Updated: Apr 17, 2020

I remember when I started working. Having left university a short time before I pretty much took the same approach to my lifestyle as I had the three years before. I went for drinks after work with colleagues almost every day, ate whatever I felt like for lunch and slept right up to the moment that I had to get out of bed. Top that with regular cigarette breaks and taking minimal exercise - this new lifestyle of mine very quickly started to take its toll. Not only did I put on weight dramatically, but I remember days at my desk just dragging on as I become more and more lethargic by the week. I did not feel good about myself at all; I just felt awful.

The Challenge

Anyone whose life revolves around an occupation that resembles a nine to five has to come to terms with the fact that you spend a large proportion of your daily life at work. Work can quickly get in the way of a healthy lifestyle. As you cannot spend the same moments that you are focusing on your role looking after yourself, it becomes essential to make the moments around it count.

The Opportunity

Once you work out what is important, it is not that hard to build in steps that I fit in around your work and social life to feel your best without having to make massive sacrifices in other areas. 

I break my regular efforts into two parts:

Daily rituals - 45 minutes a day that keep my body and mind in good working order

  1. Wake up and Re-Hydrate (1 minute) - Most people do not realise that 7-8 hours in bed without drinking water means you actually start your day dehydrated. A glass of water with a squeeze of lemon and a gram of good quality salt will address this instantly. The lemon kick starts your digestive and immune systems as well as reduces inflammation and the salt provides electrolytes and minerals that are good for the adrenal system and muscle function.

  2. Meditate (3 minutes) - Along with many other benefits meditation is proven to reduce stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, lengthen attention span and improve sleep. Anything that takes less than five minutes and has that many benefits to your mental health are worth doing. If you are happy to invest a small amount each month, sign up to headspace or calm. If budget is an issue just find one that works for you on YouTube.

  3. Make exercising regular and realistic (20 minutes) - Most people find regular exercise difficult because when they do finally get into it, they bite off more than they can chew. The longer your routine the more likely things are to get in the way. Exercise like HIIT, running or yoga can allow you to make a lot of progress in a very short period of time. Any day that starts with a good flow of endorphins will feel miles more positive than those that don’t.

  4. Cold showers (0 minutes longer than a hot one) - Turning the water down as cold as you dare for the last few minutes of a shower can promote fat loss, improve immunity and circulation. it is a great way to reset your nervous system and simulates a stressful situation which makes it great for dealing with stress, sleep, emotional resilience, muscle recovery as well as good skin and hair.

  5. Food preparation (20 minutes) - Though food can be a treat, it is important to remember that it is primarily a fuel. There are only three simple things to remember:

  6. Volume - Establish how many calories you need to support your lifestyle - Too little and you will feel short of energy and too many and your body will start to store fuel, which is great if that is your goal.

  7. Nourishment - Try and get as many of the nutrients and vitamins as you can from the food that you eat so you can avoid needing to supplement with too many alternatives.

  8. Timing - The right fuel at the right time can go along way - the right nutrients first thing in the morning can help you start your day with a bang, potassium and protein after exercise can help with recovery, carbohydrates before bed can help you sleep.

What is right for you specifically depending on your goals and lifestyle. A consultation with a nutritionist is far cheaper and less time consuming than most people would think and there are some amazing resources available today. I love the app Centr which aligns both exercise and nutrition, invariably leading to fast and satisfying results.

Weekly principles

  1. Bank rest - Prioritising sleep early in the week allows you to be ready no matter what the latter part of the throws at you.

  2. Give your body (and liver) a break - Your liver needs 3 full days to recover, pick whichever days you will find easiest to resist temptation and note how much better you feel when you stick to them.

  3. Ask “Is this normal?” - The human body is very good at getting used to symptoms the slowly develop. Regular pains become something that we just get on and to cope with. If you are not feeling right, try and identify specific symptoms. For quickest results, your time on Google is best spent seeking a specialist who can help you address them.

  4. Learn which supplements are right for you - All of our bodies are different and supplements can be a great way of addressing and ironing out imperfections in the way that it functions. I love The Nue Co’s products for help with issues relating to anxiety and digestion.

  5. Build-in time for balance - Being too rigid on your routine can reduce the likeliness of it being sustainable in the long run. I give myself the weekends off entirely which acts as a well-deserved break and normally I am excited to get back to it by Monday.

As a valued part of the Y Code tribe, we want to invite you into the fold. Share your Y Structure with us, share your challenges, your opportunities, your routines and your salvations.

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