The Fundamentals

2016 has come to a close.  My life’s work has always centered around fitness and nutrition. I have been asked every question under the sun related to these two areas. I don’t pretend to know it all, but at the same time I don’t mind sharing my thoughts; however, I am saddened by how many people struggle with their health and how much misinformation is out there.  


As I reflect, I almost feel I have nothing new to say because I really just keep saying the same thing over and over again, just trying to re-invent how to communicate it. As in any area of life there are fundamentals to be mastered and repeated over and over to be successful.


So, here are the fundamentals...


In regards to fitness you have to move and move in full ranges of motion. That means move the body in all planes of human movement - bending at the ankles, knees, hips, low-back, pushing and pulling.  The best movements are lunges, squats, deadlifts, push-ups, rows requiring scapular retraction, and planks.  You need your heart to beat, so put these exercises in a circuit, or add a cardio interval to it like rowing, bike, elliptical, or treadmill.  Take a walk every day!  Find something you enjoy like yoga, hiking, paddle boarding, mountain biking, cycling, or rock climbing. Even Pokemon Go is great! My son introduced me to this last night at about 10:30pm and it tracked how far we walked. By the time we had captured all the odd named creatures he wanted for the night, we had walked over 5 kilometers trouncing through the woods, neighborhoods, a church, and playing fields.  


In regards to nutrition the key is plants. Make the majority of your food green veggies, then all the other colored veggies, then fruit, then beans, nuts, and seeds and finally whole grains and potatoes. Eat as much of these foods as you want, but in that order as much as possible. You cannot overeat on these foods.  They are self-correcting due to the amount of water and fiber, which is guaranteed to satiate you before you eat too much.  Have you ever eaten a whole apple and thought ... I think I will have another? I bet not, and it is because they make you full.  


No foods are as nutrient dense as plants.  Eat a diversity of plants and you get a diversity of nutrients. A diversity of plants gets you plenty of protein.  I am not telling you that you can’t eat meat, but I am telling you that there is a reason your teeth are not like a lions or a dogs.  There is a reason your digestive tract is more like an herbivore than a carnivore.  It is because we are designed/evolved primarily for plant eating.   


Take a few minutes and reflect on how you did in terms of fitness and nutrition in 2016. Now reflect on the last three years, then the last 5, then the last 10.  Where are you heading??? If you are headed in the wrong direction, it won’t change unless you make a change.


If this overview on fitness and nutrition is too much info and makes it more complicated for you then do some research and figure it out and right the ship on your own. Or, if you know you need some help, get in touch with a personal trainer.  A good personal trainer will help all this make sense and assist you in learning to train safely and effectively.  A personal trainer can be a great tool for a short period of time (assuming you have the discipline to continue on your own).  Use your time with a personal trainer as if you are taking a class, getting a certification, self-ducating so that you can take control of your health as you move forward on your own.


But, don’t forget that it is truly as simple as moving your body and eating plants.


Make 2017 the year you continue on the right path, or if need be, make it the year you reverse a course that has a trajectory of disease, illness, loss of quality of life and early death. You can do it!