I have been asked several times about my diet and exercise practices. I thought it would be good to share it here as for a healthy business life we all need a balance between our work and life. Before getting into exercises and other dietary recommendations we need to clarify the motivational part.
Self-motivation to achieve the most beneficial goal in life “A healthy living style”. This should be our only goal since without our health nothing else matters. Even if they did there would be no room to focus on them. Many people would take this as a goal when they realize it’s been late or faces health issues in their mid-thirties. Life comes with several ups and downs and such life events with pretty much poisonous diets we totally forget about our real cause which is long living with health under our belt.
How do I motivate myself?
Like every other goal I have a short, mid and long term plans those fit my lifestyle and genetic characteristics. Everybody is different in their physiology, DNA, lifestyle, living conditions and other factors. So be realistic when setting goals and compare with your abilities, dedication and past experiences. We’re in a new year and the gym I’ve been going has been super busy lately. I asked a few friends and trainers what’s up with this crowd and the answer was don’t worry “It’s new year resolutions, those will wear out soon.”. Sure enough, just before March of this year I’m already noticing attendance is less and less every day. I’m sure by the summer it’ll be back to regulars only. So in order to make your motivation stick, attach it to a goal, a realistic one.
Short term goals and results
Exercising hard will give you some results depending on again age, size, DNA and habits. But don’t expect to see a change in your body overnight. Even if you lose a couple of pounds/kgs that’s mostly water, you’ll gain more of that faster than you’ve lost it.
Going back to the motivational part. Believing that you’ll achieve your goals in a given time period and keeping that pace for a prolonged period of time will give you the answer you need.
My advice is to do the same exercise, in the same place, with the same people, at the same time every day… or whatever your schedule allows you. Exercise time should overlap as little as possible other activities so your focus will go 100% to your exercise instead of something else.
For example, if you need to take care of other errands, walk the dog, drop kids to school etc. in the morning, alter your exercises time to midday or evening. This will keep you motivated to your ultimate goal of healthy living.
The way I motivate myself is very similar and I do it in the morning for a reason. I’m a morning person: with a short and light sleep overnight, I can wake up fresh. So I take advantage of this as much as possible by taking care of things early otherwise I would not have time. As of this writing, I’m at a high pace with 6 days/week 30 minutes intense training which we’ll get into detail about below.
The second biggest item here is the infamous diet that you’ll need to accompany your exercise. We will go with 80/20 rule here and motivation along with a diet, of course, will be your 80%. If you are surprised by this, it’s the reality that people don’t think of to start with. Exercising a lot does not allow you to become fit or live a healthy life. In fact, most exercises people do for a long period of time such as running, cycling or weight lifting have damaging side effects. I will not get into details here for these but you may research easily. Or just look around at your friends and family members to see complications they’ve faced after so many years of training hard.
What’s a healthy diet?
This is a big subject and there are so many resources to come to some sort of conclusion here. My take on this is starting with our body’s biggest enemy “Sugar..!” Why is sugar bad? Because we humans aren’t designed to live only on sugar but many eat only a sugary diet. What really happened in the 20th Century is we turned into Sugar Monsters. Everything including all GMO products contained heavy amounts of sugar which had more sugar than pure sugar originally had. Yes, you read it right you can have a higher sugar index than actual 100% sugar on a product. Those products are in your kitchen cabinets and fridges and you are consuming them without hesitation. The other enemy to your body fitness is fat. Taking organic and healthy fat such as olive oil will help you boost your diet. Avoid all others by any means.
A healthy diet is a balanced diet which means consuming your vitamins, proteins, fat, and carbohydrates properly. Look up your needs per your weight size. If you need to lose some weight be on the deficit if you need to build some muscles be on the plus side with a bit more on protein than you would need (1gr of protein/pound a day). Remember this isn’t a competition, it’s for your health. Do the right thing and reduce sugar consumption by going on a low-carb diet. This diet doesn’t mean you’re fasting, you are actually in control of your diet paired with proper exercise and active living. Although intermittent fasting is proven to be healthy as well. This is how I get results so why shouldn’t you?
Last but not least our 20% of the goal which falls to exercise. In order to reach results in less than six months you need to give a bit more than the regular cadence of exercise. Gym membership has some benefits from an exercise standpoint. I’ve personally never liked gym exercises when I had a chance to play team sports like volleyball, basketball or soccer or outdoor sports. Enrolling in gym membership has some other benefits like your dedication and obligation to exercise at a cost. This money you’ll spend somewhat motivates you to gain your return on your investment. Though this isn’t always true with the budget and long term membership deals we get lately. The other benefit I see here at the gym is free group classes. They are fun, energizing and free most of the time. Third, but most important, the gym has access to professionals like personal trainers and athletes that you may not find on streets. You can consult, hire and gain information about your goals. Aside from that, cycling, running or any other cardio will help to meet your goals.
Exercise that fits for all
A body needs a minimum of 30 minutes of intense (non-stop) training a day. If you can double this up you’ll see results (fat loss, muscle gain) faster. You need to add or remove according to your need, but watch your cardio levels and don’t overdo or stress your body. I suggest cross-fit, conditioning and boot-camp-style exercises. Adjust your focus area of exercises depending on your current shape and balance the upper, lower or mid body.
Before starting your 30 minutes of exercise, I strongly suggest doing a minimum of 5 minutes warmup with an indoor row, elliptical trainer or treadmill to bring your cardio levels up.
I also suggest having at least one day of outdoor activity – hiking, biking, sailing, fishing – that has not only the physical exercise part but gives you the mental freshness you’ll need from your hard week at work.
Exercise Program (Recommended)
Monday – Wednesday- Friday | Morning/Evening (Alternate) | Exercise 30mins of intense cross-fit/conditioning
Tuesday – Thursday | Morning/Evening (Alternate) |Exercise body weight parts lower, upper, back
Monday – Wednesday – Friday | Noon (Optional)| Swim freestyle 30 mins/30 laps
Saturday | Morning/Evening (Alternate) | Freestyle biking/hiking
Sunday | Morning | Run for 30 mins regenerative (Indoor/Outdoor) / Coordinated bike ride of 50-80km
Saturday/Sunday |Weekend (Enjoy the weekend with an activity)| Hiking, Biking, Camping, Fishing, Sailing, etc (Outdoor activity when possible)
Once a week team or group sports in evenings (Soccer|Volleyball|Basketball, etc)
Above is an ideal world scenario but that’s something always not possible to achieve with busy work/life balance. If you can commute to work or the gym by bike that would add to your total exercise counts. Remember one of the best exercises for humans is walking. So take advantage of that.
Although I’ve been training and exercising for decades as an all-time athlete, I never practiced any sports professionally. All the research and development are results of self-studies and they do not necessarily include professional health recommendations. Motivate, diet and exercise at your own risk, please.
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