are consuming from caffeine, sugary drinks, alcohol and water. It’s all about finding your balance and being honest with yourself.

Exercise
This is part of your tool kit, not the whole tool box. Exercise is important but it’s not the be all and end all. Start at a level that is comfortable for you and above all enjoy what you are doing. Find something which pushes you but not so much that it puts you off it for life. The enjoyment factor may not come during your session but if it makes you feel awesome after then always aim for that feeling.

Relax
Switch off, breath, meditate, spend some time with your family, R&R. Whatever relaxing means to you, then make sure you are adding it into your daily schedule. It can be ten minutes or a few hours depending on your lifestyle, but don’t misinterpret it with laziness. Lounging on a sofa all evening in a compromising position for your body’s mobility is not the best idea. Use your time wisely and make sure you plan for it.

You
You yourself are going to be the best tool you have. If you are self-motivated, have a plan and if you are willing to execute it then you won’t need much else to get you started. It may even save you a lot of time and money.

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Once you have nailed these basic ‘tools’ then it may be time to consider investing in some specialised equipment. Again these are tools that you can add to your tool box, but on their own they will not get you the results you want.

Supplements
In some cases, supplements have their place but only invest in them once your nutrition is on point and if your body really needs them. This also includes shake diets. I use to be a distributor for Herbalife and again I always said it was a tool. Herbalife or any other shake, juice or supplement product alone will not get you the results you want and in some cases need. It’s a tool which can help.

Personal trainers
Personal trainers are like investing in a jigsaw rather than a handsaw. It can be an easier and more skilled way to get the job done. The thing is there are times when you need to use a handsaw i.e. do your own exercise. The more you depend and motivate yourself to exercise there is less need for you to invest in a personal trainer.

Equipment, Gadgets and Technology
In some cases, like phones and watches, your gadgets can help you reach your goals. But sometimes you may have to invest in specific equipment like jumpmats for testing, a new road bike or fancy gym wear. A lot of these things lead to enhanced performance and they look good too.
Don’t be fooled by the latest trends and gimmicks and always look to see if you have all the basic tools before invest in specialised equipment.

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