It can be overwhelming when trying to figure out what is good advice when it comes to looking after your body through proper exercise and nutrition. The following "golden rules" are some very fundamental steps obtained through years of experience and self-testing, that you should be prepared to include in your daily or weekly routine if a healthy and lively body is your desired outcome.
1. You must have an exercise program
There are literally unlimited ways to exercise, most importantly you need to be active in whatever form is appropriate and enjoyable for you.
2. You must burn (output) more calories than you take in (input)
No need to get super technical on this one. Measure your progress weekly to be sure you are heading in the right direction, making changes to your level of output (exercise/movement) and input (intake of food/drink/alcohol) where necessary.
3. Incorporate different forms of exercise
To use an example in the gym, combine body weight training, resistance training and cardio (both steady state and interval) and some core work and you have got pretty much all bases covered. Keeping your level of intensity is key here.
4. Eat clean and healthy food
Most people can tell the difference between good and "junk" foods. An easy rule to remember is to eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. For example, can anyone tell me in which country where you will find a tree that grows doughnuts?
5. Drink lots of water
2-3 litres per day is a good benchmark. The best thing you can do for your body is to drink a litre of water as soon as you wake up. Just pure water, nothing added.
6. Avoid anything with artificial sweeteners
Any food or drink that is "diet" should be removed from your diet completely if possible. You would be amazed how many things contain these products.
7. Get plenty of sleep
6-7 hours should be baseline, and yes I know we are all busy. There is no better feeling than waking up every day bouncing out of bed because your body and mind are in great shape.
8. Change your program around frequently
This leads on from #3 and will be determined largely by your interests and need for change. Some people are very comfortable and get great results repeating a similar program but for most, change is a welcome addition and your body will respond accordingly, ie. well!
9. Find some trusted sources of information
The fitness industry would have to be rated very highly in the too much information category, without question. This will save you a lot of time and frustration when you read conflicting points of view and your too hard switch comes on. Listed on this blog are some of the most well respected authors I know of.
10. Don't listen to losers
It doesn't matter where you go or who you are, there are always people telling you it can't or even worse, shouldn't be done, or why bother? If you have friends like this, maybe it's time to get some new friends.
So that last point may seem a little harsh, but seriously, how badly do you want to succeed? Apply this to almost any area of life and you will find similar circumstances.
You can do it and now you have some great places to start.