Eleven Random Thoughts on Exercise, Fitness and Everlasting Health

Suhail with rope


1) It’s a lifestyle stupid, make it permanent!

Healthy living should be a permanent lifestyle.  You should not go into it with the mindset of doing it for a brief period until you lose some weight, and then have a binge fest.  If you make healthy living a lifestyle it becomes easy and less of a struggle. “Where should I start?” you might be wondering.  Well, start with reading all health related articles on this blog.  There’s some pretty good advice if I say so myself.

2) Make it part of your routine:

A wise man once said “routine sets you free.”  It’s counter intuitive but it’s 100% true.  The more routine you have in your life the more you get done, which allows for more time for the things you love to do.  As much as possible, plan your exercise times in advance.  Also, know what you’re going to have for meals and snacks a week in advance, that way you won’t end up in McDonald’s out of desperation.

3) Make your exercise sessions short but intense:

My favourite way of exercising is interval training. It involves a mix of cardio and strength training done in bursts of high intensity followed by low to moderate ones for recovery.  They can last anything from twenty minutes to just five minutes.  There are tons of examples online, and I will be publishing one soon as well.

4) The closer you are to vegetarian the better:

Look, I’m not here to advocate animal rights or anything like that (though that is a worthy topic, but not today).  This article is about your health and well-being.  You will be a lot healthier and happier if you eat less animal protein.  Humans have only been consuming vast amounts of meat in the last sixty years or so (after the WWII mass industrialisation), before that our diet was mainly vegetables, pulses etc.   I’m not saying don’t have that great steak you love.  But have it once a week or less.  And organic would be better, so you avoid the hormones and antibiotics that are pumped into cows these days.  Same goes for chicken and other meats.  The quality is just horrendous!  Make your meats and chicken organic if possible.

5) Exercise in the morning:

Exercising in the morning just sets up the day for success.  The later in the day you leave your workout, the bigger the chance that you’ll be too tired.  Get up, workout, and then start your day.

6) Forgive yourself dammit!

Look, everyone has a relapse from time to time.  If you’ve had a binge recently, or had a couple of days of junking, it’s not the end of the world.  Feel guilty for five minutes, then forgive yourself and move on.  You’re not a saint.  Jump back into your exercise and health routine and don’t dwell on it my friend.

7) Calorie restriction is the way to go!

Want to be healthy and live long?  Eat just enough to satiate your hunger.  Somewhere, some scientists did  research that shows if your reduce your calorie intake, you will have a longer and healthier life (Sorry, I can’t remember the source). Calories restriction does not mean calories counting, it just means limiting the overall amount of food you eat.

8) Take it one day at a time:

In the amazing Alcoholics / Overeaters Anonymous 12-step programme, they teach that you should worry about today only, not the rest of your life.  That is just amazing advice.  If you’re afraid of falling into bad habits again, just focus on today.  Eat well today.  Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.  Do this and you’re on your path to health success.

9) Keep challenging yourself:

Upgrade your exercise programme every 4 to 6 weeks.  Add more weight if you’re doing weights; add more distance if you’re running; or do the same distance/intensity in less time.  Your body is very good at adapting to your current exercise regiment, and the moment it does you’ll notice the rate of fitness increase slowing down.  That’s why you’ve got to make your exercise programme more challenging and update it regularly.

10) Start small:

If you haven’t worked out in a long time, start really small and then build up.  When I started running again I ran just one minute.  Yes, one minute only!  A couple of days later I ran two minutes, and so on.  Too many people set themselves up for failure because they want to start too big.  “I’ll run ten miles on Monday!” they say.  No, just run 100 meters on Monday, and then increase gradually but consistently. There’s nothing wrong with big goals, but don’t start too big – especially when it comes to fitness.

11) It all starts with goal setting:

Want to achieve a lot?  Want to break out of your monotony? Then set goals and write them down.  Listen to the radio interview I did on goal setting here.

Hope this was useful.  Talk soon.

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