(Want to get articles like this by email? Here’s the sign up)
At Natural Force, we believe that exercising your body and mind, eating real food, and filling in the gaps with high-quality supplements are all keys to living your life to the fullest.
But after nearly a decade in the health and wellness space, we had a question …
“Where does one start on their health journey in order to set themselves up for long term success?”
It’s that question that led to our Go Beyond Lifestyle, a philosophy that focuses on the three main tenants to a total mind-body overhaul:
We believe that these three tenants feed into each other to unlock your potential and keep you going, even through the busiest days. From physical energy and vitality to creativity and mental toughness; with the right mindset and physical momentum, you can do just about anything.
Welcome to a new paradigm in health and fitness. Welcome to the Go Beyond Lifestyle.
Why The Go Beyond Lifestyle?
The Go Beyond Lifestyle is about quality over quantity. It’s about building a long-term foundation for health, rather than jumping into yet another unsustainable diet or workout routine.
Rather than quick fixes and fad diets, the Go Beyond Lifestyle focuses on whole foods, daily movement, and adequate rest. We’ll even talk a little bit about the importance of scheduling unstructured time or play.
You’ll start to experience the benefits of these nutrition and lifestyle changes almost immediately. Long-term, you’ll experience the deeper benefits of each change on a physical and mental level. The idea is, as you begin to incorporate nutrient-dense food, physical activity, play, and a positive mindset on a regular basis, you’ll notice:
- More energy
- A greater ability to handle stress
- A better memory
- Increased performance at the gym
- More laughter
- A happier life overall
1) Nutrition: The Foundation of Wellness
What is nutrition? There’s so much noise between the diet books, blogs, and weight loss products, it’s tough to remember that nutrition is about what we use to nourish our bodies; not just a list of restrictions that can help us lose weight.
But with so much misinformation and marketing out there how can you best navigate what to eat and drink?
The best way to begin is to get back to basics. Check out the following tips to clean up your diet, ditch the cravings, and still enjoy your food.
8 Ways to Upgrade Your Nutrition
- Eat real food. Ditch “diets” for good and focus on whole, unprocessed food. You can eat a lot more and still lose weight and hit your fitness goals when you focus on the real deal and toss the packaged foods.
- Focus on vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. Fiber and phytonutrients from veggies, clean protein from pastured animals and wild-caught fish or legumes, and plenty of healthy fats from sources like coconut oil, olive oil, or grass-fed ghee will keep you feeling fuller longer and provide all the nutrition you need to thrive.
- Drink a ton of water. That’s right, water is part of your nutrition protocol! Your body’s natural detox systems aren’t very powerful without an adequate amount of water. To calculate the amount you should drink, divide your body weight (in pounds) in half. That’s the number in ounces you should aim for each day. So, a 140-pound woman should shoot for about 70 ounces per day.
- Cook, when possible. It’s not realistic for most people to cook every meal at home, but a few meals per week are doable. Have fun with flavors and textures by experimenting with different recipes. You can also rest easy knowing exactly what’s in it – no additives or preservatives involved!
- Learn about your food. It may sound silly, but learning where your food comes from or how it’s made will create a deeper connection to your food. Take a trip to the farmer’s market and chat with the farmers. Find a baker or a dairy you like and ask if you can come see their facility. Deeper connections lead to more mindful eating.
- Try different approaches. Low carb works for a lot of people, but it’s not for everyone. Some of your friends might feel better on a Paleo diet, but taking out bread entirely really bums you out. Experiment with different ratios of fat and carbs. Try on different approaches to nutrition, but know that dieting is not a moral issue. You cannot “fail” at eating. Instead, take note of what feels good and ditch the stuff that doesn’t. Create your own path based on your personal needs and goals.
- Slow down and enjoy! It’s easy to justify eating quickly at your desk or standing at your counter between a meeting and the gym, but there’s something to be said about slowing down and eating your food slowly. Bonus points if you slow down enough to share a meal with others. Eating together is a huge part of what makes us human.
- Read the label. Not all foods or nutritional supplements are created equal. Read the label to make sure your supplements are made without added colors, flavors, or fillers.
Bonus Nutrition Tip: Lower Your Exposure to Toxins
Your skin is your largest organ, capable of absorbing both beneficial and harmful chemicals. You may not think of what you put on your skin as part of your nutrition plan, but it is! Nourish it properly with natural personal care items like toothpaste, shampoo, and lotions. Not sure what to buy? Check your products in the Environmental Working Group’s database of safe skincare products.
2) Movement: Change How You Think About Exercise
Modern day life makes us more sedentary than any other time in history. Many of us “make up for it” by pushing our bodies to the limit at the gym, while others are too tired after work to do anything but sit on the couch.
All movement (or lack thereof) sends chemical and mechanical messages to your cells. This message is either “grow” or “decay” so you want to stack the odds in your favor by sending the “grow” message on a regular basis.
