Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

Top 10 Actions (with some twists) to dramatically improve your health and fitness!

Most of these are well known recommendations for being healthy and strong; however, by tweaking these just a little you can accelerate your progress to being your best self!

1. Lift weights - intensely, but slowly and just once or twice per week.

Strength training is THE number one thing you can do to increase your functional ability to move about in the world and reverse the degeneration that comes with aging. Proper Strength training also increases your resistance to injury, improves resting heart rate and blood pressure, increases insulin sensitivity and much more. In order to acheive all these benefits, you do not need to workout every day or for hours at a time. On the contrary, a brief 20 minute workout, just once or twice per week is all that is recommended. However, you do have to move the weights in a slow and controlled manner to rob yourself of momentum and you must perform each exercise to momentary muscular fatigue.

2. Walk at least 3 miles every day.

The human body did not evolve to sit 16 hours per day! We evolved to move, and you must move about at a low intensity all day, every day in order to optimize your health. This movement can include yard work, house cleaning, bike rides, hikes, etc. If you are at a desk all day, walk before work, during lunch, after work and every half hour or so during the day.

3. Go to sleep as early as you can.

There are many reason the body needs adequate sleep. If you cannot get to sleep or have trouble staying asleep, you probably have an issue in another aspect of your life (ex. poor nutrition, vitamin deficiency, dehydration, excessive stress). Sleep is necessary to reset hormone levels and rejuvenate your body. The more sleep you can get (up to about 9 hours), the more you reduce your chances of stroke, heart disease, and dementia. Since most of us either have to wake up early in the morning or simply cannot sleep late, we need to back up our bedtime. I recommend 10:00pm at the latest for most people.

4. Practice intermittent fasting.

Fasting does not mean starving. By simply extending the time between your last meal of the day and your first meal fo the next day to 14-18 hours or more (ex. 6pm dinner and then a 12pm first meal the next day) you will encourage ketosis, which allows your body to burn fat, increase your body's HGH (human growth hormone) and stimulates cellular repair. Calorie consumption will likely decrease when practicing intermittent fasting. Also, by working out intensely in a fasted state, your muscles will release glycogen, hence improving your insulin sensitivity.

5. Eat red meat every week.

Grass fed beef is incredibly nutritious in terms of amino acids (bioavailable protein), and has a significantly better Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio than Chicken or other protein sources. Just a 1/4 pound of grass fed beef has over 90% of your daily b-12 requirements, 50% Zinc, lots of b-6, Selenium, Phosphorus, and other important vitamins and minerals. All this is packed into just a few hundred calories of food.

6. Eat Vegetables at every meal.

I am admittedly a bit picky about my vegetables; however copious amounts of fresh and lightly steamed veggies like broccoli, peppers, spinach, and even brussel sprouts are amazingly nutritious and super low in calories. Whether you eat them in a salad, in your morning egg scramble, or as a large side to your beef or fish at dinner, the more you eat the better off you will be.

7. Get sunshine every day.

Vitamin D Deficiency is a big problem in this country today. So many of us are scared of skin cancer, that we don't get nearly enough sunlight. If everyone got 15-45 minutes per day of sunlight (depending on the season), the collective health would improve dramatically. Sunlight allows our body to produce the prohormone vitamin D, which benefits our bone health, our ability to regulate calcium and phosphorus, as well as possibly reducing heart disease, infections and more.

8. Hydrate first thing in the morning.

Overnight, you naturally dehydrate. By drinking 6-12 ounces of water within 30 minutes of waking up, you rehydrate the body and it can improve energy levels, increase your mental focus, and keep your GI system regular.

9. Increase your protein intake way more than you think.

Adequate protein is essential to maintain your health and body composition. Estimates vary, but active adults should get between 0.6-1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight. for a 150 pound person this equates to 90-150 grams of protein per day. For reference, three eggs have 18-21 grams of protein, and a 1/3 pound of beef (15% fat) is about 28 grams of protein.

10. Peform yoga stretches first thing in the morning

Stretching upon waking helps work out any stiffness you have accumulated over the previous night, as well as gain some initial focus on your body and your breathing. Just a couple minutes before or after your shower can do wonders for your mental and physical state.

Posted January 09, 2020 by Tim Rankin