When it comes to exercise and nutrition, people often make the mistake of going from 0 to 100. This means that after a few days they feel tired, start to get cravings and give in at the first hurdle. The best thing you can do is work on creating small habits that build up to helping you achieve your final goal. Here are my top 7 habits I think you should create in order to help you hit your goals.
1) Yoga & Meditation Before Bed
One of the biggest factors in any kind of training programme should be sleep. Whether you're cutting down or bulking up, sleep is vital. If you're tired you're far less likely to have the energy to get in your cardio and workouts, which means all of a sudden reaching your final goal becomes harder.
Sleep is also essential for the recovery of the body. If you're bulking up, hitting the gym 5-6 days a week and getting in your protein, the only way you're going to grow is by resting and sleeping. The body doesn't grow in the gym, it grows when you're sat down on the sofa and sleeping at night (no you can't do the second bit without the first, but nice try).
Yoga and meditation doesn't need to be seen as something spiritual or religious (although if that's how you want to use it that's also ok!). Think of Yoga as a great way to stretch your body ready for another hard session in the gym the next day. Follow it up with 5-10 minutes of meditation and you'll feel relaxed, less anxious and ready to get off to bed. We spend so much time looking at screens, judging ourselves through social media and racing around at work. Why not just take 5 minutes to breathe and think about nothing?
2) Get At Least 7-8 Hours Of Shut Eye
Sorry, I'm back on sleep again. But I guess this shows you how vital it is. After you've meditated and stretched, you need to make sure you're actually getting enough sleep for it to be worthwhile. I'm sure you've all been told you need at least 7-8 hours of shut eye and here I am telling you again. It doesn't matter whether you go to bed at 9 and wake up at 5 or you go to bed at 12 and wake up at 8. What matters is how long you are asleep for. Time it to fit into your home and work life and look into downloading a sleep quality app so you can see what you really get up to at night (I recommend Pillow - not sponsored).
3) Drink More Water
I can't stress how much better I have felt ever since I started to drink more water. About four years ago I decided to buy a 2.2 litre bottle to sip on through out the day and I've never really looked back. You hear the age old "drink 8 glasses of water per day" talk all the time, but is it actually any use? I don't think so. The problem is people only remember to drink a glass of water when they're thirsty, meaning they are already dehydrated which means it's already too late. You need to be drinking enough so you don't get dehydrated in the first place.
Consider buying a bottle you can carry around with you so that you can sip on it all day. Yes, you are going to be going to the toilet more often, but you'll get used to it. Here is the bottle I use: Bulk Powders 2.2 Litre Bottle
4) Eat Five Pieces Of Fruit & Veg Per Day
I can see you eye rolling. Every country seems to have a different number for this one, in the UK it's five but I've heard in some Asian countries it's a hell of a lot higher. I think five is a fair number to aim for. People think that this is a lot harder than it needs to be. Once you break it down into meals it becomes a lot easier. I recommend you do something like:
Breakfast - 1x piece of fruit
Lunch - Salad or veg
Dinner - Veg
Snack - 1x piece of fruit
Once you look at it from a meal point of view it becomes a lot easier. Missing the odd piece here and there isn't going to kill you but in the long run, eating more fruit and veg means you are hitting your daily vitamin and mineral requirements and you're also getting enough fibre.
5) Take A Multi Vitamin & Fish Oil
I don't know why, but people love supplements. They are drawn to the idea of taking powders and tablets to help them in the gym, even when they don't need to. They seem to get excited by the packaging and the colour of the powder. But the one thing people never even consider amongst the whey, creatine and pre-workout powder is a multi-vitamin and fish oil. Two absolute staples in my opinion and something I recommend everybody take (although please check with a doctor first before you sue me).
Obviously a multi vitamin's purpose is obvious, it's full of vitamins and minerals to help your body and mind function. A fish oil has a few benefits, these include:
- Supports heart health
- Supports the joints
- Reduces triglycerides
My mum has weak knees (by weak I mean every time she kneels down they crack) and this seems to of been passed on to me. Ever since I began taking a fish oil around 5 years ago, this has pretty much stopped (I admit that did sound like an advert but I promise it's the genuine truth!).
6) Journal In The Morning
When you wake up in the morning, I guarantee the first thing you do is reach for you phone and scroll through social media. Stop. Allow yourself to wake up slowly without the bright screen and feelings of wishing you were living in someone else's feed (we all do it, even if you think you don't). Take the time to wake up, drink some water and start journalling. All you need to do is write down three things you are greatful for. Don't think of the obvious (i.e. water, house, car). These are all amazing things that we should be greatful for, but there is so much more than that. What about the pen you're writing with and the pillow you rest your head on?
7) Take A Day Off From Social Media
This was a new years resolution of mine and so far I have been sticking to it. One day every month I take a full 24 hours off from social media. No Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. You know what? It's actually quite nice. I love social media. It inspires me, it pushes me to be better and it is a huge factor in my personal income. But it also causes me anxiety, pressure and a constant want to be like others. Giving yourself a break every month really isn't such a bad thing.
So there you go. 7 habits you can try and create that will hopefully contribute towards your long-term goal. Don't forget to give this post a like and if you're interested in having me as your coach, click here.