8 Health Rules From A Wellness Authority
1. Wellness Is More Than Diet & Fitness
I originally trained as a gymnast and have always appreciated the importance of a healthy body and mind because my sport required it. However, the realisation of wellness came much later when I realised that being well was paramount to the enjoyment of other areas of my life too. A lean body doesn’t necessarily equal happiness nor does it necessarily equal health when your sole purpose for training is based purely on aesthetics. You have to take a more holistic approach if you want to achieve optimal wellness.
2. Choose Quality Over Quantity
One safely executed workout is so much more beneficial to the body than five poorly performed, intense workouts. If you pay attention to correct alignment when you’re starting out, you won’t have to waste time unlearning poor movement habits and you’ll be less likely to injure yourself. If I wake up tired one morning I won’t beat myself up about missing a session but being sore isn’t an exception – just train a different part of your body instead.
3. Find What Works For You
You’ve heard it before but it really is one of the biggest golden rules when it comes to keeping fit – finding what you love is the key to sticking with it and seeing results. Try the Vertue Method – it’s a genius combination of glute activation (using bands), full body circuit training (using kettle bells), vinyasa yoga and meditation. It covers all the aspects that I believe a healthy body and mind should be – strong, calm and flexible. Basically, it’s a 55-minute sweat session designed to uplift your soul and body.
4. Don’t Discard Yoga
The intensity of a workout isn’t an indication of its efficacy – stressing yourself out isn’t always best and high impact activity can deplete the body and mind. On the other hand, yoga can work wonders to increase flexibility, fitness and significantly reduce cortisol levels, which can lead to a reduction in body fat. I also incorporate meditation into every single one of my classes, and from a fitness perspective, believe it’s one of the best ways to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest mode), to increase the body’s capability to recover from rigorous exercise and reduce stress.
5. Be Wary Of HIIT
I love HIIT but don’t believe it should be performed for 60 minutes in a dark room with a trainer shouting at you – nothing about that scenario is healthy or even aspirational. If you do it properly true HIIT is performed for a maximum of 20 minutes, and only needs to occur once. It’s incredibly taxing on the nervous system and should not be performed it every day, particularly if you’re already stressed. It can work in the opposite way you want it to, often causing an increase in fat rather than fat loss, if that’s your goal. Remember over-training is a real thing and you shouldn’t do more than 45-50 minutes in a single session.
6. Fitness Shouldn’t Be A Punishment
The biggest mistake all humans make is seeing fitness as a form of punishment, as though the gym is a place to repent dietary sins. This really isn’t the case and shouldn’t be approached in that way if it’s to remain sustainable and enjoyable. After a personal bout of orthorexia, I realised feeling good had to come first when it came to working out – I discovered what made me feel good was feeling strong and capable in the same way as when I was doing gymnastics.
7. Be Mindful With Your Diet
Try to be mindful when it comes to your diet. Digestion begins in the mind – when we think, prepare and even smell our food, the body begins to stimulate digestive fluids to make us ready for digestion. However, if you’re a slave to Deliveroo or ready meals then you miss out on this crucial part of the digestive process. Taking the time to realise that food is so much more than just fuel is integral to a healthier relationship with food in general.
8. Stick To A Routine
Try and stick to a routine if you can – if you’re constantly changing things up, your body won’t respond as well as it will to consistency. However, for results-based training try to mix it up after three or four weeks – this change could be lifting slightly heavier weights, a slightly more complex regime, more reps or less rest between exercises.
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