As we start this decade, many of us will be setting goals and looking to improve our health and our bodies. So as we are in the year 2020, here are 20 tips to help you improve your health and body that are straightforward and easy to integrate into your life.
While some of these points may seem simple or straightforward, they should not be underestimated, as the body is incredibly interconnected, and some small changes in your lifestyle and habits can pay dividends.
To get started, the first 3 points are the most significant changes which will reap the greatest rewards. If there were golden rules, these would undoubtedly be the top 3. As you begin to consistently improve those 3 things look to include one or two of the following points to progress.
1. Sleep your way to become healthier, stronger and leaner.
The first golden rule to improving your health and body composition starts with how well you sleep.
A pioneering researcher once said about sleep that if sleep was not vital, it would be the most considerable waste of time in our human evolution. Sleep improves many things; it helps you to recover and repair, it improves your mental health and focus, it aids in the loss of body fat, helps increase energy levels, and even improves blood sugar control.
Our modern lifestyles are holding us back, if you want to better your health and body, then improving how you sleep is the #1 way to start.
2. Eat real food consistently – the second golden rule to you losing body fat.
Following good sleep, all of us can start to eat better by having real food and improving our meal timings. Often we will be in a rush and just grab something on the go, like a sandwich or panini; our disconnected modern lifestyles holding us back from better health.
Eating real food means eating things that have lived, grown and have come from the land. So green veggies with rice and salmon makes a great lunch, but a sandwich does not.
As for meal timings, eating consistently every 3-4 hours will help to keep your blood sugar stable and keep you satiated. In between main meals, a small snack such as a handful of nuts and berries, or a scoop of amino acids or protein powder is excellent.
An extra tip here…bulk cook, double up your dinner and keep half for lunch tomorrow!
3. Digestion – the third golden rule to losing body fat.
An often overlooked aspect of our health and physique goals is how our gut is digesting food.
The gut is central to the whole body, it affects our mood, energy, and mind. A healthy gut processes food so that the essential nutrients enter the bloodstream and nourish the body.
Not sure where to start? We have a full suite of products just waiting to help…
4.”You are what you eat”.
The food we eat determines a lot for our body and health; it can shape our mood through neurotransmitter (chemical messaging) release, our gut bacteria and immune system, and of course our body composition. Articles following this one will elaborate further on this, but for now, eating real food as in #2 will be a great start.
5. Rotate foods and use fermented foods for gut health
Eating the same food will mean you miss out on broadening your gut bacteria. Instead of eating the same old chicken every day, try a slice of different white meat like turkey, or switch fish in for 1 or 2 meals per week.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchee can also be an excellent addition because as they ferment the bacteria develop which are suitable for your gut. The rule here? Start small and slowly introduce these.
Your gut will thank you.
6. Setting yourself up for sleep.
Even the slightest source of light, such as outside light shining under the bedroom door or through a crack in the blinds can be enough to disturb the production of Melatonin, which is the hormone secreted to help sleep.
The darker it is where you sleep, the better your sleep quality and, in particular, deep sleep. Improving this will pay dividends for energy levels, mental health and fat around the abdomen.
7. Set consistent and realistic goals, starting with moving correctly first.
Many of us start training in January with great goals of improving fitness, changing our physiques, getting leaner and getting stronger. Don’t go into the gym and head straight for the hardest and heaviest exercises trying to hit PRs. Before we do this, we need to make sure we can move properly.
What should you do? Well, start by improving the range of motion at your joints, work on tight, restricted muscles, then begin with consistently hitting the basic lifts and progressing on from there.
8. Change to Master the Training Basics.
If you want to maximise your time in the gym, then you will want to base your sessions around compound lifts. Pick several big basic lifts such as DB Presses, Rows, Lat Pulldowns, Squats, Lunges, and Leg Curls. Try and progress them each week gradually, and once you can consistently do this, then we can add in some bicep curl or tricep extensions at the end of the session.
9. Less body fat, more muscle mass, and increased strength!
If you lift 5kg extra on what you can currently lift on a particular exercise for 6 reps…that will be reflected in your physique. Try to improve the numbers in your main compound lifts means you’ll end up stronger, more muscular, leaner and have a better hormonal status for it too.
10. Try using an alternative protein source or use amino acids.
Most protein powders on the market are whey-based, as whey is easy to produce and the cheapest form to manufacture. However, dairy-based products usually don’t sit well with people, raising inflammation, causing stomach aches, bloating or gas.
