Hello Shufflers, new contributor here with a bunch of health and fitness articles on the way! I’m Elaine, a WITS certified Personal Trainer and ACE certified Group Fitness Instructor. I love fitness, health, and everything to do with it, so here on Shuffle I will share my thoughts and all my knowledge on all topics related to exercise, diet, and overall well-being.
I decided to sum up some of the main “ingredients” that are huge factors in how healthy and fit we are as a whole. Believe it or not, it’s not just based on what you eat. All of these components are arguably equal contributors in losing weight and getting in shape.
We’ve all heard the recommended minimum water intake per day, eight cups or 64 oz, and it is so important to fuel your body with this. Water allows us to function properly and it composes about 60 percent of our bodies. The U.S. Geological Survey has an informative page outlining the benefits of water for the human body, which I would recommend checking out.
Stress increases your levels of insulin, cytokines, and cortisol, all of which contribute to weight gain in different ways. Stress increases your appetite, along with sugar and carb cravings. All of these factors mess around with your metabolism and can lead to weight gain. I personally love to get my yoga on or soak in a warm bath with two cups of Epsom salt and a half a cup of baking soda (see “10 Day Detox” book mentioned below, totally got that idea from the book). I drop in some lavender essential oil to help with the relaxation process. Maybe jam to some Norah Jones if I’m feelin’ fancy.
There are many different training styles out there today, but here are the recommended activities for strength and fitness. They are great methods to start with if you’re new to the gym or have been out on a “fitness vacation” for a little longer than you’d like to admit.
Cardio: 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, or/in combination with 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. Try to be active three to five days a week, depending on the intensity level of course. Start out slower with fewer days if you need to and then build from there.
Strength: Two to three days a week (on alternating days) completing two to three sets of 10-15 repetitions as a good starting point, focusing on lighter weights but more reps to let your muscles get used to working out again. Make sure to target all the major muscle groups to get a balanced workout.
The recommended amount of sleep is six to eight hours a night, and this will depend on the person. I need closer to eight hours to be at my best. Getting enough sleep is beneficial to your overall functioning and health. Sleep gives the body time to recover, heal, and grow in many positive ways. Start paying attention to how you feel after sleeping more versus less hours per night. I bet you will find a difference.
Ah, one of the most easily misunderstood contributors to physical and mental fitness and health! I’m just gonna say this and sum it up, and to try to avoid any controversial dietary topics: Bad foods (processed, enhanced by chemicals or a lab, or “touched” by humans as a general idea) are bad for you. They are not natural and they contain chemicals, toxins, and poisons that harm your body in ways that are ridiculous. Here are two books I recommend that have helped me understand how the processed and fake foods really do affect you: “The Blood Sugar Solution 10 Day Detox Diet” by Mark Hyman, M.D., and “Salt, Sugar, Fat” by Michael Moss. Both books helped me to understand why my body is better off without the added ingredients that harm us all when we eat them.
It is so hard to pinpoint a successful weight loss or health journey to just one main factor. There are so many components and ingredients that all work together to make your body healthy, efficient, and adaptable to change. Main idea? Balance is key. You need all of these main ingredients to make the healthiest, happiest version of you!