Whether it is in our training, our nutritional habits or just life in general, there are these things we always need more of. Of course there could be individual differences, and not everybody needs the exact same things, but I’m pretty confident that this list could apply to pretty much anybody. So here it, in no particular order. Start including more of those things in your life right now, if you aren’t already!
1. Eat more whole foods on a daily basis. We just eat WAYYY too much processed foods on a daily basis. Like I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, we need to stop over-complicating nutrition and how many grams of carbs we’re eating, how much fat we’re taking in, counting calories, etc. We just need to eat whole, un-processed foods like meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and miraculously our dietary goals are going to fall into place. Why don’t you set up your alarm clock tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier and take the time to scramble some eggs and eat a piece of fruit or two or simply throw some yogurt, protein powder, nuts and frozen fruits in a blender and drink that instead of stopping at Dunkin Donuts to get a bagel and a coffee because you’re in a rush to get to work because you snoozed too many times again.
2. Do more static stretching. How much time do you sit in a day? The answer is most likely between 8 and 12 hours. This is a LOT of time certain muscles spend in a shorten position.
We need to get that length back somehow or we will end up all locked up and barely be able to move at 50 years old. Stretch in the morning, stretch at night, stretch before your workout, stretch after your workout or stretch during your lunch break; whatever you prefer. Even better, why don’t you stretch at all of these times? Whatever you like. Just do it!
3. Listen more. It amazes me how many people are just talking all the time, want more attention and want people to care about them and what they have to say. Well, big news: people don’t care about what you have to say until you start paying attention to them. A wise man once said: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care”. It couldn’t be any more true. If you want people to start paying attention, show them you’re interested in them in the first place. Stop talking for a second and listen to what people have to say. We have two eyes, two ears and one mouth. In this order.
4. Pull more. How many upper body pushing exercises do you have in your program? Now, how many pulling exercises do you have in your program? If you have a ratio of 1:1, it’s not bad, but I’d be willing to guess that you have more pushing than pulling exercises. Change that right now. Your posture will thank you later. You need 2:1 and maybe a 3:1 pulling to pushing ratio. Give it a try, and give me some feedback in 3 months when your posture has improved and when your shoulders don’t hurt anymore.
5. Walk more. We are getting SOOOO lazy in 2011, it is ridiculous. we don’t even walk anymore. When you see people fighting for parking spots close to the doors of the shopping center to save an extra 50 steps (especially when they’re going to walk anyway once they get inside), it simply amazes me. Are we really getting that lazy? And we’re wondering why the population is getting morbidly more obese every year! The secret to solve the obesity epidemic is not in the new diet out there, it’s not in the HIIT (high intensity interval training), it’s not in the shake weight and it’s not in crossfit.
Just freakin’ start moving for God’s sake! Starting tomorrow, you should start your day with a quick walk before eating breakfast, park at the furthest parking spot possible when you get to work (and when you go the grocery store and the shopping center as well for that matter), go for a walk during your lunch break, and don’t even get me started on the stairs vs elevator thing.
6. Read more. Buy a book every once in a while and read a little before going to bed instead of watching nothing interesting on TV anyway. As a society we read and less, and watch more TV, movies, videos, etc. Sometimes a little bit of time away from all that stimulation is good. Reading is very relaxing, too. It could be a good way to de-stress anytime of the day you need it. Whether you like fiction, humor or self-development books, there are thousands of options for you whatever you like. Here are a couple of my favorite non-fitness related books:
- How to win friends and influence people, by Dale Carnegie
- Never eat alone, by Keith Ferrazzi
- The energy bus, by Jon Gordon
7. Variety. We need more variety in the foods we eat, the exercises we do and the sports and activities we participate in. Do you find yourself eating the same 3 fruits every week? Why don’t you buy a mango, a pomegranate or a couple of kiwi fruits next time you’re at the grocery store, you’ll be surprised how good they taste. Plus it’ll be a nice change of pace from the usual apple, banana and orange, huh?
Why don’t you try new exercises next time you’re at the gym to get you out of your comfort zone? I’m all for sticking with the same, basic exercises as main lifts to get better at it and gain strength, but you’re not doing only one exercise every day you’re in the gym, right? Try a Turkish Get Up tomorrow. I guarantee you it’ll be a lot more challenging than you might think and it’ll get your heart pumping for sure!
If you’re a hockey player, get out there and play soccer once in a while. If you’re a basketball player, try baseball if you have a chance. As I’ve said many, many times our body adapts to whatever we do and our muscles and joints get stressed the exact same way all the time. When you’re in your off-season, just do something else. Get out there and try a new sport or activity you’ve never tried before. It’ll change the stress on your body, helps you stay away from injuries and prevents you from eventually getting bored of playing the same sport year-round.
Variety is the spice of life!
Subscribe to my FREE newletter to receive 3 FREE reports on speed training, injury prevention for the shoulders and foam rolling!