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You’ve heard it a thousand times, 80% of fitness is diet.
“You are what you eat”, “Abs are made in the kitchen”, etc. etc.
Everyone knows that diet is one of the most important things both for our minds and for our well being, and almost everyone I know wants to eat a healthy balanced diet, but eating healthily can be expensive!
The good news is that with a little creativity and a small amount of pre-planning, we can find ways to eat healthy, without it taking up enormous amounts of our time or money.
Today I’m going to share with you some easy, healthy and most importantly, affordable food options you can start implementing today.
The biggest thing to accept is that it can’t be perfect from day one. I’m not a big fan of completely revamping my or your diet, mainly because its exhausting and most people can’t stick to it. Do what works for you! For example, I can’t eat a big solid breakfast in the morning, so I make a nutrient packed smoothie that I can drink on the go.
The one thing I would consider focusing on is making sure you are getting enough nutrients, and a balance of protein, healthy fat, and carbs throughout your day.
Here’s a good list to get you started:
- Eggs (top of the list for a reason, very affordable, tons of nutrients, high protein, heathy fats, oh and also EAT THE YOKE, high cholesterol from eggs is a myth.
- Peanut butter (I like adams, but it is a little more expensive, lots of healthy fats and protein!)
- Dried brown or wild rice (so easy to cook!)
- Black beans (look for low-sodium ones! Canned black beans are surprisingly nutrient dense, pack a ton of fiber, and they’re insanely affordable!)
- Tuna (not a ton! It has a lot of mercury, I wouldn’t recommend more than 1 or 2 times a week)
- Broccoli (One of the cheapest vegetables, I eat it almost every night, its king, and its affordable)
- Bananas (A little high in sugar, but tons of potassium!)
- Apples (You know what they say, an apple a day… Kudos if you can break one in half with your bare hands)
- Spinach or kale (yayayayayyayayayaya, huge fan, throw them in smoothies)
- Ground turkey (I like to look for deals at Safeway, like the 2 for $5 packs, and buy a bunch of them at a time, or the manager specials)
- Frozen fruit (can be a little more pricey, but the convenience of it can’t be missed, easy way to get some fruits in your diet, make a smoothie, plenty of vitamins and minerals)
- Chicken breast
- Nancy’s yogurt (you can get big tubs of Nancy’s plain, its cheap and full of probiotics)
- Cottage cheese
- Avocado (can be expensive, but at Fred Meyer’s or Safeway they’ll sometimes have deals. Lots of healthy fats!)
- Potatoes (I would go for either russet or sweet potatoes)
- Oatmeal (this one is a gimme, easy to make, insanely affordable, tons of fiber, very healthy)
- Canned Vegetables (studies have shown that canned fruits and vegetables have the same, if not more, nutrients and higher bioavailability than fresh foods, and that they’re more affordable)
- Smoothies (I drink a smoothie every morning, its quick and easy, and it makes up 1/3 of my total calorie intake for the day, check out my recipe)
- Avoid sugary snack foods
- Eat whole foods, avoid processed foods- they’re more expensive and unhealthy!
- Buy in bulk
- Buy calorie dense foods
- Look for deals
- Take the extra time to prepare
- Snack on carrots and celery instead of chips or cookies
- Eat simple
- Be sure to get enough protein, healthy fats and fiber!
So that’s it! We now have no excuse to not eat healthy! You’re welcome 🙂
Got things you want to add? Comment below listing some of your favorite healthy options!
Got questions or concerns? Want a specific topic discussed? Don’t be afraid to reach out! I’ll respond as soon as I can. Stay healthy and stay functional my friends 🙂
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So you made the first step, you got into the gym, you’re ready to make a change. You’re exercising, you’re seeing some results, but you feel lost. You don’t know what direction to take, you feel like you could be making better progress.
I get that! We’ve all been there. I’ve always wished fitness was more simple. But here’s the thing, it is simple! Just don’t overcomplicate it.
Fitness works, but keep it simple!
