There are so many tricks and supplements for improving our health, but how do we know which ones work best? As it gets colder and the days get shorter our bodies often need a little more help, especially if we want to avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Below are my top 6 hacks towards a healthier, fitter and stronger you. It must all start with the healthiest version of you possible, as without this all the training and programming in world won’t even get you to the start line.
In no particular order he we go!
According to Dave Asprey, vitamin D “is possibly the most important biohack. Vitamin D acts on over 1000 different genes and serves as a substrate for sex hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone and oestrogen.” Additionally, it serves as an immune booster and inflammation suppressor. The only way we can get enough is with direct sun exposure. According to the Mayo Clinic, it helps calcium absorption to strengthen bones too. If you are an office worker, even in sunny Newcastle, you should supplement with vitamin D. As the weather gets colder, the intensity of the suns rays decrease. I take and I recommend 4000 I.U of vitamin D daily especially if I haven’t had much full body sun exposure. How long were you outside for today and how much skin did you have exposed???
Just Eat Real Food (JERF)
This sounds so simple and to be honest, it is. We have all seen the massive expansion of the candy, cola and packaged food section of the supermarkets. It might be easy but it is not the way. Packaged food is almost always filled with preservatives and other chemicals. Nothing in nature was ever intended to stay “fresh” to eat for over 12 months in a packaged cardboard box sitting in the cupboard. Fresh is always best and although it may take more time you will thank yourself for it. Real food contains many more minerals and vitamins, it is jammed packed with energy and has a truckload less sugar meaning it is not nearly as inflammatory. According to Sarah Wilson, the author from I Quit Sugar “when you stop eating sugar and you start eating whole, unprocessed food just like our grandparents did, you cut out the crap and get real.”
Get to bed Early
Ben Franklin was right when he said, “early to bed, early to rise.”Even though your body produces growth hormones all day you secrete even more when you sleep. Stephen Walker says that “going to bed earlier matches with our circadian rhythm.” Melatonin levels naturally rise after sunset, but will only do so if we are switched off and resting ourselves. Melatonin levels and human growth hormone production peak around midnight, essentially meaning “one hour of midnight sleep counts as two.” If you are an extreme athlete or an every day athlete, get to bed and allow your body to recover, repair and rebuild.
Unless you are eating fish daily I would highly suggest adding a fish oil supplement to your diet. There are so many reasons to take fish oil and as Shannon Clark (bodybuilding.com) says, “it supports healthy cholesterol levels, boosts your mood and helps to maintain strong bones.” However, I think the more important fact is that being high in omega 3, it is anti inflammatory and helps cellular metabolism. I am sure you ave heard of people saying fish oil is good for the brain, that’s because it helps the cell membranes transport and absorb nutrients. Kate Eason from Food deFined always says, “you are not what you eat, you are what you absorb,” so give your cells a fighting chance to make the most of that wonderful fresh whole food and add some fish oil to your day.
Move/Play every day
Regardless if your a marathon runner or a desk jockey we all need to move and play each and every day. In this modern lifestyle we cannot help but sit too long or adopt to otherwise poor postures. Our lifestyle does not force us to keep active and sometimes just running or swimming is not enough. Darryl Edwards says that we “need to play every day” while Pavel Tsatsouline says, “first move well, then move often.” Either way, please move. Try to move differently too. Activatng your extensor muscles throughout your body has a massive input to your coordination centre of your brain. You willbe amazed how playing with your kids, doing a few somersaults or even dancing to a crazy song will always bring a smile to your face and mak you feel happy. This is your body thanking you for trying something different and moving.
Tim Ferriss once said “the less time you think you have to meditate, the more time you need to spend meditating.” It is often quite hard to quieten the thousands of thoughts that you have running through your brain each and every day. This leads to us feeling stressed and overwhelmed and one of my favourite quotes is from Dr.Frank Sovinsky, “feeling overwhelmed is realising you have a bunch of stuff to do.” This is not a bad thing but deliberately taking some quiet time to focus on you is brilliant. Meditation, even if you’re not perfect at it, will enhance your breathing, improve your concentration and help you sleep.
If you have any questions or want advice on how to play, make changes to real food, or just like to know where I get my fish oil or vitamin D from, leave a comment below or message us on Facebook.
Go on….be awesome!!!!