6 irreplaceable rules for quality of life and performance
We read a lot online about “rules for this”, “rules for that” that are mostly clickbait or someone trying to sell something to you. However, I want to go over the six very basic rules that I consider irreplaceable for anyone looking to improve their quality of life and performance both in the gym and in all aspects of his daily routine.
- Get enough quality sleep.
During sleep is the time of the day where your body is able to recover, heal and build tissue, regulate hormones and remove toxins, amongst many other vital physiological functions.
As such, it’s estimated that a grown man needs on average about 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep a day. Sure, you can survive on less, but for optimal performance go for this amount. Younger individuals need more hours, so it’s a really good idea to observe for a while and adjust depending on your individual needs.
- Choose wisely where you get your calories from.
At this point, you probably know it’s not just about counting calories. Macronutrient distribution matters, a lot. Not only that, but getting at least 75% of your diet from non-processed (or minimally processed) foods is a great idea.
These foods are more natural, thus being easier for your body to handle, contain higher amounts of fibers and phytochemicals, and are generally less calorie-dense, meaning you can eat more food for the same number of calories.
- Stay hydrated!
Water is extremely important in a wide variety of processes within the human body, including growing muscle, losing fat, detoxing, etc. In fact, about 60% of our bodies is made of water and we are constantly losing some of it (via urination, transpiration) and as such we need to replenish it often.
A good rule of thumb is to drink 45ml of water times your bodyweight in kg (or about 2/3 of your weight in pounds worth of fluid ounces) a day. For example, that’s 4500mL for a 100kg individual and about 150 fl. oz for a 220lb person. Most fresh fruits have a high-water content and can help you achieve these amounts.
- Get your blood flowing.
Whether you do weight training, cardio, some sort of fighting or dancing class, or any physical activity during your day is a great way to make your blood flow as well as getting your joints and tendons strong and active. Usually, 3 sessions of 1 hour per week are enough to reap the benefits of physical activity.
- Be mindful of your social interactions.
Sure, living in society has its own challenges. Dealing with transit, work, family and financial obligations on a daily basis can be stressful, no question about that. Stress, together with inflammation will destroy your results and your quality of life.
In order to counter its effects, you must be able to navigate on the other side of social interactions. Spending quality time with your significant other, kids, pets, meditating or doing a hobby that brings you pleasure is important to keep stress down and make sure you’re performing as well as you can.
- Get yourself some sunlight.
Getting a couple of hours of natural sunlight, especially in the morning, can do wonders for your quality of life and performance.
Sunlight exposure can trigger favorable hormonal responses, release important chemicals in the body, set your circadian cycles the proper way and even help with psychological issues such as depression. No amount of artificial light can mimic the power of natural sunlight exposure.