Increase sugar consumption - Sugar (carbohydrate) is the body’s primary fuel source. To limit sugar is like limiting gas for your car. Unfortunately (yet fortunately), the body can find ways around limited sugar intake and will MacGuyver other means to produce energy, which usually result in cut homeostasis corners and hormone imbalances. Every single cell and every single bacterial organism in your body uses sugar as their go-to food. There are over 50 trillion cells in the human body and bacterial cells outnumber those cells 10 to 1. Say you were the Ruler of a village and you decided to completely cut off the people’s food supply… what do you think will happen? They’ll find ways to get by in the interim, but you better believe that those people will eventually revolt the hell out of you and bring you down to Chinatown. Sugar is rapidly consumed/used/converted/burned by the body in a state of stress (exercise, dietary, allergens, intolerances, emotional unhappiness, sleep patterns, etc.) and, with that in mind, sugar (and salt!) is extremely therapeutic for the Adrenal Glands (which produce/regulate the stress hormone Cortisol). So, without an ample supply (stored and consumed) of therapy the body becomes very susceptible to stress. Note that all sugars/carbohydrates are not created equal and they all do not assimilate in the body in the same manner.
Increase salt consumption – Say you’re excessively dehydrated to the point where you have to go to the hospital. What do they hook you up to? A saline-solution IV a.k.a. a SALT DRIP. Salt is bad for us? Well, that depends on the type of salt, but, in-general, it’s an essential nutrient. A good-sourced Salt naturally contains potassium and magnesium; all-three-of-which are factors in hydration and cellular energy. Then there are commercial salts that commonly contain anti-caking agents, which can cause those funs things like high blood pressure, water retention, swelling, and other salt-related dis-eases.
Limit water consumption - It’s very possible to dehydrate through over-hydration. I do believe it’s necessary to drink an individualized amount of fluids, but water isn’t really that nutritious… at least the average bottles that do not contain trace minerals are not nutritious (and can be antagonistic). Too much water can actually flush the body of essential nutrients. The cells can only hold so much water, nutrients, and waste. An over-saturated state will cause the cells to release some essentials and non-essentials. A good indicator of over-hydration (essentially dehydration) is clear pee because we all know that drinking dehydrating alcohol makes our pee clear. So, what do you drink? Sugar-based liquids such as Orange Juice or Coconut Water will do the trick as they contain sugar, potassium, and magnesium… add some salt and you’re good to go! DON’T FEAR SUGAR.
Eat/drink before, during, and after a work out - I find it interesting that some people limit their nutrient/caloric intake around work outs (and even throughout the day) thinking that consuming calories will prevent the body from burning them or that calories will make them fat or that calories will negate any work out they just did. The body needs energy to produce energy and, just like in the first point, the body will cut corners to make things work in a nutrient/calorie-deficient state. Be sure to give yourself enough energy surrounding (especially after!!!) and during your work out. Don’t be afraid to consume calories because the body needs a means to burn them.
Leave/end a work out with energy - What good will it do if you absolutely kill yourself in a work out? I’m being serious. The no pain, no gain feel the burn mentality is out-dated and defunct. Over-training is very detrimental to progress and all-things-homeostasis. Under-training, however, isn’t bad – in fact, it’s much more beneficial to under-train than to over-train. Exercise is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time, pace yourself, keep it simple and to the point.
Rest harder than you exercise - Sleeping and having an adequate amount of off-days are essential to a good nutrition and exercise program. The body rests, recovers, regenerates, and literally rebuilds itself at night. Cutting sleep and/or working out excessively (in my book: consecutive days without rest days in a week) will turn progress into regress and send stress hormones through the roof, thus completely negating anything “good” you are providing the body (i.e. weight gain, increased estrogen, cortisol, adrenaline, and serotonin, inflammation, anxiety, anger, irritability, mental fogginess, and the list really can go on for days). If you’re tired, listen to your body and rest… you’ll benefit much more than running on stress hormones.
Stretch before and after - Most exercises encourage very contraction-specific movements and with all of that contracting there should be a balance of elongating. If you don’t like stretching around your work outs then set up designated stretch days that fall on your rest days.
Take cold showers - Sounds wild but cold showers can actually increase anabolic hormones (testosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone, etc.). Guys will notice (aside from shrinkage) that whenever they go into a cold pool that they get “turned on” and girls can experience the same affect in their own right. From a chinese-medicine POV, cold provides the body with a dose of Yin energy (cool, calm, female) while exercise is predominantly a Yang energy (hot, fiery, male). It doesn’t have to be a long shower – just finish up your usual hot shower with a cold-as-cold-can-be-handled blast for 1-5 minutes.
Change it up - The body is very adaptive. It’s smart. It learns repetition rather quickly, i.e. how to perform movements, resistance, and tension exercises so it can do them more efficiently and effectively the next time around. This adaptation happens about every 2-6 weeks, depending on the person and type of exercise. Learn how your body adapts and change it up accordingly to keep from hitting a progress plateau.
Wear flat shoes - We’re really not meant to wear shoes. Shoes teach the body how not to walk, how not to balance itself, how to rely on external support rather than self-sufficiency. Try to find the flattest shoes you can that support your arch-height. Personally, I enjoy a pair of chuck taylors for weight lifting and running. I have a rather flat foot so they support my arch accordingly. There’s a lot of hype about the five-fingers. I’ve never tried them, but I hear great things once the body adjusts. I suggest that you do your own field research for yourself. As for shape-ups, air-pockets, ankle-support, or anything that’s extra-cushioned… no. Note: Foot or ankle issues are symptoms to a kinetic-chain cause (the cause could very well lie within the knees or hips, which produce a ripple effect if they are not balanced properly).
Use exercise as a tool, not a foundation - I’m going to burn this off in the gym is not an efficient nor enjoyable way of living. Exercise is meant to compliment a healthy diet and lifestyle, not try to make up for it or, essentially, negate any choices that were made prior to or to reason a work out. Exercise as a foundation is an outward-in mentality – it’s thinking that a mental choice can be fixed with a physical choice. You live in your body, your body doesn’t live in you. Make choices accordingly and take some responsibility!
Use nutrition as a foundation, not a tool - Nutrition is the true foundation for health. The body uses the nutrients its provided to make new blood cells, new skin cells, new tissue cells, new organs, new eyes, new chemical reactions, new hormones, etc. every single day. The body can definitely make chicken salad out of chicken shit and we intuitively know that (just gotta listen to that intuition!). Build and establish health within all inner realms (spiritually, mentally, emotionally) to reap its benefits on the outer (physically).