Laws Of Success: 12 Laws That Lead to Mastery In Health and Nutrition

“Order and simplification are the first steps towards mastery of a subject” — Thomas Mann

Laws Of Success: 12 Laws That Lead to Mastery In Health & Nutrition

We all are striving for mastery in health and nutrition. However, what usually follows is anything but mastery. Not because there’s a lack of talent or desire. But often times due to the strategy.

Throughout the years, I’ve faced a variety of issues ranging from mild depression, body image issues, creating boundaries, and obsessive food behaviors.

Unfortunately, I let fitness become my ruler and I was its servant willing to do any and everything for results. This worshipping of fitness at all costs may bring results for a short period of time. But in the long run, isn’t something that is sustainable to living a good and healthy life.

Over the years, there have been a handful of laws that have helped me navigate the balance of integrating fitness into a busy life that also meshes with my desired lifestyle. Here are the 12 laws of success that can lead you to mastery in health and nutrition.

1. Review your “why” daily to stay motivated about your goals

It’s important to get to the core root of why you want a particular goal.

Are you doing it for someone else (kids, family, partner, etc) so you can lead by example? Is it to prove a point to yourself that you’re capable of much more than people have given you credit for? Are you doing this because you need a personal spark in your life to change the paradigms of your everyday life?

Whatever it is, search deeper than just relying on looking great naked. That’s important, but transformations take time and you need all the ammunition possible to stay consistent and motivated while pursuing your goals.

If you’re searching for deeper meaning, start with asking yourself why three times about a desire for a particular goal.

2. Never resort to deprivation nor any other extreme measures just to lose weight

I tried a 28-day liquid diet in college where I had nothing but shakes. I lost 15 pounds at the end of it (mostly water).

However, on day 29, I ate nearly 100 pieces of sushi at the buffet and then got sick over the next few days.

Besides being sick, I had a supporting cast which consisted of extreme waves of mood swings, achy joints which made me feel 79 (not 19), and a reunion with my 15 pounds as soon as I started eating whole foods again.

Besides not going on an extended liquid diet, the moral of this story is to never sacrifice your long-term health for short-term gratifications.

3. Make fitness fit into your preferred lifestyle, not the other way around

Life is meant to have rich experiences. Fitness is a key component of being able to do those things, but it doesn’t have to become your ruler.

Lifestyle first, and then find the workout routine and nutritional method that suits your personality and preferences.

4. Seek improvements in your health and fitness out of love, not out of hate

I started working out weighing 165 pounds and became an athletic and muscular 200 pounds.

I should be happy, right?

Not exactly.

The problem was my mindset never changed. I was exercising and putting on muscle at times out of hate and not feeling enough as a man—not for health or enjoyment.

You can’t hate your way to losing weight and improving your self-esteem. If you don’t address your inner world, those perceived deficiencies will still be there.

5. Make sustainability and longevity the priority when making health decisions

Make decisions about your fitness and nutrition that lead to long-term success, not just a season of success.

6. Address your 4 pillars of fitness daily (physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual)

Looking at Instagram and browsing the various magazines on newsstands and you’ll notice that the only messaging is concerning the physical aspect of ourselves.

mastery in health and nutrition
Be mindful of your consumption.

But, there is more to us than just a physical body.

There’s a mental, emotional, and spiritual side of fitness that needs to be accounted for our overall well-being.

Challenge your mental world by improving your brain through reading and other cognitive tasks. When it comes to your emotional fitness, assess your relationships and the environments you find yourself in. And lastly for your spiritual world, look into meditation or some type of habit that allows for a space of inner reflection.

7. Place a premium on sleep

I know, maybe you’re tired of seeing this on every health article, but it’s important.

Weight loss, productivity at work, better (and healthier) relationships along with your mood improve when you’re getting optimum amounts of sleep on a nightly basis.

