You’re probably thinking that it’s a little late for a post about New Year’s resolutions, and you might even be right. But, I can tell you from my past experience managing a gym that you’d be wrong. Sure, we had a nice influx of people at the beginning of the year because most New Year’s resolutions are health related, but amazingly February was our busiest month of the year for membership sales, and I wasn’t mad at it because my commission checks were vitally needed after I blew all my money trying to show everyone how much I loved them through gifts.
If you think about it, it’s not too surprising. People procrastinate. We are all human. And all it takes is a new month to realize that you haven’t done shit to meet your goals to re-motivate you to get something done. But here we are, lighting a fire under your ass and reminding you to stick to your goals and be the best person that you can be throughout 2019 and beyond. So, we are going to go over a few easy things to do that can boost your physical health this year and you can even pair it with our New Year’s guide to financial health and just become a modern-day Renaissance man or woman.
Today, we are going to go over three different aspects of getting your physical fitness in check this year, in order of importance along with a fancy graph to show you how important:
1. Nutrition – 80%
2. Exercise – 18%
3. Supplements – 2%
Feel free to jump around from category to category, but take it from us, this is definitely the correct hierarchy. Much like you can’t out-earn a spending habit, you could spend hours in the gym, but you can’t out-train a shitty diet. And the supplements are just that, a supplement. Unless the diet, and exercise are on point, they are a waste of time, and money.
Nutrition is a touchy subject with some people. There are keto evangelists who go plate to plate pushing their high-fat low-carb diets. Some paleo person will try to convince you that your next Crossfit workout will be to forage for your food like a Neanderthal. Holier than thou vegans will stand on their moral high ground and preach and judge every bite that goes in your mouth. Yes, we are
vegan “freegan”, but we don’t judge other people for their food choices, just as we don’t want to be judged for ours.
Frankly though, we don’t give a shit what people think about our food choices. Not everyone is as confident as we are in their food and life choices though. That confidence is something that needs to be fostered and practiced. Just know that practically every diet will be at odds with another one that people will swear works better than the latest Dr. Oz snake oil. Stick to your guns and stay consistent on whatever diet you choose.
Ultimately, regardless of your “diet”, weight management generally boils down to one simple formula: (Calories In) – (Calories Out) = Weight Gain or Loss. So, with that in mind our suggestion for a “diet” is a quote from Michael Pollan:
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”
“Eat food.” means eating whole foods, raw, or minimally processed foods such as: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and even eggs, and fresh meat and fish. The less steps it takes to get from the farm to your plate, the better. This means that the burger from your local McDonald’s probably isn’t going to make the list. Imagine how many steps it takes to turn wheat into the 30 ingredient bun that never molds. Gross.
“Not too much”. This is where the calories in vs calories out thing comes into play. Hunger is a fickle bitch. If you are used to eating at a certain time every day, or even if you see an advertisement for food, your brain could trigger a bunch of signals telling you that you are hungry, even if you aren’t. This is why I love intermittent fasting, but that’s a whole article in itself. Anyway, if you can’t control your hunger to a degree, you’re going to have trouble. Removing the stimuli that triggers your hunger should help, so avoid commercials, or other mindless habits that cause you to over eat. Using smaller plates, drinking more water, and chewing more can all help out with over-eating.
“Mostly plants.” is pretty self-explanatory. We won’t even try to convince you that he means ONLY plants. We have enough awareness and are realistic enough to know that not everyone is going to go completely vegan, or even vegetarian. But, we do think that reducing the amount of meat and animal products you consume is not only healthier, but also incredibly cheaper than the typical American diet.
By following these three principles, you can make some serious progress. Now, if you want to dive deeper, you can start tracking the three macro nutrients: carbs, protein, and fat and try to track your calories using an app. Personally, we get around 50% of our calories from carbs, 20% from protein, and 30% fats. But, since we haven’t competed recently and have no upcoming plans to, we have become much more lenient on meticulously tracking our calories and macros, and haven’t seen much of a detriment at all. One of those 20% of the effort for 80% of the results kinda things.
Exercise is where the fun part comes in! Some might find nutrition fun, but we think those people are few and far between. Exercise on the other hand can be fun if you try to make it fun. Unless you enjoy running, and if so, there’s no help for you. There are hundreds of ways to exercise and an infinite variety of workouts you do, and it can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like it to be.
