By Blake Beckcom
Shh! This is “secret.” Don’t tell anyone.
Everyone knows that eating healthy and exercising are essential habits to living a healthy lifestyle. But what you might not know is that there are three other underlying elements that also are important to helping you lose weight, get fit and feel great.
Hydrate to elevate your fitness
Losing weight and accomplishing your fitness goals do have a lot to do with the types and amount of food that you choose to fuel your body. But drinking enough water consistently throughout the day can have just as much impact on helping you achieve your health and fitness goals. If you’re already in the habit of keeping a food or exercise journal, make sure to add a column for tracking the amount of water you consume each day. You can make a big difference on how your body feels and performs by just being aware of the importance of hydrating your body, muscles and mind. Additionally, if you are like many people, who eat out with frequency, drinking a full glass of water before you go to dinner will help suppress your appetite and help you avoid appetizers and/or over-eating. I love my “cup of joe,” but coffee is a big dehydrator, and hydration fuels your skin cells to keep you supple and smooth. Be sure and over-do it on the hydration if you are a coffee lover.
Sleep shouldn’t be a treat
Getting enough sleep should not be seen as a luxury that only happens on occasion. We should have an active, margin-setting lifestyle that commands and demands time set aside for sleep. Logging an adequate amount of z’s is essential for your mind and body to function at its best. Whether you function “at your best” with only six hours of sleep or you need a full nine hours, the important thing is to consistently get enough sleep each and every night.
The more difficult your day is, in terms of physical activity and work/life stress, the more sleep you need for your body to repair the damage done to it during your waking cycle. I try to get eight to nine hours of good sleep each day. Find out what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for all ages at 1.usa.gov/1kIrx4v or see the chart.
Stress less, achieve more
You’ll perform better and achieve your goals in a healthier manner by reducing stress from both internal and external sources. Stress will always be there, so chose which stress battles are required.
While setting goals is an important part to achievement, it’s important to not become counterproductive by putting too much stress and pressure on yourself. Fitness is a journey and you must develop a “one meal at a time; one work out at a time … over time” mentality. Adopt a distant view of where you are going and keep “showing up” for your workouts and healthy meals and your goals WILL track you down.
As you settle into the final quarter of 2015, keep making healthy food and fitness choices as well as making sure to keep proper hydration, adequate sleep and stress management at the top of your mind. It is in the small details and consistent approach that health and fitness goals are realized. YES … YOU CAN.
—Blake Beckcom runs Fitness Together Mission Hills with his wife Gwen. Contact them at fitnesstogether.com/missionhills.