Holistic Fitness Guide

Introduction

Over the years I have carefully crafted a health plan for myself. This plan was created from research, tutorials, and a great deal of trial and error. There are 3 aspects of health I try to focus on over the years, the first is a

Healthy Diet, to make sure I am taking care of my body from the inside, because what happens on the inside affects the outside.

A rigorous Exercise Schedule/Routine that to guarantee my body is functioning at full potential. This is not forgetting flexibility and balance

and finally

Mental Health, because it makes me alert towards everything else.

All of these revolve around individual goals that I set for myself. With goals, there must be routine and guidelines that provide the structure for meeting any goals.

Sunset at the beach

The Mental State

This may not be the sexiest topic for health and fitness, but to me, it is the most important. How will you motivate yourself to get out of bed at 5:30 am every day to push yourself to do your best? One can put aside distractions and overcome inanimate obstacles.

Motivation to work out is one thing,  another more important is having the correct state of mind to regulate which ingredients/Chemicals/microbiology is entering the body and making the right choices each day. Consume clean and healthy foods. Many food options these days contain processed preservatives, added sugar, and added sodium. Avoiding these and understanding nutrition labels is key to not only improving aesthetics but feeling energized.

The first pillar for good mental health is well-rounded sleep that will allow you to awaken in the morning with energy. The added bonus is that enough sleep will also help in the gym by increasing alertness. The amount of sleep needed depends on the individual and their history of getting enough rest and the individuals lifestyle, as in how active they are. How much other energy is being expended each day should be added to the equation. My personal sleep need is between 6  – 7 hours every night. Trial and error will determine how much sleep is needed for each individual.

Falling Asleep

Personally, what improved my sleep the most was no TV or screen time at least 1 hour before bed. The screens on these devices emit “blue light” which affect brain waves. Leaving the brain stimulated and requiring a bit of a cool down or unwinding period.

No Food at least one hour before bed. Food should be digested mostly before going to sleep. 2-3 hours would be even more beneficial.

Instead of tv or phone, try reading a book. Reading will tire out the mind as opposed to hyping it up.

Take melatonin,

Melatonin is a hormone, produced primarily by the pineal gland, which regulates wakefulness. As a medicine, it is used for the short term treatment of trouble sleeping such as from jet lag or shift work. Evidence of benefit, however, is unclear.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Even on weekends set your alarm even if you turn it off.

Urban Waterfall

Waking Up

Wake up at the same time every day, go to bed at the same time every day because that will get your mind and body in a routine and after time, after few months it will become automatic,  Most people get used to it, I wake up within the 5 O’clock hour every day just by habit even when I intend on sleeping in. Make sure to get plenty of sleep by limiting screen time an hour before lying down to bed. Also, reading before bed will exhaust the mind that last little bit and aid in falling asleep.

Put your mind to it

When it came to growing my body I first had a great deal of brain power to grow. Workout routines, supplement routines, and just plain old focus on every last rep. I wouldn’t even say that having a good attitude is important, more the right attitude is important. For example many I have worked out in a fairly negative mood. When life events happen there were times when working out that’s all I can think about. However, I use even negative emotions for motivation to push through strenuous physical activity. Focusing those emotions into each rep, because even hatred can be a powerful tool when focused on self-improvement.

Mindfulness and meditation

This is the newest piece in the holistic puzzle I have been putting together. As I have mentioned throughout this section the state of mind is key when approaching exercise or diet plan. So not only can you train your stomach cravings and muscles, but you can also train your mind so it is in the right state when tackling the other areas.

Mediation can be defined as a practice where an individual focuses their mind on a particular object, thought or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. It would make sense that when I am exercising that I would want to have an enhanced focus on pushing through the work and be mentally clear to lower the risk of injury.

To begin meditation try sitting quietly for minutes each day. Starting with one minute and each day adding a minute until you reach 30 mins at a minimum.  

Yoga is like an advanced type of mediation that allows your muscles to “meditate” as they are forced to look inward.

