1. Who defines being healthy?
Even before the beginning of time, there were already preset standards of what society felt health should look like. Often times we as a society tend to define health by the outer appearance. Depending on what cultural background you were raised in, being healthy can either manifest as a very slim, thin figure or as a larger body build. I believe that we are a generation of millennials that are known to defy all odds in an effort to create our own identity. If your health standards are easily influenced by the images seen on social media, then I encourage you to reclaim your voice. Health & Fitness is not just about being free from disease. Health & Fitness is a lifelong journey that is about breaking free from the physical, mental, and social boundaries that keep you feeling as if you are inadequate. It is YOU who creates fitness FIT just for YOU. Use your voice to advocate on behalf of your physical, mental and social well-being. After all, your body is a temple that produces what you put into it.
2. Mentally Fit
Mental health is a touchy subject that tends to make most people uncomfortable. In certain cultural groups like the African American & Latino communities, the topic of mental health is oftentimes a taboo subject. A stoic composure is often seen in these communities, although mental health is common amongst the communities. For example, an issue of depression or anxiety can oftentimes be dismissed by loved ones and friends. The negative stigma of mental health challenges prevents many people from seeking help from professionals or taking self-care actions to manage their mental health. Whether you suffer from one end of the spectrum of a diagnosed mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) or the other end of occasional stress, mental health is and should be a priority. It's important to understand that this applies to all genders. Males are often discouraged for showing emotions or any signs of “weakness”, but understand that emotion is a characteristic of humans. Whether you’re male, female, androgynous, etc, you’re entitled to feel and express your emotions and they should never be bottled up despite what you may be led to believe. Some tips to manage your mental health are:
- Keep a journal/diary: this is especially helpful if you lack a proper support system, you’ll find that writing down your emotions/experiences helps to alleviate the stress of holding it in
- Mediate: Meditation can mean many different things to certain people. It can mean participating in a yoga, praying, breathing exercises etc.
- Rest! Despite what you may be led to believe, working hard 24/7 is not the best route to achieving your goals. This can lead to burn out, mental breakdowns, irritability/anger, etc. Take some time to rest and do what you love to do, whether it's reading a book, listening to music, hanging out with family & friends or playing Fortnite. Remember, all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.
- Confide in a trusted adult/professional: Express what you’re feeling and experiencing to a trusted adult. If you don’t feel comfortable telling them in person, try writing them a letter. Life was not meant to be done alone & a trusted companion can alleviate a lot of stress and help guide you to the right place.
3. Consistency is key.
I know you have probably heard a thousand times in your lifetime the cliché phrase, consistency is key. The reality of it all is that if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. When it comes to overall health and wellbeing, it is important to have discipline when incorporating healthy eating habits and workout plans. When it comes to workout plans and healthy eating habits, one of my biggest motivational tips is to train your mind to be stronger than your body. Before starting a workout plan I always write down the exercises and keep the mindset that I will not leave the gym until I have completed what I set out to do. This helps hold myself accountable throughout the workout. A positive mindset is essential to achieving a healthy lifestyle because it helps you focus on your goal and push through to completion when the pain starts to overtake your body. There will be countless days where you don’t want to engage in physical exercise, or you want to binge watch Netflix while eating ice cream and Doritos. Train your mind to fall in love with “feel good” reward that comes from the sacrifice and dedication of pushing yourself to the limit. My last tip for achieving fitness is to fall in love with BEING healthy, instead of falling in love with the LOOK that appears to be healthy. Below are a few healthy eating habits and workout plans recommendations:
Healthy Eating Habits Recommendations:
- Drinking 64 oz or more of water a day
- Create a balanced diet: ensure that most of your meals have a healthy serving of fruits & vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein
- Do NOT STARVE yourself or SKIP MEALS, INSTEAD have 3 regular meals and light snacks every day
- Do everything in moderation: Don’t completely restrict yourself from your favorite foods, just eat them on a reward basis or special occasions
- AVOID excessive consumption of dairy, caffeine and sugars (soda, ice cream, coffee, energy drinks)
Workout Plan Recommendations:
- Before beginning a workout, I always encourage everyone to get into the habit of proper stretching to avoid injury & starting at a light intensity and then gradually increasing over time (it is important not to engage in an activity that is beyond what your body can handle)
- Whenever completing a workout, always perform cool-down stretches and exercises (ex: a light 3 minute jog) before abruptly stopping the exercises.
- I love performing H.I.I.T exercises & below are three of my favorite combinations (3 sets each):
- 8 minute jog
- 3 sprints/ 3 back pedals
- Frog jumps (30s)
- Get up lunge (45s)
- Single leg bicycle (20s)
- Push up twist (30s)
- Plank (30s)
- 8 minute jog
- 3 sprints/ 3 back pedals
- 15 burpees
- 20 garhammer raises
- Mountain Climbers (45s)
- 15 push ups
- 15 kickbacks
- Lateral pull downs (3 sets x 13 reps)
- Bicep curls (3 sets x 13 reps)
- Full body weighted squats (3 sets x 13 reps)
- Deadlifts (3 sets x 13 reps)