Try meditating at night, cutting off electronics 60-90 minutes before bed, having an orgasm (hello Oxytocin), or reading a hardcover book to help yourself fall asleep.

8. Commit to finding a team to support you and keep you accountable

Maintaining a fitness regimen while juggling work and your personal life can become overwhelming. Therefore, it’s important to find some accountability in the form of a gym partner, someone to check in with, or an online community to hold you to a high standard.

9. Establish personal boundaries in your life so you can show up as your best version

What good are you to the world if you’re burnt out, overweight, moody, lethargic, and sleep-deprived?

Not addressing this is short-changing your potential impact on the world because the best version of you isn’t showing up.

Block out time for exercising, a quiet bath, meditating, or whatever else is needed to allow you to show up as the best version of yourself.

10. Remember that your food choices, not the specific type of diet are most important for long-term success

Paleo, Whole 30, Intermittent Fasting, Atkins, and the Ketogenic diet all work. At the basic foundation, if there’s a caloric deficit, then you’ll lose weight. If there’s a surplus, extra weight will arrive.

The key factor for nutritional mastery is making good food choices along with establishing a plan that suits your goals and specific lifestyle.

11. Recognize that consistency and commitment are more important than “tactics” & “life hacks”

It’s better to workout for 20 minutes a day than to overcommitment to 60 minutes and only workout one day per week. Set realistic goals and realize that repetition, time, and consistency are the true ingredients to long-term success.

12. Prioritize a way of eating that includes a plethora of micronutrients

Micronutrients (from your fruits and vegetables) contain a plethora of minerals and vitamins that boost your metabolism, fights against chronic illnesses, and helps your mental state operate at a high level.

Here’s a printable infographic with the 12 laws for you to save and refer to.

Laws of Success: 12 Laws That Lead to Mastery In Health & Nutrition

Why You Should Just Say “No” to Meal Plans

“The first wealth is health.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why You Should Just Say No to Meal Plans

As a Certified Sleep Science & Nutrition Coach, one of the first questions I’m asked by potential clients and strangers is “can I get a meal plan?”

My answer: “No, I don’t write meal plans anymore.”

Years ago, I would write each person a meal plan with the specific amounts of what was expected to be eaten. After all, it was a staple in the fitness industry. With that said, I realized there was one gigantic problem with handing meal plans over and expecting them to solve everything.

This only served as a prescription to the issue. Basically a Band-Aid to a deep flesh wound. Eat this item, at this exact time, and in this exact amount. It was very robotic.

This robotic approach works for a little bit for the average person and can be useful to the person looking for a rapid transformation with the perfect settings (think movie star preparing for a role).

I even had a meal plan at first when I started my fitness journey.

But, I ran into problems that many people will run into and that is you just won’t stick to the plan. Compliance is low and it’s not our fault the majority of times.

We’re humans, not robots after all. Life gets busy. The regimented meal plan gets thrown out the door when:

  • your kids get sick
  • you get sick
  • you have a hot date
  • your bosses expect (and sometimes demand) you to work late
  • work drained your motivation to do anything
  • it’s someone’s birthday (or a special holiday or event)
  • you have to travel for work or even leisure
  • you just don’t feel like drinking your 9am protein shake

Last time I checked, life exists beyond a 12-week body transformation.

Lastly, you have the meal plan, but it’s complete rubbish. Willpower will only last so long before you’re sick of the process and potentially shout to the masses that healthy eating is bland and takes away all your favorite foods (this is a true story, a client long ago said this to me).

Unless you’re a professional athlete or getting ready for a physique competition, you don’t need to turn into a nutritional surgeon. Being precise and meticulous over every little grain is unnecessary.

Here’s how to easily get started in the right direction while maintaining your sanity

Think about where you currently stand in regards to your healthy habits. In this situation, think about what you’re already eating. Then think about how you could improve by just a tiny fraction right now.

Nothing drastic or going cold turkey over.

Only aiming for a small change and improvement in what you’re already eating and enjoying. One baby step at a time.

