In a complex world with fad diets and quick fix workouts it’s time we stripped things back and looked after the basics. If people ask me
what I do, to stay fit and healthy, I would normally respond with these five points; sleep often, eat well, meditate, train smart and most importantly enjoy all of it.
For me this is one of the most important parts of leading a healthy active lifestyle and one of the hardest to follow, because we live in a fast world, we normally never consider the importance of sleep. It’s just something that we do until we are called back into action the next day.
We even ‘rest’ our bodies by watching TV or flicking through our phone rather than getting those few extra hours sleep. Without sleep we could not physically function. Our bodies need to rest to recover, develop and replenish our energy stores for the next day. The biggest thing you need to consider, is not just the amount of sleep but also the quality of sleep. This can be helped by having a pre bed time routine.
Before we even look at your pre bed routine, have you ever considered how the environment you sleep in will affect the quality of your sleep?
For a really good night’s sleep I recommend that you turn your room into a bat cave. It may not sound appealing but have a cool dark room with no light not even the stand-by light from your TV. This helps the body and mind relax. The cool room helps regulate the right temperature for your body to nod off faster and having no light doesn’t distract or stimulate the mind.
Other things to consider is to not use or watch electronic devices for at least 20 minutes before bed. Again this helps to relax your brain activity. Don’t eat a huge meal, have a glass of water and either read or meditate to help you really relax before you nod off
I’ll let you in on a secret: The diet that works best is the one you consistently stick to. Different diets or eating plans work differently for different people. There is no magic formula and if anyone claims that the diets they are on is the best then they don’t understand the body and will sound like they are in some form of a diet cult.
Find a meal plan that works for you and consistently keep at it. Don’t jump from one major change to the next. This is what yo-yo dieting is.
Instead implement small changes into your diet until you find the eating plan that suits your body and lifestyle?
This year I added some guided mediation into my daily routine. I was going through a lot of personal issues and I found that meditating was
one way of helping me to clear and relax my mind. It’s not easy when you first start, but it’s like starting any training program. You aren’t going to be able to lift the heaviest weight or run the furthest distance but with training and time you will get there. I felt like stopping and did now and again.
But I found myself slipping, so when I started back I definitely felt the difference. Personally, I use an app on my phone called Headspace which is easy to follow and breaks it down into different areas. Give it a go and stick with it for a while.
I left this one near the end because I feel that if you get the others right then this is a natural progression. If you aren’t sleeping and eating right or looking after your mental health, then how are you going to have the energy and motivation to train. You will be forcing yourself to do something that should come naturally and that you enjoy.
The best type of exercise is the same as the best type of diet. The one you consistently carry out over time. This could be walking, swimming, playing sport or hitting the gym. As long as you stick to a set routine overtime and have the other four pervious points covered then you’ll soon see the results.
Enjoy doing all these points. At the start, they may seem like a chore but after a while you should start to look forward and get a buzz after you carry out any of these areas. Personally I love how I feel after a nutritious meal and equally how bad I can feel after eating poor meals consistently over time.
I enjoy training but there are times when I do get de-motivated or bored so rather than do nothing I change it up until I find something else I enjoy and once the buzz goes from that I either go back to my last routine or mix them up.
Look forward to meditating; it’s a perfect time to just take 10 minutes to yourself without any distraction. Sleep well and often, even schedule in a wee nap and just notice how you feel after you wake up.