If you’re wanting to know where exactly to start your fitness journey, there are a few easy ways to radically improve your health. In fact, this is one of the most frequent questions I get asked about reaching fitness goals:
“where do I start?”
This can be a lengthy explanation if focusing on one individual’s needs and customizing a plan, however there are only a few points to mention that I find myself reiterating to clients.
In a previous post titled 30 Simple Ways to Live a Healthier Life, I provided a list of easy and manageable changes at a small level that will ultimately lead to improved health. The goal of that post is to allow some freedom for people wanting to start their fitness journey, but not wanting to dive right into an intense workout routine or diet. One could read the list and pick and choose any or a few of the 30 items to implement.
However, for those wanting a more simplified version of that post, this article is for you! There are a few simple and steadfast rules that you can consider the foundation of health and fitness.
5 Easy Ways to Radically Improve Your Health
Most people can implement these 5 Easy Ways to Radically Improve Your Health as a basis, or starting point, on their health and fitness journey.
Since this topic is so in demand I have compiled a list of 5 Easy Ways to Radically Improve Your Health with a focus on reducing excess fat & inflammation, and increasing lean mass & endurance.
Eat only whole, unprocessed foods
If it grows naturally in nature, or you can hunt it, it’s probably okay to eat. If it comes in a box, wrapper, or contains more than a few clean ingredients chances are it’s not good for you. Less is more. This is a pillar to radically improve your health. In college
I met a few chemical engineers who got recruited by companies like kelloggs, Kraft, and Nestle. If that doesn’t raise a red flag, I’m not sure what will! Bottom line is that whole foods are better than processed foods.
Create balanced meals
You can take the point mentioned above a bit further and radically improve your health by making sure each meal contains some vegetables, nuts, legumes or meat (or meat alternative like tofu, seitan, tempeh, TVP, etc), healthy fats (like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, etc) and, limitedly, whole grains (like barley, rice, quinoa, couscous, etc) and sugars (ie fruit).
Eliminate refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are things like pulverized grains: bread, crackers, tortillas, pasta, or anything else that is ground to a powder and then reconstituted in production and processing.
Refined carbs are not as great as whole carbs (like rice, potatoes, etc) because the process of pulverizing the grain increases the surface area of the carbohydrate. This increases blood sugar levels when digested.
A good way to think of refined carbohydrates vs whole carbohydrates is bread vs potato. Bread is wheat that has been pulverized and mixed with other ingredients and then baked. Potatoes are a whole food carbohydrate that are eaten without pulverizing. Less processing = easier on the body.
Replace refined carbohydrates with: roasted root and cruciferous vegetables and, limitedly, whole unprocessed grains (i.e. rice, quinoa).
Eliminate liquid calories
The human body is about 60% H2O. Water is your friend. Don’t skip it. In fact, you probably need to drink more water than you think you do. By the time you feel thirsty you’re already dehydrated.
To add some flavor to your water consider brewing herbal teas and other refreshments and skip the sweetener. If you do want to add a little sweetness opt for a touch of maple syrup, honey, or better yet — stevia.
Herbal teas like hibiscus, ginger, and mint are some of my favorites and can be quite flavorful. You can even create carbonated infusions by steeping a concentrated batch and cutting it with sparkling water.
You don’t have to be left without in order to radically improve your health, you just have to get creative with alternatives.
Exert your body a few times a week.
I know, exercise is a difficult habit for many of us to maintain, but it is a pillar of health.
Health permitting, move your body to its full capacity 2-3 times a week. If you’re just starting out, or your body is compromised, consider a mobility and rehabilitation routine that advances into a more complex series as you develop.
The key to keeping your motivation is to make it fun. If you’re getting bored with the same gym routine, mix it up and do something you’ve never done before. Or better yet, take your workout outside!
And don’t forget to ALWAYS listen to your body. Learn the difference between pain and discomfort. Find out where your edge is. Discover what form suits your body. Radically improving your health can really be a sort of self discovery journey!
There are many opinions about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. Generally, the rules above outline what most experts agree is a good basis for health and longevity.
As a reminder, there are 7 billion people on the planet- all of us have different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. There will never be a one-size-fits all program or solution. Intuition can be a great guide once you have acquired a good understanding of how your body metabolizes food and moves.
Some other things I’ve discovered that amplify my health and wellbeing are meditation, breathwork, bodywork (including massages, facials, saunas, physical therapy, and corrective movement), and mindfulness work.
Let me know in the comments below:
- Which of the above ways to improve your health do you think is the most important?
- What other things have you found that have radically improve your health and wellbeing?
- What are some of your favorite ways to stay on track with your diet and fitness?