If you talk to a personal trainer, they will likely tell you that exercising is the most important thing for your health. A breathing expert will tell you that the way you breathe is key. Someone like Matthew Walker, a sleep scientist, will tell you that it is sleep. A nutritionist will say that you cannot out-train a poor diet. The answer is…YES!
It is difficult to get your mindset right and realize your full potential when the fundamentals are off. Eating & hydrating, movement, sleeping, breathing, and focusing are all part of a holistic approach. They have a dramatic effect on your ability to show up as your best. When you don’t take care of the basics, you experience fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, or depression. As I like to say, “mood follows action.” Your physiology drives your psychology. By learning to master the fundamentals, each of us can begin to close the gap and step into our infinite potential.
It is easy to get lost looking for the “perfect” diet or “The Ultimate Fat Burning Workout to Get Shredded!” Having been there personally my overactive mind regularly jumps from one diet to the next or one workout to another. I have gone deep down the diet rabbit hole. I’ve been keto, vegan, paleo, and done the Whole30. They all have benefits. Most importantly, they all have a few fundamentals in common.
Here is the obvious, but not so obvious, answer to the question, “What is the best diet and workout to…?” It’s the ones that you can stick to consistently. Consistency is the exponentializer.
Committing to the Fundamentals will not be easy. There is a part of us that will not go quietly. I know that’s how it has been for me. I fall all the time. Fall seven and rise eight. Life is not supposed to be easy. There is comfort in accepting that fact. Falling can be anything and it is different for all of us. For me, that can come in the form of not honoring my boundaries or even setting them. Staying up later than I like, getting sucked into the latest streaming craze, doom-scrolling on my phone, or binge eating. It used to mean drinking the entire weekend away only to be left with a feeling of dread and anxiety on Sunday night. Something our society has completely normalized with the term, “The Sunday Scaries.”
On the days that you fall, take a moment to remember that there is no such thing as the perfect person. None of us will be the first. It’s critical to show up every day. It is just as critical to know that we will miss the mark some days. Committing to our physical health will help us move closer to our full potential. The discipline of showing up begins the process of gaining intense trust in ourselves by being the kind of person who does what they say they will do. When we slip up, and we will slip up, we must be patient and kind to ourselves. Recognize that we have the power to create radical change in our life, one small step at a time, and begin again.
Before we get into it, I’d like to note that what I am providing here is basic. There is much more detail to dive into. My aim is to keep things simple and actionable. I am always available to discuss this in more detail and to hear different opinions. If you are interested in working together we can start with a free consultation. From there, WE build an individualized plan to get you moving from theory, to practice, to mastery.
If you don’t control your breathing. Your breathing will control you.Laird Hamilton
Breathing is something we all take for granted. It’s something we all do without thinking about it. When I began taking my health journey seriously, this is where I started learning. Ultimately deciding to become a Certified Oxygen Advantage Instructor. It may well be the most powerful health tool we have.
How we breathe influences every system and cell in the body. Imagine having a remote control of your nervous system. What if you could down-regulate or up-regulate whenever you need? Well, how you breathe is that remote control plus so much more that we will get into another time. The best part? It is completely free to everyone.
Some of the benefits of functional breathing are:
- Reduce Breathlessness
- Improve Oxygen Delivery
- Dilate your Nose & Lungs
- Improve Core Strength
- Sleep Better
- Increase Energy
The simple rules are:
- Nose: Breathe through your nose nearly all the time
- Low: This means down into your belly and engaging your diaphragm.
- Slow: Extend your exhale slightly longer than your inhale to relax part of your nervous system. Take fewer breaths than you are used to.
The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.E. Joseph Cossman
Sleep is the foundation upon which all the fundamentals rest. (HA. Rest. Get it?) It also happens to be another free resource. It cost you nothing to get a good night’s sleep but, you will pay for a bad night’s sleep. Especially when you string a few together.
Scientists have discovered that consistently getting a good night’s sleep makes you live longer along with a whole host of other benefits:
- Enhances your memory
- Increases creativity
- Keeps you slim
- Lowers food cravings
- Protects you from cancer and dementia not to mention diabetes.
- Wards off colds and flu
- Lowers your risk of Heart Attack and Strokes
- Increases Happiness
- Decreases depression and anxiety
The simple rules are:
- 7-9 hours: The number of people who can get away with less is nearly 0%. Decide when you want to wake up and do the math. Add an extra hour to be safe.
- PM to AM: A great day starts the night before.
- Digital & Food Sunsets:. Don’t eat at least two hours before bed and shut off all electronics one hour before bed.
