Labor Day, “the unofficial end of the summer,” has come and gone. It is now time to Fall back into routine – no excuses. If you have sacrificed a few workouts, we understand, but now is the time to Fall back into fitness! Children are back at school, work schedules have gotten back to normal and holiday engagements will be on hold until November. The time we have to set ourselves up for success is minimal. We have literally two months before we are immersed in traditional holiday treats.

This “pre-Thanksgiving” time is critical to really  becoming the best we can be – physically and mentally. No one is suggesting deprivation by any means, just more so a strong attempt for healthier choices. So now that the summer is over and we have the time to focus let’s establish a couple of guidelines.

The 80/20 Rule

Very simply, aim for 80% of your week to be as close to perfect as humanly possible in terms of nutrition, training and rest. Here’s an example:

Most people will eat five times a day (three meals, two snacks). If you multiply that by seven days, you’ll consume 35 meals in a week. Following the 80/20 Rule, 28 of your 35 meals should be “perfect,” meaning healthy and nutritious.

If you focus on healthy eating via lean proteins, vegetables and slow burning carbohydrates, hopefully the same approach will go for your training. If you aim for five workouts a week, then that means you need to actually get in a minimum of four. This doesn’t mean that for the remaining 20% of the time you don’t work hard. In the remaining 20% of the time, your goal is to make sensible choices, but be more flexible.

We need to stay active and an easy rule of thumb is to break a light sweat at least once a day. It does not have to be intense, but on a rest day, it’s a good rule to follow. This can be achieved by doing things like taking the stairs, parking further away, and partaking in physical chores/tasks.

Sleep

Aim to sleep seven to nine hours a night. Sleep is a great fat burner and an extremely undervalued component of health and wellness. Very simply, sleep and resting help your body repair and recover. The direct result will be that our hormones will function more optimally which means an overall better you.

Hydration

Seems obvious, right? But we all know hydration is deceptively difficult to maintain. Fifty ounces of water should be consumed for every 100 pounds of body weight. This means a 200 pound male will need 100 ounces of water. A 130 pound female will need roughly between 65-75 ounces of water. Don’t get absorbed with the math – just get in those ranges. Properly hydrating with water really helps flush out all the toxins and impurities in the body.

Alcohol

Keep alcohol consumption to one day a week. Anything beyond that will have a negative impact on what your aiming to achieve.

Simply following the guidelines provided will allow you to approach this upcoming holiday season with a sense of achievement, and the ability to relax and enjoy your holiday indulgences without all the guilt. The takeaway is that we don’t need to kill ourselves day in and day out in order to achieve overall health and wellness.