You’ve decided to better yourself and begin your fitness journey and start living a healthy lifestyle. But now that the decision has been made, what’s next? A lot of people begin their fitness journeys unequipped and without direction. Here are five golden rules of living a healthy lifestyle. First, set a goal. Second, maintain a healthy meal plan. Third, hydrate. Fourth, exercise smart. And fifth, make time to rest.

1. Set a Goal

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Whether it’s your career, your relationship, or your body, the first step in developing is setting a goal. What do I want to get out of this endeavor? In the case of health & fitness, there are a few options:

1) I want to lose weight/tone my body
2) I want to gain weight/add muscle mass to my body
3) I want to maintain my current look/weight
4) I want to gain strength and power

Read about goal setting in more detail HERE.

2. The 80/20 Rule

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The next step is understanding that both training and diet are absolutely essential to making progress, however it can be argued that diet is the more important factor! Whatever your goal, in terms of priority, let’s say the gym accounts for about 20% of your potential transformation. The remaining 80% comes from an appropriate diet and nutrition plan. Not to be confused with a “fad diet”, in which you maintain some sort of short-term meal or supplement plan in an attempt at short-term results.

Fads like the Atkins Diet and others don’t tend to be backed up by enough scientific research to make them a good idea long term. A diet should simply mean how you eat on a regular basis. How you eat must be a lifestyle change in order to see long-term results. Stick to the basics – what you consume has a direct correlation to how you feel, how you look, and how you perform.

Check out our top recommendations for foods to eat and avoid HERE.

3. Just Add Water

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Next, just add water! Staying hydrated contributes to the benefits of a healthy diet. It cleanses the body of toxins, assists with muscle repair, maintains healthy joints and regulates various bodily functions.

Read about the importance of staying hydrated in more detail HERE.

4. Train Smart

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Now, what everyone is most interested in: the workouts! The workout split (exercise regime for a certain period of time) will be determined by your fitness goal and how your body responds to different strategies.

Read more about different training splits HERE.

For beginners, focus more on technique. Working on core strength and mobility is paramount in order to master staple movements like the deadlift or squat. Yoga is a great way to achieve this as well as flexibility.

Check out our beginner training program HERE and a simple yoga routine HERE.

Also, doing bodyweight exercises, such as pushups and pull-ups, are a great way to develop basic strength, endurance and core strength with a low risk of injury. Bodyweight exercises allow us to train to complete failure (no longer being able to perform the movement), whilst activating as much muscle as possible due to having to stabilise the body. The closer to failure we get, the more muscle fibers we activate!

5. Make Time to Rest

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Finally, rest! Yes, the phrase, “no days off” need not apply to you. Your body needs rest in order to perform at its peak. This includes how much sleep you get (average 7-8 hours a night) as well as taking rest days throughout the week. Let your body recharge. Professional athletes and seasoned gym veterans may find they don’t need to take a rest days as frequently; but for a beginner, it is essential to your overall improvement to take 2-3 rest days each week.

Conclusion

Once you’ve got all of this down, you’ll be able to move onto more advanced splits, start really fine-tuning your nutrition and make your goals more specific. If you’re interested in one of our training plans, find out more information HERE.