Think about the quality of your food as opposed to labeling something as “good” or “bad”. Food doesn’t need to be morphed into the same parallel as the battle between the Jedi & Sith.

meal plans

Your mission for today should you choose to accept: How can you make your meals just a little better today and beyond?

Here’s a past example of someone I consulted with:

It’s lunchtime and they’re busy, so sitting down and eating slow sounds as likely to happen as me walking on water will happen. Therefore, they grab a cheap juicy burger and fries that is greasy and convenient (and quick) along with a big cup of soda. And we’re not exactly sure if the meat is even real meat—not good for the hormones.

They want to improve this situation but completely overhauling the situation isn’t likely to stick.

Instead, they can simply improve this scenario by

  • going to a higher-end burger place where the meat is at least real meat
  • get a salad with the burger instead of fries
  • choose diet soda or water instead

Next stage of the game

  • Meal prep some burgers at home
  • prep your desired side dishes

This is a rapid improvement because you’re bringing quality homemade food into lunch along with knowing exactly what is in your food which increases the food quality.

Things will change dramatically over time if you continually aim for small improvements. Aim for singles instead of always swinging for the home run.

If this kind of style resonates with you or is something that will be of use to you, then you’ll love my online nutrition coaching system that is headed to the world soon. It’s small daily habits to keep you improving 1% each day along with me communicating with you frequently.

The Life-Changing Magic of Meditation: 6 Reasons Why You Should Start Today

“Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are.” — Pema Chödrön

The Life-Changing Magic of Meditation: 6 Reasons Why You Should Start Today

Diets of the week, micro-managing calories, obsession with the most optimal workouts, and other minutiae garners the majority of the attention in the health and wellness world. However, it’s stress that is often times the culprit for people’s health issues.

The thing that makes stress so difficult is that it manifests through multiple identities such as relationships, diet, exercise, emotional, mental, and financial among many others.

Stress in the right amounts is beneficial, but when there’s too much of it, recovery lowers due to the autonomic system being off-balanced.

In fact, in a Yale study in 2012, researchers found that psychological stress was associated with poor muscle recovery. And in another separate study, researchers found that excessive stress disrupts the architecture of the developing brain.

Why is this important?

Because the future of our society and world depends on the ability to create a conducive environment for people to thrive. If we (this present generation) are highly stressed and fail to control stress, this will spill over into the next generation. If we’re stressed, then our children have a higher likelihood as well because of the prolonged activation of the stress response systems in the body and the brain from cortisol.

Ok, the brief philosophical rant is over.

With all of this said, unmanaged stress and overwhelm combined with unhealthy thought patterns lead to a near-impossible chance of succeeding with your fitness goals.

But, combatting this can be executed through a simple meditation practice.

This doesn’t mean the fancy type where you have to sit in silence for a long time or chant mantras. This simply means scheduling designated times during the day to find silence and take a breather from the hectic world.

If you’re struggling with your fitness, perhaps it’s not the workout or the nutritional regimen that needs addressing. Perhaps it’s the stress management that needs addressing.

Here’s is how meditation helps your fitness and life.

1. Increases your focus and productivity

Cal Newport, author of ‘Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World’ describes deep work as “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.”

With that said, meditation helps you fall into deep work quicker due to meditation increasing your ability to focus and maintain attention for longer durations.

Meditation also leads to improved cognitive functioning through traits such as creativity and increased problem-solving skills.

As you meditate over time, you’ll become less prone to distracting thoughts and environments while simultaneously increasing your input.

2. Reduces your stress and anxiety

Stress is the giant elephant in the room that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Often overlooked in the stress department is its impact on your emotional and mental health. When those two worlds aren’t operating at their peak, you’re going to be less likely to make rationale food decisions.

Uncontrolled levels of stress and anxiety leave you prone to illnesses while slowing down your rate of weight loss along with recovery due to increased cortisol levels.

