For a long time now the fitness industry has followed the path set by the fashion and beauty world and would have us believe that looking’ fit and healthy is what its all about. In the cosmetics world there is a multi billion pound industry centred on making people think that if they apply a variety of expensive lotions and potions, they can capture the golden chalice of eternal youth. Unfortunately most of this hype is all smoke screens and mirrors.

In order to get the most from your body, you first need to understand how all the elements of fitness are interlinked and accept the fact that its going to require some hard work on your part, there are no short-cuts to total body fitness.

Three Steps Towards Being Fitter, Feeling Stronger and Looking Younger

Through my years of involvement in the health and fitness industry, I have seen that there are three simple rules that will help you to maintain your body at its peak level, no matter what your age.  I will discuss each one in detail below, but the main points are:

  • A regular ‘challenging’ exercise program
  • A healthy ‘balanced’ diet
  • Good skincare

The Exercise Programme

The benefits of a regular exercise programme are well documented. As a personal trainer most of my clients come to me wanting to lose weight or change their body shape in some way. Although the outward benefits of your exercise program will become apparent over time, there are many more physiological changes going on beneath the skin. For example our blood cells carry oxygen and other important nutrients to all parts of the body. The more we exercise the more our organs are fed, nourished and flushed of harmful toxins, which build up in our system.

The key to a good exercise programme, is that each session has to challenge your body, and make you push a little harder than the one before. So many times I see people who are stuck in a rut with their training routines. When they start off, all exercise is hard but as the body adapts they slip into the ‘comfort zone’ where they are exercising regularly, but not really pushing themselves as hard. When I see people on an exercise bike or treadmill reading their paper, I honestly think, “why bother”? Our bodies are built to respond to challenges and unless you push your body, in a safe yet controlled manner, it will never improve.

A Balanced Diet

It seems that every day we are bombarded with a new diet or super food that is going to change the world. Then there is the ongoing debate over high protein, low carbohydrate diets, as well as the ever shifting sands of medical advice saying eat/don’t eat, this type of food. It can all get a bit confusing when you are trying to have the kind of diet which will assist you in your goal for an healthy body.

In its most basic terms a balanced diet is about getting the right mix of ingredients to fuel your body for each day. One thing you should understand at the outset is that if you eat more calories than you are actually burning, then your body will store the excess as fat. That is regardless of whether the excess is eaten as protein or carbohydrates or fat in the first place. If you are taking part in a regular exercise programme, then it is essential that you include carbohydrates in your diet to provide the necessary energy to your muscles.

Lets not forget that nature has provided us with an abundance of healthy choices and fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available in many parts of the world. Try to include as much unprocessed foods in your diet as you can, and remember that bright coloured foods such as fruits, berries and vegetables tend to be high in beneficial antioxidants and vitamins. Avoid fast foods that are high in fat and tend to have a short term energy boost to the body but at a cost of clogging up your system.

An important element of your diet, especially if you are exercising regularly is that you need to ensure that you drink enough water  (1.5 litres minimum). Hydration forms a key role in how your body performs and the balance of essential electrolyte and mineral levels in your body.  It also helps you to flush out harmful toxins, which build up during our normal day to day activities.

Good Skin Care

It maybe stereotyping, but men tend to spend too little time thinking about skin care while women tend to spend far too much. We are bombarded with adverts and special creams with fancy names that claim to reduce wrinkles, make you look younger and rejuvenate your skin. Well the first thing you need to recognise is that your skin is in fact the largest organ in your body, it is affected more by what you put in your body, than what you put on it.

For example, if you have a high fat diet, smoke, and drink more than two units of alcohol a day then the negative effects of this lifestyle will not be reversed by applying a wonder cream to the outside layer of your skin. There are however some simple and inexpensive steps that can be taken to ensure that your skin will always look as clear and fresh as possible:

  • Firstly as mentioned above, a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water is the foundation for good healthy skin.
  • Regular exercise benefits all of your organs including your skin. Oxygen and nutrient rich blood is circulated around the body more efficiently and nourishes the skin from the inside out.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals on your skin. I never use soap on my face as this dries out the skin, instead I use a natural tea tree oil cleanser to clean my face.
  • Moisturise your skin regularly. Again there is no need for expensive lotions with fancy names. As a massage therapist, I have been using essential oils for many years. I currently use my own blend of essential oils, which are high in vitamins and anti oxidants. Because they are wholly natural, they are easily absorbed into the skin, and help it to remain refreshed and young looking.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of how to get the best from your body, but the aim is to provide you with enough information to take steps in the right direction.  Your health is the most important asset you have so use it wisely and it will reward you for many years to come.

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