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Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

This is a guest post by Rob Powell…

 

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that diet and exercise can improve your physique and levels of fitness. You don’t need to be told that a healthy lifestyle leads to you looking great and feeling great. But what does ‘feeling great’ actually mean? Why should lifting those weights or running those miles make you feel better, and not just afterwards, but in the long term as well? Feeling healthy is a difficult thing to quantify, so is there anything we can point at and go ‘There! That bit! That’s got better’?

Of course there is, and below we highlight some of the benefits to your body and mind that a healthy lifestyle brings, benefits that you can’t see or won’t necessarily notice straight away but when they’re pointed out you go ‘oh yeah’.

  • Stress
    Some stress can be beneficial to you and everyone has felt a ‘thrill’ at working to tight deadlines, a tense ending to a sports game and many other times. It can help keep you motivated and even be creative. But too much stress, and the wrong sort of stress, is harmful. Regular exercise helps relieve stress and tension, especially cardiovascular exercise.
  • Sleep
    People who do regular exercise – even if it’s a little bit – tend to sleep better. And if you sleep better, you’re less stressed, less cranky, and you have better energy levels. Therefore you’re more productive and you work better.
how to sleep well

Image credit: Flickr Creative Comons

  • Energy
    It sounds a bit weird but the more you exercise the more energy you have. Coupled with plenty of fresh food (including lots of fruit and vegetables) full of vitamins, minerals and protein, you’ll have the energy to get through the day without feeling the need to curl up under your desk for a nap in the middle of the afternoon.
  • Stamina
    Whatever you choose do, you’ll be doing better and for longer, be it climbing stairs, walking around the shops or having sex. Now you’re convinced, right?
  • Sickness
    If you’re less stressed, sleeping well, with good levels of energy and stamina, and maintaining all this with regular exercise and good food – and by good we mean freshly prepared as opposed to processed – you’re less likely to get ill, and not just from the big illnesses that come from long-term unhealthiness like heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and a whole host of others, you’re better able to deal with short-term sickness such as colds, flu and stomach bugs.
  • Confidence
    Never under-estimate the power of self-confidence and self-esteem. When you start to feel good, you start to look good, both of which mean you start feeling even better, and then looking better. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, it can go the other way too, but if you have the drive to keep up the healthy lifestyle there’s no reason why your confidence and self-esteem should fall, but be realistic: Accept your limits and that it might take longer than you anticipated achieving your goals. Don’t let it stop you.
build confidence

Image credit: Google

  • Money
    If you’re confident, full of energy, calm in a crisis and not constantly off work ill, you’re going to do well at your job and that won’t go unnoticed by the bosses. It won’t guarantee you a promotion of course but being good at your job is certainly going to help, so financial reward for being healthy is not unrealistic. Plus, most people have to have life insurance as part of financial agreements such as mortgages, and if you lead a healthy lifestyle your payments could be tiny. Ditto if you decide to take out private medical insurance.

If you’ve managed to make it this far through the article, well done, hopefully you haven’t been bored and you’re feeling keen to get healthy or, if you’re already on the road to a healthy lifestyle, you’re feeling a new surge to get fitter and maybe we’ve given you something to think about that you hadn’t realised before.

This article was written by Rob Powell from Confused.com, the price comparison website for life insurance

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The Difference between Eating Healthy, and Eating for a Great Physique

Eating more healthily is something almost everyone could do to improve their physical and mental well being. Although good nutrition is extremely important in the prevention of illness and the promotion of wellness, it is overlooked by many who neglect their bodies then seek prescription drugs to fix the damage that a sub-par diet has had on their body over long periods of time.

Those who want to lose fat and/or increase their muscle mass often appreciate the benefits of healthy diet, but can’t quite differentiate between a diet that’s just ‘healthy’ and a diet that gets you a great physique. Well luckily I’ve done the hard work for you…

 

How to Eat Healthy

A lot of people ask me ‘is [insert food] healthy? Nine out of ten times, I’ll say yes. Why? All food is healthy (with the exception of trans fats), the definition of eating healthy is eating a huge variety of different foods so you get a broad spectrum of macronutrients in your diet.

The problem is, when people say ‘healthy’ what they really mean is ‘will it make me thin?’, or more generally ‘will it get me a great body?’.  In this case, my answer would often be ‘no’.

 

 Healthy foods are not always foods that will get you a great body.

 

The great thing about eating healthy is you are encouraged to eat a wide variety of food, and yes that does include things you actually like, the occasional or even semi regular piece of dark chocolate or glass of red wine which are both indeed beneficial to your health.

The core of your diet should still be based around lean protein, complex carbohydrates fibrous vegetables and good fats, but veering off course or eating too much (so long as it’s not at every meal) won’t do you any harm.

Even saturated fats aren’t out of the question; want butter on your toast? Don’t sweat it. Nutrient rich foods that are often restricted on a hardcore diet like fruit and milk get the green light too, after all you’re not too bothered what you look like, right? You just want to be healthy and maintain a reasonable weight…

If you’re reading this blog, which you clearly are, the chances are that last statement isn’t true… You want to be muscular, ripped, AND healthy. Here’s how…

 

How to Eat for A Great Physique

Firstly, we must define what a great physique is. 99% of people want to get ‘toned’ – that means low levels of body fat with a degree of muscular development.  To attain this, some degree of training, probably resistance and cardio vascular is required, but this is all about the food…

As I said before, lean protein, complex carbs, vegetables and good fats are the focus, but if you want an impressive physique, veering away from these foods is not advisable, and doing so on any grand scale will mean reaching your goal a lot more slowly, or indeed never reaching it.

So what exactly should you be eating?

Lean protein: Chicken breasts, tuna, egg whites, lean steak cuts, cottage cheese

Complex carbs: Oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, beans, quinoa

Vegetables: EVERYTHING!

Good Fats: Olive oil, avocado, salmon, mackerel, nuts

This isn’t an extensive list but these foods, in various combinations, should form the basis of most of your meals.

The timing of your nutrition is almost as important as what you eat. Eat small, regular portions, so you’re consuming 4-6 meals per day. Cycle your carbs daily and weekly, i.e. if you have a rest day from the gym, reduce your carbs on that day.

If losing fat is your goal, eat less carbs as the day goes on, and preferably no carbs before bed.

 

Sound tough?

 

It is.

 

That’s why so many people never reach their ultimate goal. Eating for a great physique is hard work, but if you have the willpower and the desire, the rewards will be endless.

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