Diets, cardio and weights oh my!! There are so many different ways to lose weight, get fit and be healthy. However, everyone’s definition of peak physical health is subjective and in order to start on journey you must first define what peak physical health means to you. Is it obtaining a healthy weight or BMI (Body Mass Index), running a marathon or triathlon, stabilizing your blood work results, reaching a professional level in a sport, competing in a crossfit competition, signing up for an adventure race or gaining strength?

In order to reach a peak level, you must first determine what that means to you, and then accept the reality that it will likely take years of hard training to achieve your goal. While on your journey,  you must develop and foster two main qualities: dedication and focus! Your ultimate outcome  is ultimately dependent on the work that you are willing to put in.

Reaching peak physical health is an extremely challenging process that requires you to make sacrifices and commitments that will challenge you to find a way to arrange your life around this goal. Basically, how your entire life operates becomes affected; how you eat, how you exercise, your sleep patterns, even the activities you choose to socialize and play with will be affected. The road to peak health is a long, rough and bumpy road to travel, therefore most that embark on the journey don’t see it all the way through; however, if improving your physical health and fitness is your goal, it is one that you can definitely achieve.

Here are various areas of your life that should be of major focus when changing your lifestyle to  reach your optimal health and fitness goals:

Proper nutrition: Eating properly will ensure that your body is well fueled and receives the proper amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients for optimal function and repair. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats, which provide different materials your body needs to repair and perform various functions. Carbohydrates and proteins provide the body 4 calories per gram and fat, the most calorie-dense of the macronutrients, provides 9 calories per gram. Carbohydrates, popularly known as carbs, are the main source of energy for your body. Proteins are needed for crucial processes in the body: such as development, growth and maintenance of all the cells, muscles and tissues in your body. Fats provide structure to your body’s cells, cushions membranes to help prevent damage and comprises 60% fat of our brain.

Physical activity: Our bodies are meant to move! According to NIH, physical activity, yoga and an active lifestyle, has many health benefits that apply to people of all ages, races and sexes. When your body is active and limber daily tasks, such as climbing stairs, shopping and running after the kids become second nature. Physical activity has been proven to improve 1. Mental health; it may lower the risk for depression in both adults and teens and has been shown to help lessen the decline in cognitive function (ie: thinking, recalling, learning and judging skills) as they age 2. Physiological health: the health of your heart, lungs and other organs; it reduces blood pressure, raises good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), helps manage insulin levels, helps maintain a healthy weight (with a reduced calorie, high density nutrition diet), and it may even help you desire to quit smoking.

Water intake: Due to the fact that water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight, it is crucial in order for your body to function properly. Your body maintains its homeostasis (or remains stable) through water. Every tissue, organ and cell in your body depends on adequate amounts of water to survive. Water is used by your body to get rid of wastes through perspiration, urination and bowel movements, it serves as a lubricant or cushion for your joints and serves as protection for sensitive tissues and organs. Even mild dehydration can dry your skin and lips, drain your energy and make you feel a lack of focus.

Every day you use and lose water and so you must replenish it by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from the foods that you eat and the rest from the drinks you ingest.

Time management and planning: It is crucial that you plan your workouts and meals as detailed as you can; there is a big difference between being physically active and training for a specific fitness goal. Without specific planning, eating, progress tracking and program progression you are not training you are simply being healthy and active.

Physical activity is considered any activity where you move your body and burn calories. Training, on the other hand, is the process of performing physical activity in order to satisfy a predetermined long-term goal. The process of performing carefully planned purposeful activity is meant to generate a specific result such as weight loss, improving strength or increasing your endurance through a strict workout and diet regimen. The process must be planned, monitored and developed specifically to produce that result.

Tracking your progress is crucial in your quest to obtaining peak physical health. Without tracking there is no way to measure or results and impossible to properly train for your ultimate goals. In order to track your progress, you must determine your starting line and what you want to achieve first. This is called goal setting, it is a way to help you map out your plan, organize your schedule and your timelines and allows you a way of having a finish line with steps to get there and places to celebrate your journey.

Once you decide what your ultimate goal is have a plan and make sure you have some way to measure and support your journey to obtaining your peak physical health goals.