Writer Stephen Covey compares the important things in life to big rocks, and says when it comes to filling your jar (life), you should always start by filling it with the big rocks, then with progressively smaller rocks, so that you can make sure to get everything in. If you fill your jar with the small pebbles first, then you’re a left with a jar of small pebbles and no big rocks. If you want to watch him describe it better than I just did, you can search YouTube for “Stephen Covey Put First Things First.”
The same analogy can be used in fitness too, of course. Whether you are just starting out or have been active for many years, to achieve your goals, you have to put the big rocks first. I am giving you my list of “big fitness rocks” and why they are important.
- “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Michael Pollan says it best in his book “In Defense of Food.” Real food, as opposed to processed & packaged foods, has the best supply of nutrients that our body can use. Eating until you are just satisfied ensures you aren’t overeating. Eating mostly plants ensures you are getting nutrient-dense foods versus calorie-dense foods.
- Consume protein – protein is used by our bodies to build and repair our tissues. If we don’t consume enough protein through diet, our body will have to use the protein that’s available in our muscles. Protein can be found in lean meats, but also in a variety of non-meat foods, like quinoa, tofu, dairy and legumes to name a few.
- Be active – Sitting is this generation’s version of smoking. Everyone does it and does it too frequently and for too long. The Animal Kingdom is meant to move, and humans are no exception. If you have a desk job, get up for a few minutes every hour and just walk around. The more activity you add to your normal day, the more calories you burn through the day. Exercise should only account for a portion of your daily activity.
- Sleep – People often forget how important quality sleep is. It improves recovery, memory, and stress, among many other things. Eliminate electronics for at least an hour before bedtime. Turn lights down low to increase production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
- Have fun – when you enjoy what you are doing, your stress levels are low and your mood is good. Find some way to incorporate pleasure into your everyday life.
Start with placing these big rocks into you fitness jar first and see how the rest of the smaller rocks settle in around them. Evaluate what your current fitness jar is filled with. If you are bogging yourself down with details, are you missing out on the “big rocks”? Which big rock is hardest for you to include?
Adam and Debra Hammett own Serious Results Personal Training studio, now open in Parker Square. They have over 25 years of coaching experience in nutrition and training, including in-person and online options. You can apply for coaching at serious-results.com/work-with-us