Strategies To Change Your Life and Become Healthier

Change is difficult, and no matter how much you hate to admit it, you enjoy the comfort those old habits give you; you love how they don’t require any efforts or additional energy. But later the guilt comes in. You start feeling ashamed of the bad decisions you made. You lose hope and maybe you even try to convince yourself that it is too late for you and that you are simply not meant for the lifestyle you want. Old habits are hard to kill.

How to get over that? It all starts in your head. Rewiring your brain to shift the focus from hating the negative patterns to developing new healthy ones is the ultimate way to drastic change. To have a healthy lifestyle, you must first develop the right mindset for it.

Fortunately, we gathered for you today some strategies that are guaranteed to teach you exactly how to master your mindset and make a change that lasts forever.

  1. Slow, but steady. Start small, REALLY small. Just. Get. Started. The effect of taking baby steps will compound and make you take bigger ones. Be disciplined and stay determined. Do not wait for motivation to knock at your door. Do it anyways, even on the days you don’t feel like it. And what is one of the best ways to get moving? That’s by following The 5 Second Rule: « If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea (… ) Because when you physically move, your brain starts to build new habits (… ) You are in the act of building new habits and erasing existing ones. » This rule, stated by the author and motivational speaker Mel Robbins, is a form of metacognition that allows you overcome the tricks your brain plays to distract you, by turning on your prefrontal cortex. The neuroscientist and researcher at Yale University Amy Arnsten explains that the 5-4-3-2-1-Go! countdown activates that brain area responsible of planning and decision-making. It matters also that you set goals for yourself on the long term. These goals will help you create sustainable habits. The motivation will come along when the changes become more and more noticeable.
  2. Understand How Habits Work. Habits are formed through a very simple, yet very strong series of actions Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg calls: The Loop. In his book The Power Of Habit, he says: « First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is Worth remembering for the future. Over time, this loop becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges. » This means that if you want to change your habits, you have to follow the same rules that made them. First, start by identifying the negative habits you have. Identify the trigger behind them, the behavior that follows and the reward you feel. Then, try to implement a healthy behavior to which you accord the same trigger and reward. Remind yourself more often of the reward and repeat this loop until the old habit is erased and the healthy one becomes ingrained in your routine. And last, be patient. Keep in mind that forming a new habit takes 66 days on average according to a study from University College (London, 2000).
  3. Track Your Progress, No Matter How Small. Keep an eye on the progress you are making. Use a calendar and mark the days you follow the healthy habits, this trick will not only inform you on the days you are making a progress, it will also motivate you not the break the chain. But in case you miss a day where you don’t perform the healthy habit, do not quit. Missing one day will have no effect on your long term results.
  4. Enjoy The Process. We all know that change is hard, but by rewarding yourself and celebrating each small victory, you will find yourself more likely to stick with the healthy behavior. Acknowledge your achievements and find happiness in the healthy lifestyle you are now living, for it is the ultimate way to make it last forever. And remember, it is never too late to live the life you want!

Power Up With Plyometric Training

These explosive activities are collectively called “Plyometrics”. Put simply, plyometrics works to train the muscles to produce the greatest force in the shortest time. “Plyometrics is used by athletes to develop muscular power, rapid-force production and dynamic agility in fast-paced movements,” says William Kraemer, professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. “Almost all sports these days incorporate some type of plyometric training in their regime, as it enhances total body power in movements like jumping and throwing, hitting and starting.”

The great thing about plyometric training is that an athlete can tailor a programme to enhance his or her own particular sport. For instance, if you play basketball, you’ll want to focus on vertical jumping and throwing skills. If you’re a football enthusiast, you might want to be more lower body intensive. Even recreational bodybuilders can benefit from adding a few plyometrics into the mix. “Plyometrics gets at certain fast-twitch muscle fibres you won’t hit with other lifting exercises,” says Kraemer. “It also helps increase your power output by improving the rate of force production, a benefit you won’t get unless you’re doing Olympic-style lifting.”

So why not regress and play with plyometrics? It offers complete conditioning, improved power, increased muscular development, and is all but guaranteed to propel your physique to new heights.

