26/2/2021 0 Comments
We live in times where fitness has become a massive trend and paradoxically, fewer people consider it important, giving way to other things to get on top of their priority list.
The collective paradigm about health, nutrition, and fitness has been warped beyond belief.
This therefore leads to more people than ever getting lost in a vicious cycle of non-sustainable physical, nutritional and mental habits.
And while getting fit and starting a diet is just a “Someday” goal for many people, the truth is that it is the natural way the body should work.
The Modern-Day Lifestyle
Humans as a species have been on this planet for at least 200,000 years and for the most part, it has been a survival game.
It has only been the last 30 years that we’ve had easy access to such an abundance of foods, which can even be delivered to your doorstep!
So, you see where this is going, right?
We are way beyond our natural human patterns of movement and nutrition, working sedentary jobs and eating heavily-processed, nutrient-poor foods.
What we now call training is actually the way things worked for most of human existence.
Here’s The Best Part Though
Your HEALTH determines your performance in every other aspect of your life.
Think about it, too many people often get to the point where neglecting their body becomes habitual, rather than a choice.
This usually leads to an overall decrease in the quality of life, where they feel mentally and physically exhausted just a couple of hours into the day.
As this happens, it gets harder to focus and perform well on your other activities.
This is where physical, nutritional, and mental practices come into play.
Fitness & Nutrition as toolsBy now you should know that the best thing you can do to improve your performance in every aspect of life, is to keep your body & mind healthy.
And quite frankly, the physical part of it is really simple - Using your body’s active components (training) and granting fuel for performance & recovery (food).
As we mentioned above, the modern-day lifestyle imposes us to an environment where EVERYTHING we need is right around the block.
The question is, are you going to go to the gym or the pub?
Are you going to go to the grocery store or the burger joint?
Making all the right choices that will nurture all the various functions of the body, will ultimately set you up for a clear vision and good performance in all aspects of life.
The goal is to create a plan you can adhere to and bring into your older years, to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Physical & Mental Practices Anyone Can UseNow that we have a firm grasp of the fact that taking care of your body is the least and easiest thing you can and should do, let’s have a look at actionable steps you can take towards that.
1. Bring diversity in your nutrition
Nowadays, more often than not, there are fad diets that overwhelm people trying to set up a concrete nutrition plan.
Should you do keto, paleo, low-carb or intermittent fasting?
The short answer is - Use whatever you can stick to in the long term.
But when building out your nutrition plan, consider this:
A balanced approach to nutrition is the best way to go, as each and every macro and micro nutrient has its own purpose in your physiology.
Eat some meat, some fish, grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, nuts and any other whole foods you may have in the local store.
Remember that the different colors of food simply show the different nutrients available in that food.
In this case, the more colorful your plate is, the better.
Enjoy food not only as a functional component of your health & recovery plan, but also a form of enjoyment and art.
2. Include endurance, strength & functional training
Your body is a complex biological machine that has a musculoskeletal system, used to move in the environment in a variety of ways.
As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, the modern-day lifestyle robs us of most movements which we would otherwise do.
This is exactly why, it is best to use as many functions of your body as possible.
Contrary to popular belief, your “fitness” is not just about going to the gym and lifting weights.
It is much more than that.
Your body can run, swim, climb, crawl, jump, pull, push, etcetera…
Think about it - Each of those movements engages a different set of active components (muscles).
The more of those components you frequently engage in challenging training sessions, the better your overall development will be.
This is mostly valid for people who are not athletes, as competitive sports would require a different approach, the goal of which would be to maximize on a couple of physical properties.
3. Take care of your recovery
Whether you are doing light cardio or grueling strength training, leaving a window for recovery before the next session is always mandatory.
It is this exact recovery window that allows the trained muscles/functions to reach the state of supercompensation.
Supercompensation is essentially the point during recovery, at which the exercised muscles/functions have a higher working capacity than they did prior to the training bout.
This is what progress actually is - Your body preparing for bigger challenges!
Here are our best tips to optimize your recovery:
4. Breathe more!
Besides robbing us of movement, the modern-day lifestyle often instills passive stress into the mind.
If your mind is stressed, so is the body and we all know that chronic stress has long-term side effects that manifest in many aspects of our lives.
And quite frankly - You don’t want that.
This is where breathing exercises come into play.
Now, breathing is normally an autonomous function... until the moment you think of it.
And this is actually good!
Consciously controlling your breathing pattern can have massive benefits on your autonomous nervous system (ANS) right away.
Just 5-10 deep, slow inhales and exhales can instantly act as a powerful signal for the body.
