Empowered Strength

Book FREE Intro Session Sign Up Now >

From the Blog

Habits to Awesome: Strength and Vitality at Your Fingertips

You’re sitting on the couch and a sudden realization grips you furiously:

You need to change your life.

Out comes the laptop and within a few seconds the most trusted source of information is up, Google is ready for your question.

“How Do I Get in Shape?”

Ding!

In less than half a second, you now have access to over four million results, with each one giving you various levels of guaranteed results. Yet, very few will actually answer your question.

Unfortunately, that’s because it’s not a very good question. And, when not-so-good questions are asked, you get not-so-good answers:

“Uh . . .Workout. And, um, eat better. Yeah, yeah, that’s what you gotta do.”

See how helpful that was? (Read that with very heavy sarcasm)

No one actually wants to get in shape. (What?!)

What’s really going on, when people ask a these not-so-good questions, is they’re masking a deeper motivation. Or, perhaps they just haven’t realized what that deeper motivation is, yet.

That first question is sometimes the first layer of what’s really lying beneath:

“How can I lose my extra fat so I can fit into my sexy red dress again?”

“What do I need to do to get faster? I want to beat my older brother at something!”

“I don’t feel awesome. I want to feel awesome.”

You see, you don’t really want to be “in shape.” What you want is what you believe you will achieve from being in shape. And, that’s exactly what happens here at Empowered Strength. Individuals of all sorts of shapes and sizes, backgrounds, and mentalities comes to us because they want to live pain-free, lean-bodied, athletic lifestyles. They want to be strong so that they can feel in control of their lives and they want more vitality so that they’re unrestrained by their health and energy.

So, the question really becomes:

“How can I live more abundantly, feel more accomplished, and be the best I can be?”

Well, we believe the answer to that question is to get stronger and to gain more vitality through steady lifestyle changes. It is our firm stance that small, consistent, and intentional steps are what lead to profound and lifelong results.

Basically, you want to take all of your old habits that are doing you no good, set them on fire, and toss them out your window. And, we want to give you the best habits to replace those poorer ones with. 

However!

It’s important to know the Guaranteed Method for FAILURETrying to do everything all at once.

That’s right. We want to give you better habits, but we want to do so in a way that garners the greatest chance for success and sustainably. We’re going to do the exact opposite of “trying to do everything at once.” We’re going to do just one thing at a time, and completely focus on that one thing. 

It can take quite some time to establish a new habit, and in the case of lifestyle changes it can take at least 2 weeks. Sometimes even 4 weeks! That’s exactly how long you’ll have to focus ON JUST ONE THING. Trust us, don’t try to do more than one at a time. It’s not a recipe for success. 

The Ultimate Goal is for these Habits to become your default behavior patterns. When that happens, you’ll never have to devote energy to doing what’s good for you ever again!

Now, without further ado, here are your new habits:

Habit #1: Drink Water

water

This one is first because it is likely the most important. 

You can easily go a couple weeks without eating. Sure, you won’t be very happy, but you’ll be alive. But, go a couple days without drinking water and you’ll be much less than happy. You’ll be dead.

The human body is almost two-thirds water by percentage. If we go further we find that the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles are 73% water, and the lungs are 83% water (1).

Water composes the majority of our blood plasma, cushions our joints and organs, acts a transporter and solvent in our bodies, lubricates areas of movement, functions as a catalyst, and is a temperature regulator (2)

Water is very, very important.

Unfortunately, you likely don’t drink as much water as you should and are probably in a chronic state of mild dehydration.

Don’t believe it? Grab a bottle of water, chug it, wait ten minutes, and then tell us that you don’t feel more alert and energetic.

If you’re feeling dull, lethargic, mentally slow, or headache-ish, have a glass of water and you’ll likely feel better.

But, beyond that, we’re trying to create a new habit of drinking water. You want this to be your new default pattern. When you have a craving for soda, coffee, tea, or anything that’s not water, you want to grab some water instead. This can be difficult, but it’s why you’re focusing on just doing one thing at a time. All of your mental focus and energy should be going towards this habit.

Here’s a sure-fire way to guarantee that you’re drinking enough water throughout the day:

Buy yourself a 1L water bottle and take it with you everywhere you go. Drink 1L during the first half of the day and drink another 1L during the second half of the day. Boom! Simple. You’ll know you’re 100% hydrated if your pee is perfectly clear the next time you use the restroom. This isn’t necessary, but it’s a pretty neat way to know your hydration status.

Additionally, if you’re able to make this your default drinking pattern, you could possibly lose a few pounds as a bonus.

Habit #2: Eat Real Food

food

Using the term “Real Food” may not be the best way to describe things, but it does get the point across. If the majority of what you eat comes in a box, frozen, or otherwise is “instant” in any way, it’s likely at least a little far removed from what you would be better off eating instead.

DO NOT move on to this Habit until you have solidified the previous Habit! Spend 2-4 weeks making it default; rushing it will not help you.

What’s the problem with eating like this?

Generally, it’s because these foods tend to be “Calorie Dense” rather than “Nutrient Dense.” What this means is that thEse foods have much, much more calories per gram when compared to other more nutrient dense foods.

