5 Steps to Maintain Lifelong Energy & Vitality
We all seem to assume that it’s normal as we age to feel pain, to have no energy, to have less vitality; and that it’s just normal for the days to feel a little more challenging….this post is to remind you that (GOOD NEWS) that’s not entirely accurate!
By the time we’re 30-40 years old and beyond; our lives have undergone a great deal of change, often we may be on our second or third career, we’ve started a family, and dealt with a number of crises! Whatever is the case it’s safe to say life has probably undergone a great deal of change.
For most of us through our mid twenties to our mid sixties much of our time is spent on our “working” life. Unfortunately our bodies care little about the work we must do to support ourselves, much the same way your car doesn’t much care about the rising gas prices.
Don’t put gas in the car; it’s not going to run. Don’t work and it’s going to be tough to pay the mortgage and buy groceries. But then if you don’t give your body what it needs it’s also likely to ache, hurt, wear out, break down, or even die.
And just like your car, the older it becomes the more things wear out, in the case of your body this occurs by loss of energy producing mitochondria in the muscle cell, or the aches and pains that come (not as a result of age but) as a result of gravity changing the shape of our body based on the positions we spend most of our time in. (Ex. seated at a desk creates slouched shoulder and head forward posture, often leading to back pain and headaches.)
Sounds harsh but it is the simple truth, yet here we have a society where more are considered “obese” than not.
Your body is the most perfect thing on this planet, and your most valuable possession; yet our society seems to have thrown away the “basic maintenance” manual.
But there’s GOOD NEWS! Although we can’t maintain the vibrance of our twenties indefinitely, with regular targeted activity, quality food and lowering toxic load (ex. eliminating household chemicals and switching to natural and chemical free product alternatives) we can greatly slow down the feelings associated with aging. (Strength training as an example can actually build new mitochondria even though typically we lose them as we age.)
Most importantly, remember food is not the enemy any more than gas is bad for your car. You shouldn’t be afraid to eat; often. What you should be afraid of is the ingredient list.
Forget whether the ingredients are good or bad, instead just worry about the length, the longer the list and the longer the names the less likely you should be eating it. (Long ingredient names are a good indication of highly processed or artificial foods, consuming it closer to its natural state is better!)
Exercise is critical. Exercise is not housework, exercise is not chasing the kids, exercise is not running around at work, though all these things may feel like it sometimes.
In addition to movement exercise is about purpose and focused effort. It’s about elevating heart rate and keeping it that way at a sustained rate for a sustained period of time. This could be walking, running, yoga or anything in between. Inversely exercise is also about using resistance through a repeat path of movement for a sustained period of time, providing an overlapping and different benefit than walking, running, etc.
The point is we hurt; gain weight, or break down because we place more stress and strain on our bodies without ensuring it’s built to meet the necessary specifications for this strain (what was easy last year or 10 years ago isn’t going to be easy now if you’re not training for it.)
We work longer hours, we’re eating poorer quality food, as careers have taken over we don’t play sports or exercise as regularly as we used to; when we do exercise it’s going through the motions without goal or purpose.
So where do you start?
Step 1) Decide what’s important be be specific! Is it weight loss, if so how much? Is it to eliminate back pain altogether? Is it to run a marathon? Whatever it is be specific. It needs to be meaningful to you, and important enough that you’re willing to face some discomfort that comes with change.
Step 2) Decide realistically how often you will commit to exercise and what kind of exercise you WILL do. I repeat the best form of exercise is the one you will do. You might sorely need to be weight training but if you hate it, you’re not going to do it; so my advice after training thousands of people is start with something you enjoy. As I write this it’s summer so that should be easy to do.
Walking, running, cycling, swimming, weight training, using a TRX outside, there are so many simple options to choose from.
Step 3) Set a schedule. We’re creatures of habit, you will always be more successful if you conveniently schedule your new exercise program within your day. Treat it like a very important appointment, don’t compromise (especially in the first 30 days) or you won’t make it. Which is why it’s so critical you be very honest with yourself, do you like the exercise plan you’ve chosen? Is this truly the best time for me to fit it into my day, can I sustain this without creating more stress?
Step 4) Keep a food journal for 3-5 days. Record everything you eat and drink, estimate amounts. (Measures like 1 handful, and 1 fist are totally good enough.) At first the changes we COULD make are generally obvious. Are you eating out frequently? Are these highly processed foods or high sugar foods you regularly consume? Do you have vices like caffeine, coffee (loaded with cream and sugar or other additives), soft drinks or other things that you frequently consume?
Step 5) Make changes you can live with! Now let me be real honest with you. Because we are all wired for instant gratification, I can tell you there are two ways to align your physical change with your “willpower.”
The “Hard” Way to Change
The hard way to physically change your body is the faster way, but it requires total commitment. It requires taking total control (ie. weighing and measuring your food), it requires fierce and relentless commitment.
If you balance your macronutrients and control your food intake for 10 days perfectly you will survive the ups and downs and lethargy and euphoria that comes with completely stabilizing your blood sugar; and when you do this you will no longer have food cravings and will soon after see your body will begin to change at your will. (I will soon have a book that will lead you through this method and explain everything step by step, as it’s the method I used for many years to help thousands of people take control of their bodies, but it’s definitely not easy.)
The “Easy” Way to Change
The easy way first requires compromise; and acceptance that change will come slowly. It’s typically safe to say that if you had hoped to lose say 10lbs in a month or two, that the easy way may stretch that to 3 or 4 (not always but I’d rather prepare you for the worst so you will be excited not disappointed.)
Once you accept that the easy way will take longer, here’s the good news….it’s easy. :)
As a starting place review your food journal and just commit to eliminating, reducing, altering or changing just one thing this week. Make sure that that sacrifice or change is relatively painless. (Ex. If you are someone who eats out every single day, this week try reducing that by 1 day or adjusting that experience to every 2nd day.) However you choose to do it, the key is to ensure it’s so gradual that you don’t feel punished.
When you feel like that was “no big deal” it’s time to make the next change, slow and steady will win the race every single time, the question is will you stay in the race long enough for that to happen? (I know sounds simple but don’t underestimate our own impatience for something.)
I know this is really general but trust me after working so many people for so many years these are the most common scenarios to deal with our own personal psychology and that is always the biggest challenge in creating lasting change.
Our world isn’t slowing down, my advice is take note of where you are today and build your body to keep up! (And if you want more information on how YOU can do that specifically, please contact us we love to answer questions, share knowledge and are happy to help or refer.)