No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man [or woman] to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.Socrates
Movement used to be built in naturally to our day. Today, society is built around comfort, ease, and being entertained. This causes the average person to be sedentary most of the day. Especially with the work-from-home model of today’s world. A study from NASA showed that prolonged periods of sedentariness have similar effects to that of being in space.
Many of us think this sedintariness can be resolved by going to the gym or for a run. The truth is you can exercise and be sedentary. Our ancestors might have been in movement all day. Like them, we want to be perpetual motion machines as best as our reality allows us. Find ways to move the ENTIRE body throughout the day. I set a timer for 18-20 minutes and stand up to do a quick something. My mentor, Brian Johnson, has inspired me to do burpees but you should find something that works for you. Even just standing up can make a huge difference.
The simple rules are…
- 1000 seconds: Set a timer to remind you to oscillate throughout your day.
- 5,649+: Make this your baseline for steps. Moving less than this has a correlation to feelings of anxiety.
- Exercise: Find something you enjoy doing for 30 minutes a day. It has been found to be like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little Ritalin.
- BONUS: Do this all in nature as much as possible
EAT & HYDRATE
“Let food be thy medicine”Hippocrates
Eating well has always been considered an important part of healthy living. However, deciding on the right diet for you can be complicated, overwhelming, and frustrating. This is why many diets fail. According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine in 2016, it was found that 95% of people who had lost weight on a diet regained weight within 1-5 years.
This is why I choose to avoid the debates about diets and why I was drawn to the Heroic Performace Coaching program. They have an agnostic approach outside of the simple rules below. I’ve tried various diets, including vegan and keto. For the most part, outside of the expected “Keto flu”, I’ve felt really good doing them all. That’s because you can tease out some consistent themes that they all share. My guess is you already know some of them.
There are experts on all sides and they all have the evidence to back up their staunchly held beliefs. There may be a one-size-fit’s-all diet but we are not all one size. Plus we are all at different parts of a unique health journey. What is healthy at one part of your journey may not be at another.
The simple are…
- Don’t Drink Sugar: Basically, reduce or eliminate added sugar.
- Eat Real Food: Focus on whole food sources and while you are at it throw out ultra-processed factory food
- Don’t Eat: All the time that is. Aim for at least a 12-13 hours fasting window.
- Hydrate All Day*: There are a lot of nuances here that I’ll get into at another time. It’s important to listen to your body and drink water when you feel thirsty. Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help ensure proper hydration and support overall health and wellness.
*The amount of water a person should drink can vary based on several factors such as age, sex, weight, physical activity level, and environment.
What you focus on expends. So focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.Esthner Jno-Charles
Focusing our attention for prolonged periods is a superpower. Deciding what the most important thing to focus on brings it to another level. Our ability to focus the mind and ability to maintain a healthy mindset rely heavily on how we are doing on the first 4 Fundamentals. When those are dialed in, we can think clearly, and our ability to make healthier choices improves.
Bring things back to our ancestors for a moment. We are now bombarded by stimuli. More than our ancestors were in an entire lifetime. We’ve also been conditioned to think that multi-tasking is the actual superpower when in fact it is more like kryptonite. When we multitask, we are doing a few things poorly, rather than one thing exceptionally. When we multitask while spending time with people we care about, it sends the message that we don’t care.
The simple are…
- Limit Inputs: Remove unnecessary notifications from your phone and create blocks of time with no distractions for focused work.
- Meditate: It is like going to the gym for your mind. Focus on the breath and don’t judge thoughts when they come.
- W.I.N: What’s Important Now? Decide on the highest leverage thing to do
So there it is. The simple (Not Easy) rules to the Fundamentals. Moving, breathing, sleeping, eating and hydration, and focusing are all important for overall health and wellness. Let’s see if we can make this even more simple? Breathe through your nose regularly. Sleep for 7-9 hours. Eat whole foods instead of sugary ultra-processed foods. Drink water when you’re thirsty throughout the day to stay hydrated. Move your body in different ways by engaging in various physical activities throughout the day. Eliminate distractions and focus on What’s Important Now (W.I.N.).”
Taking care of these fundamentals can improve your mood and ability to perform at your best. However, it’s important to be patient and kind to yourself when you slip up and make mistakes, as they are a normal part of growing. The discipline of consistently showing up and making changes to your health will help you gain trust in yourself and reach your full potential.
Which one of these rules resonates with you the most? Which one seems obtainable? Which one do you think would have the biggest impact on your life? Pick that category then pick one rule to start today. If it doesn’t go well. Start again tomorrow. Decide. Commit. Win or Learn. Repeat.
If you are ready to make a commitment and start tapping into your true potential. I would be honored to have a conversation with you.