Huckberry X Will Maloney
--This article was originally posted on Huckberry. ---
There are so many tips, tricks and how to's for good nutrition and overall health available to us guys these days, plans that promise nothing short of ways to get shredded abs and smoking biceps to one-handed 400-pound, sure-fire deadlift techniques.
While it's nice to be able to do all of these things, we still want to have the flexibility in our lifestyle to also have a good drink or two. And once you have those baseline health basics down and you're hanging onto a good fitness level, maybe you'd like to level up — to become a little leaner, a little stronger, and a lot healthier.
Here's a rundown of my top five diet and wellness tactics that will optimize your health and looks while still making sure you can go out to eat on the weekends.
Not the outer gut, hopefully — the inner gut, the digestive system. Our digestive system is like a sink disposal — it processes all our food, breaks it up, and sends it packing. The difference is that our sink doesn't have hormones, and balance and regulation comes largely from the state of our inside gut. This means that if the inside gut isn't working right, then we get bloated, increase our stress hormones, decrease the hormones that keep our belts loose, and then feel lazy and unmotivated to get up off the couch and go for a run.
To keep your gut working right and avoid all these negative side affects, try these tips:
Up Your Veggies. Raw and cooked.
More greens means more roughage which means better digestion. Eat just a half times more than you're already are and you'll be better off for it.
Your recovery program should be at least the same amount of time as your workouts over the course of a week. Wait, you don't have a recovery program? No, it's not finally being able to sit on your ass come Sunday football.
When I was strength coaching at Stanford, our head performance coordinator had us coaches focusing a ton on the players recovery as well as their training. And those guys were really lighting it up on the field as a result. To keep it simple, we are only as good as our recovery. If you are under-recovered, then your workout will suck, the weight you're lifting will feel heavier than it should, and you're likely to hurt some strange part of your body that you weren't even previously aware of. Take your total gym time in hours and that's at least as much time you will need to focus on your recovery.
Here are few of many recovery methods to boost your ROI from all that gym time:
Ideally, do some static stretching before your workout as insurance against injury (doing it after your workout is your call). Pick one day per week where you stretch two to three major muscle groups for a collective total time of 30 minutes or more.
Water, water, and then some water.
Take .66 times your body weight in pounds and that will give you a total daily amount in ounces you need to drink of water. Yes, that number will probably wow you.
The White Powder (not what you think)
Two supplements come to mind when dealing with recovery: BCAAs and glutamine. These are amino acids that aid in the recovery of your muscles (and even aid the inside gut). For glutamine, calculate .15 times your body weight in pounds and that will be how many grams to take. As for BCAAs, divide your body weight by 2.2, multiply that number by .25, and that will give you how many grams to take.
It's becoming more common knowledge that when it comes to looks and health, nutrition holds more weight than what you do in the gym. And while that's true, sleep is actually more important than both! Sleep is massively important. Al Pacino might have said you'll sleep when you're dead, but to that I say you'll be dead a lot sooner than you should.
The amount of growth hormone released, muscle regeneration, and neural recovery you get simply from sleep is unmatched. Sleep is important in two different ways: how long you sleep and how well. You have to address both in different ways.
If you're trying to get more sleep, then start by going to bed earlier — try doing this in five-minute increments over the course of a few weeks. This way, you won't be staring up at the ceiling until you fall asleep and it will also be easier, habit-wise.
As for quality, the most important things are being in a completely dark room, wearing ear plugs if you wake easily, and keeping the constant room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you're doing that, start leaving a 30 minute window open where you have no electronics — phone, TV, computer, Kindle, anything. The blue light emitted from these delay certain hormone releases that tell your body to go to sleep.
The final take away? Start by picking one of these categories and slowly work the tips and tricks into you lifestyle. From there, you can dive into the others, and you'll be healthier before you know it.
Want more information on all of the above? You can schedule some time with me here.