Achieving and maintaining good health needs a holistic approach which considers all aspects of lifestyle including but not limited to nutrition, family life, work life, life stress, sleep and exercise.
The simple “body weight = energy in – energy out” formula is flawed as the body will always adjust to store energy in case of famine. From a food perspective we are in an endless summer. A great overview of this myth is covered well in this article in the Mark’s daily apple.
It is the coach’s job to provide a framework, guidelines and the develop an client’s intuition. I am not a coach who expects you to follow the program as a prescription for success, a big component for success is for the client to make informed intuitive decisions on a day-to-day basis.
The bottom line is that the coach and client need to work together with frequent 2-way feedback. This allows appropriate situational variety to fit real life pressures.
Here are my basic guidelines for achieving a balanced and sustainable health:
- Sleep is the number 1 priority. Sufficient rest is the number key to health!
- For an active individual exercising 2.5 to 5 hours a week a minimum of 7.5 hours average is recommended
- For athletes training +15 hours a week a bare minimum of 8 hours+ recommended.
- If you can’t achieve the adequate sleep hours, training needs to reduce to maintenance levels while the reasons for sleep loss are addressed. Training on reduced sleep is unsustainable will lead to fatigue, injury, illness or at best stop progress.
- If your sleep is reduced for more than two days for any reason, such as travel or stress, back off the training and optional stressful activities.
- Consuming sufficient daily calories to support your level of activity is essential. Ladies have a tendency to consume too little, while men too many.
- Understanding your micronutrients and micronutrients nutritional need is essential for sustainable exercise and general health. A focus on real food over processed carbohydrates and proteins is highly recommended. I align to the primal principle and have my Health and Nutrition coaching certification. If you have clinical challenges I highly recommend Steph Lowe from The Natural Nutritionist.
- For endurance and cardio activities an appreciation for fat adaption must be developed to enable sustained performance and health maintenance.
- Manage yourself, develop and apply your intuition.
- As coaches we can only recommend sessions based on recorded metrics and feedback. Your coach will never know how you feel on a day-to-day basis nor have full understanding on your day-to-day stress at work, home or play.
- You must trust your intuition and adjust your weekly program to how you feel and around your daily priorities.
- If you feel fatigued or ill on any day, don’t train no matter what the program says. Take the time needed to recover and return only when you are physically ready.
- If you are unwell or incur injuries, follow up with your health practitioner and get the root cause investigated. Don’t carry these indefinitely.
- You are the master of your health, not the coach or the doctor, take responsibility for acting on your health indicators early.
- 2.5 Hours of exercise per week is essential for a healthy lifestyle. It is generally accepted that more than 5 hours per week can be detrimental and should we choose to go there we need to manage the stresses closely.
- With the exception of competition a 80:20 ratio of Aerobic to Anaerobic intensity applies
- 80% of our exercise sessions should be aerobic and strictly below your aerobic threshold, generally a heart rate below MAF (180 – age).
- Strength and functional exercises are essential to holistic health. For those new to exercise routines a progression approach should be taken to avoid injury and ensure sustainable and consistent progress. Take some time to review the Essential function exercise videos.
- Stress is necessary and good in the right doses.
- Excessive stress is dangerous will in time lead to weight gain and poor health.
- Stress needs to be recognised and managed for sustainable health
- Mark’s daily Apple has a great overview on stress.
- Equipment required
- Heart Rate monitor with ability to upload.
- Kettlebell (6-8kg)
- Good quality jogging trainers
- Internet access for TrainingPeaks access
- Skype account for coach catch-ups (Optional)
- iThlete account for HRV tracking (Optional)
- MyFitnessPal or other food tracking account (Optional: I don’t agree with calorie counting but recommend doing a 3 day tracking once a month to understand nutrient profile)
- A set-up checklist can be found here
Though health coaching we assist people in navigating a balance between exercise, nutrition and life to a healthy lifestyle. Our role is proactively prevent poor health rather than re-actively treat health issues.