Living a Healthy Life In and Out of Training
We see it all the time: people with the best of intentions determined to revamp their diet and exercise routines. With so many high hopes, why do so few succeed? Probably, because it takes more than an added protein shake or a few weekly workouts to meet your goals. If it were that easy, a lot more of us would be enjoying optimal health and our best possible lives.
The biggest success stories belong to those that learn to blur the lines between training and life outside the studio. They seamlessly incorporate each goal into their daily routines and by default live a healthier life overall. Yes, this may include a few diet and exercise changes, but it doesn’t stop there; it’s everything we do that sets us up for either success or failure. How we train impacts our lives and how we live affects the way we train. Here are a few common overlapping areas in your training and lifestyle to consider.
Sleep doesn’t immediately spring to mind when thinking of ways to improve your performance in the ring. In fact, it’s almost counter-intuitive. However, good quality sleep is foundational to better health. And better health leads to more significant fitness gains and more boxing wins.
The connection between sleep and health will come as no surprise to insomniacs. A lack of sleep can cause serious injury or even death by accident. And insufficient sleep is just as dangerous because of its link to the development of chronic illnesses. Obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease and depression just to name a few. None of which, will be helpful on your fitness journey.
How Much Sleep Are You Getting?
According to the CDC, one-third of all US adults are getting less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. Does this include you? If you aren’t sure, get the facts about your sleeping habits. Start a sleep journal or use a sleep tracking gadget to determine how many good quality zzzs you really get each night. Once you know for sure, you can make changes that increase or maintain your sleep levels accordingly.
How to Get More Zzzzs
For those needing more sleep in their lives, start with consistency and make the decision to begin and end your day at the same time, all the time. Stick to your training routine to aid in relaxation but finish up a few hours before bed, giving your body time to move out of its high adrenaline mode. And setting caffeine and alcohol curfews will not only lower your intake but prevent them from keeping you awake past your bedtime.
You will also want an inviting, dream friendly bedroom – one that is cool, dark and comfy. Begin by maintaining a clutter-free environment and then add a few soft, warm blankets and pillows that encourage you to snuggle up and relax. At bedtime, lower the temperature to a comfortable level and do what you can to keep the light out. Drapes will block any outside light but don’t forget blue light, as it can mess with your natural circadian rhythm. Blue light can suppress your body’s natural production of melatonin (the hormone that encourages sleep) and is emits in high concentrations from TVs, computers and even smart phones. For this reason, you may want to consider banning electronic devices from your sleeping area.
You know that hungover feeling you get after binging on your favorite junk food? It tastes good for a moment but soon leaves you feeling lethargic, weighed down and not exactly motivated to get back into the studio. And let’s be honest, you probably spent more time thinking about your craving than you did actually eating it and it’s taking up way too much of your time.
Any pleasurable benefit seldom exceeds the damage unhealthy foods have on our mental and physical wellbeing and yet, we often continue down the same path. If one meal can have such an immediate adverse effect on our minds and bodies, imagine what years or even a lifetime of unhealthy eating can do.
Nutrition plays a leading role when it comes to both improving our fitness levels and leading a good quality of life and, in this area, we hold all the power. Ultimately, it is you that decides what your body will and will not consume. We can certainly be negatively influenced by others, but with a little support and a lot of knowledge, we start to make better choices with ease and consistency.
Take an Honest Look at Your Diet
Specific fitness goals require an in-depth look into what you regularly consume. This takes honesty, commitment, a little sacrifice, and some definite accountability. And if you are on a special diet, it will also include some added homework, but don’t let this overwhelm you. Every second spent determining what your body really needs and the time it takes to plan and implement this information into your lifestyle is time well spent.
It doesn’t have to be an immediate overhaul either. It might even be better to focus on one small change at a time as this will likely build healthy habits that last. Encourage yourself by concentrating less on deprivation and more on all the new vibrant, colorful foods and tastes you will be introducing. Also by reminding yourself regularly that a balanced meal plan keeps us energized, clear-headed and ready for our next training session. Even better, it enhances how we feel and what we can accomplish in all sections of our lives.
Become Part of a Tribe and Enlist Support
Some of the most experienced coaches subscribe to the theory that fitness goals are reached with 90% diet and 10% training – they know that you can’t out-train a bad diet. Even still, making significant changes to your diet can be tough, especially without the right support. Make it easier on yourself and enlist people that will propel you towards your next fitness dream.
Start by becoming part of a like-minded tribe at a studio that encourages discipline and positivity such as Gloveworx. As you train with and encourage others on similar healthy living paths, your journey to a new diet will get a bit lighter. Making better food choices becomes more natural when you witness those around you make healthy decisions every day. For an even bigger boost, add a well-informed coach to the mix to keep you up on the latest nutritional research and trends.
Work is another building block in our overall success. In the same way that we sleep, train and eat affects our training and home life, the energy we create on the job follows us everywhere we go. It’s easy to leave this category off your self-improvement to-dos, but how we feel about work and our performance there either contributes to or deducts from the rest of our lives.
We already have plenty of reasons to exercise, but it’s time to add work to the list. The majority of us spend 30% of our lives there, so why wouldn’t we want that time to be a little more enjoyable and a lot more constructive?
Without a consistent training program, you could spend your workday suffering from a foggy brain, lethargic body or a foul mood. And if you sit at a desk all day, this only adds to a sedentary lifestyle, which has been determined to be so unhealthy it’s unofficially been labeled the sitting disease.
Get Moving to Improve Mood and Performance at Work
Our jobs don’t have to be so difficult or unhealthy. As we put more attention on our health and make getting enough exercise, sleep and nutrition a priority, we naturally become more positive and productive. People who exercise have improved moods and positive changes in performance on the job.
A good workout gets the blood moving to your brain. It helps spark creativity and raises your awareness level. Train regularly, and you maintain a new height of productivity. Think of it as multi-tasking your progress, as you improve in the ring, you also improve at your profession, and begin spending less time accomplishing more at both.
Nutrition plays a vital role on the job as well. Do you choose an apple or a candy bar for your daily snack? OK, it doesn’t have to be an apple but just stay away from the candy. Here’s why: one small piece of candy, may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Forget the calories and instead consider the sugar spike it creates. Eating it forces the pancreas into action. It releases insulin (a hormone) to absorb excess glucose in the blood and stabilize your blood sugar. And then your blood sugar drops again, leaving you in an energy lull and not really wanting to give it your all.
Add a good night’s sleep to the mix, and you’ll become unstoppable. Every area of life is impacted by your choices; they are all intertwined and feed off one another. Want to accomplish more in your career? Reach a new fitness goal? Or succeed at anything? Start setting resolutions now and engage in a healthy lifestyle with Gloveworx.