Here are 5 simple aspects to focus on when striving to achieve your fitness goals.
1. Get More Sleep
Most people in today’s society don’t get enough sleep. However when you combine exercising and not sleeping you get an even worse combination.
Exercising is catabolic, or it causes your body stress (good stress) and breaks down muscle fibers in your body. Your body then responds in times of rest by recovering and overcompensating (building itself up) so that next time you will be able to handle that stress more efficiently.
This is good, however if you do not sleep, you will not recover, and you will go the opposite direction.
Aim for a solid 8-9 hours of sleep a night.
2. Mix It Up
When things go stale and you feel like you’re not improving anymore, its time to change things up. This might sound complicated but it’s actually super simple, so again don’t overcomplicate.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Don’t beat a dead horse. If you’ve exhausted one avenue of exercise and you’re not seeing results anymore, do something different!
For example, if you’ve always lifted weights for 3 sets of 10 reps, doing the same exercises, and you’ve been doing this for months and you’re not seeing progress, its probably time to make a change… switch it up!
- Change exercises.
- Find variations.
- Change your set/rep scheme
- Increase the weights
- Change your rest between sets
- Change your cadence (lengthen or shorten the duration of a single movement)
- Switch to calisthenics
- Add more compound lifts
- Add supplementary exercises
- Change your program (for example going from a body part split to and upper/lower split)
- Switch to free weights
- Add some cardio
- Take a fitness class
Educate yourself, work out with a buddy, learn from others, research what has worked for others and then take your own opinions. What works for someone might not work for you, don’t be afraid to explore.
There are many ways to mix it up. Your body is smart, it will adapt and things will go stale. Keep your body guessing. Confuse your body. Don’t let it be satisfied. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
3. Challenge Yourself, Up the Intensity
Are you challenging yourself at every workout? You don’t need to completely annihilate yourself, but you do need to push yourself.
It’s ok to be happy with where you are, but it is never ok to be satisfied.
Always be looking to improve. If you are weak in one area, focus on it.
Push yourself. The hardest moments are the ones that mean the most. You know yourself best, you know when you’re cheating yourself out of reps. Bring intensity to every workout.
One of the best ways to build this if you don’t already have it is to start working out with someone who is intense about fitness.
Jim Rohn says You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people. Find a gym buddy and stick with it until you develop your own intensity to work out and be successful and fit.
4. Respect Your Diet
Ever heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”?
Diet is one of the most important things. If you don’t eat well, you won’t feel well, you won’t perform well, you won’t recover well, and it will create an endless cycle that will end with you giving up on fitness.
Use JERF (Just Eat Real Food)
Super simple. And don’t use the excuse that it’s expensive. Eating healthy can be cheap.
Stick to the perimeters of the grocery store. Cut out the simple carbs and sugars.
Eat colorful food! I like black beans, chicken, rice, broccoli, carrots, oatmeal, and smoothies. I live off that stuff. Keep it simple! It’s not that expensive, and your body will appreciate it.
Not only will you feel and look better, but your brain will thank you. You will be a more intelligent person if you cut out the sugar and stick to healthy snacks instead.
Have a snacking problem? Snack on carrots and hummus, not chips. Health isn’t complicated, be creative, and be disciplined, try new things, take a step and get focused.
Here are some healthy affordable options:
- Ground turkey (look for manager specials)
- Frozen fruit
- Peanut butter
- Frozen spinach or kale
- Bananas (insanely affordable!)
- Apples (look deals)
- Almonds (I order big bags of them online)
- Almond milk
- Pasta (I like whole grain)
Be creative, look for deals at stores, there are lots.
Diet is 80% of it! Be disciplined, because no amount of exercise will matter otherwise.
#5. Make Clear Goals
One of the smartest moves I ever made was deciding to set fitness goals. It gives you direction and it gives you motivation. I write down my goals every morning, a technique I learned from Brian Tracy, if you haven’t heard of him, look up some of his YouTube videos or pick up one of his books. He’s got some awesome advice.
