101 Tips to Get Stronger, Leaner, and Happier – Part 1

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Ryan Day Coaching

This post kicks off a four-part series in which we’ll dive into 101 tips to get you stronger, leaner, and happier.

If you implement all 101 of these starting today, you’ll be a completely different person one year from now!!!

I’m kidding. I’d never expect anybody to adopt 101 new behaviors in a day, a year, or even a decade.

I’ve been lifting weights for 18 years, focusing on nutrition for 13 years, and there are plenty of these that I still don’t do consistently, even knowing the benefits.

I can neither confirm nor deny that I adhere to #24…

If even one of these behaviors makes it into your daily routine and improves your life, the hours spent putting these together will be worth it.

Each post over the next four weeks will include 25 tips, with the exception of the fourth post which will include 26.

Without further ado, here are the first 25. Hope you enjoy.

1. Find your “why”.

This is first for a reason. Nailing down WHY you want to be healthy ensures you always have a guidepost to determine whether your actions align with your desired outcome.

2. Eat a high-protein diet.

Proteins are the building blocks of life, and the benefits of protein are abundant: muscle development and repair; enzyme and hormone production; immune function; keeps you satiated; need I go on?

3. Move your body early and often.

Move your body when you wake up to help kickstart your metabolism, regulate your circadian rhythm, and improve your mood throughout the day. Keep moving throughout the rest of the day to amplify the benefits. The ole’ “10 thousand steps a day” advice is great to keep you up and moving throughout the day.

4. Lift weights.

More and more people are lifting weights these days, and it’s about time. Resistance training is more effective than cardio in producing sustainable weight loss results. Not to mention the increased metabolism, strength, confidence, and energy levels. If you’re a newbie, shoot for two full-body sessions per week. Three sessions is plenty for the more experienced folks.

5. Do cardio – but not for its fat loss effects.

As much as I promote resistance training, cardio also deserves a spot in your exercise routine. Cardio is phenomenal for maintaining heart health and improving your VO2 max, which is one of the greatest predictors of healthy aging. Long-form, steady-state cardio and high-intensity interval style training are both great options.

6. Establish a routine.

Morning routine, evening routine, 10 AM routine – I don’t care. Establish a routine at some point in your day that includes at least one thing that promotes health. It can be anything – flossing your teeth, 10 pushups, a 5-minute walk, meditation, drinking a glass of water. By having a daily routine like this, you’re guaranteed to do at least one healthy thing each day.

7. Find 2 or 3 high-quality, nutrient-dense foods you can eat almost every day.

I’ve been eating the same high-protein oatmeal topped with berries, almonds, and chia seeds each day for years, which gives me a nice boost of fiber and protein to start the day. Find a few staple foods that you can look forward to eating each day.

8. Become a regular at your local farmers market.

I like this one for a few reasons. First, it’s good knowing that your food is coming from a local farm where it was grown or raised right. Second, going to a farmers market takes you out into the great outdoors. Third, you might find yourself developing a stronger sense of community either with the vendors at the farmers market or the people you go with. Last, there’s usually somebody there selling some really good coffee. 🙂

9. Watch the sunrise.

There’s a lot of science to support viewing morning sunlight for regulating your circadian rhythm. The spectrum of light produced by morning sun tells our bodies to wake up. Beyond that, there’s something about knowing you were up before sunrise that is intrinsically motivating and lasts throughout the rest of the day.

10. Watch the sunset.

Similar to watching the sunrise, watching the sunset can help keep your internal sleep clock on track. On top of the scientific reason for watching the sunset, enjoying a sunset is one of the simple pleasures in life. Grab somebody close to you and go watch a sunset to give your mental and emotional health a boost.

11. Wear sunscreen and get annual skin checks.

These two things are so simple and go SO far in preventing skin cancer. Do them. That’s it.

12. Track your food.

If you have a specific goal to lose weight or gain weight, tracking food to stay on track with calorie and macro targets is the quickest way to get there. There are plenty of apps out there to do this (Cronometer, Fat Secret, MyFitnessPal, etc.), and it takes about 3 minutes each day.

13. Eat a lot of fiber.

Fiber is great for your gut, yes. BUT, most people don’t know fiber can also help with regulating blood sugar, heart health, and weight management. Plus, the foods that contain fiber often contain a ton of other vitamins and minerals that are good for you. Win-win!

14. Don’t be afraid of carbs.

Carbs give you energy, help you build muscle, and can be loaded with vitamins and minerals. Carbs don’t make you fat – eating too many calories makes you fat.

15. Don’t be afraid of fats.

Fats are crucial for hormone production, absorbing certain micronutrients, and maintaining the structural integrity of your cells. Fats also give you a long-lasting source of energy. Dietary fat doesn’t make you fat – eating too many calories makes you fat.

16. Eat your favorite foods – in moderation.

Cutting out all your favorite foods from your life is a surefire way to end up unhealthily binging them at some point down the road. If you want a cookie, eat the cookie. Just don’t eat 10 of them.

17. Include “diet breaks” regularly when trying to lose weight.

If you need to lose 30 pounds, it’s a dangerous game staying in a caloric deficit for months on end to do so. Try staying in a deficit for 3 weeks, returning to caloric maintenance for 1 week, rinse, and repeat until you hit your goal. There is science behind why this works, but the psychology is more important in my opinion. Dieting down is tough, and giving yourself these mental breaks from dieting is much more sustainable and conducive to hitting your goals.

18. Warm up before exercise – especially as you get older.

I am a big believer that people can get healthier over time. BUT, I’m not naive enough to think a 1995 Toyota Camry is going to outlast a 2025 Toyota Camry. While still reliable, the ‘95 Camry is much more prone to “injury” than this year’s model. Your body is similar. Warm it up before exercising.

19. Something is better than nothing.

Quit making the “I only had 10 minutes so I didn’t work out” excuse. Either (1) you don’t know any better (which is fine!), or (2) you’re lying to yourself. If you don’t know any better, let me tell you – doing 25 bodyweight squats is better than skipping a workout completely. If you’re lying to yourself – STOP.

20. Put your phone down and train.

Set the playlist or podcast and get after it. If you need to log sets and reps or film a movement for a technique check, sure. Other than that, your phone has no place in your workout. Put it up and train.

21. Spend time with your friends & family.

Health is about more than broccoli and bench press. Mental and emotional health are just as important as physical health, and having a rock-solid community of friends and family are a big part of that. Those “Live Laugh Love” signs have become a mockery, but, as much as I hate to admit it, they kinda have a point.

22. Play with your pet.

Few things are able to make me smile as quickly as seeing our dog (or any dog for that matter). Playing with animals is good for the soul, so take a few minutes out of your day to play with yours.

23. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Some people may need more than this, but 8 glasses a day is a GREAT start for a lot of people when it comes to hydrating properly. You’re leaving less room for sugary drinks and sodas, plus you’ll have to get up to pee more, which means more steps. Win-win.

24. No caffeine after noon.

If there’s one rule on this list I blatantly and unwisely disregard – this is it. Caffeine stays in your system long after it’s consumed, and it can have pretty rough effects on sleep quality as a result. If you struggle with sleeping through the night, try only consuming caffeine before lunch and see how your sleep responds.

25. Get off social media.

While social media certainly has its uses, it is TOXIC for mental health. Either permanently or sporadically, getting off social media in any capacity is beneficial. Some people like doing a specific day of the week, others will take a month off each year. Whatever works for you, please just try this once and I promise you’ll see the benefits immediately.

Thanks for reading along, and I’m looking forward to sharing the next batch of 25 next Sunday!