If you can spring clean your house, you might as well try to spring clean your body inside and out. And for that there is no time like now! Please, do not wait until tomorrow, next Monday, beginning of May…. As the saying goes, your future is created by what you do today. And today you can do a lot for yourself. In order to detoxify and strengthen your body and, in turn, make yourself a happier and healthier person, the first thing you need to do is arm yourself with patience. Forget about quick fixes and shortcuts! Every shortcut you take and every quick fix you indulge in will only make the results of your work short term and unsustainable.
Give yourself some time, put in the effort, educate yourself about what works for your body the best in terms of good diet and exercise, and with enough persistence and dedication, you’ll get there. Secondly, it is important that you stick to your new, healthy routine on a regular basis. Granted, you could sneak in a bit of dark chocolate every now and then, and that is perfectly allowed, but your healthy routine should be implemented daily.
In order to make that journey towards better health and more strength, both mental and physical, we have come up with a list of five exercise routines and nutrition suggestions that people swear by. In no particular order, they are:
1. Eat More Greens!
Yes, yes, we know. We sound like your mother! And you might be one of those persons that shudders and shakes their head in disgust at the thought of eating broccoli. But hear us out. Eating green vegetables will do wonders for you. If you are relying on coffee for your daily energy boost, try incorporating more greens into your diet, and after a while your need for coffee will reduce substantially. You won’t feel sluggish and constantly tired, but only energized. Don’t get us even started on the benefits of eating vegetables and fruit – lower cholesterol, better weight management, reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, lower risk of mortality, alleviating the symptoms of type 2 Diabetes, improved bone health, improved eyesight…
One of the biggest concerns of eating more fruits and veggies and less animal based products is that you’ll feel hungry soon after you’ve eaten since “greens just don’t make you feel full.” One might argue that that’s not a good thing because “feeling full” means that you’ve overloaded your stomach to the point where it’s going to spend a lot of energy and time digesting the food you’ve just consumed. You need to leave some room in your stomach for water to hydrate you, as well as room for digestion and the expansion of gas.
Fruits and vegetables are higher in water content so they provide volume and weight but not calories. Also, fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber which takes longer to digest, meaning that it will make you feel full longer on fewer calories.
If you are a fan of Netflix, we highly recommend that you watch a very informative documentary called ‘Forks Over Knives’ that will open your eyes in many ways. You’ll see for yourself how most of the degenerative diseases that affect modern day society can be very much controlled and even reversed if we reduce our intake of processed and animal-based food and increase our consumption of fruit and vegetables.
After all, if you choose to have more greens and less meat, you’ll be feeding yourself in a way that people have thrived on for thousands of years.
2. HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training
Oh, how wrong we have been all along! What are we referring to? Sweating our life out in long, energy draining, endurance challenging fitness sessions while we could have gone for shorter and a bit more vigorous exercises. Did you know that running fast for only ten minutes a day can be as beneficial to your life as running for hours and hours? Don’t believe us? The American College of Cardiology has conducted a study which proves exactly that. It also concluded the following: “Running, even 5 to 10 min/day and at slow speeds <6 miles/h, is associated with markedly reduced risks of death from all causes of cardiovascular disease.” In the fitness world, this is called interval training which is basically exercising hard and fast for a few minutes, then resting, and then doing it all over again. Sounds much more manageable and enjoyable than going on and on for an hour or so, doesn’t it? As for benefits of practicing HIIT, they are as good and effective as the ones achieved by longer-lasting fitness routines. Here are a few benefits to ponder:
- HIIT is a time saver – Obviously! A 10-minute high impact cardio exercise can burn more calories than 30 minutes on a treadmill. Also, the researchers from the American College of Sports Medicine have found out that just two weeks of HIIT will improve your aerobic capacity as much as eight weeks of endurance training.
- You burn more fat – You not only burn more fat during high intensity interval training, but actually continue burning it 24 hours after the workout.
- Better cardiovascular health – Exerting yourself more at shorter intervals does wonders for heart and endurance, believe it or not. In the case of HIIT, extreme training produces extreme results or should we say extremely good results.
- You don’t need any equipment whatsoever – No treadmills, bicycles, weights. Just do jumping lunges to up your heart rate. Actually, using weights while doing HIIT might actually impair efficiency because you will be focusing more on building your muscles than getting that heart rate up.
- You are losing weight, not muscle – We cannot stress enough how important this is! Steady cardio sessions actually encourage muscle loss, while the weight lost from doing HIIT is the weight that comes from your fat stores.
