Fitness, like nutrition, is key in feeling your best, staying strong, and challenging yourself so that your muscles/tendons/ligaments/bones stay strong. Its ability to act as a stress-reliever is unmatched, in my mind. I always say exercise “gets your mind right.”
My primary exercise of choice is running (with lifting being a close second). I love running for several reasons:
1. It’s free. No gym membership needed.
2. You can go as fast or as slow as you want. Set your own pace.
3. It is an excellent cardiovascular workout.
4. You can always challenge yourself and grow from running. When your body gets used to a certain pace, pick up your speed and/or change the incline at which you are running for more of a challenge.
5. It’s a great stress reliever.
6. Breaking a sweat is always a good thing, and running will do this for you. If you are not sweating you are probably not really working and challenging your body!
Although I love running, I would be ignorant if I ignored the benefits of resistance training. This can require as little equipment as you want/have. Push-ups, lunges, squats, sit-ups, bridges are all fantastic for increasing your strength in different muscle groups and they require NO equipment. You can do them virtually anywhere! Take advantage of that and do not limit yourself to a gym. I guarantee you it will feel better to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors as you exercise.
In all of this, never forget that if you are not having fun, you probably will not stick with it, right? Find something you enjoy doing, whether it is playing volleyball, throwing a football, hiking, walking your dog, soccer, or hop-scotch, do an activity that gets your heart rate up once a day and you will be well on your way to optimum fitness. That is worth saying again…..I try to live by that mantra in regards to fitness: BREAK A SWEAT ONCE A DAY. What a great approach to take; no pressure; no high expectations, no hating your workouts, just break a sweat. Once you find what you enjoy doing that stimulates your body, you can work up for more challenging moves/exercises/activities.
Remember: Exercising shouldn’t be mundane. Do it because you are loving and honoring your body. Do it with passion.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an athlete. In my pursuit of reaching my potential and becoming the healthiest and most fit individual possible, I’ve become increasingly eager to put the the best foods possible into my body as fuel. This is a journey that, for me, started when I was in middle school.
The prevalence of junk filled, processed foods in our food system is outrageous. Genetically modified and pesticide ridden produce unfortunately inject our bodies with unwanted chemicals and genetic-makeups that our bodies are not meant to ingest. Without completely becoming submerged in the pool of politics, I believe the sad truth is that: as big box brands become more money hungry, they use pesticides, preservatives and genetically modified seeds & plants to increase the longevity and abundance of their produce & harvests, which in turn increases their profit–despite the health issues that these methods can cause. Becoming aware of this and the fact that these foods are harmful to our bodies is the first step in implementing a way of eating that is focused on whole, organic foods.
I do not strictly subscribe to any diets or mainstream ways of eating besides simply aiming for organic and local the majority of the time. If I had to identify with one–the way I eat is closest in nature to the Paleolithic diet. The foundation of Paleo eating is spot on: eat real food. I don’t want to over emphasize Paleo, though. I believe that perhaps, too many people get wrapped up in labeling the way they eat or getting caught up in the fear tactics that certain diet proponents instill in the masses. Here’s an example: I’ve read an entire blog before that was dedicated to convincing the reader that greens like spinach and kale are not a good food choice. Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t to me–& there are countless other examples of claims that certain foods aren’t good for you. How are you to ever know what is ACTUALLY good for you? I can tell you that what makes sense to me is:
- Too much of anything is not a good thing (except for love and happiness) 🙂
- If you look through the past decades, things that used to be nutritional villains in decades prior are now deemed “healthy.” Don’t fall prey to always believing the hype.
- Use your own personal experience with food to help you decipher which foods your body likes most. For instance, do you feel the most revitalized and energetic after a green smoothie or after eating cheese dip?
Here are some key ideas I keep in mind when eating:
- Eat organic & raw 80-90 percent of the time and allow yourself the occasional splurge.
- Learn to make your favorite “unhealthy” meals the healthy way with organic, nutrient rife ingredients.
- Aim to eat lots of raw plants & prepare them in new-to-you, different ways so that you enjoy eating them.
- Don’t be scared of food. Don’t overanalyze food. Just focus on putting high quality, organic foods into your body.
Skin & Hair Care
So often overlooked, the products that we apply to our skin and hair seem to take a backseat when people transition to organic products. I believe this happens, in part, because they:
- Don’t take the time to look at the ingredients lists on personal care products. Learn how to read ingredient lists here.
- Are not aware that skin actively absorbs what is applied to it. Those ingredients go straight into the bloodstream!
Discovering and investing in organic products that value and care about what your skin absorbs will ultimately do great things for your overall health. It will save a plethora of toxins and artificial junk from doing damage to your body at the cellular level. This doesn’t mean that using personal care products that are not organic will make you keel over on the spot. But, like with food, every bit of what you put into and onto your body is absorbed and either improves or hinders your health.