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Adjusting Training and Eating Habits for Lifelong Success

Adjusting Training and Eating Habits for Lifelong Success

Adjusting Training and Eating Habits for Lifelong Success

Not every life situation is ideally suited for an all-out attack on your health and fitness goals. There are times when improving your training and eating habits have to take a back seat. Then, there are times when you can focus almost exclusively on training, habit changes and generally winning with health goals. Adjusting habits to whatever else is happening is an important skill to have. Here’s how to do it all

1. Know When To Pull Back

These are the times when you’re already chasing your tail, trying to catch life’s curveballs as they hit your way. The times when you have a tight deadline at work that takes 28 hours of your time each day or when you are required to travel. Times when you have to care for someone close to you. Or on an upside, the holiday times. Switching your training or diet to a higher gear during these times just doesn’t work, you’ve maxed out on the available gears.

What should you do with your training during pull-back times?

Do the minimum to maintain what you’ve got so far. If you are used to training 5 hours a week, take it back to 2-3 or even less. You might even be better off planning your training so that during pull-back times, you are recovering and taking time off, your body needs it every now and then. Stay active in other ways.

Have a plan in place to set aside a few minutes each day for meditation or another form of stress release.

What shouldn’t you do with your training during pull-back times?

Don’t stress if you can’t keep up with your normal training schedule. Don’t tackle the new(est) Hollywood Belly Fat Blaster or Gunz of a Ghetto He-Man – training plans.

What should you do with your diet and habits during pull-back times?

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Have pre-cooked meals that can be heated with no effort. If your pull-back situation has taken you by surprise, you need to keep your cooking simple, efficient and nutritious. But tasty too. Keep recipes that are fast and that can be cooked without sparing a thought whether you should cook them. It might come in handy during these times. Cook big batches or find restaurants or delivery services that can cater to your diet needs.

Make it as simple as possible to maintain the habits you’ve worked on developing so far. As always, if you have the option to do so, planning trumps everything else.

What shouldn’t you do with diet and habits during pull-back times?

Too many people resort to fast food and microwave dinners during these hectic periods. It’s unfortunate since you may already be stressed or tired, and might be pushing your mental and physical limits. Piling poor diet choices on top of it all will make you feel lethargic, and you won’t be at your best when others might need your superhuman skills.

Don’t worry about winning any Michelin stars with your cooking. Or mastering advanced vegetable chopping skills. “Good enough” will suffice.

Don’t add new habits unless you are 100% confident you can stick to them.

2. Know When To Aim For Reasonable Progress

This is where we find ourselves most of the time. You might be busy, but nicely balancing family, work, training, and habits. You work normal hours on most days, and there’s room for regular training in your schedule. Things are not chaotic or out of control.

What should you do with training during reasonable progress?

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It’s good to alternate between easy and moderate, Occasionally when the stars align, test your limits. Stay at a reasonable level most of the time. Meaning, you show up, get your training done and move on. Don’t bang the dumbbells together trying to ignite the fire or get into a fistfight because someone else is using the bench press. Try to progress during these times by doing a little bit better, each session.

Have flexibility built into your training, that you can use to adjust to a situation that might arise at work, or at home. Some weeks you might be motivated to train more and during the others you might train less. It’s all good, as long as it all balances out over a longer period. Think life-long cumulative of training as a marathon and not a sprint.

What shouldn’t you do with training during reasonable progress?

Don’t be a hero and try to tackle epic and complicated training plans that are going to get thrown out the window as soon as something unexpected happens. Don’t sign up for a “6 weeks to a 10-pack” boot camp.

Also, you don’t have to feel as if you’ve been run over by a freight train after each session.

What should you with diet and habits during reasonable progress?

Add and track new habits one at a time until they become part of your routine. Keep working on the habits that you have tackled in the past and figure out ways to make them better suited for you. Find your “sweet spots”. Plan ahead so that you know how to react when an unusual or stressful situation comes around.

What shouldn’t you do with diet and habits during reasonable progress?

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Don’t take on habits, unless you are at least 80-90% confident that you can succeed with them.

3. Know When To Go All-In

These are the times when work is easy or non-existent. You have a private chef (or a very supportive wife) cooking all your meals and helping you with every request you might have. You have a nanny with a British accent who looks after the kids while you overhead press in the penthouse. You might even own a pool and a dolphin. Or you might be an 18-year-old living in your parents’ basement. Mum’s your chef and Dad is your spotter. You have no money issues, work troubles or dependents to look after. What you do have is all the time in the world.

What should you do with training during these times?

Always wanted to try the hardest of all training plans? Want to tackle the insane 6 month-long plan that ‘The Rock’ is on? Spend an extra hour at the gym each day just to work on your triceps? Go for it; this is your chance!

What shouldn’t you do with training during these times?

Don’t try to break the world record for squatting on a stability ball, because, well, it’s just dumb! And dangerous! Otherwise, do whatever you want. Because there isn’t any reason not to. Nothing is going to slow you down. But just don’t get injured.

What should you with diet and habits during these times?

Go on the strictest eating plan and calculate and weigh every single calorie and macronutrient. Let your life revolve around eating, and skip every possible social gathering in order to become the version of yourself that you want to be. I mean, for you, success should be measured in weights lifted and protein consumed.

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What shouldn’t you do with diet and habits during these times?

Don’t search for the secret supplement to increase your arm size. Don’t eat magic mushrooms or go on a juice cleanse to lose weight. Also, don’t do steroids.

By now, you might have realized that for most of us #3s, it is as rare as coming across a double-headed donkey. It is unlikely that you will be so fortunate. And you most likely wouldn’t be reading this blog. Then again, maybe you are a bored 16-year old billionaire living in your parents’ basement with your dolphin, who just enjoys my down-to-earth approach to fitness.

The times that are ideal for combining a tough training plan with a strict diet might come along once every few years, at best. Yet, this is what most people do when they start a journey toward their fitness goals. They sign up for mad challenges or follow a training and diet plan they found online. Those plans that are designed for a person who has the luxury to train for a living. Or the plans are clearly made for those who have some form of “chemical adjustments” flowing through their veins. And that is why most people who start also fail.

You are going to have more success by adhering to a reasonable and well-balanced approach that adjusts to your life as it happens. Sometimes you do more and sometimes you do less. Occasionally, you just work on staying where you are without worrying about progress. I mean, I love training more than most people, but it’s not my whole life. It’s just a part of it.

Reasonable progress doesn’t sound sexy or sell a lot of books, or even make great TV programs, but it does work if you have the patience for it.

What’s the best part? If you do it right, it will stick.

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@jessebowser via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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