Get a Fresh Start on Health in 2014
On average, 48 percent of men who make a resolution for the New Year do not follow through on it. In partnership with the American Egg Board, Dave Ellis, registered dietitian and certified strength and conditioning specialist, provides his top 5 tips for men who are ready to accept the challenge of becoming stronger and healthier in 2014.
Make Fitness Personal: Pave the way for success by balancing your exercise program with strength training and aerobic exercise. Find a good mix of activities that will stimulate different muscle groups and prevent boredom. If you tend to stick to free weights for strength training, push yourself to expand outside of your routine with something you love, and don’t be afraid to try something new like TRX suspension training, kettlebells, or Crossfit. Lastly, set fitness goals that are motivating to you, like finishing a 5K or participating in a triathlon. A little competition is not only fun, it goes a long way to keep testosterone levels up, which is important for increasing energy and muscle mass.
Power Up in the Kitchen: Not all results start in the gym. Food plays a key role in achieving health goals. In fact, I tell my clients the formula for success is 80 percent about healthy eating and 20 percent about exercise. It’s important to develop a daily meal pattern focused on the distribution of calories from protein for hard-working muscles. Research shows that a protein-rich breakfast like eggs improves appetite control and leads to increased feelings of fullness, which can help maintain a healthy weight. High-quality protein foods also build and preserve muscles and aid in recovery. Don’t ignore the importance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and carbohydrates for healthy immune and cognitive function. Not only can these foods help maintain health, they can also boost energy levels.
The Doctor is In: You may hate going to the doctor’s office, but the doctor is not your enemy. Use your doctor as a resource to set realistic and personal health-focused goals. The doctor will be able to track critical blood markers like lipids, blood sugar, blood pressure, and testosterone and identify health problems that are standing in the way of accomplishing goals and help put a strategy in place to overcome hurdles.
Consume Less, Get More: While it’s hard to resist pub food and cocktails, it’s not doing your body any favors. Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods (foods that are low in calories, but high in nutrients) that will give you the most benefit per calorie count. Identify a group of base foods that are nutrient-dense and easily modified for variety. Foods like salads, lean chicken breasts, and eggs are all good places to start and they taste great, too, so you won’t even miss those bar snacks.
Chill Out Man: Find an outlet to help reduce stress. Exercise is a great vehicle for doing this, as it bumps up the production of endorphins, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Exercise can also improve sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression, and anxiety. And speaking of sleep, quality rest is essential for a healthy body because it sharpens mental faculties for the next day and allows sore muscles to recover.