Mastering the Fundamentals: The Easiest Way to Get Game Changing Growth
Getting the health of your dreams can be so much easier than you’ve been led to believe.
So often we can get bogged down in the detail and it slows us down, makes us uncertain, and quite often it derails us completely.
Pick up any health magazine and they’ll be talking about a new superfood, which type of protein powder is best, HIIT vs slow aerobic training, paleo vs raw vs LFHC vs HFLC…
And so often you end up doing nothing. The paralysis of choice and confusion.
The reality is – these details will only make a 2% difference.
And on their own that’s just wasted effort. And I very much dislike wasted effort.
However, if you pair any of these details with a few core fundamentals – practiced day in- day out, these tiny gains can add up to significant results.
(We’ll talk about the power of marginal gains with your health & energy next time…)
But the Fundamentals Will Get You 95% of the Way There…
No matter what your health goal, you have to master the fundamentals and doing so will change your life.
It will focus you and make you realise just how simple and easy abundant health and energy can be.
Time for THREE Core Fundamentals to Give You Sustained All-Day Energy
You know my passion is helping people unlock their energy and vitality and do so in a way that’s easy, realistic and enjoyable…
These three fundamentals most certainly tick those boxes alright!
Today we’re looking at three of the most important fundamentals, that in my experience, most people forget, ignore or don’t see the importance of.
I’ll take you through each of them now and then give you a place to start and a strategy to follow, so you can start to put these into practice in your life today.
The Fundamentals: Sleep, Breakfast & Hydration
Fundamental #1: Rhythm & Cycle of Sleep
So many people miss this step and it is making everything so much harder than it needs to be.
Stop ignoring sleep as part of the puzzle.
It is is absolutely critical to your health.
Read this section and start putting this into practice – just this one change (which only about 10% of people do, and they’re thriving) will make more of a difference to your all-day energy than anything else.
A lack of sleep, poor sleep quality and poor sleep rhythms contribute to oxidative stress, inflammation, imbalanced cortisol and insulin, high blood pressure, adrenal & thyroid stress, digestive bacteria imbalance, poor memory and concentration and so much more – as much as any food does.
It is one of the biggest contributors to weight gain owing to it’s messing of your metabolism, regulation of insulin, overproduction of cortisol, and inflammation.
It is one of the biggest contributors to chronic fatigue – not just because of the lack of sleep, but because this lack of sleep stresses your adrenals so badly.
Almost everyone I work with in my Alkaline Base Camp coaching either wants to lose weight or get more energy (as part of their goals) and sleep is absolutely integral to both of these.
How Much Sleep Do You Need and When?
The research has shown pretty clearly that 7.5-8.5 hours of sleep. This is at the stage of being almost irrefutable now. There are a small percentage of people (under 5%) who can thrive on 4-5 hours of sleep a night, but for most of us, we have to be aiming for 7.5-8.5 hours.
The Centre for Disease Control & Prevention reviewed over 300 research papers on sleep and the overwhelming evidence was 7.5-8.5 hours are needed.
However, most of us are getting less than 6 hours.
In order for your body to function optimally you need to be getting those 8 hours.
And Just As Importantly (if not more…)
Routine and regularity is critical when it comes to your sleep and how this impacts your body. We have evolved to work in rhythms – most obviously the rhythm of us getting tired when the sun goes down and waking up when the sun comes up.
Our body is hard wired to operate like this, and the biggest impact rhythms (or a lack of) have is on our endocrine system – the system of glands and organs the regulates our hormones.
If you want to know the secret to all-day, sustained, natural energy – it is to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
This will have more of an impact than anything else.
Sticking to a regular, rigid sleep pattern (same time to bed, same time to rise) will do more for your all-day energy than anything else
Researchers from Brigham Young University showed that while getting less than 6.5 hours of sleep a day was linked to higher body fat, and high quality sleep was associated with lower body fat while poor quality sleep was correlated with higher body fat – waking and going to bed at the same time, and instilling this rhythm into your body, was the most strongly linked with lower body fat and increased health markers across the board.
