101 Tips to Get Stronger, Leaner, and Happier – Part 3

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Ryan Day Coaching

Welcome to the third installment in our four-part series where we explore 101 tips to improve your health and fitness.

In case you need a refresher, here are the links for Tips 1 through 25 and Tips 26 through 50. My personal favorites from last week are #32, #36, and #46.

If you’ve already started trying one or two of these out, I’d love to hear about it.

Without further ado, here are tips 51 through 75. Hope you enjoy, and I’m excited to share the final 26 with you next Sunday!

51. Brush AND floss your teeth.

Your dentist (and mother) are right – brushing & flossing are critical for oral health. The tried and true advice to brush twice a day and floss daily still holds up pretty well in practice. If you can brush/floss after each meal, even better.

52. Remember to get electrolytes.

Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are critical for regulating the amount of water in your body, muscle and nerve function, and blood pH. If you eat a pretty clean diet and exercise regularly, you may be losing more electrolytes than you’re putting in your body. This can lead to headaches and fatigue pretty quickly, so you might consider adding some trace minerals or salt to your water.

53. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.

Most of the single-ingredient, whole-food options are going to be on the perimeter of the grocery store. All the highly processed options that aren’t so great for us are usually in the middle aisles. Next time you go to the grocery store, stay on the perimeter and you won’t even be tempted by all the goodies waiting for you in those middle aisles.

54. Dedicate time each day to “no screens”.

My favorite way to implement this: cut screens off one hour before bed. You’re reducing blue light exposure which can negatively affect your sleep, AND you’re getting guaranteed time away from all the anxieties and mood-altering effects of social media. Two other ideas: wait 30 minutes to check your phone after waking or have dedicated time to go for a walk outside with no technology.

55. Meditate.

I’ll be honest – I’m not practicing what I’m preaching here. I do firmly believe that there are a ton of benefits to meditating and the stillness/focus that comes along with it. That said, I’m a terrible meditator because I can’t sit still for more than about five minutes. Which means I probably REALLY need meditation. Maybe one day. Anyhow – give meditation a try and see if you like it.

56. Learn to love black coffee.

In moderation, of course. Coffee has been shown to have great antioxidant properties and neuroprotective effects. At ~100mg of caffeine per cup, the “safe” zone for consumption is up to 4 cups per day. However – All the sweeteners and creamers added to coffee can turn a really healthy drink into a calorie-laden, sugar-coma-inducing bomb. Slowly dial back the sweetness over time until you can tolerate a nice black cup of joe.

57. Start your day off with an easy task, immediately followed by the hardest task.

Let me explain here. Starting your day off with an easy task, like brushing your teeth or making your bed, can put you in a positive mental state from accomplishing something early. Capitalize on that feeling. Immediately after finishing the first task, knock out the nagging work project or chores you’ve been delaying. It’ll be easier to get started after you already have a “win” for the day under your belt.

58. Focus on your posture.

We are in the midst of a slouching epidemic. Anytime you think about your posture, straighten it up immediately. Head up, shoulders back, core engaged. The more you force yourself into proper posture, the more you’ll naturally take on this position without thinking about it.

59. Avoid taking a full week off from exercise.

One full-body workout per week is generally enough to maintain the strength and muscle mass you already have. Will you progress on a one-day-a-week program? If you’re a beginner, you bet! If you’re more advanced, probably not. But one workout per week can do wonders for helping you preserve the muscle, strength, and cardiovascular benefits you’ve worked so hard to develop. Also worth noting – there are exceptions for those people who are everyday gym-goers, who would probably benefit from a week off.

60. Declutter something at least once a year.

It’s SO freeing when you declutter part of your life. Whether it’s your phone’s pictures, your email, your closet, your kitchen, or something else, getting rid of stuff feels GOOD. Donate it, sell it, recycle it, upcycle it, just get rid of the things you don’t use. They’re not doing anything but occupying unnecessary space in your head and home.

61. Slowly increase the difficulty of your workouts.

Progressive overload is the term used to explain this idea. This just means that you’re adding more stress to the body over time to continue producing the adaptation you’re after. With lifting, you can do this by adding more reps, sets, or weight to the bar incrementally week-over-week. With cardio, you could increase the distance, time, or speed week-over-week.