That exact signal tells the ANS that it is time to relax and recover, thus allowing many glands in the body to secrete health-nurturing substances.
The step-by-step breathing practice we have for you below, can be used daily to manage any type of stress and bring harmony back to the heart & brain.
This is essentially a meditation practice which has powerful effects even when done for a couple of minutes per day.
The main goal is to focus on your heart & lungs and induce a powerful self-regulation signal.
If any intrusive thoughts come to your mind, don’t follow and multiply them, just let them go and return your attention to the heart and lungs.
To Wrap It Up
Doing regular physical/training activity, eating well and practising mindfulness shouldn’t really be considered “goals”.
These are rather just the tools you can and should use to set yourself up for better performance in any other aspect of your life.
Modern-day cities provide everything you need for a complete biological optimization, right at your fingertips.
But the catch is that they also make it easy for you to create a full-on biological disaster.
The question is, which route are you gonna go?
Choice is yours, make the rest of your life the best of your life.
Alright, in part 1 of this series, we went over the two main types of injuries - Acute & Chronic injuries.
In case you did not read that article, let us briefly explain this further.
Acute injuries have an immediate onset, and happen when the working tissues’ capabilities have been exceeded, or a sudden clash/fall has occurred.
These are best managed by letting the area rest and applying ice in the first 48-72 hours, as well as training around the injury in a way that won’t aggravate it.
On the other hand, chronic injuries happen gradually over time and are mainly caused by poor exercise form, overexertion, and suboptimal recovery protocols.
Now, keep in mind, though these are two different types of injuries, poor management of an acute injury (even a small one), can snowball into a chronic injury over time.
If there are even small pains that persist, it is recommended that you do not neglect them and advise with a professional.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at the best injury-prevention practices.
How To Prevent Chronic Injuries
Alright, as you already know, chronic injuries are primarily the end result of poor training decisions and poor recovery.
And though that sounds bad, it actually means that chronic injuries are preventable!
Here are our best tips to help you prevent injuries and enjoy a functional body for decades to come:
#1 Prime The Body For Exercise (Warm-up)
It is oftentimes that people neglect the warm-up in the beginning of their training sessions and go too hard too fast.
Well, the fact of the matter is that preparing the body before you jump into hard sets, is the best way to prevent any type of injuries.
Think about it - If you cold-start your car and put the pedal to the floor right away, what would happen? Something will break eventually.
Now here’s what a good warm up will do:
The first two can be done with low-intensity aerobic activities, such as jogging, rope jumping or simply walking at a higher pace.
Activating your muscle fibers is best done by gradually increasing the working weight, for the first 2-3 sets of your first exercise.
All of this will prepare the body for heavier work afterward and will massively reduce the risk of injury.
#2 Use Proper Exercise Form
Whether you are a beginner trainee or someone who has a couple of years of experience, your main priority should always be your exercise form.
If you sacrifice good exercise form for a couple of extra kilograms on the bar, you are setting yourself up for an injury, thus robbing yourself of progress.
Remember that each and every joint has a certain biomechanical position, at which it can safely exert the most force possible for its working muscle groups.
Anything less than that and you are speeding up the wear and tear of your joints and ligaments.
#3 Eat well & Drink Water
When a person experiences an injury, more often than not the instinctive reaction is to look for creams & gels you can apply on the injured area, to speed up healing.
For that exact reason, food & water intake are often underestimated when it comes to healing, recovery, and injury prevention.
But if you think logically, you’d know that they are REALLY important and can be a powerful ally for maintaining a healthy skeleton & musculature.
This is simply because food contains essential nutrients, which the body can’t produce on its own, but needs for optimal health and recovery.
Furthermore, specifically in the case of injuries, certain foods can actually increase inflammation, while others can mitigate it.
Here are our 5 best nutrition tips to prevent & treat injuries:
#4 Get Frequent Massages
One thing you should really acknowledge is the fact that your muscular system is REALLY complex and has many functional components.
As you use it, your muscles & their fascia get fatigued, and even after solid recovery, they may feel stiff at one point.
The fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that holds every organ, bone, muscle, and nerve fiber in place. As these active components go through stress, their fascia tightens up.
This is exactly where deep tissue massages can come in handy, to release the fascia and rejuvenate the working tissues & their nerves.
Besides releasing the tension from the tissues, deep massages will also improve blood flow to the area.
This in turn will allow the blood to deliver more oxygen & nutrients to the area, thus improving recovery and lowering the chance of injury.
If you do training activity regularly, it is recommended that you get a massage at least twice a month.
If you don’t like the idea of getting frequent massages, there are alternative ways to release the tension in the muscles & fascia on your own.
