When you think about improving your health, how many things can you think of that will move the needle for you?
Most often, we think of two things first: exercise and nutrition.
But exercise and nutrition are simpler than you think. And you most likely missed even considering other areas that will move the needle.
EC Synkowski, who runs OptimizeMe Nutrition, has an excellent 8-minute instagram video discussing “5 Things That Move The Needle in Health” that is well worth your time.
In the video, here’s the top 5 things she outlines that can move the needle for your health:
1. Quality of your food: What is the quality of the food you’re eating and how can you measure that? A good start is the #800gChallenge®, which is to eat 800 grams, by weight, of fruits and veggies each day. This is the baseline level to measure the quality of food you’re eating.
In fact, we are wrapping up the 30-day #800gChallenge® at CrossFit Helix today and not only has it had a major impact on our athletes’ performance and body composition, but also the way they feel each day has improved.
2. Quantity of your food: How do you measure quantity? You can count calories, eyeball portion sizes, use an app to log your food, etc. But if you’ve already done the #800gChallenge® or are starting from a standpoint of already eating high quality foods, you can employ EC’s “Lazy Macros” idea, which is hitting your 800 grams of fruits and veggies each day and eating enough protein in the day.
The above 2 points focus on nutrition and quality and quantity of your food are the two biggest factors you can focus on that will improve your nutrition, regardless if you want to lose weight, improve health or athletic performance.
It’s common for people to focus on nutrition too much at a micro level; like what they should be eating post-workout, or what the best protein supplement is. But if the quality of your food is poor and you’re not controlling the quantity of your food, the other things aren’t going to move the needle much for you.
It would be like focusing on the miles per gallon your car gets when your car won’t even start.
You need to put your efforts into the big things that really matter before you can start tweaking the small things.
3. Exercise: You need to be moving your body and challenging yourself for 30 minutes or more, using some intensity and some weights, four to five times per week. Of course, CrossFit fits really well with this, but any type of exercise that challenges you will work!
4. Sleep: The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 or more hours of sleep per night for adults. Some need more (like our children), some need less, but the base recommendation here is 7 hours.
5. Stress: This is the trickiest one to measure, but we do know that too much constant stress is not good. Much like sleep, some of us can tolerate more or less stress than others, but you want to avoid feeling run down and stressed out all of the time.
All of the above 5 things can have a really big impact on your overall health, so balancing them all becomes a juggling act. And it’s not easy. But combining all five together will have a powerful impact on your health.
Are you wanting to improve your health? What are your goals?
Do you want to lose weight? Improve your athletic performance?
Or maybe you just want more energy? Or to fit in your clothes better?
Take a look at your lifestyle and how it ranks with each one of the 5 things above; quality of food, quantity of food, exercise, sleep and nutrition.
Are you really rocking it in one or two areas, but not so much in the others? Rather than going “all in” with only one or two things, start simple with each one. It doesn’t make any sense to hit the gym hard 7 days per week and then eat junk food and only get 4 hours of sleep per night. Rather, start small and simple and aim for balance.
If your diet is poor, start with the #800gChallenge® or go a step further with Lazy Macros. If you need to start exercising and moving your body, start with just walking 30-minutes every day. If you need more sleep, assess your day and see what shifts you can make to make sleep a priority. It might simply be turning off your phone at 8pm so you’re not distracted by electronics. If you need to minimize stress, take care of yourself on a daily basis. Good nutrition, exercise and sleep – every single day – will have a huge impact on your stress because you’re taking care of yourself on a daily basis!
If you need help getting started, come in and chat with us! It’s free and there’s no sweating involved – just a quick conversation to see how we can help you determine where and how to get started on the path towards better health.