But the key to dealing with stress isn’t attempting to erase it completely, that’s a fairy tale. The key instead is to learn how to dance with it gracefully. And a great way to learn how to dance with stress starts with developing a practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness helps with stress because it plays a positive role in your overall recovery which can be analyzed through your heart-rate variability (HRV).

Think of your heart beating and the delays in between those beats are your HRV and this exposes how your nervous system is firing. If you’re favoring toward a sympathetic system default, then your heart rate is speeding up. If it’s parasympathetic, then it’s going to be slower.

HRV –meditation

Each has their positives, but for daily living, being in a parasympathetic state is a little better since it’ll reflect the ability to better able handle stress.

Meditation helps with boosting parasympathetic activity (thus increasing HRV) and decreasing cardiovascular disease risk.

In as little as five weeks of daily practice, meditation helps with anxiety, depression, and stress. Brief mindfulness meditation is also beneficial when it comes to lowering blood pressure.

3. Helps with the quality of your sleep

How many times have you laid down and can’t sleep because you’re having racing thoughts?

This describes a large population of people who haven’t found a way to control their internal world.

But through developing a meditation practice, you’ll improve your sleep quality due to slowing your thoughts which leads to fewer feelings of overwhelm.

As described in a study that appeared in the JAMA Internal Medicine, meditation helps with managing daily levels of stress along with improving sleep through helping you focus on the “moment-by-moment experiences, thoughts, and emotions.”

And in another study published in the Journal of Behavior Research and Therapy, visualizing your ideal environment and life was proven to be a beneficial aid in improving your sleep. This is something that has tremendously helped me. In fact, I read over my one-year vision nightly along with traits about the person I want to be, the people who are in my life, where I’m living, and how I’m contributing to the world.

Visualizing your ideal environment and life is a great mind-body technique because it helps connect your conscious and unconscious minds, which leads to more desirable scenarios while decreasing stressful thoughts.

4. Helps with weight loss

Often times, when we think of weight loss, we’re quick to direct our attention to the workouts and diets. Yet, many people will have their macros and workout dialed in but the weight still isn’t falling off.

Despite the work that you’re seemingly putting forth toward losing weight, not managing your environmental and relational stressors can undo your efforts.

By meditating, you actively address your stress levels and most importantly, strengthen up your mental fitness. When you display strong levels of mental fitness, you’re going to be in a better state to make daily decisions.

5. Increases gratitude

Through meditating, you’re lowering your blood pressure along with your overall levels of calmness. And as a by-product of this, you’re increasing your levels of gratitude because you’re able to focus and appreciate what you have in the present moment.

grateful — meditation

A study conducted by UCLA & the University of Miami found that when people who wrote down what they were grateful for on a weekly basis ended up being more optimistic and cheerful about the upcoming week than those who didn’t.

In addition to that, gratitude has been associated to improve longevity due to more optimism, ability to handle setbacks, sleep, empathy, and decision making.

6. Improves your emotional intelligence & changes your brain

In this particular study, after eight weeks of meditation, participants ended up with denser brain tissue in areas connected to emotional regulation, memory, and learning which suggests that mindfulness training alters intrinsic functional connectivity in our brain. This leads to better focus along with higher reflective awarenesses of experiences.

Another factor among this is the decreased grey matter in parts of the amygdala, which is part of the brain that is connected to stress and fear (think fight or flight response).

While under stress, our amygdala is taking charge, leading us to make rash decisions based on emotions. But through meditation, your amygdala relaxes and activity in your prefrontal cortex increases which is much slower to respond to situations. Therefore, you have to stop and think about a situation leading to more rational decisions.

If you would like to try starting a meditation practice and would like some guidance, my friends over at Simple Habit have graciously sent me a code for 20 free days of premium guided meditations. Simple Habit is like the Spotify of meditation since there are different times and topics of all sorts to meditate on. I’ve been using a handful of these for the past few months. Click here for your free 20 days.