How To Prioritise Your Time & Energy For Better Health & Fitness Results
One of my online coaching clients just asked me a really good question!
“For general health/wellbeing, how do you prioritise sleep/nutrition/hydration/stress management/exercise?”
Clearly the perfect answer is do all of them the best you can but what you learn through coaching is that sometimes you have to take things in baby steps and take small wins that build into the bigger wins you ultimately want.
It’s also obvious that you don’t just have to do one at a time, but I like the question!
My order would be… 1) Hydration 2) Stress management 3) Sleep 4) Nutrition 5) Exercise
WHY THAT ORDER?
1) Your brain, vital organs and muscles can’t function without water and just a small percentage of dehydration dramatically affects the ability to think clearly and move well. Basically, water (and oxygen) is life.
2) If water is life, STRESS is death! Stress can make you get sick, gain fat, lose muscle and feel tired but wired all the time. It can make you angry and depressed and generally make life miserable. If you can manage your stress levels, you will sleep better so it pretty much takes care of the next step. Stressed, busy minds don’t sleep.
Quiet, calm ones do.
People with chronic stress often experience a shift in the natural ups and downs of cortisol (stress hormone) production leading to a second wind in the evening and feeling wide awake when they want to drift off to sleep.
Managing stress comes above nutrition because when you’re stressed, the body searches for ways to increase serotonin, the ‘calming’ hormone. One way to do this is by eating carbohydrates. So if you can manage stress, the chances are it will be much easier for you to eat a healthy diet without excess carbs.
3) Studies have shown that SLEEP has a huge impact on your approach to food.
One study showed that those who were allowed to sleep for just 4 hours experienced significantly greater firing of the reward centres in the brain in over eating over those who were allowed to sleep for 9 hours. So…if you don’t sleep well you can expect more food cravings.
A lack of sleep also increases activity in the area of the brain responsible for negativity/recalling gloomy memories and experiences whilst dampening the area responsible for positivity.
4) That’s why I put sleep above nutrition because if you sleep well, it is MUCH easier to eat clean and stick to a good nutrition plan. If we sleep badly then battling temptation and food cravings becomes an unfortunate way of life.
5) THEN comes exercise! If you’re dehydrated, tired and full of crap food, you’re exercise is going to be pretty bad and won’t deliver half the results you hoped for. Obviously we can argue that all of the five ‘strategies’ are equally important and interlinked. For instance, exercise can increase ‘happy hormones’ and help reduce feelings of stress that would be my answer if you’re looking to really focus on one area at a time!
I would say that ALL health and body composition problems are ultimately rooted in stress and the negative stories we tell ourselves on a daily basis. It is virtually impossible to be chronically stressed, lean and healthy all at the same time.
Sure some people can be stressed and don’t have any fat on them due to genetics but they are far from health or feeling great. Deal with your stress and anxiety and you’ll be AMAZED what happens to the rest of your life!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! A lesson I have learn first hand of late, at a time of great stress, I have been really lucky to have the support of friends, family and clients who have offered help in many ways!
That is it for today but also that reminder about The Blast 24 Days of Fitness for Advent Challenge that starts on Friday and ends on Christmas eve. We have had an amazing response in the first 36 hours since I released the initial details on my Facebook page. The live follow along videos that we have planned so that you can do them at a time, in your own home, that suits you seem to be proving very popular.
If you missed it here are the details so you don’t miss out :
Owner of Matt Luxton Health and Fitness
Voted Cornwall’s Best Fitness Instructor 2016
Voted The UK’s Most Innovative Fitness Entrepreneur 2012
International Best Selling Author of The Fad Free Fitness Formula
Author of The Hot to Trot Cook Book and The Equestrian Athlete Plan
Email: Info@fa-fitness.co.uk / Phone: 07841 136302