  • UPPER BODY
    Begin with lightest medicine ball available – usually 2-4 pounds – and progress slowly to a heavier ball. If you do not have a training partner, use a solid wall or floor at which to throw the ball.
  • SIDE THROW
    Stand sideways to your partner with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the medicine ball with both hands at waist level directly in front of your body, and twist using your torso, hips and shoulders as far away from your partner as possible. From this wound-up position, forcefully uncoil, swinging the ball around and throwing it to your partner. Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other.
  • BENCH PUSH PASS
    Lie face-up with your knees slightly bent, your feet flat on the floor and your lower back arching naturally. Have a partner stand behind you and hold a medicine ball over your upper chest. Catch the ball as your partner drops it, absorbing its weight by bending through your elbows and wrists and lowering it slightly toward your chest. Push the ball back up immediately, throwing it straight up into the air to be caught by your partner.
  • OVERHEAD THROW
    Stand facing your partner with your knees slightly bent and your feet spread shoulder width apart. Hold the medicine ball with your arms fully extended and your elbows slightly bent, and raise it above and slightly behind your head. Avoid arching your back and hyperextending your shoulders. From this position, contract through your abs, lats, triceps and shoulders and throw the ball forcefully toward your partner.
  • CLAPPING PUSH-UPS
    Begin in the push-up position with your hands about shoulder width apart, your abs tight and your back flat. Lower your body to a point a few inches above the ground, then explode up and off the ground, clapping your hands in the air below your chest before catching yourself on landing with your hands in their original position. Immediately go into the next push-up and repeat, keeping the contact time with the ground to a minimum for optimal training effects.

Info of Kettlebell Tempo Training

Before we dive too deep into an explanation of how to set the most effective tempo for strength gains, it’s important to get an understanding of how tempo is measured in these cases. There are various tempos, so it’s important to know what the numbers really mean. In the case of 1010, the first number defines the amount of time spent in the eccentric phase, or the “relaxing” phase of the exercise. The 0 indicates the amount of time spent pausing after the relaxation phase. The third digit signifies the length of time spent in the concentric phase, or the phase in which the muscle being exercised is flexed. The final digit signifies the amount of time spent pausing after the concentric phase. To help visualize this, in a pushup, the eccentric phase is bending your arms and lowering yourself toward the ground, and the concentric phase is pushing yourself back up. So, at a 1010 tempo, one second is spent going down, then one second is spent going up, with no pauses before or after either of these motions. For a 4010 tempo, 4 seconds are spent bending the arms and going down toward the ground, and one is spent pushing up. For exercises that demand explosiveness and fast flexing, the tempo may include an “X” instead of a number. This is commonly seen in the Olympics where X0X0 tempo lifts are commonly performed; explosive eccentric and concentric phases, with no pauses before or after either. For hypertrophy exercises and attempts at mass gain, the most effective and commonly used tempo is 40X0.

When taking tempo into consideration, changes can be made to the amount of time your muscles are spending under tension. Time Under Tension, or TUT, is a measure of how long a muscle, or group of muscles, is under the weight of the load. When it comes to strength training and maximizing muscle mass, more TUT is necessary. For strength training with kettlebells, 40-70 seconds of TUT is the optimal time period, anything shorter than this would result in lesser hypertrophic gains. Basic math can be done to see the difference in Time Under Tension between tempo and non-tempo training. Taking a look at the real-world variance in the different tempos that are used is a good way to paint a picture for why it’s so important to include tempo training into your kettlebell workouts for strength gains. For a typical 1010 kettlebell overhead press for example, a single rep will take approximately one second to push and one second to relax, making the total length of the rep 2 seconds. Over the course of about 12 reps per set, this equates to 24 seconds of TUT. However, if you are adhering to tempo training, the length of a single rep will change. If switching to a 40X0 tempo kettlebell press, the flex will be immediate and there will be no pause at the apex before dropping the weight back down and relaxing for 4 seconds. When the kettlebell returns to the resting position, there is no pause and it is immediately lifted for the next rep. The total time for this rep is about 5 seconds, with a total of 60 seconds of TUT for a set of 12 reps. When taking tempo into account, the same weight, reps and sets can be used to achieve better strength training results. This is why tempo training is so important for real mass and strength gains. If you’re only taking into account reps and sets and disregarding the time taken to complete each of these, you will be missing out on making large strength and mass gains in your kettlebell workout.

