It’s all well and good to do a 31 Day Challenge to see how lean you can get in a month. But the truth is that most of what is recommended in my 31 Day Challenge Manual is what you should do all of the time. For life long health and fitness, follow my 7 Laws To Be Fit For Life.
1. Fight For Your Life
Do you know what it’s like to stalk your prey with nothing more than a spear and your wits? Neither do I. How about run for your life from a saber tooth tiger that is trying to make you his next meal? Me neither.
But this kind of survival stress followed by a corresponding burst of intense physical activity is what our bodies are designed for. Sure, today we have plenty of stress from mounds of paperwork, unpaid bills, and radio stations playing Miley Cyrus every third song, but these stimuli are rarely met with a corresponding physical release. And this is why we must create the release artificially through training.
High-intensity short duration interval or circuit training is best for simulating this “fight or flight” scenario. And just what do I mean by high intensity? I mean maximum effort that causes you to question your ability to complete the training session. I’m talking heart thumping, breath stealing, “Oh my god I’m going to puke”, all out balls to the wall effort. Should you do this every day? Of course not. There has to be some days where training is dedicated to moving heavy stuff.
2. Move Heavy Stuff
Moving heavy stuff simply refers to strength training. Almost every athletic attribute can be enhanced by using the major compound movements with heavy weight. Just how heavy? Heavy enough that you cannot perform more than 5 repetitions per set. The movements I use primarily with my own clients are the push press, squat, and the deadlift. The pull up (with additional weight if your fitness level dictates) and bench press are also fine choices.
Don’t have a barbell?
Push a car. Haul a BFR (Army slang for big fucking rock). Or even do challenging bodyweight exercises where your current strength level does not allow more than 5 reps. That might be a basic push up for a new fitness practitioner, or it could be a handstand push up or one legged squat for someone more advanced. Whatever your training situation, designate some time to moving heavy stuff.
3. Learn New Skills
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you wanted to get fit with nothing more than the push-up, pull up, and bodyweight squat, you could do it. But a life time fitness regimen of only three movements would get boring as hell. There are mental and emotional components to training as well as the physical. And one of the best ways to keep all of these components fresh is to learn new skills.
Maybe that means picking up a kettlebell for the first time or experimenting with the Olympic Lifts. Perhaps for you it’s learning how to play lacrosse or taking a yoga class. Whatever you choose, learning new fitness skills will keep you motivated, mentally fresh, and physically challenged.
4. Use The Stick And Flame Test
Sometimes it’s called the “primal” or “paleo” diet and it’s typically what I recommend to get lean. But the more I think about it, and the more I train clients, the more I believe this is the diet we were meant to eat and is not just for “getting lean”.
So what is the stick and flame test? Simple. If you cannot eat it raw or with no other means of cooking than a pointy stick and an open flame, then you shouldn’t eat it. That limits proper food intake to fruit, vegetables, meats, nuts, and seeds. And don’t cry to me about your morning bagel or you need those carbs. Unless you’re about to run a marathon, you’ll get all of the carbohydrates you need if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
5. Acknowledge The Interconnectedness Of It All
This is where I’m supposed to talk about “rest”. And sure, get as much quality sleep as you can and practice stress reduction techniques. But also consider who you spend your time with, the environment of your workplace, and even the clutter you keep in your home as factors that can affect your health and fitness. If the elements of your life outside of your training are as streamlined and stress-free as possible, then the rest and recovery time you spend will be more effective.
6. Recognize Your Bullshit
Don’t have the time to workout?
Not sure what to eat?
Bullshit. Every single excuse you have is complete bullshit. But we all have them. . . “Well I’m going to have to cheat on my nutrition this weekend because of my sister’s wedding.” Bullshit. You don’t “have” to do anything. Recognize that you are choosing to stray from your nutrition plan to celebrate a momentous occasion and don’t saddle yourself with the guilt of cheating.
7. Break The Laws
There is a fine line between recognizing the signals your body and mind give you that a change is needed and just being a damned flake. I hate long slow cardio, but I just started implementing a 6-mile walk in my Sunday routine. Strength training is undeniably effective, but I’ve recently cut back so I can spend more time exercising at home and less at my place of business. Sometimes the laws must be skirted in effort for continual improvement. But as they are laws and not guidelines, a return to the tried and true is always inevitable.
If you want a proven 4-week workout plan to kick start your fat loss quest I recommend checking out The 31 Day Challenge
What are some of the laws that you follow for life long health and fitness?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.