King of the Krocs
Welcome one and all to the Famiboards Body Improvement Club! Here we will discuss tips, strategies, and success stories with one another on how to meet your fitness goals! The path to fitness can be a tough one to follow, and it is our hope that those who are looking for a place to start can find some valuable information here, and those who are just looking to talk with fellow fitness enthusiasts can give advice and motivational encouragement as well!
Please keep in mind that every person is different and there is no “one size fits all” path to good health. Anything you read in this thread should be taken as nonprofessional advice, and if anything discussed does interest you, please be sure to do your own research with sources you trust or consult with a health professional.
So, what are your health goals?
There is no strict measure of what is “healthy”. For some, it is having the energy to go about their day without getting exhausted. For others, it is chasing the desire to be faster and stronger than ever before. Some people want to find a way to alleviate or mitigate their own health issues, while others want to look good in their swimwear. Whatever goal you have for your own fitness, it is important to know where to focus your efforts.
This is probably what a lot of people are looking to achieve when it comes to their own personal fitness. While being overweight or obese does not mean someone can’t otherwise be healthy, excess body fat does raise several health risk factors, including diabetes, blood pressure, and heart disease. Lower body fat is also desirable if you wish to have a more athletic body build, as it helps accentuate your muscles and make moving around in workouts easier. Because of these reasons, the diet and exercise industry has grown into a massive global industry, with tons of trendy diets and exercise programs popping up all the time.
As always, before trying out any kind of new weight loss strategy, you should take stock of what usually works for you personally, do research on what interests you, and consult with a health professional if available.
A piece of advice I once heard is that Diet and Exercise are like Batman and Robin. Both are good and work well together, but one of them (Batman/Diet) is clearly the more important factor in the overall outcome. Diet strategy can be tricky and there are many different, sometimes contradictory ways to approach what you should be eating. While you should find what works best for you, here are a few tips I do consider to be helpful and well supported enough that they make a good starting point in most diet plans:
- Processed carbohydrates, most especially refined sugars, are very unhealthy for you when consumed in excess and should be limited wherever possible.
- Fiber is an important nutrient that helps keep you satiated longer between meals and improves digestion.
- Staying properly hydrated keeps your body functioning properly. An average person should aim to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day, but be careful as it is possible to over hydrate.
- Fat in general is very calorically dense and should not be consumed in excess in most circumstances if your goal is weight loss, but it is also not inherently bad for you. In fact, many unsaturated fats are extremely beneficial, such as those found in nuts and fish.
- Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle. It is also generally more satiating than fat or carbohydrates. Meat is most often associated with protein in your diet, but dairy and eggs are important sources as well, and if you are vegan, there are plenty of options from beans and tofu to nuts, quinoa, and seeds.
Like diet, exercise is something that can be very difficult to get started on, and everyone has certain things that they may take to well, and certain things they may not. Motivation is going to be the most driving force behind your success with exercise, and for this reason, it will always be most effective to make your exercise fun rather than a chore. It’s also important to also determine what your exercise goals are, what your personal strengths and limitations are, and what resources you have available to you.
Some General Tips
- It’s okay (necessary really) to start limited and gradually and build yourself up to your desired goal. You’ll never be able to lift hundreds of pounds if you don’t start with a smaller weight, and you’ll never run a marathon until you can sustain a jog comfortably.
- Whenever starting a new exercise, do your research! There are techniques and strategies that are all about keeping you safe and making your workouts effective. Learn the risks and how to mitigate them going in. For example, running/sprinting can be dangerous if you are very overweight as it is a high impact exercise that can damage your joints, so walking is generally a more preferable alternative in the beginning stages.
- Exercise does not need to cost you a lot! Yes, a gym membership will give you access to a lot of specialized equipment that can help you better plan and target your exercise goals, but there are plenty of ways to work your body that require little more than room to move around.
- Don’t neglect stretching! Stretching helps to both warm your muscles up for activity ahead and to help limber your body after a workout to help prevent cramping. Cramps are often a sign that you didn’t sufficiently stretch before and after your workout, so make sure you treat those muscles well!
Your athleticism is only a piece of the picture when it comes to your overall physical health. Of course, in many ways, your physical and mental health are intertwined with one another, and there are many things you can do to help both.
Stress Management- Managing your stress is one of the most important things you can do for your overall well being. It’s important to have both self awareness and self truthfulness about what creates stress for you, so that you can better manage or avoid your stressors. Of course, it is impossible to fully avoid stress, but learning how to manage stress in your life will certainly empower you as a healthier individual. There are many practices that can help you lower stress, such as yoga, meditation, or if you practice a faith, prayer.
Hydration- The Mayo Clinic says that on average, adult men should consume around 124 ounces (3.7L) of water daily, while women should consume around 92 ounces (2.7L). Dehydration is a widespread problem for many people who rarely consider it in their day to day lives, and one that improves basically every facet of your health if managed properly. If you have trouble drinking that much, try spreading your intake out throughout your morning and the rest of your day.
Sleep- Getting enough sleep is another thing you can do to make sure all your other efforts for good health are as effective as they can be. It's important you set aside the proper time to sleep, and make sure you are free of distractions when you lie down, as stimuli such as your cell phone can keep your brain buzzing for a while after you intended to fall asleep. Try to have a quiet 30 minutes to an hour before bed free of screens or strenuous activity.
And last of all, be sure to have check ups with health professionals regularly. This includes your physician, dentist, and any specialist that your health situation may require. Preventative care is often the most powerful tool you have at your disposal for maintaining your long term health.
Well Fami, hopefully this is a good start to some great discussion about health. I want anyone who is interested to join in on the concersation, whether that be by sharing your own fitness journey, by giving motivation to others, or by sharing what you've learned. This is a positive place where we can all grow stronger together!