Posted July 21, 2013 by Gareth Evans in Fitness

5 small changes that will immediately improve your health and fitness levels

health and fitness by strensa
health and fitness by strensa

If you’re new to exercise, or you’ve simply gotten out of the habit of training regularly, the road to feeling fit and healthy can seem like a long one, filled with daunting obstacles along the way.

Often, this feeling that getting in shape is tough is enough to intimidate us into failing to take action. Here at Strensa, we are all about doing whatever we possibly can to help you, our readers, to get more active, improve your lifestyle and, ultimately, make you feel better about yourself.

With this in mind, we realise that momentum is a great tool, so today we thought we would take a look at 5 small changes that will immediately improve your health and fitness levels. These changes are the sorts of changes that help to create that much needed momentum, helping you to finally get over that fear of exercise and propel yourself to new levels of fitness, health and overall wellbeing.

  • Eating 30 grams of protein when you wake up in the morning

It may sound like a convenient fitness myth, but eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning is a tried and tested means of kick starting your metabolism and promoting weight loss.

Whether taken in the form of egg whites, meat or a protein shake, I prefer the latter personally for ease, a high protein breakfast not only ensures that you stay fuller for longer, but it also helps to keep your blood sugar levels more steady, promoting a greater overall sense of well being, as well as inhibiting the food cravings that often occur as a result of low blood sugar.

In addition to these satiety benefits, the body also requires more energy to digest protein than it does to digest either fats or carbohydrates, which ultimately promotes fat loss.

  • Drinking more water

 Our bodies are made up of around 60% water and ensuring that our bodies remain optimally hydrated is an excellent means of improving athletic performance.

The maintenance of one’s body temperature, digestion, and transportation of nutrients, amongst other things, relies heavily on an abundance of water. Failing to stay properly hydrated, therefore, impairs our body’s effective functionality. In addition, while water has no direct and specific weight loss benefits, swapping high caloric content drinks for water is a great way to ensure that we reduce our intake of the wrong sort of calories.

From a purely athletic performance point of view, our cells also require a good balance of fluids and electrolytes during exercise, so failing to give our cells fluids can cause them to shrivel and fatigue, causing premature tiredness and subpar performance.

  •  Almond butter before bed

We’ve all had that frustrating feeling of waking up in the morning and feeling groggy and exhausted, despite having had 8 hours of what we thought was quality sleep. The reason for this feeling is often simply low blood sugar, derived from the fact that our body has simply run out of food stores from which to draw energy.

Tim Ferriss, author of the Four Hour Body, suggests that eating two tablespoons of almond butter on celery sticks, just before bed, is the best way of overcoming this issue. I have to admit to being sceptical personally, but I’ve experimented with this myself and it has definitely reduced the number of mornings where I wake up feeling tired drastically.

  •  Start recording everything

When it comes to making drastic changes in our lives, people are often too cynical for their own good. We know that exercise and a clean diet are good for us, but if we don’t see immediate changes, the likelihood of us giving up is high, even though drastic changes are taking place inside our body.

The best way to overcome these demons of self doubt is to start recording everything. Before you start exercising or changing your diet, weigh yourself, take body measurements with a tape measure, record your body fat percentage, have your blood pressure checked, and be diligent in getting as much trackable data as you can.

After taking measurements before you start your new fitness regime, ensure that you retake all measurements ideally every two weeks. The more measurements that you take, the more motivated that you will feel. The scales, after all, don’t reveal all the impacts that these positive lifestyle changes are having on your body.

  •  Switch to high intensity training.

We’ve written about the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on this site before , but it is, quite simply, the most effective means of changing your body in the shortest amount of time possible.

So, forget long steady state runs and 3 hour long gym sessions, commit to 3 or more 30 minute HIIT training sessions per week for the best results; seeing these improvements in such a short amount of time is a sure fire way to keep you motivated.

 Building your own momentum

 You may have some pretty lofty, long term fitness goals, but, as with a goal of any kind, it all starts with starting. Implementing some or all of these changes that we’ve discussed is a great way of creating that much needed momentum. Once you’ve created that momentum and seen the results, there’s nothing that will stand in your way.

Gareth Evans

Gareth Evans
A former professional rugby player in his youth, Gareth is now a bit of an all-round amateur when it comes to sport. He continues to play rugby for his local club, has studied Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Argentina, played Basketball in Peru, trekked in the Andes and the Himalayas, is a reluctant adventure racer, and is now studying KFM (Keysi Fighting Method). He has a passion for a whole host of sports, as well as travel, but feels truly at home on the rugby pitch or in the mountains.