Stick To The Basics, Basically!

There are so many conflicting ideas out there about what it takes to get in shape. Eat only vegetables and water, eat only fat and protein, skip the cardio, don’t lift heavy weights, leave stretching out completely, etc. etc. One thing remains true beyond all of the fad diets and trendy exercise programs: eating a nutrient dense, whole food diet and consistently challenging yourself with an array of progressive cardiovascular and weight bearing exercises is the best way to have a fit and healthy life.

By focusing on the basics in both diet and exercise, you will find that it becomes easier to stay with a program. Eating complicated meals and committing to overly intricate workouts just isn’t realistic for the average person in the long term. And long term is the goal with fitness!

The term “basic” in regard to food can be described as anything with less than 5 ingredients. A whole foods diet simply refers to food that has not undergone excessive processing – as in, could you make it at home? Additionally, what is the shelf life? Whole foods have a relatively short lifespan as they are not pumped full of preservatives and additives. Think fresh vegetables, beans, fresh and lean protein.

In terms of exercise, any program with more than 5 or 6 stations or that exceeds 75 minutes is too complicated. A program with too many exercises makes it hard to see where you are improving, and also puts the focus more on getting through them, rather than overall performance. Your workouts should work coherently to improve overall muscle tone, strength, conditioning on all major muscle groups – quantity does not mean quality!

Settling on a diet and exercise program involves many factors, such as work schedule, social and home life commitments, access to fresh food and produce, and access to gym equipment or space. By adopting a “stick to the basics” mentality, hopefully you will not get overwhelmed, and also find it easier to stay on a program that works for your lifestyle. Understanding how to make good food decisions, and access to a great workout should be available to anyone, regardless of their situation – not a complicated process that involves too much time, money and mental energy. The basics really do work!

Check back next week for more information as we discuss access to food, gyms, and how to make substitutions…

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