Over the years, I have been asked this question in many different ways. I chose this question first for “Ask Andy” because it allows for a solid introduction to a “fitness lifestyle.” I’ll answer this with a brief overview of this holistic mindset. In future articles, we’ll be able to dive deeper into each concept.
The absolutely “fastest” way to get in shape is to, of course, do everything right. But since I’m assuming that we’re all human, it’s almost impossible to do EVERYTHING right for any extended duration.
Yes, some fitness professionals or athletes or certain actors and models can get close to “perfection” for a specific amount of time. Maybe it happens when they’re preparing for a competition or a special shoot date. But for most of us, we need to accept that sometimes we may need to miss a workout or two. Plus, it’s OK to admit to ourselves that ice cream is indeed delicious.
So, What’s the Answer?
You’re rightfully wondering, “What does he mean, doing everything right?” To start, let me say that I consider a fitness lifestyle to be one which includes life habits that help YOU to feel/look/perform the best that YOU can.
There are many aspects of a fitness lifestyle, but there are four main components which I have learned are the most crucial:
- EXERCISE. We must so some type of physical movement every day. By far, the most important aspect of this component is consistency. Much more to discuss here in future articles.
- INTAKE. In order to create positive change, intake (what we eat and drink)-—especially as our bodies mature—is considerably more important than the type of exercise we do. Stay tuned for more on this.
- HYDRATION. After three decades of training, coaching, and teaching, it’s my opinion that the majority of us are in a constant state of dehydration. This has a detrimental effect on so many of our body systems, from digestion/metabolism (think fat-burning) to energy level, to actual strength/muscle development.
- SLEEP. It’s no secret, sleep is our body’s way of recharging, repairing, and improving. So why do so many of us work so hard to destroy any chance that we get healthy sleep?
If you’re not paying attention to all four of these components, then you are not seeing the results you’d like. “Andy, I’m working out hard, how come I still can’t see my abs?” “Andy, I’m drinking my pre-workout shake, my during-workout shake, and my post-workout shake, why aren’t I getting stronger?” “I’m too tired to exercise, what am I doing wrong?”
These are all common questions. And 95% of the time I can talk with these people about the four components listed above. Then I’m able to identify that they have been neglecting one or more of these critical aspects.
Until next time, take care of yourselves, and be good to each other.
Andy McDermott is a proponent of basic truths about health and wellness, based on lessons he’s learned personally over a lifetime of fitness. He got his first personal training certification in 1999 while working at Bally’s gym in Chicago. He completed the 40 Hour EXOS Sports Performance Mentorship, TRX Instructor certification, and earned his third-degree Black Belt in tae kwon do. While serving as a police officer on the Tactical Response Unit of the Phoenix Police Department, Andy served as Subject Matter Expert/Lead Instructor in Physical Training of all Arizona Law Enforcement. He’s won the National Championship at the US Police and Fire Games in the event called Toughest Competitor Alive. He played professional soccer for seven seasons after graduating from Northwestern University. He also holds the US Soccer National Coaching A License. Andy has published more than 100 articles and videos for national media publications.