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Eat and exercise yourself well

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Author: Will Mbanga, Posted: Tuesday, 25th September 2018, 09:00

We are three dimensional beings and in order to live our most fulfilled and purposeful lives, we must nurture all three dimensions – these being the mind, body and spirit/soul. Our focus here is the body and how we can integrate diet and exercise successfully into our busy lives.

Too often we hear about some celebrity’s diet, or a six pack wearing sport star’s training plan, and we rush out to buy some gadget or super food, or we jump onto the latest fitness and diet fads with little or no real understanding of what we are doing.

What we forget is that these people pay professionals to design personalised eating and training plans that are relevant to their individual physiological needs.

When it comes to what you eat and how you train, a good rule of thumb to follow is “everything in moderation… including moderation!” We all know someone who has tried or swears by the Atkins, blood type, paleo or keto diet, intermittent fasting, HIIT, CrossFit, Zumba, Yoga etc. – or we’ve done it ourselves.

One thing is true when it comes to biology: everyone is an individual and your unique physiology means that what works for cover model Tom, or sports stars Dick and Sally, isn’t necessarily good or effective for anyone else.

What is ‘healthy eating’?

Broadly speaking, eating as much natural food (unprocessed/unrefined) as possible – leafy greens, pulses, complex carbohydrates, fruit, nuts, lean as well as fatty grass-fed meat and oily fish – and drinking lots of water is simply the way to go.

In order to find your sweet spot with regard to diet and exercise, you will need to experiment a little, or maybe a lot! Due to the individual uniqueness of our metabolism and lifestyle, we each have unique caloric needs. To make matters more complicated, these needs change over our life time as we mature.

When it comes to diet, I’m an advocate of the 85:15 rule – simply, 85% of your food should be healthy, while the other 15% can fall into the ‘not-so-healthy’ food category. I truly believe anyone can follow the 85:15 rule and it provides the wiggle room for those of us with ‘weaknesses’ for certain foods! More importantly, this method leaves room for individual experimenting to optimise your diet and makes allowances for allergies and intolerances.

Supplementing your diet

Whether for health, performance or aesthetic reasons, I’d recommend investing in a good multi-vitamin for boosting the immune system. Thereafter, for those using exercise to maintain their mental and physical health, adding omega 3, 6 and 9 oils and/or bone broth for a mix of collagen, amino acids and essential oils, helps to improve joint health, strengthen bones and promote G-I tract health.

For those looking to build their ‘beach bods’ or perform impressive physical feats, supplementing your diet with a good protein source and possibly using a recovery product will be helpful. Remember to check if the product is safe and legal.

Variety is the spice of life

With respect to exercise for general physical and mental health, I would recommend setting yourself goals and having an accountability partner – your training buddy, Personal Trainer or coach, running group, etc. Thereafter, try different things, be open to experimenting and have fun. Enjoyment is essential to enabling you to build consistency, which is half the battle.

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