The rule of 3

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If...

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Workout & breakfast in 30 minutes

  • Cut back on these 3 foods

  • Subscriber of the week

No Time? No Problem

Ketch here. Many people say they don’t have time to exercise or eat healthily. As a new dad of a beautiful 4-month-old girl, I totally get it. It isn’t easy, but I wanted you to see that within 30 minutes, you can get in a great workout and make a healthy breakfast. Because we all can find 30 minutes.

I am currently doing a variation of the 5-3-1 workout, a program designed to help build strength. Last week I needed to do three reps at 70, 80, and 90 percent of my current max (For example, if you can lift 100 pounds, lifting 70 pounds would be the equivalent of 70% of your max).

I mostly care about deadlifting, so my squat and bench are pretty close, which makes a lot of people laugh. You’re supposed to do a squat day and a bench day, but who has time for that? I combined them, rested as little as possible between sets, and added chin-ups to make a true total body workout. My wife also said she was hungry, so I knew I had to finish as fast as possible.

I warmed up for 5 minutes with band rows, band reverse flys, and bodyweight squats. Then I got going, and I was able to finish the three sets of bench, squat, and chins in just under 15 minutes. This meant I had to go a little lighter because my heart rate was near my max, which was great because that meant this was a cardio and a strength workout.

Then I came inside and cooked our breakfast. We try to eat well and order out as little as possible. I love cooking, but since the baby came, that isn’t always easy. My solution is to throw together ingredients from Trader Joe’s that are often pre-cooked or pre-chopped. In this case, I sautéed lentils, beets, some asparagus I cut into the pan with scissors because it was faster and requires less cleaning than getting out my cutting board and a nice knife, and a TJ’s veggie bowl ingredients (minus the pre-made dressing; I never trust those not to have sugar and crap in them, so I’d rather use my olive oil and vinegar with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder) for five minutes, threw that into two bowls, cleaned the pan, and fried two eggs in olive oil. It took 10 minutes.

That was it, 30 minutes to do a full workout and make breakfast. You’ll notice the key was a few shortcuts that earlier in my life I might have hated because I’d chase perfection; I lifted less, and I used prepared ingredients to eat. But if the alternative is not training or grabbing fast food breakfast, I absolutely recommend using these types of shortcuts to sneak in workouts and healthy foods when your schedule otherwise wouldn’t make it possible.

The Rule of 3

If you don’t love counting calories, there’s a simpler way to eat healthily without stressing about everything you put in your mouth. We’ve received lots of questions about “the best” diet, and — the truth is — many diets overcomplicate the changes that are most helpful.

Researchers found that cutting back on (1) added sugar, (2) refined grains, and (3) ultra-processed foods (think baked goods and treats) help with long-term weight loss and lowers blood sugar and blood pressure.

The interesting part? The type of diet didn’t matter. Some people ate high-carb and others followed low-carb. The key ingredient to success was the quality of foods consumed, not the style of eating.

If you love food but don’t quite know how to read labels, keep this in mind: fiber is good (look for >4 grams per serving), higher sugar isn’t great (search for options that are <7 grams per serving) is not great, and foods with natural vitamins and minerals have a lot to offer. That means eating mostly lean proteins, nuts, seeds, beans, fruits, and vegetables.

But remember: you don’t need to go cold turkey on all treats, snacks, or take-out food; you just need to make it about 20 percent of what you consume, with the other 80 percent coming from the healthier options.

Subscriber of the Week

This week, we asked Amanda Weltman, an busy physicist, wife, mother, and surfer what she would tell other Pump Daily Subscribers. Here’s her message:

We all talk about wanting balance in our lives. How do we manage parenting, work, relationships, exercise and wellness as well as all the planning that comes with adulthood?

As a physicist, I think about two types of balance, or stable points. There is the very stable position of sitting at the bottom of a well, where any slight push up any of the walls just brings you back to your stable balanced position, and then there is the semi-stable position of being at the top of a bump along a complex hilly surface with lots of little wells and hills. Many think we want the former, very stable, fixed routine, everything perfectly in balance all of the time. I live in the latter; let me tell you why I think it is the better place to be.

Life comes along to knock you slightly off track all of the time, and this has been the case for me long before I had kids. Running can be going very well and then I get an injury and have to take time off, for example. So I strive instead to get as balanced as I can where I am right now, knowing that this moment does not define me or limit me and if I get knocked off my routine a bit, it is ok, there is another stable point just a little bit further along.

This is why the Pump Daily has been such a fabulous source of inspiration for me; the advice and insights match completely with what I know to be true both scientifically and intuitively and reading it every day helps me rediscover my centre and learn new things every day.

Practically how do I do this? Well, let's come back to the Pump Daily challenge of choosing 3 habits and then doing them every day. I struggled a bit at first choosing my 3 because there is so much I always want to achieve and with so many priorities in my life, how do I get it all done with only 3 habits? I also did not want to focus on negative goals or set myself up for failure.

So I focussed instead on where I want to end up and what I need to do now to achieve that.

1) Quality time with my children: Every day, I want to connect with my kids, and do something with them that fills all of our love cups and strengthens our bond.

2) Mental activity: I want to live a long life, with both physical and mental acuity throughout. Keeping my brain active and challenged in different ways every day is my investment in that long term goal.

3) Physical activity: My goal is to have a physically strong body long into old age, and to enjoy an active sporty life. I found that setting exact bounds on what the physical activity should be always leads to some disappointment or even a sense of failing my targets. If I plan to run 3 times a week and life gets too busy and I miss a run then I feel deflated.

So I have kept this an open goal and set myself up for success in lots of small ways. I keep a yoga mat at work for impromptu short sessions. I keep a set of weights under my bedroom mirror for sets throughout the day whenever I pass by. On the days when I just cannot invest the time into a good surf or run or yoga session, I can still get a workout at home - often using the baby as my barbell, or a few rounds of the ladder exercises from the Pump Daily.

The key for me is keeping my 3 habits light, flexible, and as integrated as I can. While the physical and the mental activities are things I really enjoy doing alone with huge stretches of open time at my disposal, that is a luxury I do not have as a mom of 3 running my own research group. So, I find ways to enjoy weaving in physical and mental activities with my kids and my students.

This is what works for me, where I am right now in my life. Having flexible integrated habits means I know I have not only met my 3 goals for the day, every single day, but I have also given my kids an example of how to stitch together a life well lived with little daily loops of fun activities and positive habits and choices.

Editor's note: Want to be featured in The Pump Daily? Tag Arnold on Twitter or Instagram and share your small daily wins that are making you healthier and happier. Arnold loves this stuff, and we love highlighting The Pump Daily readers.

The rule of 3

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