The Basics to Health (and Fitness)

The Basics? Seems like it’s always been “Eat a balanced diet, and exercise”. The exercise part could be replaced with “lead an active lifestyle”, or “be active”, but there aren’t too many of us who are healthy, fit, and trim into our adult lives who don’t put forth at least some effort on it. Does the following describe you? Your body weight remains at a healthy level, your nutrition is pretty good, you’re a generally happy person who doesn’t stress much, you have fulfillment in your life, whether career, family, or whatever. And all you do is eat nutritious foods, walk the dog, play with the kids, mow the lawn, clean the house, and viola’, you’re healthy, and you look and feel great! If so, good for you! Las Vegas has odds set at about 99 to 1 against that being you! Unfortunately, with the obesity level in the U.S. rising to 26.1% of our population in 2008 (read the CDC obesity report), I doubt that there are many healthy people who don’t work at it at least a little. And for those of us who aspire to being very healthy, remaining young/youthful (anti-aging is the buzzword), or being very active, functional, fit, and looking the part, we either have to really enjoy the lifestyle, or work at it despite how much we wish we didn’t have to.

A Quick Note on Body Mass Index – don’t worry too much about this, but it’s good to understand it. It’s kind of out-dated, but it’s still being used. As far as obesity and body mass index correlation, they are loosely correlated, but not absolutely. My body mass index indicates that I’m overweight, though I am extremely fit, and my body fat level is usually below 10%. Height: 5 feet, 10 inches Weight: 190 pounds (my weight fluctuates between 188 and 195, while my body fat fluctuates between 7-12%, usually being roughly 8%. My BMI, according to the adult CDC Body Mass Index Calculator:

“Your BMI is 27.3, indicating your weight is in the Overweight category for adults of your height. For your height, a normal weight range would be from 129 to 174 pounds.”

Conclusion? If you’re a sedentary person, body mass index charts are a fairly good indicator. If you have a lean, muscular physique, your BMI will be almost meaningless. On the other extreme, the stereotypical anorexic “waif” model body type often has a higher than healthy bodyfat level, with poor health, but their BMI is “perfect”.

Ok, so back to the basics of being healthy and fit… My take on it is this – you don’t have to kill yourself or hate the process to be healthy, fit, and energetic, and to look and feel good as well.

  • If all you want is to be somewhat fit, somewhat trim, be healthy by medical standards, and look and feel pretty good, regardless of your age, you can do so with a modest amount of time and effort.
  • If you want to be super fit, ripped, chiseled, and rock hard, super healthy, and look and feel great, you’ll have to work at it, and you’ll probably either love it, or love the results so much that you train your mind to “just do it”.

The amount of time and effort you have to put into it will depend on:

Time and Effort Factors

  • your genetics
  • your age
  • your beginning level of fitness, bodyfat, and health
  • your level of athleticism
  • your relationship with food
  • the fitness activities you choose
  • there are other factors, but they don’t matter as much

The Year Long Plan: I’ve taken 50-something men and women who were entirely unathletic, and helped them completely change their bodies over the course of a year. They worked out 3 times/week, and gradually changed their eating habits until they were at a B- grade level with regard to nutrition. The Fast Track to Health/Fitness: It can be done faster, but how fast depends on a number of factors. I’ll say that 6 months is likely for many people, and 3-4 months for some. The time frame for you depends on your goal, as well as the Time and Effort Factors listed above. But the beauty of it is that the basics are pretty much the same for everyone, while advanced goals require advanced exercise and intensity, and a more “scientific” nutritional plan. I use the term scientific because that’s what it is, but the common terms you hear are “more restrictive diet”, “eating super clean”, “a tighter diet”, or other similar-sounding terms. Note: I will refer to the term “diet” often, meaning your day-to-day eating habits, as opposed to a restrictive caloric intake strategy to lose weight. DIET = eating plan NOT a restrictive caloric intake strategy for losing weight The Bottom Line: Eating right and exercising are the prescription for good health. If you’ve neglected your body for a long time, you can start turning things around now. Just decide to start. Make a change. Start with one thing. When you’re accustomed to that, add one thing at a time, and before long, you’ll be living a healthier lifestyle. If you’re fairly healthy, but you want to improve in one or more areas, the answer is the same… just start to implement a new and improved plan. If you’re looking for a particular plan, you’ll find one that fits your needs on this site. Go ahead, you can do it. Get started today doing something, and it will lead to much, much more.

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