Vail Daily column: Non-negotiable fitness
Make It Count
Typically, I’m not a fan of strict fitness and nutrition guidelines. We all come from a different fitness background and often have dissimilar goals. For example, many trainees enjoy running, while others exclusively strength train. I dislike steady state aerobic training, and prefer walking or sprinting. Some wellness experts claim that a large breakfast is the most important meal of the day; often I opt for coffee instead. I prefer to eat later in the day as it works better for me. Perhaps you eat breakfast every day and love long runs and that’s OK. As you journey on, it’s important to stay active and seek activities you enjoy.
My professional goal is human optimization; I seek to provide the best fitness and wellness information possible. Even though I encourage flexibility on your journey, I recommend paying attention to these four principles I rarely deviate from. No matter your goals, incorporate these today.
Quality over quantity
Never sacrifice movement quality for quantity. This is a top priority because too many people believe that if they just keep moving, problems will fix themselves. In any program you follow or activity you engage in, ensure that everything is done properly. You risk injury and burnout every time you seek greater volume in the name of quality.
Sleep is essential. It provides the recovery you need from a long day of training, work, stress and everything else life throws at you. Eight hours per night is ideal; you will not perform your best sleep deprived. Missed sleep mimics credit card debt — missing one payment may seem small, but continue that behavior and you will find yourself with a huge problem later. Having children or working long hours understandably interrupts sleep patterns, so do your best.
Drinking water is a no brainer, without it you’d die. Like sleep, everybody gets some, but probably not enough. Even slight dehydration can affect performance. Seek to drink half your body weight in ounces every day. You can increase your total if you engage in heavy exercise and sweat a lot, but don’t get carried away. Especially at high altitude, many fitness enthusiasts go overboard which can deplete electrolytes and worse, hyponatremia is a possible deadly threat from too much fluid consumption. Although simple, you will be amazed at how much better you feel when consuming more water.
Do something every day
You should engage in some sort of activity every day. It doesn’t have to be structured exercise, and can be as simple as walking your dog around the neighborhood. You will have days where you hit your workouts hard and that’s great. For those days when you’re exhausted or short on time, prioritize a half hour to do something. Engaging in activities you enjoy will make staying fit even easier.
I encourage you to follow training and nutrition principles that are sustainable with the understanding that no plan is perfect. Continuously seek positive changes and only follow programs that you can stick with. Beyond that, incorporate the four non-negotiable principles mentioned above. These pair nicely with any plan you follow, and serve your body well. Do your best to avoid deviation from these, and remember that the best fitness plans are the ones that you will stick with. Thanks for reading and have a great week.
Jimmy Pritchard has a B.S. from Colorado Mesa University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is a personal trainer at the Sonnenalp Club and is a fitness professional at ryanrichards.com. Pritchard’s passion is to help others meet, and often exceed their goals in all areas of fitness. Contact him at 970-401-0720.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.