Basics of Healthy Living
22 June 2022
By: Carter Krueger; Primal Health Coach & Triathlete
When planning for our next PR, we usually look for a new training plan or a pair of lighter, faster shoes. We tend to forget the fact that the basics of healthy living are what create the structure for a solid season, and healthier everyday lives. So, as we head into the New Year, let's take this time to build daily habits that set us up for success by focusing on the basics of healthy living.
What I mean by eating clean is eating mostly plants and animals. This general grouping includes meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. I know this can be challenging with busy lives, while trying to stay fueled for performance, but many of us rely too heavily on processed, high sugar, quick, grab and go snacks. These snacks, or performance fuels, may help support your training energy needs, but most of the time, we are not actually running, we are at work, with family or just relaxing after a long day. On top of that, many of us are not getting all of the nutrients we need for day to day health. So take a look at what you’re eating on a daily basis, and then ask yourself do I need this snack or could I be eating whole natural foods?
Yes, I know you are already a runner, but I’m talking about more movement throughout the day. Most of the time, our goal is to crush our 45 minute run either before or after work. I believe that the other hours of the day are just as important for keeping the muscles ready to go, and for recovering from your run. Moving more is a mindset, and it takes time to practice. It can look like breaking up long periods of sitting, going for walks during work or lunch breaks, changing positions from the couch into some light mobility work while watching tv, or just adding a morning or evening movement sequence. All of these minor changes will not take energy away from your runs and will help your body feel better, strengthen and recover quicker.
Sleeping is the only time where your body and mind are truly recovering. We live in a society where sleeping less than five hours is sometimes flaunted as a hack to get more hours in the day. When the reality is that yes, that leads to more waking hours, but productivity goes down. When I think about myself as an athlete, I frame sleep as my best opportunity to recover from my previous day’s workout, and a great way to get energy for the next day’s training. Not only does sleep help physically, but sleep aids in mental clarity and focus. When I need to really dial in my mindset for a training session, or make good choices when it comes to food, sleep helps give me the energy to make those decisions throughout a long day. The takeaway is to get more and better sleep, especially if you truly want to reap all of the benefits of your training.
This can be a hard one, since we always want to keep pushing and the “grind” seems to be something to be proud of. But, the reality is that many people are getting worn down by work, stress, life, and training. Sometimes we don't realize that training is also stress on the body and mind. Yes, it can be used as a stress reliever, but if we are already stressed to the max, then the extra push in the form of training could be the tipping point, and lead to burn out.
Secondly, listen to your body when it comes to aches and pains. A lot of people give up on running, because of injuries. I get it, running can be very high impact on your bones and joints, so if you feel an ache or a pain, start with some mobility, some extra rest, and if it still persists go see an expert. Nothing can ruin an entire season like an injury.
Lastly, back to the first rule of healthy living, listen to your body about your food choices. Take some time to reflect how you actually feel after eating specific foods. Sometimes we are so caught up in the day to day that we don't realize that some of our favorite foods may be leading to discomfort or even weight gain, because it's just not what we need.
So, listen to your body and have your healthiest and most injury-free season yet!
My name is Carter Krueger. I am a Primal Health Coach, as well as a high school health teacher in the Denver Area. I have been racing triathlons for over 8 years now, and ever since getting back to the basics of healthy living, I’m having my best season yet. You can find more information by following my Instagram, @healthcoachcarter