A big part of my coaching style is looking at all the foundations of health.
I spend a lot of time thinking about what the foundations, fundamentals, and basics of what it takes to be healthy.
But what exactly are foundations?
These are the key elements you need to build something. The base structure that everything else is built on. Without a solid foundation, nothing significant is be able to grow.
Every day in health and fitness I see people trying to skip past this base structure and go straight into specifics. They want to know: grams of carbohydrates their snack, what vitamins are in kale, and try and measure caloric outputs of workouts.
They focus on these finer detail items like THAT is what will make a difference, meanwhile these people haven’t even built the foundations of a health lifestyle first.
It’s kinda like trying to figure out if you’ll get better gas mileage in your car with regular gas or premium gas when your tires are flat.
Foundations of health make up the 80% of the Pareto principle.
What can you focus on or what small changes can you make that will provide the greatest result? What are the 20% of actions that will yield 80% of the results?
Well good news! I made a list!
Here are the top 4 foundations of health that I think will have the most impact. Strengthen these 4 areas and things like grams of carbs in your salad dressing won’t matter nearly as much.
Most of our “health” actually comes from healing. Your body is a master at healing itself IF it is given the right conditions and time. Sleep is #1 for healing. Plan to get 7–8 hours per night, in a dark, quiet, and cool room, and keep consistent sleep/wake times.
Use time restricted eating (TRE) to allow your digestive system to recover at least 12 hours each day. Again, this is about recovery and your digestive system is an important one to allow rest! If you’re eating/drinking at all hours, your system spends all its time on your food and never repairing itself. This one change can have HUGE benefits on your health!
Move your body, challenge your muscles, and increase your heart rate for at least 20–30 minutes, EVERY day. Keep it simple. Our body is not designed for the type of sedentary life we currently have. “Normal” life even a few hundred years ago used to include A LOT MORE physical activity in our daily lives than we have today.
Exposure to the sun helps improve mood, create vitamin D, and set our internal clocks for our natural circadian rhythms. Even if it’s cloudy, it’s great to get outside as much as possible each day. This isn’t about getting a tan, it’s about exposing our skin and eyes to the bright light. This process is important for our circadian rhythms and will even help with #1 (sleep).
Start with these 4 foundations of health for a few weeks and see what changes you notice. Keep it simple and keep it consistent. Remember, these are the 20% of actions for 80% of the benefits, so don’t over complicate it.