The summer heat has been unforgiving this year 🥵! Solely depending on plain water to keep yourself hydrated is a mistake when you work out intensely. The quality of your fluids, particularly electrolytes, is just as important as the quantity you consume. Surviving on freezits and soft drinks 🥤 has minimal impact on hydration status for active individuals as it only provides a sugar dump and cooling effect for your body. Here’s what I do for optimal hydration:
Standard 40-45mls per kilogram of body weight daily. Buying 2.2 liter water jugs from Game, Shoprite or a China Mall keep me honest about my intake and make it easier for me to track.
When you’re pushing it and sweating a lot opting for fluid with electrolytes in it is your best approach. My go to beverages are coconut water 🥥 💧 and energade during and just after exercise. Not only do they keep me hydrated but they also keep me from cramping. Cramping is a direct result of an electrolyte imbalance. If you’re a cheapskate you can make a homemade electrolyte drink by mixing the following items 👉🏾
Bananas 🍌 , pretzels 🥨 and nuts 🥜 🌰 are the primary snacks I consume to help support my hydration levels. The sodium, magnesium and potassium elements balance my electrolytes and replenish what I lose in the gym when I sweat 😓. They’ll likely be a good addition for you too.
“Nick. I’m drowning.” At least that’s how I translated what she told me. It made me realize that most of us experience declining mental fitness levels when life starts to teach us who’s boss. I want to whip you back in shape mentally so read on.
Decide how you want to feel every waking moment. We can’t control what happens to us but we can certainly decide how we choose to feel about it. It’s entirely up to you.
Be a living testimony to others 🙏🏾
Why you? 🤔 “Why not you?” God doesn’t need you to verbalize a testimony of His grace, he needs you to live it. You’d be surprised to learn that people are drawing courage from your ability to keep going in spite of your circumstances. Don’t let the darkness consume you.
Put out positive energy 🌈 😊
It’s as simple as smiling at strangers and everyone around you. You’ll often experience reciprocity for simple, kind gestures and that will help lift your spirits. ⚠️sulking in isolation will exacerbate the problem. Surround yourself with loved ones and show love at every opportunity.
Like all things, this too shall pass ⏱
Remember your first heartbreak 💔? Or the first time you lost a loved one? All the pain you felt? You’re still here and even if you haven’t overcome it completely you’re dealing with it. “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay then it’s not the end.”
The concept of a curse and a blessing
She complained about the disruptive nature of falling pregnant 🤰🏾 before she was ready and how hard it’s been. As someone without any kids, that’s a struggle I’d sign up for any day of the week. What am I saying? Your biggest complaint, and what you think is a curse would be someone else’s greatest blessing. The struggle’s beautiful, be grateful 😇.
Confide in others
Tell the people you love and trust what you’re going through without complaining about the cards you’ve been dealt. The objective is to seek encouragement and maybe a hug 🤗 . 🗣 “This is what I’m going through... I need your love and support.” Chapwa. In the end just know that you don’t have to walk alone. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
Everything isn’t what it seems
We can’t run away from comparisons but whatever you see isn’t exactly as it seems. Your friends, your peers, your co-workers and your relatives don’t have the smooth rides you think they do. You only see what they show you as the rest of their story is redacted. Everyone has their wilderness. Life humbles all. You’re not alone in your struggles, keep going.
I was recently made aware of runners being mugged by people in cars that would pull up next to you and congratulate you for your efforts with slaps. I was disturbed by this and thought I might add a voice to the safety concerns of runners so here it is:
Ditch the headsets 🎧
You need to be aware of your environment and alert to threats so you can react accordingly. If you want to run with headsets do so on a treadmill and nowhere else.
Leave your phone 📱
Tell the people you live with your route and expected return time in case of anything. This advice applies for anything else of value such as jewelry, watches, and any other fancy gadgets and accessories. Run lean before you start looking like food to hungry people.