Food is Fuel

Growing up I ate with no rules, no regards for the amount of sugar and carbs I was consuming. I would eat a cheeseburger, pizza, lots of Pop Tarts and Little Debbies because they made me feel good and I was a young kid with cravings. I was highly unlearned in the way that food actually powered our body. Such as which compounds affect our body in certain ways.  For me, this is continuing education. Constantly, I am regularly learning about the different aspects of food.

Shrimp, calamari, deviled eggs and toast

You are what you eat.

For most of my life, I thought about food as something I consumed in order to feel good. I would wake up and grab something sweet to eat because it felt “good” and provides a sense of happiness when eating it. Or I based my order preference at restaurants based around what I felt like I wanted to eat as opposed to just choosing a healthy option that will fuel your body. For all this time I was totally neglecting what my body needed. Putting my wants over my actual needs. In fact, I didn’t know what my body needed, not until I took the time to learn exactly what that is.

That’s why a strong intellect is important, to read and educate yourself. Over many years I educated myself on what exactly a healthy diet consisted of. Not just some general food groups but understanding the chemistry of food and what happens to the matter after it enters your body. This understanding has given me a whole new appreciation of food. And not just the food I had been eating, but a whole new line of sustenance I never had access to as a naive and poor child.

Recently I have been introduced to intermittent fasting. Which on its most basic definition is allowing your body to run more efficiently using your body’s fuel sources.

Exercise

High School Lacrosse put me in shape for the first time in my life. Not until after a very non-impressive, fat, and slow Freshman Campaign. In the 10th grade, I found the ability to push myself from the inside in order to achieve physical peak performance. This line of thinking about the benefits of exercise other than aesthetic reasoning. Having a healthy heart and lungs is crucial. The ability to have strong joints and bones prevents injuries long term.

Routine is Valuable, change is key

Yes, it is great to have a set routine in terms of having a plan when going into a workout. One of the worst possible decisions you can make is to turn up at the gym with no idea of what you are going to do for the next 30-60 minutes.

I have a routine that is split weight lifting 3 times a week. Each split day focusing on specific and varying muscle groups. This method I pulled from the Beach Body DVD series, p90X. That is doing legs and back one day a week then alternating between chest/shoulders or chest/back, and back/biceps or biceps/shoulders.  

While focusing on a specific muscle group on certain days of the week I do different exercises with different goals on a given day. Some cycles I may be going for maximum strength, as in low reps(3-5) with lots of weight and other cycles focus on high reps (12-15) etc.

Balance

By “balance” I am talking about a couple things. First and foremost balancing the types of workouts one completes. Cardio vs. Weights, plyometrics or yoga. And speaking of Yoga, the second type of balance refers to your body. Think to be able to stand comfortably on one leg and even performing exercises such as lightly weighted curls while on one leg.

Physical balance is key for strengthening the minor muscles in your body. These muscles support your large muscles groups. Also, the practice in focus is another key reason to challenge oneself with balance based exercises. These are related to body weight exercises. Using your body as the primary tool to work out.

Practicing balance also pulls your muscles together helping to achieve that lean body type.

Strength Training

I have a routine that is split weight lifting 3 times a week. Each split day focusing on specific and varying muscle groups. This method I pulled from the Beach Body DVD series, p90X. That is doing legs and back one day a week then alternating between chest/shoulders or chest/back, and back/biceps or biceps/shoulders.  

While focusing on a specific muscle group on certain days of the week I do different exercises with different goals on a given day. Some cycles I may be going for maximum strength, as in low reps(3-5) with lots of weight and other cycles focus on high reps (12-15) etc.

Recently I have adopted the drop set method. Starting with a moderate weight and counting down from 25. Then as the weight gets too much every 5-10 reps you drop it an increment lower.

Interval Training for Cardio

Interval training is the most effective method for elevating heart rates. Of all common exercise types, this is most proven to make changes in overall body composition. Burning plenty of calories and molding lean muscle mass.

Conclusion

The 3 aspects broken down are having a clear and healthy mental state, focusing on fuel as food, and an exercise program focusing on strength training.

Thank you for reading, please let me know any positive or negative reactions to the thoughts outlined above. 

Leg lift excercise

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