The more variance there was in the sleep pattern, the higher the body fat and the greater chance of sickness.
I know this might sound like a tall order – especially if you have young children – but you really do need to try to put this into practice. Even if it’s just 4-5 days a week – having that similar (it doesn’t need to be to the minute) sleep and waking time will do wonders for your energy, your hormonal balance, your mental clarity, your weight, immune system and so much more.
Putting the Sleep Fundamental Into Practice:
You simply have to start prioritising sleep and make it a regular same-time-to-bed-same-time-to-rise. Getting this routine in place will have such a dramatic impact on your hormones, metabolism, digestion and so much more – you will not find an easier, faster way to boost your all-day energy than this.
And doing this is a case of making a mental decision. You have to book in 8 hours a night, PLUS the time it’s going to take you to unwind and be in bed, relaxed and closing your eyes.
It’s pointless to say you’re going to go to bed at 9pm and at 9pm you switch off the TV, go get changed, clean your teeth, get a glass of water, check your phone one last time, go to the toilet….by which time it’s 9:30pm and you’re not even in bed yet. If you are going to be sleeping from 9pm – 5am you need to be *asleep* by 9pm.
For many people getting this habit set up is going to be more tricky and take more willpower than giving up coffee or wine – because so many of us have gotten so used to just passing out or going to bed whenever the time comes along…
So you may need to start by setting a ‘go to sleep alarm’ to stop you from doing what you’re doing and start your go-to-bed routine at the right time.
I know this sounds silly to set a ‘go to sleep alarm’ but it will have a HUGE impact if you can master this fundamental.
Fundamental #2: Breakfast Done Right
So we now know that your body operates on cycles and rhythms, especially your hormones such as cortisol, melatonin, serotonin and insulin. And step one to helping balance these rhythms and giving your body the framework to thrive is your regular sleep pattern.
And the very next most important thing in managing this cycle is the very next thing that happens after you wake up…
And 90% of people get this dead-wrong.
The wrong breakfast, or no breakfast, will set you up for failure…
Breakfast is a fundamental you simply have to master. Right now.
Having a proper, healthy, alkaline breakfast – within the three golden rules I’ll share in a moment that make up my ‘Perfect Breakfast Formula’ – sets you up for success, kicking off your body’s day in the right way to balance everything correctly to enable your body to burn fat for energy and to ensure your blood sugar and insulin remain perfectly stable throughout the day.
Recently, there have been calls for intermittent fasting, with ideas such as fasting throughout the day and having a big dinner.
And there have always been people who have had the mantra to skip breakfast and starting with lunch, because they’re not hungry early in the morning.
But the reality is, there is just so much data showing our whole day’s energy production is based upon the first fuel that we break our nighttime fast with.
And most importantly, how we fuel our body first thing in the morning has a dramatic effect on our blood sugar levels and therefore insulin levels, and if we get this wrong early in the morning:
[+] our cortisol cycles will be stuffed the whole day leading to early, later or insufficient release of melatonin which regulates our sleep duration and quality (leading to further hormonal imbalance, blood sugar dips and thus sugar cravings)
[+] if there is no fuel in the tank our blood sugar levels nosedive dramatically, creating a surge of sugar cravings to level them back out – which almost always leads to over-eating, spiking blood sugar and insulin release. Not eating breakfast sets us up for a spiral of blood sugar peaks and troughs from the moment we wake.
Four Research Studies Have Proven Why Breakfast Is Critical:
Research published in the Journal of Frontiers of Human Neuroscience showed that eating breakfast helped restore glycogen levels and stabilise insulin levels. If you don’t replenish your glucose reserves close to when you wake it will soon leave you feeling moody, overly hungry and fatigued.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that having breakfast fires up your metabolism, and encourages calorific burning throughout the day. The flip side is when you skip breakfast after the night’s fast you immediately slip into this ‘famine mode’ where thereafter every piece of food you eat will be stored as fat as much as possible, until your body is convinced the famine is over.
