Most people are under the impression that to be lean and healthy one must slave away for hours in the gym, monotonously count calories and engage in restrictive diets whilst remaining in a constant state of unhappiness and stress. I admire the willingness to change but the logic of this approach should be dismissed.

I can happily say I have never done any of these things and remain in pretty decent shape, health, and happiness.

With the bombardment of Hard Ass quotes courtesy of Facebook and Instagram posts professing the need for ‘pain to gain,’ it’s no wonder some feel like their potential to be healthy is way out of their reach and the prospect seems daunting, scary and downright unpleasant.

I feel, unless you have extreme goals ( i.e. performance related goals or bodybuilding), those quotes about ‘Gains Brah’ pretty much don’t apply to you. By all means, enjoy them, but take them with a pinch of salt.

Living a healthier lifestyle can, in fact, be very simple, enjoyable (and even easy once you set the foundations) and certainly within the capacity of most people. Despite ‘always being this way’ or ‘unable to shake off the love handles,’ there are simple steps you can take that will lead you to facilitate your potential. Here are my TOP 5 TIPS for becoming healthier without the need to destroy yourself.

Eat clean

 The simplest way of explaining this is in the words of Dan John: ‘Don’t eat like a child’. If cereal, soda, and microwave meals form the basis of your diet then that’s hardly eating like a grown up. Have protein and vegetables in every meal and keep carbohydrate consumption relatively low whilst sticking to non-refined complex carbs. A simple way to weed out the garbage? Any food that has taken more than three steps from its source to your dinner plate should be removed.

Get those ZZZ’s

50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder with the vast majority of the population not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night. This lack of shut-eye is linked to a number of diseases including obesity. With our circadian rhythm playing a key role in our health it is vital that we prioritize sleep.  Turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed and establish a routine that prepares the body for shutdown and recovery.

Exercise yes, but workout sensibly

 Workouts do not need to be ass-kicking, sweat-dripping, balls-to-the-wall battles. There just needs to be an adequate stress appropriate for your training level. There is no miracle workout and the majority of workouts out there, despite variety, will generally create a positive response if done correctly. A workout as simple as body weight push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks can be a sufficient way of getting a great work out in very little time. Even a walk outside is great for your health. Just make sure what you do matches your goals and your level.

Be patient, be consistent

Do not expect 5,10 or 15 years of being immobile and sedentary to be reversed in six weeks and a six pack to magically appear. This quick fix and drive-thru ideology is not only damaging to the health of those engaged but also to the public’s perception of long-term sustainable health. Take baby steps, learn to sit, then crawl, then walk, then run. It won’t happen overnight, but with consistency and hard work, it will certainly happen. Dropping 1% body fat a month may not seem like much, but over 12 months, that 12% can take you from obese to athletic. In addition to this the psychological, the physiological, and spiritual benefits associated with weight loss are outstanding.

Love yourself, Stay Positive

Be your biggest fan, not your worst enemy. What we tell ourselves has the power to manifest into our reality. ‘I am fat useless and ugly’ is not exactly motivating or inspiring. Be conscious of what you are telling yourself and approach each day with love and positivity and your health and overall life will undoubtedly improve.

I hope you weren’t expecting a magic recipe into how to quick fix your health problems. Despite the ever-present viral claims, I have yet to discover one that exists. The 5 steps I have cited are indeed very simple and somewhat open-ended but I hope the information is insightful and can help you. If you still feel confused then don’t be afraid to seek out help in order to understand and implement this advice better. I am happy to point you in the right direction or if I can, personally help you with your health goals.

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