7 Top Tips for Improving your Overall Fitness
There are five major components of fitness that I typically assess when I meet a new trainee:
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
- Cardio respiratory endurance
- Flexibility and mobility
- Body composition
To achieve these five components to the fullest, one must dive into areas beyond just physical exercise. A daily workout almost becomes the easy part, because what we are doing the remaining 23 hours a day is a lot more crucial than just an hour of exercise. Here are my seven top tips to optimize your overall fitness:
- Sleep: I recommend 7-9 hours of sleep a night. I have seen people who train and eat well, but cannot drop body fat due to their lack of quality rest. What happens here is that hormones cannot repair and optimize, which forces the body to begin to deteriorate.
- Nutrition: You need a balanced diet of protein, carbs and fat. Get your veggies in at least twice a day, and eliminate all processed foods, table sugar, and white flour and gluten. Start with three solid meals and two snacks a day. Without proper nutrition, your energy and recovery will diminish, and your daily performance will decline with the possibility of long-term health issues. Remember, you are what you eat.
- Exercise: If fitness is what you want to improve, then an exercise regimen of resistance training, flexibility work and cardiovascular exercise should be implemented. This is how I typically like to breakdown a session for General Physical Preparedness (GPP):
- Warm up with a foam roller
- Dynamic flexibility work (no static stretching!)
- Jump, throw, carry: This is where I have an individual jump, throw a med ball and carry an object. It could look something like this:
- Box jumps – 10 reps
- Med ball toss – 10 reps
- Farmers walk – 25 yards (2-4 sets)
- Strength training or circuit
- Cardio or metabolic training
- Static stretch cool down
- Hydrate: I recommend consuming half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. This will flush out toxins and will help speed up your metabolism, as well as aiding in digestion.
- Incorporate unilateral exercises: A unilateral movement is an exercise where we are using one arm or one leg at a time. This forces us to stabilize, which requires major balance and coordination. I have found that when people avoid these movements entirely, the body becomes somewhat rigid and will tend to lose the feeling of being athletic and healthy.
- Have fun: Fitness should not feel like you’re sitting through a boring lecture. Experiment with different activities; find out what you like and dislike. Personally, I’m happiest when I’m getting to the gym four days a week and working out or participating in activities outdoors another two days a week.
- Relaxation: Don’t put your body under stress all day, every day. Set some rules. Shut the phone and computer off at a certain time. Meditate, laugh, enjoy. Surround yourself with positive people and be around good energy!
This is not everything – I could keep going, but feel this is a solid start. If you’re not doing any of these seven tips, then I recommend trying to incorporate at least one tip per month. If you’re already doing all of these things, then try to become more optimal at them. None of us are perfect, but the fact that we all can improve is motivation within itself.