Stretching is in fact the best way to do so and it can further be combined with foam-roller exercises that will allow you to release the tension in-depth.
It is recommended that you do your stretching exercises AFTER the training bout rather than at the start, where the goal would be to activate your muscle.
Think of it this way - As you go into the workout, your goal is to recruit and activate more and more muscle fibers, by contracting the muscles (opposite of stretching).
Throughout the workout the muscles get fatigued and at the end of the training bout it is time to relax that tension, by implementing stretching exercises
#6 Use Joint Recovery Supplements
Besides managing training intensity, exercise form, and taking care of muscle maintenance, joint recovery supplements are also a viable injury-prevention option.
Here are our best picks for such supplements:
Ultimately, these supplements won’t compensate for the lack of proper exercise form, nutrition & a methodical approach to training, so consider them a bonus!
Click herWe all know for a fact that doing regular training has numerous health benefits.
However, most personal trainers that try to get you motivated to start working out, never really tell you about the possible downsides of training.
Those are namely the injuries one may experience throughout their training process.
Now, if you have been an active trainee for a while, you know the impact that even a small injury can have.
Usually, once a small injury is present, we tend to completely cut off training and sooner or later, nutrition gets ditched too.
But the best part is that injuries can be managed and prevented, in a way that will not cease the momentum you’ve gathered up until the point of injury.
In this article, we’ll go over common sports-related injuries, to discuss types of injuries, how to handle them & how to prevent them in the future.
Types Of Injuries
It is important to understand that there are different types of injuries, which in turn will be treated in different ways.
However, when it comes to sports injuries, there are two main types defined by physical therapists - Acute injuries & Chronic injuries.
Acute injuries happen right away when the active components of your musculature and skeleton, are exposed to an amount of stress, greater than what they can handle.
This type of injury is mostly to blame on falls, poor warm-up, bad exercise form, and often times, using excessively heavy training loads.
The most common acute injuries are the following:
On the other hand, chronic injuries develop gradually in time as a result of consistent overexertion, poor recovery, wrong movement patterns, and often times, poor treatment of acute injuries.
As you may or may not know, when you take your muscles through a more intense workout, you technically create micro-trauma in the working tissues.
In the period after the workout, the body aims to recover that micro-trauma to ultimately make all those tissues stronger and ready for bigger loads.
However, there is a certain recovery threshold, due to the fact that intensity by nature is strenuous and requires time to recover from.
If you consistently go beyond that threshold, sooner or later the degenerative processes in those tissues will be greater than the regenerative processes, thus creating chronic injuries.
Chronic injuries are generally harder to recover from and can in fact return in time, even after you have treated them.
Here are the most common chronic injuries:
Acute Injury Treatment - Do’s and Don’ts
Acute injuries may happen to anyone and if not taken care of, they can grow into chronic injuries.
This is precisely why you should know how to manage acute injuries in a timely manner.
The quicker you do so, the fewer complications will follow afterward, and the quicker you will recover.
Generally, at a sudden onset of an injury, there are two primary things that will help you - Resting & Icing the area.
At the moment of acute injury, you have already surpassed the tissues’ limit and there is no more room to engage them in any activity.
Putting the injured area to rest will allow all recovery processes to happen as quickly as possible, thus leading to quicker healing.
If on the other hand, you decide to continue the physical activity that led to this, you are setting yourself up for a serious chronic injury.
With most acute injuries, there is an immediate onset swelling around the injured area.
Applying an ice pack may help reduce pain and swelling, during the first days of the injury.
It is recommended that you put an ice pack on the injured area for 10-20 minutes, 2-3 times a day during the first 48-72 hours after the injury has occurred.
Contrary to popular belief, compression on the injured area will not actually help with the initial swelling.
Even more so, a tight compression may even make things worse.
By using an elastic band and compressing the area, you limit the blood flow to the spot, thus slowing down the recovery processes.
As we mentioned, it is often that an injured individual will completely cease all training activity until the injury recovers completely.
However, in most cases, this is in fact the worst thing you can do.
The benefits of physical activity still remain, even if a certain body part is injured.
For example, if your knee is injured, nothing is stopping you from training your upper body.
In doing so, you will promote blood circulation and thus favor hundreds of recovery processes in the body, allowing the injury to heal faster.
In short - Rest the injured area and continue doing exercises that don’t aggravate it. Your body will take care of the rest.
To Wrap This UpThough training offers a variety of benefits, there are also certain risks involved, which should be considered.
Injuries are something that can bring your gathered momentum to a stop.
This is the reason why you should definitely keep an eye on even the smallest pain and take care of them in time.
