Baby Steps Lead to Giant Improvements

June 15, 2015 by Colton Maher

As the owner of two different fitness concepts in the Twin Cities, I’m often asked about shortcuts to better health. My short answer: there are none. But, there are simple, easy changes you can make that over time will yield big changes for your health and fitness. If nothing else, they’ll get you moving in the right direction. Below I’ve listed a few tricks I’ve used to get people on a better path. Give one or more of them a try and once you’ve made them a habit, add another. Do these things consistently and you’re sure to notice a few positive transformations. Here they are (in no particular order):

  • Ditch White Food. Is it a cure-all? No. Are there deliciously nutritious exceptions to the rule? Yes, of course (well hello there, baked cauliflower). But trust me, replace something white or white-ish with something colorful every time you sit down to eat and you’re almost guaranteed to be making a smart dietary decision. A piece of bread, a cup of rice, a few potatoes, or a serving of pasta isn’t going to kill you but including these things in your diet with about the same frequency as a sweet treat for desert is a great start to clean eating habits. Simple breakdown on why: white foods tend to be dense in simple carbohydrate which will breakdown and turn to sugar about as fast as your average frat-boy can slam a beer. A spike in blood sugar will cause a subsequent spike in insulin – the little hormone that is masterful about storing the foods you eat in all the wrong places. Ditch the white food for a firmer midsection, a clearer head and a jump-start on good habits. Now that you have something to stop doing, how about something you can start doing…
  • Drop and Give me 10. Pushups are a great total body exercise that can be done anywhere with no equipment. At Alchemy we recently completed a pushup challenge, which resulted in unreal improvements. Hands under your shoulders, elbow pits forward, tighten your entire body and lower yourself until your chest hits the ground. Just a reminder: your belly button isn’t your chest, and neither are your hips. Keep your head looking down at the ground. Easy modifications: Go from your knees and/or place a pillow under your chest. Try not to let the elbow splay out to the sides. You don’t have to pin them into your ribs but keeping them close to you is a good way to protect your shoulders.
  • Stop at 7 p.m. Have your last meal around 6:00 or so and try not eat after 7:00 p.m. This accomplishes a couple of things. First, you’ll avoid the mindless junk food eating that typically happens when your day is over and you are relaxing. Second, you’ll be giving your body a “mini fast” for about 12 hours which allows your digestive system to rest and puts your body into fat burning mode.

Start with one of these easy tips and after a week or so, add another. In no time, you’ll be feeling a noticeable change. Want to take it up another notch? Print this article and bring it with you for a free class at Alchemy. Tyler Quinn is co-owner of Alchemy and Union Fitness. Scott Jagodzinski is a co-founder of Alchemy, a father of three, and a big Joe Nesbo fan.

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