Have you been absolutely NAILING your workouts but still feel like something is missing? You're working hard but results are coming way TOO slow. Almost like you're peddling wicked (Yup, we're from Boston) hard and going no where?
Believe me. I've been there too many times.
And you know what?
It always seems to be the simple things that I'm neglecting. Like remembering to drink water (Seriously, how do I forget to drink water? Isn't that necessary to stay alive?!), resting, and allowing myself permission to not be perfect.
I'm going to share those foundational habits and provide some tips so you can get back to nailing your health and fitness goals and getting really, really, ridiculously good looking.
Where do you start? We recommend from the ground up!
Build Your Foundation!
You wouldn't want to start building a house on quicksand and building your body is no different. Starting with a solid base is ESSENTIAL to getting the best possible results with any health and fitness goal.
I'm not saying you shouldn't get started working on your fitness but you WILL want to address the basics as soon as possible. If you're only sleeping 1-2 hours a night and your stress level is like a screaming teapot, it's going to be really hard to make the kind of progress you're likely after.
What do we consider the basics?
- water intake
- sleep quality and duration
- stress management
- daily movement
To some, these may seem TOO simple. But you'll quickly find that once one of these are missing other areas will suffer.
1. Water Intake
Before you start to worry about your optimal amount of protein intake for the day lets pull back and really hammer home your hydration.
It will allow you to feel clear headed, strong, and keep you functioning well.
Why? Water is a vital part of your body functions and is where all biological processes take place. It breaks down and transports chemicals, as well as starting chemical functions within the body. It aids in shock absorption for joints, eyes, brain and spinal cord and it's vital to your daily function.
- 2-3 liters for most women
- 3-4 liters for most men
This number could be slightly higher or lower depending on your size and activity level but these are solid targets to aim for daily.
Still feeling skeptical of the benefits of just upping your water?
Take the 2 week Hydration Challenge!
- Take a selfie without make up and in good lighting.
- Write down your health/nutrition concerns at that moment.
- Drink the recommended amount of water every day for 2 weeks.
- Take a make-up free selfie in the same good lighting and see if there are visible differences just in your skin. Check in on the list of health and nutrition concerns and see how they might have shifted.
You could be surprised by the changes or they could be subtle. You won’t know till you try it, so grab a new shiny water bottle and get to drinking!
With sleep your body rejuvenates and repairs and without adequate sleep you're going to seriously slow down your results.
Did you know there are functions within the brain that help to detox the brain and clear it out that ONLY happen when we sleep? This helps with mind clarity and feeling refreshed in the morning. If we don’t get those beautiful Zzzz we need our brain can’t do this "clearing out" function which can leave us feeling foggy and just not in our optimal brain function.
Beyond just solid brain function, our muscles need the rest too. When you strength train you are damaging the muscles (t's ok, this is how we get stronger), with solid sleep your muscles get time to repair and become strong AF.
Not sure where to start to get better sleep?
If you're struggling with rest, then this is where your focus should be: Tuning in and supporting your body the best way it can to get the best sleep possible. Here are a couple articles we've written that will help you get in the mood...bom chicka bom bom...to sleep!
Check out this article to create a better bedtime routine.
Check out this article with some tips to prep your day for better sleep.
Take the 2 week Sleep Challenge!
- Take a good look at your sleep habits.
- Find out where you can add one extra hour of sleep (front end or back end)
- Write down how you feel after waking each morning.
- Note your energy levels throughout the day and the quality of your workouts.
And when it doubt? Go to sleep!
Stress is a tricky one since it tends to go unnoticed when not addressed properly. It's also considerably the most powerful base habits to nail.
It can affect your hormones, appetite, energy levels and can become a silent party in your relationships, and self-image.
It's also a natural part of life. So, learning how to identify stress and how to cope with it are valuable skills. We encourage you to learn to tune into your stress levels and what causes them.
You'll not only feel better and healthier but you'll be able to be the best version of yourself for those you love. And with that you'll be able to live your best life!
The chemical process behind stress can cause inconsistent snacking and eating as well as cravings for highly palatable food items such as salty or sweet flavors. It can also nix your appetite all together which is definitely not going to help with maintaining energy and hormone levels. If these are wacky then don’t worry about food prep, this will be where we start to tune in.
What to do when you're stressed AF
Books have been written on this stuff and ultimately you'll have to find what works best for you. What we DO recommend is finding activities that help you focus on the things you can control, mainly, yourself!
- Talk to a friend
- Get in a good workout
- Take a walk in a pretty setting (woods, beach, mountain, etc...because science!)
- any self-renewal activity that builds you up!
NOTE: If you feel like the stress has become chronic and too much to handle we recommend speaking to someone like a clinical psychologist or counselor. You are NOT alone.
Take the 2 week Stress Challenge!
- Pay close attention to how you react to stressful situations.
- Write down what caused a stressful reaction and what your response was.
- Note how your reactions change once you start to shine a light on them.
This one is a bit tricker since much of this happens in the subconscious. One example might be having a negative conversation with a coworker and the reaction might be going to the bar, drinking and complaining. Or feeling overwhelmed at work and going home and binge eating 7 pints of Ben and Jerrys while watching a whole season of a new Netflix show.
Best practice is to make a mental note of the stressor and then do things to build yourself up!
Good quality movement can help us to relive stress, alleviate pain and get a good endorphin rush. And all the science-y folks recommend getting in daily movement whether it's walking, gardening, or any type of light fitness training.
It's also recommend that you get in some type of moderate exercise or strength training 2-3 times per week. If you're not quite motivated to do it on your own there are so many options out there for you. In Boston, there's so many options for various spin or yoga studios, bootcamps, big box gyms and other types of boutique fitness.
Which one is the best for you?
Short answer: it's the one you will stick to.
The better answer: check out this quick video we put together to help people like you find the best fitness home!
Take the 2 week Movement Challenge!
- Do some type of physical activity each day for at least 10 minutes.
- Write down what you did and how you felt afterwards.
- Note how your happiness and energy levels feel each day.
Keep it simple and sustainable!
Wrap It Up
These habits aren’t sexy, or flashy, and they take time to build. Just like a house, once everything is built you don't always see the foundation anymore...until the cracks start to appear elsewhere.
Nailing your protein intake and meal prep are great and making it into the gym each week will certainly move you in the right direction. But results will only come slow if you're neglecting the fundamentals.
Take the time to tune and set up a solid foundation of hydration, stress management, sleep and quality movement and you'll be ready to take on the world!
Looking for a new tribe to support you and help you nail your fitness goals? Come by for a FREE 60min 1on1 Strategy Session!
Lindsay is the co-founder and First Lady of AMP Fitness as well as the head nutrition coach in our AMPed Nutrition coaching program. Lindsay implements a body-positive strategy to help each member and coaching client NAIL their health and nutrition goals. She's also a SUPER mom and is a pre- and post-natal coach for all things fitness.