THE 4 ELEMENTS OF
A BONAFIDE LIFESTYLE
NUTRITION | FITNESS | PERFORMANCE | STYLE
Nutrition is probably the most important of the the 4 key elements of health. The food we eat will do one of two things: it will either keep us healthy and HEAL us, or it will slowly kill us. EVERY bite of food we eat will create a series of reactions in the body that will either harm us or promote health. Our bodies are complex metabolic machines with multiple organ systems communicating via several mechanisms with one being "hormonal responses" to our environment that directly affects our individual health. There is no “one size fits all” nutrition plan, but I believe there are some basic principles that everyone can benefit from. I am a big fan of the “ancestral”, approach to nutrition. This approach which includes a balance of real whole foods, limits insulin response to foods we eat. Insulin is a hormone that affects about every component of our bodies and how it functions. The SAD (Standard American Diet) of high carbs, usually low protein and low fat approach to eating promotes high levels of insulin which causes a domino effect reaction of chronic inflammation in the body that is a precursor and cause of many of todays common diseases and health issues. Nutritional needs are individualized based off of several factors including (and not limited to) age, gender, degree of obesity or lean muscle, medical conditions (type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, etc), genetic factors, etc. My diverse background in nutrition, passion and my belief in ancestral health with a “primal/paleo” approach to nutrition gives me some unique insights on these matters.
Regular physical activity is very important to our overall health and well being. It is important for emotional well being, stress management, internal health, and can help tone and strengthen our bodies to live a long healthy life. Physical activity does NOT have to be overly strenuous, or time consuming in order for it to have benefit. In fact, the argument can be made that in order to be healthy and happy for the long term it may be advisable to avoid too much excessive “exercise”, whether it be “chronic cardio” or my old style of strength training 5-6 days a week without enough rest & recovery. Physical activity should be challenging yet enjoyable, and easy paced most of the time while incorporating appropriately planned high intensity strength training (infrequently) and allowing for adequate rest and recovery when necessary. That is KEY! There is no “one size fits all” fitness plan but the basic principles can be applied to everybody. A 20 year old healthy person who sleeps 9-10 hours a night, doesn’t work and goes to school will have a completely different workout plan than a sedentary 50 year old obese individual with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure who has 5 low quality hours of sleep. That’s where a health coach, such as myself, with an extensive fitness background can help devise the ideal plan.
Sleep! Many of us may say, myself included at times, “What’s that?” Our 24/7 lives of stress due to work and family obligations combined with our electronic devices (keeping us connected to social media, work, finances and various other things at all times) has taken the place of quality, restful sleep. The problem is that this way of living is now considered to be normal. Sleep is undervalued. I know because I was guilty of putting everything, including my training, working out and work ahead of sleep. Boy was I wrong! Those years of training for my paddle events, waking up at 4am to train clients, and working 14 hour days was at times coupled with poor quality sleep (due to over training and adrenal fatigue) on top of all other life stressors. From the outside I looked like the picture of health. People commended me on my discipline. But I was aging myself prematurely due to this type of training and putting myself at risk for future health issues due to the stress and elevated cortisol levels and inflammation. I’m so thankful I eventually got out of this pattern and now am doing a better (but not perfect) job prioritizing sleep. Why is it important to get good quality sleep on a regular basis? Because during good quality sleep our body repairs, regenerates and restores and our brain tells us so. Something I call the “mind-body” connection!