Yoga is a real antidote to a listless mind and sluggish body. Yoga dates back to the 6th or 7th century B.C.E. and it’s no coincidence that it’s being practiced to this day. We bet that you know at least one person who religiously practices yoga and you probably admire their calm and relaxed nature, fit body and fresh spirit. Yoga is not one of those high impact exercise routines that will leave you dizzy and gasping for air. It will, though, work every muscle in your body, make you sweat profusely and increase your limberness tenfold. We have already cited 41 different benefits of practicing yoga and we are just going to mention a few: the aforementioned flexibility, stronger muscles, better posture, improved bone health, increase in blood flow and heart rate, lower blood pressure, improved mental focus, enhanced relaxation, better sleep, reduced mental and physical tension, stronger immunity, less pain and more inner strength.
Yoga is probably one of the best workout routines if you are also looking for long-lasting psychological and cognitive benefits. Believe it or not, yoga has been used in treatment of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). According to the American Psychological Association, Hatha Yoga has proved to be effective in alleviating PTSD symptoms, while those who practiced Kripalu Yoga displayed far more cheerful mood, lower levels of anxiety, better anger management, enhanced memory and improved concentration.
While we are on the topic of different yoga styles, if your memory hasn’t been good and you find it hard to concentrate, try Dharana or the practice of concentration. During Dharana you will be fixing your mind on one object and idea, be it external or internal, while you steady your mind, quiet your thoughts and increase your awareness about yourself. This is one of the most effective ways to clear your mind and relax your senses.
Do it for 10 or 15 minutes before you go to work to prepare yourself for the mayhem of the outside world. Set a timer and find something to concentrate on (Not a problem, but something pleasant!). Don’t worry! At first your mind will wander in million different directions, but, in time, you will learn how to calm your thoughts and enjoy the peace that comes with it.
You may not remember, but several weeks ago we featured a detailed post about juicing and a book dedicated to it called ‘The Juice Solution’, written by Erin Quon and Briana Stockton. Juicing is not a fad; it’s also not reserved just for vegans and vegetarians. We’re of the opinion that everybody should do it as often as possible because the benefits of drinking raw, unprocessed vegetable and fruit juices are well documented and very lasting. Let’s just mention detoxifying and energizing your body, boosting your immune system, providing better stimulus than caffeine, having antibacterial and healing properties and helping you with reaching your weight loss goals. When consuming fresh fruit and vegetable juices on a daily basis, your body will absorb nutrients faster and you will wake up feeling lighter and more energized since your energy is not spent on digestion as when you are eating solid foods. And then there are allergies that come with the consumption of dairy products, soy, nuts, eggs and wheat. Those will either subside or disappear all together when you decide to go on a juice cleanse.
When juicing, be prepared to go to the bathroom a few times more during the day. Make sure that you also drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
Juicing has the potential to change your life! If you don’t believe us, have a look at these two guys.
Joe Cross has drastically transformed his life with the help of fruit and vegetable juices. The film is called ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ and it features Joe’s journey on a 60-day-fast during which he only drank fruit and vegetable juices. Joe’s results will amaze and inspire you.
By his own admission, Quentin Vennie was “a cigarette smoking, pill popping, alcohol drinking, self-destructive aspiring business owner” when he discovered juicing and turned his life around for good.
5. Barre Workout
Don’t you admire ballerinas for their grace, poise, perfect posture and tight body? One of the hottest fitness trends in the world at the moment, which is inspired by ballet and adapted to modern day women and their hectic schedules, is called the barre workout. No, you will not need to don a pink tutu, but you will have to use the barre (the handrail that ballet dancers hold on to when training) and go through a total body workout program. Barre workout will give you lean, strong muscles and tone your thighs, abs and arms to perfection. This workout is all about low-impact, isometric, super-controlled movements, which reduce the pressure on your joints, tendons, ligaments and spine to a minimum, while your core strength, posture and flexibility is improved immensely. And last but not least, barre workouts will never bore you because there are no reruns and you will never have the same class twice.
A word of caution before you sign up for barre workout: this is not an easy fitness routine. You will work muscles that you didn’t even now you had. You will ache all over until your body gets accustomed to the burn. However, you should remember one thing – your body will feel tighter and more toned after just one class. That’s how affective barre workout is.
By the way, a whole bunch of celebrities are fans of barre workout including Madonna, Katie Holmes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron and a slew of Victoria’s Secret angels. Heck, even Ryan Gosling tried it!