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6 Simple Ways to Live Your Strongest, Healthiest, Happiest Life

Author: Nicole Zapoli
Fitness Trainer and Rise Bar Affiliate
IG: @nicolezapoli
Website: www.nicolezapoli.com 

What if I told you that I have 6 super magical ingredients that will lead to improving your overall quality of life while also helping keep you feeling young and fabulous for as long as possible! Here are the 6 simple ways to improve your overall quality of life:

 

Woman in bed stretching arms up

1. SLEEP

Your quality of sleep is often times overlooked when wondering why you are not reaching your health and fitness goals. Your overall quality of life as well as your ability to focus, retain new information, maintain normal levels of cortisol (your stress hormone, which can cause that stubborn belly fat and other health related issues), your ability to recover efficiently in between your training sessions, your ability to maintain a strong immune system, and so much more, can all be affected by your overall quality of sleep.

  • Aim to go to sleep and wake up each day around the same time, if at all possible, and get in at least 6 hours at absolute minimum or more a night.
  • Before going to sleep each night make sure it is as dark, cool, and dry as possible.
  • Have your last meal and beverage at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Set a goal to be off your phone, computer, and/or TV at least at a minimum of 30 minutes before bedtime, but more closely to 60 minutes or more, if possible.

 

Healthy meal prep food in glass containers

 2. FOOD

Clean, quality, whole food is beyond important for fueling your body and brain properly to get the most out of each day and training session, but also for the rest of your life. Stay away from diets and lean more into feeding your body healthy whole foods that you enjoy and look forward to eating. The food you choose to eat should benefit you and help you reach your goals in and out of the gym.

Fueling properly will not only help you reach aesthetic goals, but will also help you recover much faster between training sessions, allow you to achieve better quality of sleep, help to regulate your hormones, allow for increased mental clarity, develop a stronger immune system, and SO much more.

  • Keeping a food journal, hiring a nutrition coach, reading the nutrition labels are all ways to keep yourself accountable especially when working toward a specific goal or working to maintain consistency during a stressful time. How you feed your body is also one way you express self love and give back to YOU.
  • Scheduling 1-2 treat meals during the week is also very important as it will give you something to look forward to after putting in all your hard work in the gym and in the kitchen each week. I, personally, like to schedule these on my rest and/or active recovery days.
  • Before the week begins, know what days you will be training and what days you will be taking as active recovery and rest days. This will allow you to schedule and plan your treat meals, but also give you some room and freedom to be spontaneous within that as well. When you have your treat meal remember this should be a meal and not an entire day.
  • Set a goal to do some form of meal prep before the week begins. If that means planning out your meals or cooking everything all at once before the week begins, this will all help keep you on track throughout the week and be less inclined to get fast food or something that might not be as healthy as the food you prepare ahead of time. This also includes snack prepping! This is especially important if you tend to snack between meals.
  • Plan your snacks out so that you have something healthy and good for you between breakfast and lunch, and lunch and dinner, and even possibly post dinner depending on what time you eat your last meal. That last snack should be higher in protein with little to no simple sugars. This is especially important in helping regulate your blood sugar and keep it at normal levels while you sleep.
  • Your last meal should be at least 2 hours or more prior to when you plan to go to sleep. It is not ideal for your body to be attempting to digest its food while it is also trying to sleep and recover from the day. Digestion puts your body at work, which is considered a form of stress, and can cause your body to not recover as efficiently, preventing you from that quality sleep you are after and also needed for optimum recovery.
  • You will also want to make sure to get in 2:1 carb to protein ratio within 30 minutes after your training session as this will help your body begin to recover, repair, and rebuild itself that much faster and make sure all that hard work you just put in does not go to waste. The carbohydrates act as a carrier for the protein and allow your body to absorb the protein putting it to use much faster. This can also aid in lessening prolonged muscle soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness. My favorite post workout treat is a Rise Bar, of course!!

 

Woman outside exercising with headphones on and a water bottle

3. WATER

You should be getting in at least half your body weight in pounds in ounces of water every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds then you should be getting in at least 75 ounces of water each day.

  • Carry a water bottle that holds at least half of this and aim to get in one full bottle of water before noon and then refill it to get in another full bottle of water before you eat dinner.
  • You want to make sure you are not consuming too much liquid of any kind at least an hour or two before you go to sleep.
  • Water is especially important for proper digestion, organ function, immune support, and flushing the body of unwanted toxins.

 

People in a fitness class

4. FITNESS

Aim to get at least 5 days of 30-60 minutes of fitness in each week with an active recovery day or two and at least one full rest day. If you are just starting out on your fitness journey or it has been a while since working out consistently aiming for 3 days each week is a great starting point that you can build on over time.

The style of fitness that you do should be something you enjoy and done at a time of day that will allow you to maintain daily consistency. There is much success in getting your workout in first thing in the morning as then you get it done and can start your day. No matter what comes up you have already had that important meeting with yourself. If that is not possible for you then make sure to put this time on your calendar before the week ever even begins.

Remember, this is a time you schedule with yourself and is just as, if not more, important than any other meeting you have throughout the day. THIS, however, is the most important one because it allows you to take care of YOU, your body and your mind, so that you have more to give back to the world and the people who mean most to you. Maintaining your fitness is crucial to your longevity and overall quality of life.

 

Woman staring at the sunset

5. SUNSHINE

Getting in at least 15-20 minutes of direct sunlight on exposed skin each day is especially important as the sun provides a nutrient that our bodies do not make on their own. That vitamin would be known as vitamin D. It is needed for many reasons, but one being, it helps to regulate mood, ward off depression, and lessen anxiety.

 

Woman in a yoga pose

6. QUIET TIME

This is especially important for our mental and emotional well being. Aiming to get in at least 15-20 minutes each day of some form of quiet time whether that is through meditation, reading, journaling, yoga, resting your eyes in a dark room, or something else. Any of these that you are able to get in throughout the day can greatly affect your ability to handle and cope with any stress, emotions, or anxiety while also allowing for your brain to rest and give you a chance to recharge.

 

Happy people on a hike


Sunshine mixed with a good night sleep, delicious whole foods, lots of water, intense bursts of fitness followed up with active recovery sessions, rest days, and quiet time will all yield so much more in return than what you invest. This is about creating your highest quality of life in the most simple of ways. This is not about a diet plan or applying the latest quick fix tips. This is a lifestyle that you work on, build, and create for yourself every day for all the years of your life. Health is wealth.


Live strong. Live healthy. Live happy.

- Nicole

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