I’ve spent a lot of time learning about fitness over the past few years.
I’m constantly consuming information on the newest health and fitness trends – what’s going on in the industry, what’s the latest research telling us.
I think it’s important to be on the cutting edge. I think it’s important to just know.
My thirst for new information and wisdom has led me to consume blog articles on my lunch break, read diet books before bed – and shit, I’m even listening to audiobooks and podcasts about health and fitness while I’m in the gym working out.
I’m a true fitness junkie.
However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from consuming as much information as I have, it’s that…
Fitness isn’t complicated – we make it complicated.
How do you get healthier? Get ready folks, I’m about to break it down.
There’s nothing quite like it when you wake up at 10:53am on a Sunday morning after having a few too many drinks the night before.
You wake up just craving that sweet, sweet nectar that is H2O.
(perhaps even more than you were craving an alcoholic beverage the night before)
But unlike alcohol, our bodies are actually made out of water.
In fact, we’re mostly water – around 60% to be more precise.
If that doesn’t give you enough of an idea about our need for water, then you’ll be thrilled to know that it also plays a vital role in essentially all of our cellular functions.
We need water in order to digest food properly. If you think about saliva and it’s role of breaking down food, well, saliva is primarily water. Saliva is water that’s chock full of different enzymes that help break down our food and make use of the different nutrients in said food to make them biologically available to our bodies.
Get your 10,000 steps in each day, they say!
What I find more simple and relatable, though, is use it or lose it.
Simply put, our bodies were made to move. Whether that means running away from tigers, hunting down a large herbivorous animal, climbing trees to get that sweet nutritious fruit, or whatever other basic actions we performed on the bottom rung of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we’re made to move.
When we don’t move, we start to degrade. If we stop moving (as much), we lose the adaptations that make us capable of moving in the first place.
You see, our bodies are meant to do one thing, and one thing only. Survive.
And our bodies are hard-wired to do that in the most efficient way possible. So, going back to our ancestral example, if we’re constantly running down bison in order to kill them, our legs get stronger and stronger the more we do it. That’s adaptation.
However, if we decide that chasing after those bison is stupid and we’d rather just sit on our ass and watch netflix, our legs are going to lose all the strength they developed from chasing those bison.
Why? Because we stopped chasing the damn bison!
We’re essentially telling our bodies hey we aren’t chasing bison anymore and so our bodies respond by saying alright then.. well there’s no point in keeping all this leg muscle, might as well let that useless crap go. And then our leg muscles get smaller.
Lose the stimulus, lose the adaptation. Simple as that!
Our bodies are very efficient. They won’t keep a bunch of extra muscle mass if it’s not needed – that’s just a waste of energy.
What’s the point of all this?
Well, if we don’t do any exercise, our bodies are going to get stiff and brittle and weak. And that’s just not healthy.
We need exercise to stay physically fit and healthy (also mentally healthy – but more on that another time).
Getting exercise helps with our digestive system, it helps with blood flow, it strengthens our heart and lungs and our muscles. It makes us more physically fit and keeps us young and healthy.
Sleep is an interesting one. We go about our lives all day long – doing, doing, doing.
Then, we need to be unconscious for about seven to eight hours to regenerate and recuperate our energy levels.
However, we’re learning more and more about sleep and how vital it is to our bodily functions.
And it’s no secret we need it – think about when you don’t get a good night of sleep. You’re irritable, emotional, and just generally not fun to be around. You feel groggy, mentally unclear and rather dysfunctional. It’s not a good time.
Sleep is a basic human need we have – not dissimilar from most other species in the animal kingdom.
I’m admittedly not an expert in this realm – but that’s kind of the point of this entire blog post. You don’t have to be. Just sleep for seven to eight hours a night and you’ll be good to go.
Eat Real Food
I know what you’re thinking…
No, whole-grain cereal doesn’t count as real food. Despite what you may have been told growing up, cereal is extremely unhealthy.
Real food is food that doesn’t come in a bag or a wrapper (unless you consider a banana peel a wrapper).
Real food comes from the earth – it’s not made in a plant somewhere. Real food is packed with nutrients as it is – it doesn’t need to be fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Real food is exactly what it sounds like. It’s not complicated, people.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat… it’s stuff that naturally occurs in nature.
And no, I’m not one of those people who believes that things aren’t always better for you because they’re natural. There’s plenty of natural shit that will literally kill you if you eat it.
However, I do believe that, when considering getting vitamins and minerals from a food vs a pill, that the food is typically a better choice.
With that being said, science has come a long damn way. There’s a reason that we have vitamins and minerals in capsules – sometimes we can’t always get the vitamins and minerals optimal for our health and wellbeing from our diet alone – sometimes we need to supplement with… well… supplements.
What am I trying to say here?
Being healthy and fit isn’t complicated. We make it complicated.
After years and years of consuming articles and books and podcasts and everything under the sun, I’ve boiled it down to four simple steps you can follow to lose weight, get fit, healthy and all that jazz.
- Drink Water
- Eat Real Food
- Get Enough Sleep
- Move Your Body
If you do those four things on a regular basis, I promise, you will be healthy.
That means not eating potato chips.
Not staying up all night watching netflix.
Not skipping out on the gym, your run, or just taking the damn stairs.
Not skipping water all day for coffee and then drinking booze in the evening.
It means not complicating things.
It means keeping it simple and doing those four things. Day in, and day out.