Research conducted by Prof John Ivy from the University of Texas at Austin has shown that cortisol levels are naturally at their highest at 7am and we are programmed to eat to bring them back down. If we skip breakfast, cortisol remains high, stressing the adrenals and leaving us prone to cravings, comfort foods later in the day and feeling stressed and jittery.
A 16-year long study from Harvard on 27,000 men showed that those who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27% more likely chance of dying from coronary heart disease.
Are you getting the picture? You have to have breakfast and you have to do it right!
The Perfect Breakfast Formula
[+] Rule 1: eat within an hour (pref 30 minutes) of waking
[+] Rule 2: include 7-10g protein in the meal.
[+] Rule 3: include fibre, any combination of soluble, insoluble or resistant
[+] Rule 4: include healthy fats – such as coconut oil, flax oil/meal, olive oil, avocado etc
Now, you’ll note above I called this the ‘perfect’ healthy breakfast, and ideally you’ll hit all four of these rules 95% of the time – BUT don’t stress. If your breakfast is mostly hitting these rules most of the time you’re doing great.
You don’t have to be perfect – this is just the ideal.
The secret fifth rule is also to include as many micronutrients as possible – so loading up on veggies is a great idea!
It’s not practical every day to have veg at breakfast, but do try to do this 3-4 times per week if you can.
‘Perfect Breakfast Formula’ Recipes to Get You Started
Super Nutrient Breakfast Bowl
Alkaline Bean Salsa Brekkie
Simple Alkaline Oats (GF)
Chai-Infused Vanilla Quinoa Porridge
Nutrient-Dense Alkaline Breakfast Bowl
Quinoa & Apple Oats
Gluten-Free Buckwheat & Pumpkin Pancakes
Fundamental #3: Hydration Daily
And now we’re onto hydration – probably the biggest fundamental cornerstone of health that there is – that so many people forget and ignore and they have no excuse!
If you’re not properly hydrated you will NOT reach your health goal – no matter what it is.
There’s no excuse…
And yet the fact is, people don’t drink enough water.
In fact, most people drink nowhere near enough water. It’s estimated that 95% of people in developed countries are chronically dehydrated. Yes, 95% of us are chronically dehydrated.
We are sick, tired, fatigued, struggling through each day, suffering from skin conditions, allergies, reflux, digestive disorders, obesity, yeast infections and a whole lot more.
And we’re chronically dehydrated. What’s worse is, for the vast majority of people (around 99%) the little amount of water we are drinking is the wrong kind of water.
The water that 99% of people are drinking is toxic, oxidising (meaning it ages the body and forms free radicals) and acidic.
We’ll get onto what all of that means soon. But for now, just think about how much water you drink on a daily basis.
You know you’re supposed to drink 8 glasses a day (this is actually about half as much as you need, and I’ll explain why shortly), but how much water did you drink today?
How much did you drink yesterday?
How much did you drink last week?
If you are like most people it would have been probably a lot less than 8 glasses each day.
And if you’re like most people it would have been interspersed with cups of coffee, soda, tea and alcohol too, all of which actually count against your hydration, as they dehydrate the body.
The reality is this: in my twelve years of coaching nutrition and, in particular, the alkaline approach to health, the one thing I have seen over and over that has more impact than anything else is proper hydration.
And it’s so, so simple.
All you need to do is drink more water and the right quality of water.
And the good news is, if you’re one of the 95% that are dehydrated – the moment you switch your hydration habits so that you’re getting proper amounts of water, and the right kinds of water, your health will turn around within days. The effect is noticeable within hours: more energy, more mental clarity, brighter moods and an instant effect on your digestion.
