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Exercise, diet, sleep equal total health, fitness

By Lance Cpl. Dustin M. Rawls | | October 20, 2005

Marines and family members can have many various health and fitness. Some want to be stronger, some want to be skinnier and some want to run faster. Advanced health and fitness goals, however, cannot be reached without a foundation of overall physical fitness. Station Semper Fit personnel offer fitness seekers a basic formula to achieve this.

Starting a general fitness program that takes into all account all the aspects of health is the simplest and most healthy way to reach overall fitness, said Kate Willison, Semper Fit health and wellness coordinator.

“Everything has to work together in order to make you a healthy individual,” she said. “It requires diet, a weight program, a cardiovascular program and getting adequate amounts of sleep.”

Although Marines and family members can contact Semper Fit for a personalized workout, Willison stressed a few key elements that are part of every maintenance plan she recommends.

“We recommend people do weight training three days a week and do at least thirty minutes of cardiovascular workout three days a week as well,” she said.

People who are looking to not only maintain but also to gain mass should hit the weights five to six day each week, she added.

“I work six days a week and break my workouts up by main body parts,” said Tajuan Williams, visiting Marine and aspiring bodybuilder. “One day I’ll work my chest, legs or back with a follow on body part such as triceps, biceps or shoulders, and switch it up everyday.”

Taking in proper nutrition is one of the most important factors in achieving overall fitness, said Willison.

“It’s different for everyone, but usually I recommend people eat five smaller meals each day rather than the traditional breakfast lunch and dinner routine.”
There are also other things to take into account when dieting other than when and how often you eat, said Williams.

“You have to stick to a strict diet if you want to see maximum results,” he said. “I usually stick with a large amount of (carbohydrates) out 3 p.m. and then I mainly take in proteins. You never want too many carbs in your system when you go to sleep because they’ll turn into fat overnight.”

Sleep is often overlooked as a contributing factor to fitness, but it actually has quite a huge impact on both workouts and diet, said Willison.

“If you don’t get adequate amounts of sleep your body will crave foods that are higher in calories and sugar to give you the extra energy,” she explained.

“Sleep is very important because if you’re body isn’t rested, you’re not going to use maximum effort,” said Williams. “You’re going to come in to the gym, do a short, ineffective workout and then go home and lay around watching TV or something.”

Another contributing factor to gaining overall fitness is stress, said Willison.
“Proper stress management has to be practiced to remain in physical fitness,” she said. “Stress can change your metabolism, your ability to workout and your sleeping habit.”

Willison stressed that people understand this general fitness program is the best way to achieve overall fitness and that people don’t seek dangerous shortcuts.

“The misconceptions are everywhere, especially with supplements,” she said. “It’s not healthy to rely on sources other than proper exercise routines, proper nutrition and proper sleep. Many products that boasted awesome results have been taken off the market because they ended up being very detrimental to users’ health.”

Willison said the only other recommendation she offers people is that they have patience because maximum physical fitness doesn’t happen over night.

“It usually takes about six weeks to see results, but it depends on what your goals are and where you’re starting,” she explained. “You will, however, feel better instantly when you start a general health and fitness program.

“People don’t form the habit,” she added. “It takes thirty days to form a habit, and usually people go gung ho for a week and then something comes up and they stop. You have to make your workouts part of your schedule and make your diet a requirement.”

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