As busy fitness professionals, we are constantly counseling our clients about how to eat, live and breathe a healthy lifestyle. Yet in today’s fast-paced, on-the-go society, even fitness professionals have trouble staying completely healthy. If we are having problems, then how can we help our clients?
A typical day for American adults may involve getting up at 5 a.m., going to the gym to work out, rushing back home to get the kids ready for school, taking the kids to school after grabbing a less-than-nutritious breakfast, attending a full day of meetings that might require skipping lunch or eating fast food, picking up the kids from school and getting them to after-school activities and then perhaps grabbing something convenient for dinner, which often translates into something carb-heavy and unhealthy.
Over time, people start to feel tired and lethargic and their immune systems go into hyper-drive. Both physical stressors and nutritional stressors affect health. Grocery stores are filled with unhealthy “healthier” choices. In addition, people are surrounded by hundreds of dietary theories and scientific research studies claiming that A is good and B is bad, while the next study claims that B is good and A is bad. So what do we do?
It’s time to start a health revolution. Share these five tips with your members to help them:
1. Keep it whole. Stick to whole foods, which are foods that occur in nature and aren’t born in a lab. One thought I’ve had is that iIf it’s grown from someone in a lab coat, you’ll end up seeing someone in a lab-coat. Make sense? Think fresh fruit and vegetables, grass fed and free range meats, dairy, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.
2. Get into the kitchen. When you plan and take the time to cook for yourself, you’re almost guaranteed to raise the nutritional density of your foods. Although some restaurants are healthier than others, eating at restaurants puts a question mark into what you are really eating. Is it processed? What other ingredients are they using? Many times it’s less fresh and overseasoned. If you keep your skills in the kitchen simple, you can learn and build up over time.
3. Phase out the refined sugars. A good goal is to remove white foods from your diet if you are trying to eat clean. White foods include white sugar, white flours, white breads, pastas, pastries and cookies. An easy first step is to cut out the packaged and processed foods since those tend to have a lot of hidden sugars in them. Do I need to also mention soda? By nixing the processed foods and refined sugars, we are also automatically getting rid of the artificial colors and added hormones.
4. AAA. Taste a rainbow. I don’t mean a literal rainbow or the old marketing concept of Skittles. Instead, I mean that the more colorful your plate, the healthier you become. Why? Because you are flooding your body with a myriad of vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants , anti-inflammatory, adaptogens. This is the best of the AAA as it’s a method to follow your personal roadmap to balancing your body.
5. Seasonal and locally grown. There is an old dietary theory that was called the 100 mile diet. I am not a fan of restricting diets, but if you take the basis of this diet and expand on it, it can be quite healthy. When we eat seasonally, we eat as nature intended. The nutrients we get from the foods we eat fuel our bodies with what they need to maintain health. Our bodies need various nutrients throughout the year. This is different for so many people, due to geography. So by going to local farmers markets, we know the food is fresh, ergo it has more nutritional value, ergo it is so much better for our bodies. Plus, it helps our local farmers.
These five steps are a start to maintaining blood sugar, balancing pH levels and cutting out the inflammatory effect these not-so-healthy foods and habits have on bodies. If I could put it altogether in one simple statement, I would share the immortal words of Hippcrates: “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.”
Author's Note: Join me at the 2017 Club Industry Show Oct. 4-6 at the Hilton Chicago for my session, "Trainer Tips: Nutrition for Weight Loss and Injury Prevention," as I share more about the reasons our diets and lifestyles are so stressed, what we can do to prevent this, and how to help ourselves and our clients maintain their health, reach peak performance and prevent injuries the healthy way.
Debra Orringer, MS, is a board certified integrative nutrition health coach, an ACE medical exercise specialist and an ACSM certified exercise physiologist. You can read more about her on her website, www.DebraOrringer.com, or follow her on her Facebook page, Health Coaching with DebO. You can also find her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/debraorringer.