In the second part of this article series, we are going to give you actionable tips you can use to manage & prevent chronic injuries, to ultimately bring a healthy body in your older years.
See you there!
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Having a fit body is very crucial to your health. It gives you the energy and nice shape to keep on doing your daily activities without failing. Despite the benefits accrued from working out, some people have neglected their body fitness. This has resulted in lifestyle diseases, laziness, and lack of motivation to get things done. However, this is a challenge that can be dealt with by relying on the following tips to ensure you are not only healthy but also fit in 2021.
Switch To Outdoor Activities
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic saw many gyms go out of business since they could not achieve social distancing -one of the guidelines put in place to help fight the deadly coronavirus. With the closure of training facilities, some of the fitness enthusiasts fall out of touch with working out but others resolved to turn to other options to ensure they keep working out. And this is where outdoor training facilities come in. Now that most people are still not in a hurry to return to the gyms, finding an outdoor activity will help in terms of enhancing your body fitness. You can engage in outdoor games such as golf, tennis, swimming, or soccer to keep your body active and fit.
Put Your Phone Aside While Working Out
In your quest to achieving your intended body fitness, you will face various challenges. Some of the obstacles come in form of distractions, such as having to respond to a phone call or reply to a message. This can be avoided if you choose to put aside your phone every time you start working out. Switching your cellphone off will allow you to focus 100% on your body fitness. No longer do you have to keep glancing at your phone to see who is calling or texting you.
Write Down Your Fitness Goals
Your brain cannot memorize everything you want to achieve this year in regards to your personal life, body fitness, and career. This is why you must note down your fitness goals. Once you have written them down, they will act as reminders of what you need to achieve this year in keeping your body fit and healthy. Every time you feel demotivated to keep working out, go back to your written goals and find motivation. If your goal is to gain more lean muscles, note it down in your notebook. Keep reminding yourself about that target as you continue working hard to achieve it.
When it comes to body fitness, you must be decisive. You need a plan to see you through in your journey towards maintaining the right body mass, eating healthy, and keeping fit. Doing all that will not be a walk in the park. Sacrifices such as staying away from your phone while working out or finding a new outdoor sport will all come in handy. You must remain dedicated and focused by writing down your targets to keep reminding yourself of what you ought to do. In that connection, you get the courage and urge to keep pursuing your fitness goals religiously.
2020 has taught us how life can be unpredictable. It has enlightened us about the need to be flexible and keep up with ever-changing times. One of the main highlights of 2020 was the effects caused globally by the Covid-19 pandemic. But as 2021 sets in, there is a need to start fresh and stay motivated. Below are some of the different ways you can remain focused and motivated this new year.
Write Down Your Goals
Writing down your goals gives you the hype to work hard towards achieving those goals. For instance, if in 2021 you intend to pursue your body fitness goals, then it is very important you note those targets down. Once you have done so, ensure you keep reminding yourself about those fitness goals. This will give you the motivation to get to the gym or subscribe to a workout program that suits you well and guarantee you the desired results.
Capitalize On External Accountability
Having someone keep you in check, will ensure you stay motivated towards achieving your goals in 2021. If working out is your new year’s resolution then opt to have a reliable workout partner. This partner should be ready and willing to walk with you throughout your fitness journey. In doing so, you will find joy in turning up for your workout sessions alongside your friend whose responsibility is to ensure you remain focused on achieving your intended body fitness goals.
Create A To-Do List
Having a to-do list gives you a comprehensive list of the things you intend to do. If it is visiting the gym, or participating in an online workout session ensure you have it on your to-do list. Whenever you feel like losing your motivation, you just have to peep at your list, and you will get the drive to do the task at hand. Ensure you focus on achieving all that is on your to-do list before moving to the next project unless you have to attend to a reasonable emergency.
Set Considerable Timeliness
You must have a due time for achieving your goals if you want to stay motivated in 2021. By having due dates and deadlines, you get the urgency and need to do a particular task. If your goal is to shed a certain amount of weight for the purposes of body fitness, have a set date when you expect to achieve that target. You will get the motivation to keep working out and putting in place other efficient weight loss management procedures to propel you towards your intended success.
Human beings tend to have a short concentration lifespan. It is very easy to lose focus of your goals. However, regardless of that possibility, you can still motivate yourself to keep on working towards achieving your goals. Some of the interventions you can use include having a plan, setting goals, creating a to-do list, setting due dates among other more guidelines. That will keep you focused and remind you of the magnitude of what you intend to achieve, thus keep you motivated.
I have been weight training, running and cycling for 37 years and I have gained a vast amount of experience in fitness both as a Soldier in The British Army and in the past 21 years having been involved in the fitness industry.