Making yourself a holistic program that addresses health, fitness and wellness
By Sujay Reddy
When it comes to outlining a roadmap to a healthier and fitter version of ourselves, we are often faced with 2 options. Either, to pay a professional or figure it out ourselves. If the first option is inaccessible , then the second one can seem like a colossal undertaking.
Here are some basic principles and tips that can be utilised by anyone to make a holistic personalised programme. We, at the Mind The Breath have arrived at a holistic approach which includes Movement, Recovery, Nutrition, Meditation and Breathwork. This specific method has been arrived at as a result of 3 decades of training, first as a professional athlete, then as a holistic coach by our founder.
The first exercise is to ask ourselves and answer with honesty, the following questions:
How many hours/minutes a day am I willing to meditate in a week?
How many hours/minutes a day am I willing to exercise in a week?
Once we have decided upon how much time we are willing to spend on training our body and mind, we can then inculcate the holistic approach into building a weekly programme in the following manner.
Meditation and Breathwork
Even if we spend a total of only one hour a week on meditation and breathwork, that would still mean we get 10 mindful minutes a day for 6 days in a week. It is better to get a small session everyday as opposed to two long sessions a week. What we are trying to do with meditation and breathwork is to create a habit and establish a daily practice that allows us to not only become more mindful of our thoughts through the day but also increases concentration. This can be accomplished even through a short 10 minute daily morning practice.
If we assume that only 3 hours a week can be spent on physical exercise, that still allows us to work out for about 35 minutes a day for 5 days a week. Since most of us lead sedentary lives, hunched over screens for a better part of the day, even a short session that involves purposeful movement can help maintain our skeletal structure. It has also been scientifically proven that exercise releases endorphins, increases blood flow, alertness and reduces stress levels.
Anything that is cumbersome and extremely boring will not sustain as a practice. If it is unsustainable, it will not prove to be effective. Counting calories is one such ineffective approach that can prove to be one such ineffective approach. Instead, it is easier to learn how to balance our plates based on the percentage of the 3 main macronutrients (Carbohydrates 60%, protein 20% and fats 20%). It is also easier to find substitutes instead of cutting out entire food types. It helps to allow ourselves a couple of treat items (not meals) through the week, this will help us from binging on weekends. It also helps to experiment with meal timings to see what works best for each individual. Lastly, it only takes a couple of hours in a week to ensure easy access to nutritious food. The ideal way to ensure that is by shopping right and meal prepping, Therefore it only makes sense to include the time spent on these activities into our weekly programmes.
Recovery and Rest
We are all aware of the importance of a good nights’ rest. This allows us to be more energised, alert, patient and focused. Yet, recovery and rest are the most ignored aspect whilst making any personal programme. If we build a habit of shutting down all electronics and sleeping at the same time every night, it becomes much easier to wake up at the same time every morning. The inclusion of times at which we sleep and awaken into our programme is essential. Adequate rest also boosts immunity and gives us a better chance of sticking to our routines.
All these aspects of training are intimately interconnected. Hence, adopting a holistic approach while making a programme which includes the above elucidated aspects allows for an easy and effective method for achieving higher levels of health, fitness and wellness.