Then over the next few days and weeks unwanted body fat starts to fall away, reflux calms, skin improves and clears and they are getting better, more restful sleep and waking up refreshed.
It’s that simple and it’s that amazing.
But the question is this: if it is as simple as drinking enough water, why isn’t everyone doing it?
In my experience I’ve learned it’s for two reasons.
Reason one is that the concept of hydration is so simple that we ignore it, don’t believe it’s important or simply forget.
For instance, we all know that going to the gym or going for a run will have a direct impact on our health and we’re aware of that. We’re away when we’re not doing it and we’ll beat ourselves up if we go for a long period of time without exercising and feel guilty.
But being properly hydrated is perhaps even more important, yet most people don’t give it a second’s thought.
The second reason is that those people who do get hydrated, or who have put effort into getting enough water aren’t focusing on quality as well as quantity and so they’re not seeing the results.
Drinking large quantities of low quality water will help, but get nowhere near the results you deserve.
Our Body is 75% Water, But I Don’t Care…
Apparently, water makes up 75% of your total body weight. The Earth is 70% water. 70% of your muscles are made up of water. Interesting…
But I don’t really care about that.
It has no impact on me. It doesn’t motivate me and I can’t really relate how those statistics are important to my health or how they’re going to help me.
They don’t inspire me. This does:
“a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25-30% loss of energy in most people”
This is huge! In fact, even mild dehydration can slow our metabolism down by 3% – when you consider this, you can see why rehydration can support weight loss!
Proper hydration is so important to every function of the human body (if fluids drop by just 15% we die) and dehydration is one of the root causes of such a ridiculous number of symptoms.
In just one study from Nutrition Review in 2010, dehydration was found to play a significant role in fatigue, kidney problems, skin conditions, headaches, migranes, urinary tract infections, hypertension, heart disease, headaches, cognitive performance, physical performance and more.
The researchers also stated that “There is evidence that mild dehydration may also account for some morbidities”.
This is further reinforced by studies such as this from the New England Journal of Medicine that concluded that “A high fluid intake is associated with a decreased risk of bladder cancer in men.” and in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Stroke Journal who found that dehydration can have a direct relationship with the likelihood of an acute stroke
Dehydration is serious.
And while most illnesses, health challenges and degenerative conditions are multi-factorial, “water is quantitively the most important nutrient”.
Avoiding dehydration is not just important to avoid fatigue, feeling tired, run down and sluggish. Or just to avoid dry skin, acne, eczema, psoriasis…
It’s not just important for these types of goals, such as weight loss, better sleep, more alertness and to ease digestive conditions, GERD and reflux.
It does a wonderful job on these things, but more seriously, dehydration is a significant contributing factor to a plethora of degenerative diseases and conditions.
Again, these conditions are all multi-factorial, but dehydration is one of the most significant factors.
A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack and men 51% less likely than those who drank less than two glasses.
They stated “We have found a strong negative multivariate association between intake of water and risk of fatal coronary heart disease and, in contrast, a positive association between intake of fluids other than water and risk. “
In other words, not just any liquid will do – soda, coffee, tea etc. actually INCREASED the risk!
A review in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that inadequate water intake was directly linked to an increase risk of breast, colon and urinary tract cancers and hundreds of other conditions.
How is this being overlooked? It’s just so important and so simple!
How Much Water Is Right For Me?
Ideally, you should be aiming to drink somewhere between 2-4 litres of good quality water each day.
The official equation I use and that I think is brilliant is this:
1 litre of water per 40lbs (18k or 2.85stone) of body weight
For example, 12st = 4.2 litres per day.
This, I have found, accurately works out to between 3-4 litres for most people each day. And if you stick to this, every day, I promise you there will be a massive increase in your health, energy, mental clarity and vitality.
This can be made up of water, flavoured water (with lemon, lime, herbs etc), herbal tea, vegetable juice & smoothies and so on. NOT included is coffee, regular tea, cordial, soft drinks or alcohol. These all actually count as a negative towards your hydration total.
