It’s no secret that the world of fitness is full of complicated approaches and contradicting opinions. On the one hand, you’ve got folks who recommend one thing, claiming that it is the secret to success. And then a couple of Google results below, there’s another piece of content that touts the complete opposite. As someone new to fitness who’s just looking to improve their health and athleticism, you’re left confused and overwhelmed. To that end, we’ve put together this simple guide on general fitness. In it, you’ll learn what steps you should take to get yourself on the path to lasting results.
Some Resistance Training
There are many ways to exercise, and most approaches out there offer their unique benefits (and potential drawbacks). But, one of the most productive ways to exercise in a time-effective manner is by lifting weights. Period.
Here are two solid reasons why:
1) It builds usable fitness and strength.
We often don’t realize it, but health and fitness give us so much freedom that we take for granted. I’m a firm believer that the physical benefits of resistance training allow us to explore, create, and achieve so much more with our lives.
2) It builds mental resilience.
Pushing yourself physically is among the best ways to see what you’re made of. Even more than that, doing so helps you build mental resilience. There will be days where you don’t feel like going to the gym, attempting a new PR, or finishing a workout. But, so long as you stick with it, you will become more resilient, which will help you tackle other aspects of life with vigor and belief. The best part is, you don’t have to live at the gym to reap the benefits. As little as three 45-minute sessions will be plenty for most people to achieve great physical and psychological results.
As cliché as it may sound, we are, indeed, what we eat. Fueling your body properly is not only beneficial but mandatory for long-term fitness success. Granted, nutrition can often feel overwhelming, so use these two simple rules of thumb as a start:
1) Eat more whole foods and less packaged stuff. Some good choices include:
- Fruits and veggies;
- Nuts and seeds;
- Dairy products and eggs;
- Meats and seafood;
- Whole grain products
2) Drink more water and less of everything else.
Plenty of Sleep
A fair bit of research has shown us that sleep is an integral part of good health. It impacts our hormones, cognitive function, cardiovascular health, metabolism, mood, and much more. What’s more, sleep also impacts our athletic performance, accuracy, explosiveness, muscular strength, endurance, and willingness to do work (motivation). Sleep deprivation also appears to hinder the body’s fat-burning abilities. One paper from 2010 found that folks who slept, on average, five hours per night, lost significantly less fat mass (and more muscle) than those who slept for about eight hours a night. All other conditions were the same, but the lack of sleep significantly impacted the outcome of their dieting efforts.