One overlying principle is to be consistent regardless of the types of exercise you choose. Whether it’s: weightlifting, calistenics, running, swimming, team sports, walking, biking, yoga, or any other type of exercise, there’s something for everyone. Honestly, we could write ad nauseum about all the different types of exercise, so if you are interested in finding out more about different ways to exercise and minimize the cost, you can find an article about that here.
Our workouts are geared toward being healthier, and ultimately looking better naked. You could accomplish both of these goals with just 30 min of exercise each day. Obviously, the more often you do it, the more time you spend doing it, and depending on how on-point your diet is, the less time it will potentially take to reach your goals. With all that being said, here’s an example of a well rounded workout plan for someone pressed for time, but wanting to exercise 5 days a week with two “off days”:
- Day 1: Push workout- Bench Press, Chest Flyes, Shoulder Press, Lateral Raises, Dips, and Rope Pushdown.
- Day 2: Bike to work or run/walk for 20-30 min
- Day 3: Pull workout- Deadlifts, Pull-ups, Lat Pulldown, Rows, Face Pulls, Chin-ups, and some type of Curls
- Day 4: Bike to work or run/walk for 20-30 min
- Day 5: Legs workout- Squats, Front Squats, Step-ups, Romanian Deadlifts, Lunges.
- Day 6 & 7: try not to be a lazy piece of shit and stretch a little bit.
In no time, this program will have you looking fly on your way to FI (I hate myself for this joke). When we are traveling, or want to get in a quick home workout, we use these bands from Amazon. They are cheap, easy to store, and most importantly, effective.
We used to be the worlds worst about buying and taking supplements. Admittedly, I worked at a supplement store back in college, so we were always trying out the next best thing, and even the second best thing, and anything else we could get our hands on. At one point I was taking 12 pills a night of different supplements, and three different pre-workout powders and pills. Frankly, it’s amazing that I didn’t have a heart attack. But, all of that was experience that I can pass along to you guys so you can save yourself the time, effort, money, and potential heart risks.
We want to reiterate telling you that all the supplements in the world won’t help if you don’t have your diet and exercise down. You can take all the diet pills in the world, but like get rich quick schemes, they never work. All the different protein powders aren’t going to do you any good if you are eating like shit. Even after taking all the supplements I used to take, I didn’t look, or feel as good as I did when my diet was on point without taking the supplements.
Once we realized how much money we were wasting on supplements, we started cutting back, and even mixing our own. We looked like Walter White (or the Mad FIentist), mixing powders, weighing out each serving of numerous ingredients…it was extreme. But, we like to think we’ve optimized it a little bit, and even though we could probably cut it down a little further, we are happy with the level we are at. So, here’s a day of supplements in our lives*:
Pre-workout: 2-3 cups of black coffee
Post-workout: Protein shake cosisting of- MRM Veggie Elite (our favorite vegan protein), or MusclePharm Combat Powder (our favorite non-vegan protein), Optimum Nutrition Creatine, and Amazing Grass Green Superfood powder.
Before bed: 1/2 serving of multi-vitamins (Men’s: Adam Multi-Vitamin & Women’s: Eve Multi-Vitamin)
That’s it. 4 supplements all day (Mrs. RRR only takes 3 of those), and like I mentioned before, we could probably cut out 1-2 of them, but these things aren’t breaking the bank and we take pride in our health and are willing to spend a little money each month for something that we believe is beneficial for our health.
Something you won’t see on this list: Shakeology, raspberry ketones, garcinia cambogia, green coffee bean, or any other bullshit that your friend’s latest door-to-door sales pitch pushes on you. Nothing trendy, nothing cutting edge, nothing exotic. Protein, creatine, greens, and a multi-vitamin. Wanting to lose weight? Perfect, try out the above list. Want to gain muscle? Perfect, take a peek at the list above. Want to do neither of those things and just be healthier? The list above is also perfect for you. Supplementation is not necessary, or even needed in some cases, but if you insist on doing it stick to the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principles.
There you have it, our cliff notes version of what you need to know to get your physical health in check this New Year. Hell, even if you are finding this article in July, there’s no time like the present to get started. I think one of the most egregious things is to sacrifice your physical health for anything really. Foregoing a workout to get to the office quicker might get you that promotion if you do that for a couple years, but at what cost? Do yourself and everyone around you a favor and make your health a priority this year. Live a longer, happier, better quality life, and look damn good while doing it!