Goal setting can be tricky, but once you get into the habit it can really propel you forward.
Start with asking yourself, “What do you want”. Be specific! Be realistic! It’s ok to set crazy long term goals, but be sure to set short term goals as well.
Do you want to lose 50 pounds this year? That’s fine, but set a specific goal.
- To lose 50 pounds this year you need to aim to lose about 4 pounds a month or a pound almost every week of the year.
Perfect, we have a goal of a one pound loss every week, but lets get more specific.
- To lose a pound a week, we need to eat a little bit less, but how much less?
- We need to eat about 500 calories less every day of that week, totaling 3500 calories a week
So our new goal is to eat 500 calories less each day for the whole year, but because I don’t like negative goals like that we’re going to change it to be more positive.
Using a calorie calculator, like the one on this site, we can calculate about how many calories we burn.
So using myself as an example, I burn around 3000 calories a day. So in order to lose 50 pounds this year, all I would need to do is eat 2500 calories a day for 50 out of the 52 weeks this year. Look, I even get 2 weeks off.
The key here is looking at it the right way. I get to eat 2500 calories a day. Don’t focus on the limiting factor. I get to fill by body with 2500 nutrient filled calories every day, that are going to fuel me to complete my workouts and live an amazing life.
This is just one example, but its HUGE. Setting goals is huge.
One thing to consider is that you don’t have to limit yourself to weight goals. You can set other specific goals as well, such as:
- Run a mile in X amount of time by X date
- Bench press X amount of weight by X date
- Be able to hike X amount of miles in one day X date
Be specific, and be time bound.
Set a timeline. Hold yourself accountable and get it done.
Here are the basic steps again:
- Set a goal
- Set a date
- Break the goal down into its simplest steps (how you are going to achieve it)
- Take the first step.
“Goals are just dreams with deadlines”
Got questions or concerns? Want a specific topic discussed? Don’t be afraid to reach out! I’ll respond as soon as I can. Stay healthy, stay functional my friends 🙂
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CHALLENGE MONTH! MOBILITY 🙂
Want to improve your squat and reach full depth?
I’ve got a new challenge for you, and it’s going to help all of you be able to complete an ideal squat. Its called the 3rd world squat challenge.
In many countries, people will sit in a full squat comfortably for HOURS. Our lifestyle has a tendency to create muscle imbalances and many of the people that I have worked with can’t do a full squat because of this. The funny thing is that when each of us was young, we could all perform a full squat.
The good news, is that it’s not tough to get your mobility back and I’m gonna show you how.
Super simple challenge that won’t take much of your day.
Here’s what you’re gonna do:
- Set your feet about shoulder width.
- Slowly lower yourself to a full squat. Barefoot!
- Sit in a full squat for 10 minutes or longer. Every day. For 30 days.
- You probably won’t be able to sit fully without falling backwards in the beginning, so hold onto something in the beginning.
- It gets easier with time, and you can challenge yourself by trying to go as long as possible without using a weight. Once you reach a point where you can’t stay upright then add a weight or hold onto something for the remaining duration.
- Try to keep your torso upright, your abs right, and maintain good posture.
- You can play around with feet width as you improve as well. Bringing your feet will make it more difficult.
- If you can’t make it to the full 10 minutes, then break it up into sets.
- If you have pain then stop! Take it gradually.
You’ll improve rapidly, you’ll be surprised.
Sounds simple right? It is. But it makes a huge difference in opening up your hips and will have you squatting healthily in no time.
This would be what you are striving for:
Full squat, torso remains upright, feet about shoulder width apart.
I promise it’ll make a huge difference.
- You’ll improve your flexibility in your ankles and hips.
- You’ll strengthen core and improve your posture.
- You’ll most likely alleviate a lot of back pain as well (which is due to bad posture primarily).
Feedback wanted! Got questions or want to learn about something I haven’t gone over? Shoot me an email! I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
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