Carry something portable
You might want to consider carrying something portable that might help you defend yourself in scary situations. If attacked, respond in kind.
Wear a reflector jacket
If you’d rather not because it cramps your style opt for brightly colored clothing 🟨🟩🟧 instead to make yourself visible. I don’t understand runners that leave their house dressed like Batman. You’re effectively camouflaged with the tarmac. Don’t risk becoming roadkill for an outfit.
Run in groups 🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️
Group sessions are a strong deterrent for theft so where possible you might want to consider partnering up with running groups like the Lusaka Fitness Squad or a couple of your buddies to discourage potential thieves.
Trust your instincts 🧐😶🌫️
If an individual or group of people make you uncomfortable out on your runs INCREASE the social distance. I share my experience trusting my gut here, and I believe it saved me from a trip back home naked.
Don’t run in isolated areas and during dark times (early morning, evening or late at night)
This makes you a mark and easy pickings for opportunistic theft. Try to identify well lit places to run in if you can’t run later in the morning when it’s brighter or earlier in evening before it gets dark due to time constraints. We have a couple places with solar street lights so that can help the situation. You should also identify places where there’s activity.
Don’t run in residential areas unless you know the area well
The reason for this is simple: dogs 🐕. Losing weight from your rear end doesn’t have to be a painful process. Read about my experience with dogs here.
I have an office mate that recently embarked on a fitness journey and she can’t believe how sore she is! Restarting her fitness journey is threatening to change how she walks in heels 👠 😄. Here’s how I advised her to deal with it all:
Massage aka ukuchina💆🏾♂️
Go and spend a little money on getting rubbed down, it’ll do you a world of good. M'kango golf view off Great East road has the best sport massage services in the city! Call 📞 0979897124 and ask for Ruth or Catherine. They’ll get you right back to default settings or better! If you’re a cheap skate you can foam roll or purchase a massage gun/machine and do it yourself. Game stores is the plug for these items. Either way you’ll relieve muscle tension and pain and increase blood flow to the affected area to jump start recovery.
Basic stretching might be a little painful but trust me you’ll feel a whole lot better after you’re done. Thighs are sore? Get on your knees and sit on your heels to stretch. Back is aching? Lay on your back and hug your knees. Chest is on fire? Have a friend pull your arms back gently. Find whatever movement is convenient for the sore muscle group and stretch to a point of slight discomfort for 30-45 seconds. Repeat 🔁 2-3 times every couple of hours and you’re well on your way to feeling better.
This is about doing more of things that got you sore in the first place minus the overzealousness. Squats got your glutes on fire 🔥? Do more squats with a lighter load and lower intensity. You need to get blood flow to the affected area to facilitate recovery. Blood has all the nutrients and oxygen to bring life back to sore muscles so you want to get that going before you end up stiff as a board. ⚠️ When you’re sore from a gym session the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Eat 🍱 & hydrate 💧
A low carb diet on a high training volume program will sabotage your efforts. If you find yourself low on energy and motivation and high on pain you need to carb up with things like rice 🍚 or pasta 🍝 to replenish glycogen and elevate your mood while simultaneously increasing protein intake from sources like fish, chicken and eggs to help repair damaged muscle tissue. Fruits are an excellent top up to combat inflammation and give you a natural sugar boost. When it comes to fluids you need to drink up to flush waste from your body and remember to check your urine color to assess your hydration levels. Light yellow is the sweet spot. Urine the same color as the water you drink is a sign of over-hydrating while urine the color of tea is a sign of dehydration. Lastly, consider incorporating a daily multivitamin 💊 in your diet. Wellman & Wellwoman are decent options and are available locally. ⚠️ Note that multivitamins will turn your pee to a bright yellow, do not be alarmed 😱 . Your body is simply flushing excess water soluble vitamins i.e. B vitamins. It’s no cause for concern.