Knowing all of this, it’s time to rethink the way we move. Instead of thinking of “exercise” as a thing that only happens in the gym, consider movement as a vital part of your everyday life.
Here are the top 7 tips for incorporating movement into your day and optimizing your time at the gym.
7 Ways to Upgrade Your Movement
- Just move. Even light movement, like walking and stretching, will get your blood and lymphatic juices flowing. Try incorporating 10-20 minutes of light movement in the morning and before bed.
- Try massage and bodywork. Massage isn’t just for relaxation. Unlock connective tissues through massage and bodywork.
- Focus to increase your performance. Balance, muscle control, and precision of motion are important at every age, but are critical to maintain as you age. Incorporate sessions of yoga, qigong, tai chi into your wellness routine for more balance and strength.
- Strengthen your muscles. Train your muscle fibers and connective tissues with resistance exercises. Resistance training can help with everything from losing fat to gaining bone density to warding off depression. Add 1-2 weight lifting sessions to your weekly routine for some major benefits. Not sure if resistance training is for you? Try fundamental movements like the squat, deadlift, push-up, and pull-ups. Or, check out the workouts in our 2018 Mind-Body Blueprint.
- Add some high intensity intervals. Sprints on land, in the pool, or on your bike can amplify your neural output and train your muscles in a totally different way than weight lifting or yoga.
- Get some rest. Adequate rest is just as important as your workout. If you can’t seem to keep still, active rest, like light walks and stretching, are an option.
- Get playful! It’s hard for grownups to play. We’re constantly thinking of the next thing on our to-do list. If it’s not going to make us money or get us ripped, it’s not worth our time, right? Wrong. Unstructured time or play reduces stress and sparks creativity throughout the rest of your life.
3) Mindset: Building Your Mindset Muscle
Mindset is your mental, emotional, and spiritual state.
Ancient sages and modern science agree that although these dimensions of your inner being are more abstract than bones, muscles, and skin, they have real, physiological consequences when it comes to your health and performance.
The best diet and exercise program in the world will fail if you think it will fail. So, just as you feed your body high quality, nutrient-dense food, you need to fill your mind with positive, life-affirming thoughts, live in the moment whenever you can, and develop your confidence and focus just like you build a muscle.
Here are some of our favorite ways to build your mindset muscle:
7 Ways to Upgrade Your Mindset
- Think good thoughts. Having a positive mindset isn’t about ignoring the painful parts of life. Instead, begin to recognize the positive in every situation. Start small, by thinking about how being stuck in traffic gives you time to listen to your favorite
- Be mindful. Mindfulness basically just means tuning into the present moment. You can do this by noticing how you feel in your body, taking note of a cool breeze on your skin or watching how the rain spatters on the window. It sounds simple, but mindfulness can banish stress, strengthen your immune system, and improve cognitive function.
- Watch what you say. Words are extremely powerful. Even the ones you don’t say out loud. Take note of the way you talk to yourself and change some of the programming that may seem automatic. Instead of saying, “I’m so tired” over and over, change the narrative to “I’m so grateful for the energy I have.”
- Take some time for yourself. Many of us are raised with the belief that self-care is selfish. But how can you possibly take care of the people you love if you don’t take care of yourself first? Take some time every day for yourself. Whether it’s a 10-minute meditation or a luxurious bath or an hour reading your favorite book.
- Try a mini media fast. Too much media can actually lead to depression and anxiety. One of the best ways to quiet your mind is to put down the phone and turn off your TV. Use this time to connect to yourself through meditation or curate your media wisely by reading a book or watching a specific movie, as opposed to wandering aimlessly on the Internet.
- Try new things on a daily or weekly basis. Routines can be awesome for creating new healthy habits, but it’s easy to get into a rut in other facets of life. Spark inspiration and creativity by trying something new every day. It doesn’t have to be huge – take a new route to work or try a restaurant for lunch. A change in scenery can help you break through mental blocks and even find new solutions to problems.
- Get creative. Activities like drawing, painting, and dancing will reduce stress and open your mind. Get creative! Think of the things you liked to do as a child and try them as an adult.
You might be wondering, “Where do I go from here?” or “This all sounds good, but how do I implement it into my daily life?”
That’s why we created the 2018 Mind-Body Blueprint.
It’s everything you need for the first 14 days of the Go Beyond Lifestyle – daily mindset mantras, bodyweight workouts, and simple recipes anyone can make at home. And it’s totally free. Simply download, then print out your daily regimen or take a screenshot and keep it on your phone.
New habits don’t have to be difficult or arduous to adopt. And the 2018 Mind-Body Blueprint provides you with the framework you need to make healthy eating, movement, and mindset a part of your everyday life for good. Don’t forget to keep track of your progress and get ready for more energy, changes in body composition, and a whole new outlook on life!
Editors Note: This post was originally posted January 2017 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Also published on Medium.