This means it can very easy to “eat too much” when eating calorie dense foods because they don’t fill you up in the same way that nutrient food dense foods do (3).

Whether it’s because of fiber content, a greater concentration of micronutrients, or simply because it’s what our body’s need, nutrient dense foods fill you up faster, keep you satiated for longer, and normalize blood sugar and energy levels.

So, what are “Nutrient Dense” foods? “Real” foods?

Plants and Animals.

Vegetables, some fruit, lean meats, and fish.

The majority of what you eat should be composed of those things.

Habit #3: Move Everyday

golf

DO NOT move on to this Habit until you have solidified the previous Habit! Spend 2-4 weeks making it default; rushing it will not help you.

Notice that I didn’t say “workout?”

No, before we even concern ourselves with challenging exercise, we want to simply intentionally use the body you have in any way you can.

This can mean walking, hiking, playing basketball, climbing trees, going for a swim, biking around town, or wrestling with your sibling to prove your superiority. Our concern with this Habit is not what you do, but simply that you’re doing something. Each and every day.

What’s a good goal?

60-90 minutes per day! (4)

Now, I know that can seem a bit intimidating. I mean, who has the time to set aside 90 minutes to do nothing but climb trees?

However, the solution doesn’t mean you have to do all that activity in one go! By all means, separate bouts of movement into chunks or “snacks” throughout the day. Change your daily behaviors to include more reasons to use your body as it was made.

Can you bike to work? Can you park your car half a mile down the road? Can you take the stairs to the fourth floor? Can you set a timer for every hour to do some lunges and push ups while at the office? Can you use your lunch break to walk to the local park?

If you really sit down and give some good thought to the notion, you can easily find ways to add more movement into your daily life without setting aside huge blocks of time.

Habit #4: Challenge Yourself

challenge

DO NOT move on to this Habit until you have solidified the previous Habit! Spend 2-4 weeks making it default; rushing it will not help you.

Our first three Vital Habits are primarily meant for bringing more vitality into your life. And, if nothing else, you master those and stop there, you’ll notice a significant change in your physical and mental outlook.

However, getting Strong, by its very nature, requires challenge!

Yes, if you want to grow, you must force that growth.

One of the main principles of physical training is the SAID principle: Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. Your body and metabolism will respond appropriately when subjected to a challenge. If you want to run faster, you must run and steadily push your speed week after week. If you want to jump higher, you must jump and practice going higher and developing more force. If you want to be stronger, you must put yourself in a position that coerces you to use your strength.

Now, just like with the previous habit, this can a bit intimidating to jump right into.

That’s why we recommend starting small, going slow, and easing into the habit. You’ve got 4 weeks to work on it don’t you?

Next time you go for a walk, try jogging some.

Next time you go to the park, give the monkey bars a whirl and maybe do some pull ups.

Next time you hop on your bike, see how far you can ride! Can you make it to the next town and back?

You can take this as far as you’d like.

For some of you, it may mean doing the same daily activities you found enjoyable and habitual from the previous Habit and adding some extra challenge to them. For others, it might mean joining a gym, training for a competition, rock climbing, or committing to a marathon like you’ve always said you would.

It doesn’t matter what it is.

It only matters that it challenges you.

Habit #5: Sleep 7-8 Hours a Night

sleep

DO NOT move on to this Habit until you have solidified the previous Habit! Spend 2-4 weeks making it default; rushing it will not help you.

Sleep is the thing that can tie all the previous habits together.

Sleep is rather important, even though it seems like we can get by without it.

We humans aren’t machines. We can’t just keep going, and going, and going, and going. But, in the same breadth, we can’t just shut down either.

We can “recharge.” And, that’s what sleep is for.

Studies have shown that without adequate sleep, especially when a regular thing, you force yourself into a state of higher stress. You feel irritable, overwhelmed, unmotivated, and lethargic. You skip exercise and you’re mentally just not up to the tasks of daily life. And, those same studies have also shown that most individuals need at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night (5).

Fortunately, sleep and exercise share a very intimate relationship and an improvement of one will, in most cases, improve the other.

Habit #6: Do 1-5 Everyday

to-do

DO NOT move on to this Habit until you have solidified the previous Habit! Spend 2-4 weeks making it default; rushing it will not help you.

This is the linchpin. This what makes it all truly turn into a new lifestyle.

Remember:

You want to make these Vital Habits your default! Through thick and thin you want these to be the habits you fall back into, instead of your former, less beneficial habits.

Which is why we want to do everything we can to help you along this path.

If you found this article helpful and want to take the steps mentioned, download our FREE Vital Habits Cheatsheet to remind you of what you need to do on the daily. It fits right into your pocket when cut out and folded, so you can keep it with you at all times throughout the weeks to come.

Simply fill out the form below to get your copy!

Download Your FREE 6 Habits Cheat Sheet

* indicates required




 

vital-habits-cheatsheet

References

  1. H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158
  2. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition by John Berardi, PhD; Ryan Andrews, MS, MA, RD; Precision Nutrition
  3. The influence of food portion size and energy density on energy intake. Julia A. Ello-Martin et. al. American Society for Clinical Nutrition.
  4. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  5. American Psychological Association. Sleep and Stress.

 

 

 

Comments & Questions