It can hardly be argued that getting in top physical shape and fitness requires gym time – lots of it! That said, the fittest people also do crucial things outside of the gym that are an important part of their overall fitness.
What you do outside of the gym can quickly strip away all the hard work you do inside of it. Bad habits outside of the gym can be like rust to iron. Just as rust can corrode iron and steel and cause all its strength to deteriorate, doing the wrong things between workouts can corrode the benefits of all your fitness efforts.
1. What you eat is what you are
Your diet is either your friend or your enemy. Eating the wrong things destroys not only fitness, but ultimately your overall health.
Eating whole foods as much as possible, not processed foods, is the best fuel you can give your body.
Eat fresh fruit such as: Apples, berries, bananas, oranges, tomatoes and watermelon.
Eat lean meats such as: Chicken, lean beef, oily fish.
Eat dark green green and other fresh vegetables such as: Kale, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, green beans, green peas, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and Swiss chard.
Many types of legumes and beans are good sources of protein.
Eat whole grains, as well as, oatmeal, wild rice, quinoa and barley.
Drink unsweetened beverages such as: Green tea, black tea, coffee (all without sugar), or lemon water. Avoid sweetened beverages. Even diet beverages may not be that good for you. Some studies suggest that diet drinks can actually make you gain more weight than sugar or high-fructose corn syrup sweetened drinks.
2. Keep moving outside the gym
Don’t let your activity stop when you step outside of the gym. Keep yourself active as much as possible beyond your training. Hiking, biking, swimming, rowing, rockclimbing, and other physical activities – even walking, in your off-hours, is important.
3. Make sleep a priority
Your body needs adequate rest to rebuild, repair and rejuvenate itself. Not giving your body enough sleep not only adds stress, but can induce inflammation.
Strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night minimum, 8-9 while would be optimal. Sleep deprivation has also been linked with increased weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
The US Department of Health and Human Services & National Institutes of Health say that lack of sleep is associated with numerous health problems including: Risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It affects mood, performance, reaction time, clarity of thought and memory function.
In addition, it decreases the effectiveness of hand-eye coordination. Sleep deprivation can also lead to people experiencing “micros-sleeps” in which they have very brief episodes of being asleep while awake, which can have disastrous or deadly consequences.