3 Building Blocks to Optimize Health
During the Challenge, it’s important to realign both mentally and physically by focusing on the core components of our health. By structuring a routine for ourselves and focusing on what we want to achieve in this Challenge, we can set ourselves up for success.
Key areas of focus: establishing a healthy eating routine, getting quality sleep, and removing external stressors from our daily life. By focusing on these three concepts, we are taking ownership and holding ourselves accountable to prioritizing our long-term goals. Nutrition, quality sleep, a positive mindset, and supportive social interactions provide the structure in our life that allows us to progress forward and adapt. Our body requires a strong framework to keep us healthy, which is why it’s so important to refocus and optimize our health as much as possible.
Building Block #1: Healthy Eating Habits
The food we eat is our daily fuel, and we need nutrient-dense meals to effectively support our training. High-quality whole foods provide essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to perform at a high intensity on a regular basis, as well as recover. Nutrition is what underpins the adaptations throughout a training program—without regular quality food consumption, it becomes extremely difficult for the body to both train consistently and develop lasting changes in body composition. For this reason, we recommend establishing a healthy eating schedule during this first week. Whether you are ordering Challenge Meals or following one of our Challenge meal plans (Mainstream, Vegan or Vegetarian), creating an eating routine will help you stay on track.
Building Block #2: Quality Sleep
Quality sleep is an essential component of training and recovery, as it allows us to sustain the adaptations we work so hard for each day. Plan your days and training sessions so you can get at least 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep each night. While hard work and consistent exercise are key for adaptation, our recovery is just as crucial. Quality sleep makes us feel more energized throughout the day, allowing us to work harder during each training session and promoting lean muscle development. In fact, research has shown that muscle development and fat loss is hindered when we do not regularly achieve quality sleep.
Building Block #3: Mental Wellness
Setting a positive mental mindset during Week 1 of the Challenge can boost our self-confidence and enhance our ability to perform at our highest ability. In order to develop this mindset, we recommend minimizing external stressors that may be distracting from our goals and instead focusing on what it is we want to achieve or accomplish each day.
Positive mindset is built on positive reinforcement, which could include a daily gratitude practice that allows us to reflect on positive experiences and small accomplishments. By focusing on the little positives or achievements, we can reduce stress and enhance motivation in order to persevere through daily life challenges. A great way to start incorporating a gratitude practice is to keep a daily notebook/journal and write down three positive affirmations every morning. This could be an accomplishment from the day before or something that you are just happy to have in your life. Writing down things that you are grateful for in the morning sets a positive tone for the entire day.
Wondering where to start? We’ve outlined a checklist for each of the core optimal health building blocks below. We recommend starting small by picking 1-2 daily habits from each block that you know you can stick to, and building off of that each week.
Healthy Eating Habit Checklist:
- 8 oz of water every morning upon waking
- Eliminate all forms of fast/fried foods
- Set aside a specific time and day to do a quality grocery shop
- Avoid late-night snacking
- Cook-At-Home: actively write out your meals for the week and when you’ll prepare them
- Challenge Meals: order your meals ahead of time so they arrive in time for the start of Challenge
Quality Sleep Checklist:
- Create a bedtime ritual or routine to wind down
- Avoid eating or snacking right before going to bed
- Aim for a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep each night
- Cut off screen time one hour before sleeping
- Minimize noise and light distractions
Mental Wellness Checklist:
- Eliminate external stressors that aren’t adding value to your long-term goals
- Develop a daily gratitude practice by writing down three positive affirmations every morning
- Visualize what your best version of today looks like
- Create a positive support group of friends and/or family
- Try to incorporate deep breathing or meditation for at least 5 minutes each morning
- Spend time outdoors by going for a morning walk or hike