And if you stick to this, every day, I promise you there will be a massive increase in your health, energy, mental clarity and vitality.
This has been much debated in the mainstream media in the past twelve months.
Certain ‘experts’ have been playing down the need to drink water! Even 8 glasses a day (which is just under 2 litres or 64oz) is too much for these guys.
Instead they’d rather you just have a couple of glasses and be done with it. Let’s look at it this way, and I urge you to do this if you’ve got any doubts.
FOR THE NEXT 7 DAYS DRINK ONLY 2 GLASSES PER DAY. SEE HOW YOU FEEL. THEN FOR THE 7 DAYS AFTER DRINK THE AMOUNT THATS RIGHT FOR YOU FROM THE BELOW METHOD AND SEE IF YOU FEEL ANY BETTER…. I ALREDY KNOW YOUR ANSWER, BY THE WAY…
Staying ultra-hydrated by drinking 3-4 litres of clean, filtered water per day will dramatically improve the way you look, think and feel.
What is the right TYPE OF WATER?
Water is water, right?
It’s funny how we pay so much attention to the types of food we eat: organic vs. non organic, Non-GMO, sugar-free, gluten-free, locally sourced, grass-fed, antibiotic-free…
But we just see water as water.
The fact is that water is NOT just water – it can have a huge impact on your health to be drinking the wrong kind of water, and by the wrong kind – I mostly mean tap and bottled water.
These are the wrong kinds of water!
To help you navigate the minefield of getting the right type of water, filtration, the right pH and so on I have just completely updated and upgraded my legendary Definitive Guide to Alkaline Water and you can download it here.
Inside the guide you’ll learn:
- exactly why tap and bottled water are no longer a healthy choice
- what type of filtration is best
- every single method to make your water alkaline (with the pro’s and con’s of each)
- my Hydration Cheat Sheet to show you how to get to your hydration target on auto-pilot
- which types of water bottle are safest
- which types of herbal tea are the most alkaline and beneficial
- and so much more!
Putting the Hydration Fundamental Into Practice:
Start by calculating how much you ideally need each day. I estimate for most people it is between 3-4 litres per day and then set your first target. You don’t have to go for the big one right away. I see a noticable shift in people when they consistently get 2 or more litres, so start by targetting at least two litres per day.
Now calculate where this is going to come from. Will it be 4 500ml glasses spread throughout the day, or one 500ml glass upon waking, 3 herbal teas, a glass after lunch and one after dinner…
What is your plan?
If you have a plan you will be much more likely to remember it, stick to it and get the momentum that the hydration habit needs.
Structure your hydration around specific actions that happen every day (waking up, glass after cleaning teeth, glass when arriving at work etc). If you leave it to fate, you will forget.
Remember – quality is as important as quantity so go download the Definitive Guide to Alkaline Water here so you know you are getting the best water for yourself and your family.
Mastering the Fundamentals: It’s Simple, Fast and Will Get You Huge Results
Of course, there are other fundamentals of an alkaline, optimal diet and lifestlye- having a vegetable juice daily, getting 5 serves of greens a day, getting plenty of healthy fats to name a couple…
But these three fundamentals of hydration, sleep rhythm and the right breakfast are SO simple and so often overlooked.
If you made 50% of your diet decent but did these three things daily…?
You’d see a HUGE increase in your energy, vitality, your hormones would balance, excess weight would drop off, digestion would heal, stress would disappear and so much more.
Give these a try. They are too important to ignore!
And until next time – let’s get ENERGIZED!
P.S. Take a look at the Alkaline Recipe System. With hundreds of easy-to-prepare Alkaline recipes PLUS 7 goal-based meal plans each with itemized shopping lists (for goals including weight loss, more energy, better digestion, clearer skin and more) – it makes reaching your health goals SO easy!
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