Hot 🥵 & cold 🥶 showers 🚿
Alternating between hot and cold water during shower time for a minute or two at a time will improve circulation and facilitate total body recovery by reducing inflammation. I’ve found this practice to be highly effective and simple to incorporate. It's a refreshing experience.
Hot 🥵 & cold 🥶 gel packs
Applying hot and cold gel packs to your body follows the same principle as hot and cold showers. It’ll combat inflammation and reduce pain. I personally use hot and cold packs on my joints as opposed to the muscles. It helps me deal with the pain and strain of moving heavy weight 🏋🏾♀️ and pounding the pavement 🏃🏿♂️. I mostly apply it to my elbows and knees for 20 mins at a time, alternating between hot and cold. Myprotein UK has really affordable, effective options for this. If you’re interested, follow this link.
As someone with a supernatural ability to gain weight by just looking at food I’ve had to make a determined effort to suppress my superpower. I’ve tried various crash diets in the past with varying degrees of success but ultimately I’ve realized that keeping my weight stable is anchored on consistent daily habits and not any extreme short term interventions. I’m going to share the habits that have been useful to me with you.
Lifting weights daily🏋🏾♂️
My current physique 🦍 is mainly attributable to gym sessions where I pick heavy stuff up and put it back down. Rinse, repeat 🔁 for an hour (see exhibit A 🎬). The gym is an absolute essential for anyone that wants a better physique and improved body composition, including women (ka shape shape 🍑 mwaishiba ka?)
Drinking water 💧 with a slice of lemon 🍋 first thing in the morning on an empty stomach
This practice keeps me pooping 💩 on a regular basis and addresses issues of bloating and constipation. If you’re not dropping bombs 💣 🚽 twice a day, you should consider adopting this to improve your situation. Don’t turn your body into a septic tank. Note that a hot cup of green tea 🍵 , moringa tea or coffee ☕️ will also loosen the bowels and get the job done if that’s your preference.
Going 50% on everything 🍽 ✂
It’s simple - whatever I feel like putting in my mouth is halved. Feeing like two lumps of nshima? I’ll have one. Feeling like four slices of bread? I’ll have two. I TRY to do it for everything and never eat to complete satisfaction.
I try to walk as much as I can as often as I can. I’ve even set up an hourly health walk at work where every hour I get up and take a stroll. This little activity adds up to big results over time and I’m sticking with it. It’s not as cool as telling my office mates how tired I am from my morning 15K as others like to do but it serves its purpose and keeps the weight controlled. It’ll likely make a difference for you too.
Sleep hygiene 🛌 😴
I sleep well and sleep long (+7 hours) every night to keep my hormones balanced. If you’re possessed by a spirit of entrepreneurship and neglecting sleep to hustle just know that your waistline will expand at the same rate as your business if you’re not careful. More on sleep here.
Daily weight and food tracking 𐄷
I make an effort to weigh myself everyday and track food intake. The scale makes me alive to my reality and food tracking exposes my eating habits. You cannot change what you don’t make an effort to know so all this is done to elevate my level of awareness so I can make adjustments where required. I track my food with an app called Nutrionix. It’s free, doesn’t contain any ads and it's very easy to use.
Alcohol 🍻🥃 🍷🍹
I only consume alcohol on weekends and this practice has saved me from a protruding tummy. If you drink often and outside of weekends it likely shows on your belly so you might want to limit your drinking sessions so you don’t jiggle as much. If you want step it up a little you can adjust what liquor you consume and what you mix it with. Lite beers and water as mixers are the way to go. More on this here.
Modeling myself after others aka Copy & Paste
Physically there’s always someone within our reach that has the body we want. I walk up to them with puppy eyes 🐶 and tell them I admire them and maybe a few extras if necessary. Once their ego is massaged I start to pick their brain on what they do (habits), what they eat, how they train - any and everything of interest that’ll help me learn more about how they manage their body. I simply adopt what I think is useful and discard what isn’t.