Maybe some of you saw my post on Instagram yesterday: https://instagram.com/optimal_health_coaching/
I posted about my first hike in Vancouver 5 years ago. I hiked the first two peaks of the chief, and it probably took about 3 hours. It exhausted me, made me feel nauseous and made me feel VERY VERY sore. After the hike we went out for a bite to eat. I remember barely being able to eat, not wanting to chat to anyone, just wanting to pass out (which I went home and did for 12 hours!!). And I thought I was fit! I had just finished up a year of teaching fitness classes to fit young people at my University in London, and had rode with a group cycling on a tandem bike across Canada on my bike. One of the guys in the group mentioned that after dinner he was off to play tennis! I couldn’t believe it, I could barely lift my arm to my mouth and he was off to play tennis. I was inspired, motivated, and admired his level of fitness.
Just yesterday I went up and hiked Mount Seymour. The hike took us about 5 hours with breaks, it was a good pace for taking lots of pictures and enjoying the scenery. I felt great when I finished. After just an hour of rest and refuelling I was able to meet my team to play two hours of volleyball! I couldn’t believe it, 5 years ago this would have been impossible for me, and now it felt easy! I wasn’t tired, wasn’t sore (minus a few blisters), and my body felt great. I was so used to feeling crappy after I did exercise!
I post this as a reminder that fitness and health gains can be slow steady journey’s that you need to work up to. Every time you make time to exercise or choose a healthy meal or ride your bike instead of drive to work, all those small choices add up to slow and steady gains in health and fitness.
I have also done some reflection and realize there are 5 things I do now that I wish someone would have told me 5 years ago.
1) I fill my body with the best FUELS. When I used to hike I would use this as an ‘opportunity’ to enjoy some indulgences. I would go for a pizza, or burger and fries, or an ice cream etc. I would also use it as an opportunity to fill up on carby foods the day before a hike. Now I realize that those foods are not going to make me feel good, I will not perform well, and they are just going to make me more tired and more sore than I need to be!
Here’s an example of what I had while hiking this time:
Breakfast: gluten free sandwhich with banana and peanut butter. A smoothie with flax, chia, spirulina, whey protein, blueberries, strawberries, and almond milk.
Lunch: Carrots and hummus. Spinach. Beef in tomato sauce, and half an avocado. With berries. A large coconut water to replace electrolytes.
Dinner: I had no time to go home and had to go to Stabucks for food! I chose one of their green juices from the fridge (excellent way to replace lost sugars and electrolytes after a long hike), and a turkey and cheese sandwhich. The sandwhich is something I would not normally choose, but I will explain later while I felt ok eating it this time!
Snack @ home: Chicken breast with guacamole and hummus. (Strange looking snack, I know :)).
Moral of the story: Fill up on whole foods, electrolytes, and replace your sugars so that your exercise feels great, and the next day you do too! Eating pizza’s and fries and pops and granola bars etc on the hike and after is no good to do regularly!
2) Strength and Mobility is everything . Your probably know this about me, but I used to be a cardio junkie. I swam a ton, ran marathons, and loved my eliptical. Now I ride my bike everyday, but spend the rest of my gym time using weights, and working on my mobility. As a result I am so much stronger and more stable to play sports and hike around. Things don’t feel crappy and tight and sore anymore because my muscles aren’t as inflexible and lacking mobility. Now my legs are strong and mobile and ready to handle long hikes. The cardio is the easy part to train, but you can’t train the cardio if your muscles are too weak and tight!
3) Have an open mind. For the past 4 years or so I have been taking products from a company called Univera. YES- it’s a network marketing company, NO- the products are not sold in stores. I no longer use Univera as an active business model (aka trying to recruit people to be in my business), but you know what? I still use the products daily and would recommend them to anyone. Specifically, one of the products is called the Metabolic Makeover. It contains compounds the provide cellular energy, aloe vera to improve digestion, compounds to balance your blood sugar, improve cardiovascular function, and decrease joint inflammation. Even though I don’t try to sell these products anymore, I still need to share my experience. Kyle and I chose to started the full makeover again after travelling plenty throughout May. So for a week or so I have been taking them and have noticed an ISANE amount of energy, my knees and joints feel great (I work up from my big day yesterday with not an ounce of soreness), and overall my body feels healthy and vibrant. Because of the blood sugar regulator I know that my body will use the carbs I ate yesterday appropriately. I am in no way wanting you to feel pressured into buying this product, but I 100 % can’t deny how I feel when I am taking them, and need to attribute a portion of my health and fitness to them! There are a variety of products and I believe in them all https://www.newunivera.com/en-ca/products-for-vitality.
The reason why I say have an open mind is because anytime someone approaches me with something related to network marketing or at home businesses I totally shut down the conversation, I don’t want to hear about it! So I never try these products. No matter how much ‘hype’ is backing a product up, I believe if it works for you it’s a good product. You never know until you try!
4. Don’t let your ego get in the way of fitness and health.
I used to push myself way too far and way too fast because I always felt like I was fitter than I was, and I WANTED to be fitter so badly. I remember in my early days of hiking I would be sore for 3-4 days after each hike (this was also because I wasn’t enough enough food etc. to recover). If I could go back now I would start slow and ease up and avoid lots of injuries, pain, and feeling exhausted.
5. You need to eat enough!
I think the biggest thing holding people back from being full of energy for their day to day as well as athletic endeavours is eating enough calories, of the good kind! And digesting them! Diets, cutting carbs, eating 1500 calories or less, I believe are all ways to make you skinnier, yes, but won’t make you healthier, fitter, stronger, and more energized. When we try to exercise AND under consume food we don’t see any gains in strength, fitness, or health. Yes, we do see weight loss, but this weight loss is going to be short term, and will come back on when you eat normally again. An average person should eat close to 2000 HEALTHY calories a day. An active person needs to eat more, and needs to determine how much based on their own individual activity levels, if they are feeling hungry, and how much they need to eat for energy.
So please, if you want to simply be skinny, then yes go ahead and eat 1200 calories. But if you want to be lean, fit, and healthy all at once, eat a bit more to fuel your body, and keep that exercise going strong!
So if you are in a place of feeling a lack of health, or fitness, then take some of this advice, implement it, and let me know how it goes!
PS- If you ever want to go hiking, I go out usually every Sunday, feel free to join me! I might get some group hikes going this summer as well 🙂