62. Stop eating three hours before bed.

Giving your body a nice block of time before bed to fully digest your last meal can really benefit your sleep quality. A lot of people promote this as a fat-burning “hack” which really has no scientific support. HOWEVER, the improved sleep that results from better digestion CAN enhance fat loss.

63. Stop drinking one or two hours before bed.

Plain and simple, this will help you from getting up to pee as much in the middle of the night. The more we have to get up to use the restroom, the more our sleep suffers.

64. Always have goals.

Health goals, relationship goals, financial goals, they’re all important. Pursuing goals gives you something to strive for and is incredibly powerful for personal growth and development. If you’re going to make health goals, I’d caution against making them based on your appearance or achieving a certain weight on the scale. Focus on performance-based goals, and the body you want will follow.

65. Do not ignore recovery.

This is for all you Type A, no-days-off people out there. Give your body at least one day per week to recover. Going all out 7 days a week is really taxing on your body, and there are very few individuals in the world who can handle that type of stress. Warm up before workouts, cool down after, and prioritize recovery. And if you need some additional incentive – muscle growth and strength gains are greatest when the body is allowed to fully recover.

66. Avoid bright light before bed.

Bright light exposure around bedtime signals to your body that it’s still daytime so it needs to stay awake. This has been shown to reduce the body’s natural production of melatonin, which adversely affects your sleep quality. While we’re talking about it, there are very few cases where regular melatonin use is appropriate. When you frequently supplement with melatonin, you hinder your body’s ability to make it naturally which leads to reliance.

67. Stop drinking soda.

If you want to have a Diet Coke or Dr. Pepper every now and then, go for it. But please stop drinking four or five of these every day. I know diet sodas largely have no calories, and there’s a ton of debate about the effects of artificial sweeteners on our bodies. It’s pretty clear, however, that you’d be better served sticking to liquids not made in a factory.

68. Forgive others.

This one can be hard. People do messed up things, but holding a grudge doesn’t do anything positive for you. You’re letting somebody continue to steal your joy every single day by holding onto something that happened months or even years ago. You don’t have to forget about it, but you do need to forgive them and move on.

69. Forgive yourself.

Just like the last one, holding a grudge against yourself doesn’t do anything good for you. You are a human being that is prone to mistakes. Welcome to Planet Earth. Acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, and move on.

70. Exercise your mind.

Use it or lose it. Just like the body, you can lose that mental sharpness if it isn’t regularly worked. Listen to thought-provoking ideas, read books that interest you, engage in healthy debate – there are tons of ways to keep your mind sharp and agile.

71. Your body talks to you – listen to it.

Have you ever craved fruit or vegetables after a prolonged bout of unhealthy eating? Or what about this, your lower back hurts every time you move a certain way? These are signals your body is speaking to you. It is literally telling you what it needs, you are just choosing to ignore it. DON’T DO THAT. If your body is screaming at you that it needs nutrients, give it nutrients. If it’s whining about a weak muscle, strengthen that muscle.

72. Always check the nutrition label.

Marketers and food scientists are a deadly duo (literally). Just because the packaging of something makes it look healthy, doesn’t mean it is. Always check the ingredient list and macro profile to make sure what you’re eating aligns with your goals. When it comes to packaged foods, the fewer ingredients on the label the better. And if you can’t pronounce most of the ingredients, don’t eat it.

73. Focus on compound exercises.

Time is scarce, and as life moves along, it seems to get harder and harder to find. Maximize your time in the gym by focusing on the big compound movements that give you the most bang for your buck. Some of my favorites: squats, deadlifts, overhead shoulder press, bench press, rows, pull-ups, and dips.

74. Wash your hands.

If you made it through the pandemic and still don’t wash your hands frequently, for the good of all humanity – please wash your hands. The world is full of disease and washing your hands can do wonders for keeping that disease out of your body. Unless you enjoy being sick – then, by all means, go on about your life with your germ-infested hands.

75. Include probiotic foods in your diet.

Probiotic foods like yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut are phenomenal for a healthy gut and proper digestion. Start eating at least one serving of these a day, and watch your digestion improve over time.

Hope these were helpful, and I can’t wait to share the final 26 with you next Sunday.