When your goals are to increase strength and mass, many people often increase the weight of the kettlebell that they are using and make adjustments to sets and reps to maximize muscle gains. Although this is an effective way to increase strength, it’s important to note that tempo can also be altered to get the most out of each rep. Although it may take more concentration, tempo training is one of the most effective ways to successfully reach your strength training goals with kettlebells.

Stay Properly Hydrated for Optimal Gains

Simply put, 60-70% of your body is nothing but WATER – and this includes muscles, tendons, digestive system, everything.

You are constantly losing water through dehydration, sweating (especially if you train hard) and other bodily functions – and you need to make sure you replace the water lost on a regular basis, else your body just won’t function at an optimal level, regardless of how well you treat it otherwise.

Lack of water can affect you in many different ways. When it comes to training, a dehydrated person will never be able to achieve the same results as he would with proper hydration.

Symptoms of dehydration include sluggishness, not being able to recover well enough from your workouts, persistent headaches and much more. The exact symptoms will vary from individual to individual, but the root cause remains the same.

Despite the barrage of sports drinks, “post workout” recovery drinks etc out there, pure water is still and by far is the very best choice to stay well hydrated.

I recommend (as most medical experts do) drinking AT LEAST 8 glasses of pure water a day. This is simple enough to do, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do it. And if your training hard, or are otherwise exposed to hot, humid (or other taxing) conditions, then you may need more – maybe 10 glasses of water a day as a minimum.

Other than water, green tea is something I highly recommend. When I was in China, this was an essential part of my “diet” – I NEVER started a workout without drinking green tea before.

In fact, there were many days I did not get a decent meal throughout the workday (wasn’t that easily accomplished apparently in the factory I worked at); and was tired and cranky when I got home – NOT the ideal way to start a tough workout immediately afterwards.

But, a glass or two of green tea later, and I was raring to go – and got great results as well. Green tea has numerous health benefits which I will talk about in a later post, but for now, let’s just say it’s an instant and immensely healthy “pick me up” – so if your not drinking some green tea during YOUR daily routine, start doing so now.

Other forms of herbal tea are also great – jasmine tea, white tea, oolong, and black tea – but my personal favorite remains green tea.

Just make sure your getting high quality green tea, preferably from China or someplace where the culture mandates drinking it on a regular basis. And always use tea leaves, as opposed to tea bags – tea bags contain crushed tea, which is bad for you.

And avoid colas, coffee, sodas, and any “soft drinks” with sugar in them. These are not good for you, dehydrate you, and have no positive benefits whatsoever – so if you must have then, have them in moderation, and make sure to drink enough water to compensate for the dehydration these will incur.

Advantages of Walking

  • Research shows that taking a regular walk can actually modify your nervous system that you will experience a decrease in anger and aggression.
  • It exposes you to the sunlight which can help decrease the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
  • It can also make you socially active as you can take a walk with particular anybody like your friend, relatives, family member and neighbor. This helps boost your mood and reduce your stress levels.
  • It can also be beneficial for the people who are suffering from insomnia. Taking a morning walk outdoors will help you tune with your natural circadian rhythms which can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • The moderate low-impact of walking can help reduce the symptom and lessen the pain for the person with medical conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
  • It can also help in strengthening your bones and can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • For the people who suffer from joint issues walking can be beneficial.
  • As we start to age walking many be important to reduce the risk of dementia and other brain disorders.
  • It might be wired but walking backward can help you to improve your cognition which helps one to think faster while on their feet.
  • Walking regularly can also help boost the part of the brain that is involved in verbal and learning memory.
  • Regular walks help establish a routine which you are more likely to continue with your other activities.
  • Adding music to your walking experience can be a great way to de-stress besides helping you to get into a rhythm to walk faster.