More than half of Americans want to lose weight or just feel healthier overall. Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle or just keep up your health, the diet should be at the core of all your efforts. It’s a cliché that “you can’t out-train a bad diet,” but there’s plenty of truth to it. You can work as hard as you want in the gym, but if your diet is poor, you’ll only be holding yourself back. If you’re looking for a little extra boost for your exercise goals.
Here are seven ways to optimize your diet and maximize your health!
Make a Commitment and a Plan
Before undergoing any substantial life change, it helps to write down your goals. That goes for waking up earlier, changing jobs, or optimizing your diet. Changing your nutrition isn’t always fun (at least not at first), so having goals and reasons why written down can really help when things get tough. If nothing else, this is a great way to keep yourself on track and accountable.
If you really want to commit not just to the diet part but the exercise portion as well, you want to use everything at your disposal. Wearable tech like smartwatches and heart rate monitors can give you valuable data to optimize your workout routines.
In the business world, there’s a term thrown around a lot: friction. The general idea is that friction is something that gets in the way of your optimal workflow. For example, if you want to move more at the office, you get a treadmill desk. If you know you should walk more but just can’t tear yourself away from your work, the way to cut down friction is to bring the walking to you.
In the kitchen, the biggest point of friction is cooking. Especially if you aren’t someone who loves to cook, planning out healthy meals every day can be a pain. If that sounds like you, meal prepping is the best way to make it easy for yourself to follow your diet and exercise goals.
On the other hand, if you’re someone who loves to cook but can’t eat the same thing day in and day out, make sure to always keep discovering new recipes. If you make eating healthy fun, learning new recipes will be a good way to use your love of cooking to optimize your diet.
Be Choosy About What You Keep in Your Kitchen
What’s the simplest way to not break your diet? Don’t keep junk food in the house. We aren’t saying purge your kitchen and throw out everything. If it’s unopened, you can donate it. Maybe you’ve got friends who want it. Either way, you want to plan your kitchen intentionally from here on out. If you don’t have unhealthy foods, it’s much easier to stick to your diet. If you can ignore them at the grocery store, it will be much less convenient to reach for unhealthy snacks when you’re home.
Whether you want a waterproof heart rate monitor for the pool or you just want an armband for your phone when you run, technology can push you to achieve your exercise goals. While not absolutely necessary, investing in some gear that will make you more likely to enjoy working out can go a long way to cutting down friction in your life.
Talk to a Nutritionist
When in doubt, seek out a professional. If you’re new to diet and exercise optimization, this may just be a good idea in general. A nutritional expert can teach you the fundamentals of a healthy diet and give you some good tips to work with going forward.
Log Your Food
Apps like MyFitnessPal or any food-tracking apps make logging your food super convenient. A lot of these nutritional apps let you scan the barcodes on your food and give you the exact macro and micronutrients that you consume. Many of them also let you set specific caloric and nutrition goals tailored to your specific exercise goals.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Changes (But Not too Soon)
Look, it may take you a couple of tries to find a diet and exercise regimen that works for you. You may get it right on the first try. Either way, a mistake that many people make (especially beginners) is jettisoning a program too quickly.
Give your current regimen a month or two. If you aren’t noticing any changes after that (even small ones), then consider changing things up slowly and incrementally. You want to find out the specifics of what doesn’t work, so don’t throw everything out and risk losing something that actually does work for you.
When in doubt, consult a professional. Talking to a personal trainer or nutritionist before changing your routines is often a good idea, especially for beginners.