Busy lives lead us to skipping things we all know are best for us, but either don't find the time for, can't fit it in, or simply don't want to do.
We've got 5 things that you're (probably) not doing that you should!
1. Getting enough sleep
Kick things off with something we all take for granted but is so important. Sleep.
You wake up at 6:30, feeling groggy and tired. Grab a coffee and begin with the day ahead. By 9 or 10am, you've likely come round a little and forgot all about the rough start to the day.
Then it's the evening. You're home from a workout, or simply relaxing in front of Netflix watching Joe Exotic in The Tiger King (It's a must watch!). Next thing you're almost off to sleep and end up watching Facebook video, or just scrolling through the endless feed of rubbish. Next thing you know it's 11pm.
You try get off to sleep, get 6-7 hours of sleep and do it all again.
Starting today, aim to get a set number of hours sleep per night. 8.5 Hours sleep is mostly realistic assuming you have a set bedtime and use some discipline. After just a week, you'll notice a huge difference.
Here's why getting more sleep is important;
- Sleep improves concentration and productivity
- Lack of sleep over time can impair memory function
- It's linked to an improved mood
- Strengthens your immune system
- Rebuild new muscle tissue
Sleep is so incredibly important, so step your game up and nail down those bed times.
2. Eat more single ingredient foods
The phrase 'Eating a clean diet' is a funny one. What is clean food? Simply put, foods that are a single ingredient. Great examples of this are things such as Rice. It's a whole lot better to get yourself a cheap rice cooker (They're around £20 and an amazing investment) and a huge bag of dry Basmati than it is to open a packet of Uncle Ben's. Don't get me wrong, packet rice has it's place as is extremely convenient and useful at times, but if you've got the time, we all know it's better and cheaper long term to make your own.
Single ingredient foods are more nutritionally dense, come with less colouring, flavourings and preservatives, often cost less and are much better sources of nutrition than processed food. So eat more foods that are from plant to plate, and learn to flavour your own foods, just how you like them.
3. Stretching and foam rolling
This one is true to a lot of people. Stretching can be uncomfortable, time consuming and easy to forget.
Start your day with 10 minutes of stretching. That's all it takes.That's only 1/144th of your day, and you'll start the day feeling productive, because you've already ticked a job off!
Maybe mornings aren't your thing, then assign it for an evening, or any time you've got. If you just stretched through all the adverts on a night you'd be doing yourself a ton of help and missing literally nothing in exchange.
Stretching is a pain, but pencil it in and you'll be impressed at the results in no time at all!
4. Drink less alcohol
Alcohol comes in delicious drinks that we typically over consume.
We aren't going to pretend it's something we at Murgs don't enjoy, but in moderation. Limiting your drinking to events and occasions is one of the best ways to reduce consumption with little effort required. Drinking a few beers every night though the week because 'It's been a tough day' isn't doing you any good. In fact it's doing a lot of bad.
One angle is the fact that an average beer is 200 Kcal, so having 3 every night of the week is equivalent to 4 Creme eggs a day. Now if you we're eating 4 creme eggs a day, we'd all acknowledge that's a problem, but 3 beers is the same amount of empty calories. (Empty calories are simply calories gained with no intention of being burned off through activity)
The other angle is sleep. It's known around the world that alcohol helps you get to sleep, but what many don't know is that is can ruin the quality of that same sleep. Consumption of alcohol before bed actually is proven to disrupt and reduce the quality of the second half of your nights sleep. It has been shown to suppress breathing in the latter part of the night and even causing sleep apnea, as well as causing a higher likelihood of sleep walking. This is mostly caused by the decreasing amount of REM sleep you get, which is responsible for mental regeneration, memory and concentration.
So drinking more doesn't just put weight on, it's a double edged sword that ruins your sleep too.
5. Set goals and track progress
This applies to all areas of life, setting goals and tracking progress is one sure way to improvement. Set goals that are realistic, achievable but challenging.
One problem too many people face is either setting no goals, or ridiculous goals.
Examples of this are evident when it comes to dieting. It's easy to say 'Right, I'm cutting out Crisps, Chocolate, Wine, Red meat and Carbs'... then 9 days in you binge on an takeaway pizza, bottle of wine and a full tube of Pringles.
Alternatively, saying 'I'm going to eat better and lose some weight' - This is equally challenging because its not quantifiable or even trackable.
Figure out where you're at, where you want to be and what's required.
Eg. I weigh 14 stone now, and want to weigh 13.5 stone in 12 weeks. That's 1.75lbs a week. To do this I'll be eating 2100kcal a day and training 3 days a week to burn a minimum of 200kcal a session.
Perfect! It's realistic, achievable and progress can be tracked.
This applies to everything like getting your deadlift from 85kg to the big 100kg, or squatting 120kg and you want 140.
Make a plan, track progress and adjust accordingly.
So there you have it. 5 things we could all really tighten up on to be not only better lifters, but better individuals. Give them a shot and let us know how you get on!