Someone asked me the other day, how do you get fit the easy way? And I thought I should know this by now claiming to be a total life hack and generally a ‘path of least resistance’ kind of guy. I have always found it easy to stay fit and yet I hate ‘exercising’. But I love sport and activities and that is what has tricked me into doing the thousands of muscle contractions that are required to be trim and toned. How could I bottle this up for anyone to pick up and get something from? So I took it upon myself to give them an answer and a real solution. Because I want people to be fit and healthy. There has to be a trick…
There is no quick fix to this as trillions of other people have been saying ‘how to get fit at home’, ‘easy get fit program’, ‘get fit in 5 easy steps’ Everyone has a plan and it all results in the same thing, going to the gym, spending money and getting bored or starving. But It can and should be simplified, and even fun. For years I’ve been living an active life and have always maintained a high metabolism but there has been times when my lifestyle has changed suddenly and the calories have stacked up. A month in Asia eating mango and sweet chilli spring rolls washed down with a hundred litres of cheap beer gave me a fine pair shaped gut and pelican style pocket chin, I’d gotten quite out of shape and it didn’t take long. Through some intrinsic armchair analysis and many years of different routines of work and travel I’ve noticed this, it’s mostly mental. Gaining knowledge and having an intuitive understanding of what you eat and why you eat it is something that has to be recognised before it can be controlled.
Being fit is a state of mind. If your focus your life on mental sharpness and happiness then your lifestyle and your body has to follow suit. Focus and mental health largely depends on being able to live in the moment and have time to do nothing. To rest but rest well. And to exercise!
So…What if there was a sneaky way to start training and resting and focusing all at the same time? In order to change our lifestyles we need to change habits. Habits of the body and habits of the mind can be very difficult to change so tread carefully. I like to think of my mind and life like a tree’s roots or leaves. Their main shape and structure is hereditary but everyday they move just a little further seeking out water and the sun, over time the tree grows to become huge and strong or will be limited by its environment if it can’t get the nutrition it needs. We have more control in our environment than a tree though, so why don’t we use it more?
- Know how to eat and drink.
I say how because I think that just saying ‘what’ to eat is a heavy rule and regulation approach that just doesn’t sit well with me. Coz I like to eat some junk! But when and how much is more important than what.
So you want something sweet, you say? Sugar’s the culprit. But we’re hooked and never say never, you’re gonna eat it. You need sugar but it needs to be digested with fibre and vitamins so avoiding sweets is the first thing I recommend. Secondly if you have to have it get it in something which includes something natural. Fruit and nuts and grainy stuff and something that will fill you better than pure confectionery. Think flapjack or apple pie (the fibre will flush it through and kick the hunger craving. Biscuits are just fat and sugar and don’t fill you up. Chocolate is so concentrated and sweet, but have high cocoa content chocolate and it’ll raise your pulse somewhat which is a way of improving metabolism.
Stop having it in the evening or before sleeping (this includes alcohol so just be aware) several nights a week. Fasting overnight is a reasonably easy way to start getting your metabolism kicking. Try one night a week at least of not eating between 5pm and 8am the next day. Drink caffeine free herbal tea and water, chill, listen to music or do some exercise at home and learn to meditate. Cleaning out your body regularly like this gives you more energy to move your body and keeps your brain healthy into old age. See the science of Yoga and meditation all over the web and read books. This is burning calories with your brain!
Secondly, if it’s not obvious. Wait a couple of hours after eating and hydrate to prolong periods of high energy. If you are digesting you will feel sick and have less energy to move doing physical activity. Low impact exercise like cycling or walking can be done sooner after a meal but you won’t learn to enjoy the movement you need to make to burn fat. When you feel lazy or sluggish or hungry, drink water. Sit up straight or stand and do some stretching. Negative thinking can be alleviated by positive action.
- Make fitness fun.
Being fit is about feeling good and being healthy: You can be the perfect male adonis or venus goddess but be totally depressed and bored. This would most likely be caused by neglect of the mental aspect of good health. Spending all your time alone or in a gym with headphones on and not forming healthy relationships.
Play. Get into sport or social physical activities. This provides you with a responsibility and accountability to other people and possibly a competitive aspect that gets you in the zone. Getting into a flow state is like a drug and you can get it with games or exercises. Again getting the mental focus that the body has to maintain. When you come out of an hour or two of intense running, jumping, throwing, shouting and laughing you realise you’ve been in a trance and have achieved something. Sports people have long known of the meditative qualities of playing games. And losers here make the biggest gains each time they try. Not trying to be the best but to help others get the best out of themselves will ultimately get you where you want to be.
2.1 The secret. I inadvertently discovered what I believe is the ideal way to change the state of your attitude towards ‘getting fit’. It’s again something I locked onto as a way to improve mental focus but after some experience of it realised the physical health benefits and had to share…
Now if you want to get into a flow state for the psychological sensation and focus improvements in life and get bored or don’t try meditating…Juggle.
If you are too overweight or lazy to attempt to play sport or spend hours at a soul destroying and boring gym… Juggle.
Juggle to the jiggle. Get your hand-eye coordination going and move your body. I bought a set of 3 juggling balls for £3 and started doing 10 minutes a day. Or 5 minutes as a break from my desk every hour. I think I clocked up over an hour yesterday and looking like a total clown but feeling great.
The thing I realised with juggling was that it was such an easy motion for the body to make but immediately works your nerves and attention. The first few sessions I wasn’t very good which had the added benefit of punishment by having to race around picking the balls up every 5 seconds. I was actually out of breath after the first 10 minutes but this is the key, time it.
Drop one…Lunge, collect. Repeat. Starting out was quite exciting. I thought I could remember learning to juggle briefly once upon a time but had never had my own set to use on a regular. Maybe i’d uncover an untapped lagoon of gymnastic talent which just needed a trigger to unleash. Well that hasn’t happened but sending 3 balls round between two palms has been licked. This is ultimately an easily accessible warmup activity that has all the makings of higher intensity sports. Suddenly as the panic starts to die down when flailing balls become rythmic oscillations you begin to notice your breathing. Focus on the breath is a fundamental technique for relaxation and mental clarity of thought. Juggling brings this into focus. And you can forget being able to check your phone or email during a session of circus balling. I can feel my mind’s attention muscles bulging as a wave of of calm rushes over my body. 4 minutes in the clock on the oven tells me, 6 to go…
Making games like this is about enhancing your mental skills with the by product of getting you to move your body and burn calories. People have a certain disdain for fitness freaks but admire people with funny skills so you can mask your vain desires with this little hobby that will hopefully trigger a love of sport and activity which will make you healthy and sexy and altogether good. Ok time’s up, that was ten minutes well spent. What can I do now? Go to work? I haven’t knackered myself out just honed some energy and sharpness for the day so that’s a good start to the day. No I’m feeling charged with a mild endorphine kick and I want more. Where’s that skipping rope? Ten minutes of that wouldn’t do any harm.