The average person works out for two to three hours a week – but it’s the 165 hours per week not spent at the gym that really matter when it comes to losing weight and being healthy.
“It’s what you do during that time that is far more important and far more impactful than anything you do in the gym,” celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak explained during a talk presented by Ritual daily vitamins.
“It’s not about a diet, it’s not about an exercise – it’s about a little bit of few things,” he says. “Your results are going to be gradual, and they’re going to keep climbing, and they’re going to sustain.”
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1. Walk it off.
“We are more sedentary now that we ever have been,” says Pasternak. “The average American takes only 4,000 steps a day.”
Pasternak says people should aim for 10,000 steps a day. Some simple ways to get in more steps include walking to get coffee rather than making it at home and walking around the block while making a phone call rather than sitting.
2. Get your zzz’s.
Aim for at least seven hours of sleep a night.
“When we don’t get enough sleep, we produce less ghrelin and leptin hormones – one of them helps us burn more fat, and one of them tells us when we’re full,” says Pasternak. “If we don’t sleep enough, we burn less fat and we eat more because we’re missing that satiety signal.”
Pasternak also noted that when we are tired, we are less active the next day, which causes us to burn fewer calories. To ensure a good night’s sleep, he recommends turning off your phone at night, using blackout curtains and blocking out ambient noise.
“Whatever you need to increase the quality of your sleep is really, really important,” says Pasternak.
3. Protein + fiber x5.
Eat three meals and two snacks a day that are rich in protein and fiber. Meals should include protein portions the mass of your hand, unlimited non-tuber vegetables, a palmful of whole grains, legumes, high-fiber fruit or tuber vegetables, and a thumb-size portion of a healthy fat. Snacks should have two of the three categories (protein, fiber and fat) and be one-third the size of a meal.
Not sure what to eat?
“Just remember the letter ‘S’: salads, stir fries, scrambles, soups, smoothies and sushi,” says Pasternak. “You can’t go wrong with the letter ‘S.’ ”
He also recommends logging what you eat to hold yourself accountable.
“People who keep track of their diets are 85 percent more successful than those who don’t,” says Pasternak.
4. Resistance exercise.
Pasternak recommends doing at least five minutes of resistance training daily, whether it’s yoga, Pilates or weight training. Resistance exercises burn calories, boost metabolism, develop and protect bones, sharpen focus, manage pain, and can help you lose up to 40 percent more fat.
“Pick one exercise a day, a different exercise each day of the week for a different body part,” says Pasternak. “You’re setting yourself up for success because you don’t need to go to the gym, you don’t need any equipment, you don’t need anything.”
Unplug from technology for an hour a day.
“The blue light emanating from our cell phones, our tablets and our laptops is playing havoc on our brain chemicals: our serotonin, our melatonin,” says Pasternak. “It’s screwing up our sleep patterns, our happiness, our appetites, our carbohydrate cravings.”
Pasternak adds that the constant pings and alerts are giving us adrenal burnout, which can cause thyroid and sleep issues.