We should all treat our bodies like a supercar
By Mattlynn Mossberg
While the weather gradually improves, your concentration at work or your commitment to that New Year’s resolution to make this year the healthiest yet may be progressing in the opposite direction. Whether you have lost sight of your fitness goals, or don’t know where to start with improving your wellbeing, Adam Strong has advice to help you out. Aside from being an accomplished corporate wellness specialist, personal trainer, serial entrepreneur and elite speaker, Adam has extensive knowledge about health and fitness. Adam offers advice on how to improve your health in all aspects of your life – even if you have a busy work schedule to attend to as well. He offers tips on how to distinguish good habits from bad and what to do to overcome the latter. Even small changes in your day-to-day routine can make the world of difference to your overall happiness.
How do you define health and what is its importance in the workplace?
It is hard to define because it is a whole array of different things. Personally, I believe health is the combination of a number of different factors; physical health, mental health, and emotional health. Physical fitness to improve heart health, protect your immune system, improve joint flexibility and deal with stress. Keeping physically fit is a great way to improve mental health as it can fight depression and anxiety, helping you to become more relaxed and happy. Your emotional well-being is about relationships, the relationship you have with yourself (the way you feel about yourself). The relationship with others and the social interaction you have and the relationship with your environment.
Health is also very important in the workplace as this can affect work productivity and performance. Compare your health to a supercar. If you owned that supercar you would want to prolong that life of the car and maximize its performance. We should all treat our bodies like a supercar. If we service the car, keep the car running, look after the bodywork, then we’re able to maximize the efficiency and performance of that car.
Keeping physically fit is a great way to improve mental health as it can fight depression and anxiety, helping you to become more relaxed and happy.
Health is important because you want to make sure you’re fully engaged in your activity. Being happy and healthy is what we all strive towards as a human being. Great customer service is related to having a happy and healthy workforce that is highly engaged and passionate. If you’re happy and healthy, you’re going to be more enthusiastic and more passionate about what you do. Your customers are going to see you’re proud to represent the brand and the company you work for too. Google and Apple are good examples of this.
What are some important elements of health and nutrition that most people don’t know about?
One of the first things is that a lot of people take health for granted, especially busy people like entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business people alike. They’ll focus so much on creating wealth that they’ll forget about themselves and have to invest huge amounts of that wealth to regain their health.
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- When I say well balanced I mean proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates
- Eat three times a day
- Stay hydrated
- Drink plenty of water
- It is really important because it helps complement a healthy diet and fill in the gaps of a healthy diet
- Food preparation
- A lot of people will buy sandwiches at lunchtime, or something else pre-made. But if you prepare meals in advance, like soups that can be frozen or a salad, then you’ve got your meal ready with little effort.
- Know about the food you’re putting in your body
- From a nutritional aspect, if you become more passionate about food you start to learn about what you’re putting into your body. At restaurants or eating pre prepared food you don’t always know what you’re consuming.
- Watch sugar content
- Sugar is the biggest culprit of type-2 diabetes. Watch out for foods and drinks with hidden sugar, especially adding sugar to a coffee or tea.
- Don’t have too much caffeine in your life
- Not too much coffee and no energy drinks, they have large amounts of caffeine in them. People enjoy having something hot to drink in the morning so if I were to choose a hot beverage I would choose a herbal/green tea.
What are some of the most common unhealthy behaviors people display in the workplace and why are they so detrimental?
Smoking is a big one for me. Smoking is not only a bad health habit but it leads to a loss in productivity. Take into account all the time out for a smoke break in a day add that together that could equal time at the gym or at home with family. Alcohol is another one, having a drink after work can quickly become five. People use it to relax (to de-stress) but are really just suppressing their moods. It’s calorific and it builds up body fat around the stomach area. It’s important to eat the right foods, especially at lunchtime, as it will affect your energy levels. Eating a poor quality high GI lunch causes a spike in blood sugar levels resulting in a crash around 3 o’clock. Then the cycle starts again with a trip to the vending machine, chocolate and other sugary snacks will give that energy boost but is short lived. This rollercoaster effect through the day makes you feel drained and effects your concentration and focus not only at work but in your personal life too.
Always have a healthy array of snacks in your office desk like dried fruit or nuts so if you feel the need to snack you have something ready and healthy that will give you steady energy. If you travel a lot make sure you have snacks with you in case you get stuck or held up by traffic. It’s all right to have a treat as long as you follow the 80:20 rule. Think about replacing some bad snacks with something that is healthier, for example if you eat a lot of potato chips you can replace them with something like salted almonds. Changes don’t just happen overnight though. For example with soda – people drink a lot of it in the workplace for the taste and the sugar rush it gives. But you can change to sparkling water to still get that fizz and after a few weeks then move to normal water, that’s the goal; to cut the sugar out and get hydrated.
What are some tips you would give to women who want to start enjoying a healthier lifestyle?
- Vision: Know exactly what you want to achieve and why.
- Goals: Know what it is that you need to do so you won’t be working backwards. Break it up into smaller aims so you know what you need to do on a daily basis. When I coach my clients I get them to reverse engineer the process, start with the finish and work backwards.
- Habits: Identify which are good and bad habits, the best way I have found to do this is to keep a journal.
- Accountability: Once you have set your goals, tell people about it, have a training buddy or seek a coach/mentor.
Do you have any advice for people who say they are too busy with work or do not have the time to exercise?
I like to educate people by making them aware of the benefits of staying fit and healthy. You first have to identify what your barriers to exercise are. The most common excuse is the perceived lack of time. I sit with clients and go through a time management strategy with them to help identify where the gaps are. Most follow a routine so you have to identify the time you have available. It’s important to integrate activity into your daily lifestyle like taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or walking and biking instead of taking public transport to work.
What are some common obstacles when transitioning to a healthier lifestyle? Do you have some advice for how to overcome them?
Time is a problem for two reasons; frequency, how often can you exercise or duration and how long you’ve got. You’ve got to identify which is the challenge. If it is frequency then we need identify which workouts or activity will maximize the results you want to achieve. If it is duration, and you only have 15 or 30 minutes, then you need to maximize what activities you can do with the small amount of time available.
Money is used as an excuse not to keep fit and healthy but now there are so many free apps available. One that I personally recommend is called FitStar. Fitstar is similar to having an online personal trainer with structured and varied exercise programs that require no equipment. It takes you through a work out session and counts the estimated calories you would burn in a typical session. If you’re not into conventional exercise like the gym or running you could start integrating everyday activities into your life such as walking or cycling. Get the family involved too.
Motivation can be a big problem leading to procrastination. The ways to overcome this is to exercise in groups or training with a buddy – great for accountability. In the workplace try running a competition or hosting a health and wellbeing day. Listening to things like videos and podcasts can help boost your motivation. Music can also be extremely beneficial as research studies suggest that you can exercise at high levels of intensity leading to quicker results.