OK so I know its been a little while since I’ve posted a BLOG but for any of you that follow me on any of my social media channels you’ll see that I’ve been extremely busy since Christmas with everything from time with the family to travelling around at speaking engagements, working with several military charities & running the gym I bought back in October (https://www.facebook.com/flexfitness52/) so I haven’t had much free time to sit down & push out any content but its because I’ve been so busy that I had to commit to taking the time to sit down & write this out because I think it’s something that affects everyone.

In todays world we’re all extremely busy & have huge demands on our time from things like jobs, careers, family, friends, personal projects etc… the list goes on & its because we’re so busy that often we get run down, tired, overwhelmed, stressed out & damn right beaten up & as a result our health & any healthy habits that we have often get neglected which in turn makes things even harder.

Now I sat back recently and took a look at how busy my life is & decided to write a list of things that I think help me keep on top of it all, these are things that to me are priorities because I’ve made them such as I recognize that if I neglect them then my health would decline quite rapidly & that’s not something that I’m willing to let happen so I compiled a list of tips for all round better health that I hope you find useful & can implement into your own lives.

Now I don’t expect anyone to agree with all of them but even if you just made one or two of these a priority in your life I can guarantee that you’ll notice a difference, so here goes and I’ll start with the obvious one.

Reduce alcohol & junk food

We all know that vast amounts of alcohol & junk food isn’t good for our health but have you ever taken the time out to actually see & feel the effect that it has on your body, mood & mental health? Alcohol is obvious, we’ve all been out for a few scoops, stumbled home at 0400am covered in kebab sauce and woke up the next day feeling rough (because alcohol is effectively a poison) but have you ever noticed the effect that junk food has on you?

I recently dieted for 5 weeks whilst training for a photo shoot with LA based photographer Michael Stokes

http://michaelstokes.net

and once the shoot was over I wanted nothing more than a whole bunch of junk food because I’d deprived myself throughout the entire process. In my house once a week we have what we call ‘Fat Boy Friday’ where me, Becky & the kids can eat whatever we want in the evening (within reason) because I believe in everything in moderation, but after having eaten clean for so many weeks when I got up the next day I felt like I had a hangover and was tired & sluggish until about midday. I think this is how a lot of people feel quite regularly but put it down to lack of sleep & neglect to look at their diets, with a few simple tweaks you could get through the day feeling a lot more energised & alive so I hope some of the tweaks I’m going to talk about help.

Get the right amount of sleep (8hrs of quality sleep)

Ever slept right through for 12hrs and woke up feeling tired? That’s probably because although you may have thought you got a good sleep the quantity was there but not the quality. It’s important when you sleep that you get into as deep a sleep as possible to enable your body to really have the time it needs to repair & re-energise for the next day, here’s a few tips to help improve your sleep.

-Use black out blinds if possible to cut out natural light

-Don’t eat large amounts after around 7.00pm

-Turn the TV & phone off before you go to bed

-Refrain from any emails, social media etc… at least an hour before you go to bed to disengage your brain.

-Try to go to bed & wake up at the same time every day (routine)

-If you have trouble sleeping try a warm bath or listening to something relaxing that you can drop off to

-MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A GOOD BED

Eat a well balanced diet

Like I said before its all about moderation, you don’t have to live like a monk to be healthy but there are lots of little changes you can make to your diet so that you can improve your health & well being without being miserable in the process.

Here a few of the things I‘ve found to be very effective:

STAY HYDRATED – This is probably one of the most important things you need to be on top of when it comes to your health. You need to take on fluids all throughout the day, I don’t mean beer, fizzy drinks or sugar loaded juices I mean good old H2O. If you’re not hydrated adequately throughout the day your body will struggle to operate properly. A great habit is to start your day with a glass of water to give it that early morning kick-start that it might need, you can even throw in a slice of lemon if you’re feeling adventurous, that also help to alkalise your blood stream.

DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST – We’ve all heard that it’s the most important meal of the day and it is, the way you start your day will have a knock on affect as to how the rest of your day pans out. Even if you struggle to eat in the morning just try to get something in you to kick start your metabolism & get your body going, if you don’t you’ll find yourself snacking or overeating throughout the day & overeating means your body’s going to have to work harder to digest the extra food which in turn will sap your energy, make you feel sluggish & drain your morale causing you to struggle to get through the rest of the day.

PREP SOME HEALTHY FOOD – If you’re over busy or struggle to find the time to eat a healthy meal during the day and because junk food is usually more convenient then consider prepping your snacks & lunch the night before so it’s all ready for you. It’s kind of like going back to school & having a packed lunch, just hopefully without the crab paste sandwiches (or was that just me?)

THE 80/20 RULE – What I try to do each day is live by the rule that 80% of my diet is good, clean, healthy food & then if I choose to I can have 20% that’s not so good. After all unless you’re a professional athlete then this shouldn’t be torture, it’s about having the things you enjoy but at the same time making those positive changes for better heath.

Exercise at least three times a week

This one doesn’t need explaining as the benefits both physically & mentally of exercise have been proven time and time again. Now I hear some of you already saying I don’t have time or its too expensive to join a gym or to hire a trainer, well we all have the same 24hrs in a day you just need to make the choice to get up an hour earlier. As for the gym you don’t need one, the trainer? nope, all you need are some comfy clothes and an imagination. You can walk, run, do circuits, use hills, trees, sandbags, tires the list goes on but as long as you’re out there moving your body & getting your heart rate up you’re already miles ahead of the dude (or dudette) that stayed on the couch & if you ever feel intimidated or that people will judge you I think you’ll be surprised at actually how many of those people will encourage and support you and even look up to you, so get out there and get your sweat on.

Focus on positivity

I used to have this habit & I’m sure many of you do to where you get up in the morning, have your breakfast, shower etc… get ready for work & in the back ground on the TV you have the news on. It took me a longggggg time to realise this but that was the part of my morning routine that usually screwed up my day because the news was just full of negativity. I’d be leaving the house everyday & not even realising that I was in a depressed state because of what I’d watched and heard on the TV & it had an impact on me right from the get go. Needless to say as soon as I realised I stopped watching the news pretty much altogether and chose to do something more empowering which is when I chose to start my day conciously focusing on positivity.

Now during my morning routine whilst I’m in the shower or brushing my teeth I focus on how my day is going to be productive & who I’m going to meet, what opportunities will come my way, how many of my goals I’ll make progress on etc… and then by the time it comes to leave the house I’m revved up with this huge sense of positive expectation & more often than not that leads me to having a very fulfilling day & a huge amount of the time I attract the things I’ve been focusing on. If you’ve never done it then try it, just wake up tomorrow & tell yourself that today is going to be the best day of your life & that you’re going to achieve XXX and meet XXX and XXX is going to happen etc… you’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes & how different the world looks.

Schedule in some me time.

We all work very hard not only for ourselves but also for others and often we forget to take care of ourselves because of the hectic pace of life but sometimes you’ve got to consciously slow things down, take a look around and make the decision that actually its time to focus on yourself for once. Now as human beings that can be quite hard as a lot of the time we are compelled to do more for others than we would for ourselves but what good are you to anyone if you’re burnt out & stressed. So every now and again take that time for you & do something to help you relax whether that be to visit a spa or read a book, whatever it is that gives you a sense of calm & wellbeing & makes you feel like your charging your batteries, I love movies & that’s how I chose to spend my ‘me time’ relaxing.

I hope the few tips have been useful, as the title suggests this is part 1 as it was quite a long blog so keep your eyes peeled for part 2 coming at you in a few days. Between now & then why not challenge yourself to implement a few of these things into your life, I’d love to know if they help.

 

Mark