You had a great time during the holidays. Yes, maybe you ate and drank a little more than you normally would, but the time with friends and family were rich and rewarding. You’re looking forward to a great year of productivity and vigor.
And to start things off, it’s time to get in shape. You’re ready for it. And we’re ready to help — because at Texas Men’s Health Group, we are committed to the whole health and well-being of men in Dallas. So let’s drill in to the tips and habits that will help you develop routines that are healthy.
Why are we listing this piece of advice first? Because it’s the one you’re most likely to forget. Hydration makes all the difference when you’re getting in shape. It promotes homeostasis, or balance, throughout your whole system, it makes your digestive system run smoothly, and it cushions your joints when you’re pushing yourself through your workout. Keep a water bottle near you not just at the gym but also at work to keep your whole body happy.
2. Challenge Yourself
Of course you want to strive for new goals, but think outside the box as you set them. Instead of locking yourself into the regular gym routine of arm day and leg day, trying working all parts of your body at each workout. Pair strength exercises with endurance to really push yourself, and don’t forget to add some sprints for a cardio boost. Part of your challenge should including taking the time your body needs to rest between sets. Perhaps surprisingly, those rest periods are what will help you work at your true maximum capacity.
3. Check Your Stress Levels
Many men feel the pressure to achieve in every area of their lives. We get that, and we admire you as a high achiever. But it’s important to also make sure you’re not overstressing your body to the point where you’ll incur an injury or develop a stress-related condition, such as high blood pressure. Make sure your fitness routine includes a little bit of self-care (yes, that counts as fitness!). Whether you get a massage, turn off your phone so your work can’t reach you on weekends, or go for a long run to let your mind unwind, you’re doing something good for your health and your body. Start by taking a few minutes throughout your day for some deep breathing and conscious relaxation.
4. Don’t Skip Your Warm-up
Especially as you get older, your warm-up becomes more important than ever. Like most of us, you probably spend a lot of your day sitting, maybe leaning forward over your desk — and you may feel that postural tightness in your spine as a result. That position is also stressing your hips and abs, so when you hit the gym, your body simply isn’t as ready as it used to be for working out. Take the first 10 to 15 minutes of every workout to focus on joint mobility. You’ll appreciate it not just during your workout, but 20 years into the future, when you’ve got the comfort, strength and flexibility that other men have lost.
5. Add Some Tech to Your Workout
You may already be wearing an Apple or Samsung Watch or a Fitbit. If you are, you already know how valuable it can be in keeping you on the straight and narrow when it comes to your workout. If not, now’s the time to make the investment in this invaluable piece of tech. You’ll be able to track far more than your steps (let’s face it, your phone already does that). Now you can keep an eye on your heart rate, your sleep patterns, your blood oxygen levels, your calorie consumption and far, far more. And here’s the hidden surprise of working with a fitness tracker: it’s incredibly encouraging and motivating to keep you going on those days when you’d rather be a desk potato.
6. Pay Attention to Your Body
Your high school or college coaches forced you to do the work whether your body was feeling it or not. Now you get to make that call. If you’re not feeling strong or vigorous on a given day, you don’t have to force yourself. Maybe you’ll grant yourself a day of rest, or maybe you’ll change up your work out or reduce the intensity. You know now that your overall health is worth more than any day’s workout or than checking something off a list. When your body tells you to minimize, focus on your form and range of motion, or head to the pool to take pressure off your joints. Your body wants to last for decades with strength and vigor, and you get to help it meet those goals.
7. Change Things Up Now and Then
Sometimes you’ll switch up your workout because your body tells you to. But sometimes you need to make some changes for the sake of your mind. When you feel yourself getting bored, it’s time to consider your options. If you’ve never taken a yoga class, check it out. Get off the treadmill and into the pool, or take your run outdoors. Join your partner in their workout, or team up with a buddy and follow their lead. Even a week or so of something new will help you recharge your motivation for your standard workout routine.
8. Set Some Goals
Why do you go to the gym anyway? To look good when you view yourself in a mirror? To look good to your loved one waiting for you in the bedroom? Sure, those are great goals and we applaud them — but we also encourage you to add to them. Fitness isn’t an end to itself; you get fit so you can accomplish something. Whether you decide to run a 5K or compete in your local Ironman competition, having a goal can help provide motivation. It also helps you design a targeted routine and set smaller, interim goals, which in turn make each workout feel like an accomplishment because it brought you closer to your goal.
9. Move, Move, Move
Fitness isn’t just about those dedicated hours at the gym every week. Your body is with you every minute of every day — and it wants to move. Since your job likely keeps you static for far too long each day, look for those moments when you can take advantage of the opportunity to move. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park far away from your destination. Get your own coffee instead of asking an assistant to do it. Find five minutes every hour to get up and move around — and that includes in the evening when you’re watching TV and unwinding.
10. Eat to Stay Fit
Fitness is about more than movement, as you know. What you put into your mouth is as important as how you work off the calories you consume. The good news is that even if you don’t like to cook, you have plenty of options for treating your body well. Sign up for a food prep service, or take advantage of the healthy options in your local supermarket and restaurants. Your body will let you know how much it appreciates the proteins and veggies it gets from you.
11. Enjoy Restful Sleep
Your body works hard all day, and it deserves a good night’s sleep each night. Without good sleep, you can’t truly be fit. If you’re not one of those lucky men who falls (and stays) asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you can encourage good sleep by establishing healthy sleep hygiene routines. Invest in blackout curtains to make sure your room is really dark at night, and pop in some ear plugs if you find yourself waking up to every little sound. You should only use your bedroom for sleep and sex, so stop scrolling through your phone at bedtime — and definitely avoid doing any work from bed!
12. See a Doctor About Any Concerns
How often do you wonder if there’s something going on with your body, then shove your concerns aside and just keep soldiering on? We’ve all done it. But overall fitness is a team effort, and your men’s health doctor should be on your team. If you’ve found yourself running out of energy more than you used to, there could be a reason — a treatable reason. Maybe you’re experiencing the effects of the natural loss of testosterone that occurs to all men once they hit their 30s. You could be worried because your interest and performance in the bedroom have been lagging. Or you could be shrugging off that extra few pounds that seem to be clinging to your body, unaware that medical breakthroughs in the last couple of years have changed the game plan for losing weight.
Whatever your concerns, your local men’s health clinic is the right place to go to get support and solutions. At Texas Men’s Health Group, we’ve treated thousands of men for everything from low testosterone levels and flagging energy to loss of libido and weight loss. We hold your whole-body health and well-being at the heart of everything we do, and we’re ready to help you meet your fitness and other physical goals. There’s no need to trust your health to a medical spa when you have one of the foremost men’s health clinics in the country right down the road. Contact us today to see how we can help you crush your fitness goals, get in the best shape of your life and make this an amazing year.