Health Guidelines: fitness enthusiast vs athlete

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Health Guidelines: fitness enthusiast vs athlete

Last week, we looked into what makes up an athlete and who can take that title. Hopefully now we have a better understanding of what it takes to be an athlete and why just doing physical activity a few times a week does not qualify someone as an athlete. But not being an athlete does not mean neglecting your health. If you are a fitness enthusiast or if you want to get healthier there are a few guidelines you should follow. If you want to become an athlete, the guidelines change slightly.

Over 90% of the fitness population want long term health. They want to be rid of chronic diseases as well as drink the occasional beer and eat some ribs without thinking about the consequences. For most of us, the guidelines are basic and involve nourishment, stress management and exercise. Following all, or even most, of these basic guidelines will give you a jump-start into living a healthy and fit life:

  • Move. Everyday.

Blood needs to flow. Heart needs to beat. Muscles need to contract. Work out hard 3-5 times a week. On the other days, do some other activities. Anything that is fun and can get the family involved. Enjoy your body.

  • Balance your day out.

Your day is limited. Make sure you maintain balance within the 24 hours. Work/fun, duties/leisure and training/resting should be treated as equals.

  • The earth spins.

There is always another day. Stress will come and go. Try not to linger with it for too long. Most of the time there is nothing we can do about it anyway. Just remember, tomorrow is a new day and we can choose to make it a good one.

  • What goes in you is your fuel and your medicine.

Drink plenty of water. Half of your body weight, in ounces, is a starting point. If you’re thirsty, you’ve waited too long. Eat quality foods, in a quantity that supports your lifestyle. Shop around the market and try not to go in the aisles. If you have a bad meal here and there, don’t worry (check out bullet point above).

  • Nurture yourself.

Some of the simplest things we can do for ourselves are usually some of the most overlooked. Soak in sunlight, get enough sleep and practice deep breathing. All easily done but we often put less important things above it. Don’t leave it for tomorrow what you can do today.

For the rest of the population, the ones who are, or are striving to become, athletes, the guidelines become a little more strict. After all, their sport is their craft. Their bodies are their tools.

  • Fall into a rhythm.

The circadian rhythm is a thing. Try to sleep and wake up around the same time. Stay active while the sun is up and start to slow down when it sets.

  • Recover.

This happens actively. It is not simply getting sleep, resting and eating. Get body work done (cupping, acupuncture, etc…), move and stretch. Plan your recovery ahead.

  • Turn your diet into a science.

Know exactly what you need and when you need it, then stick to it. Measure food, know your macros and know yourself. Eat to perform. Practice food hygiene.

  • More isn’t better. Better is better.

Train smarter. Attack your weaknesses. Improve your strengths. Find like-minded people to surround yourself with. Have a goal in mind and work toward it.

  • Take the basic guidelines and improve them.

Don’t forget your basic needs. Sunlight, deep breathing, stress management, self-nurturing and life balance are the foundation of a healthy life. Take it to the next level. Educated yourself on anything fitness related and apply it to your life.

Being an athlete is very different from being into fitness. Are you striving to achieve maximum physical capacity? Are you trying to get your general health to new heights? Come talk to a coach at Celebration CrossFit!

by Coach Matt