Help your gut and inflammation by trying a different source, such as a bowl of rice, beef or vegan protein. The YPSI, Designs for Health and ATP range all include one of the alternative sources for this reason.
11. Hit a fat loss plateau? Try this approach to breakthrough.
Once you have been eating and training consistently, you may find that you plateau and your fat loss slows down. At this point, it’s time to mix things up and look to other methods to get you back on track. A ‘cleanse week’ is the perfect way to switch things up ‘cleanse weeks’ primarily target the removal of toxins from the body and, as toxins are linked with fat cells, they can help move fat loss along.
A cleanse week typically consists of 7 days where you only take on three to four shakes per day, and you consume 2 scoops of a pea or rice protein with 1 tablespoon of amino and a greens powder per shake. This will help the liver and kidney with its detoxification phases, though we would suggest seeking professional advice before undertaking any type of cleanse.
Your first meal after this week should be a light meal with proteins and fats such as scrambled eggs.
12. Adding too much conditioning could be holding you back.
It’s January 2020, and many people will want to drop weight and body fat, typically jumping on the treadmill or exercise bike and doing steady-state cardio or hard intervals. This kind of approach can raise cortisol and inflammation in the body, too much of both will hinder your fat loss.
Consistently lifting weights 2-4 times per week, doing the basic compound exercises, doing some conditioning and making better eating habits will get you the results you want.
13. Don’t overkill your training, you only need an hour, 3-4 times per week.
Working hard AND smart will get you to your goals. Spending hours in the gym is overkill, and likewise, the perfect program won’t work unless you put the effort in.
Start your sessions with 5 min of mobility and soft tissue work if needed in the warm-up.
Strength training revolves around training specific movement patterns, so be sure to prepare for those particular movements in your warm-up. Then whatever is left for you to master the basics in the rest of the session. That’s 1 hour, and all boxes ticked ✅.
14. Managing insulin and blood glucose is the key to good health.
When we ingest food our pancreas releases insulin, however, if we consistently overeat, don’t stay active enough and have poor sleep on top of that, we lose the ability for our insulin supplies to function correctly, which can contribute to fat gain and poor tolerance of carbohydrates. Improving insulin function will help you lose fat and get leaner, maintain focus and energy for longer, and generally improve longevity.
It is possible to monitor our blood glucose levels with Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM), which shows how well we respond to certain foods and how our insulin functions.
Ideally, we want to avoid any significant spikes or drops and have a consistent, stable level.
15. Taking a multivitamin is the easiest way of covering any nutrient deficiencies
Simply put a good quality multivitamin will cover your nutrient bases, and it is the easiest way of doing so. Today’s typical busy lifestyle and the declining nutrients in the soil are leading many of us to have nutrient deficiencies, and a good-quality multivitamin will cover you on this.
16. Having trouble with digesting food? Try these approaches –
If you know a food gives you gas, bloating or aches remove the food from your diet for a few weeks, then slowly reintroduce it. This will allow your gut to recover and hopefully better digest it when re-implemented.
It would also be worth considering the FODMAP or Fisherman’s diet approaches, or taking a digestive enzyme when you eat the food you know is problematic.
Another strategy would be to increase stomach acid (which is typically low for most people) by supplementing with HCl and pepsin.
17. Get your sleep-wake cycle in check.
Sleeping better comes as the result of the environment you sleep in and a regular and consistent sleep-wake cycle. Going to bed and waking up at the same time daily will help your energy, mind, and body fat. Buying a sun-clock can help ease the process of waking up by using light as the stimulus to wake and not a phone alarm!
18. Improve your surroundings (easy to say, hard to do)
Surround yourself with people who have a positive impact on your life.
When someone has an adverse effect think about how to manage the situation effectively, so you have the least stress possible. Consider whether a change to your team, colleagues or a different setup and approach altogether could help.
19. Eat-in good company
Good food is made better when you eat with great people, and not only is it more enjoyable for you, it allows your body to respond better to what you eat!
Laugh, have fun, take time to eat and appreciate what you’re eating.
20. Just add water and it will grow!
Everything in life needs water!
Find things that make you grow and develop – it could be a sport, activity, or some other passion you have. Do something which pushes you and gets out of your comfort zone.
Embrace the challenge and feed the growth mindset.
Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professionals before making any nutritional & lifestyle changes or before taking any nutritional supplement. For more information, please view our terms & conditions.