At 2×2 Health, several of us are devoting time and energy to our overall health and wellbeing. We partnered with A.J. Morton, founder of Next Level Fitness in Chicago, to engage in a program that focuses on nutrition and personal training.
As we identified our goal and priorities A.J. and his team have helped us align our actions with our goals. The key, according to A.J., is to help reach your own individualized goals with attention and intention. My five favorite points of the plan include the following:
1. Importance of Protein
“Simply put, we wouldn’t exist without protein. Protein plays a lead role in nearly every function of your body. It is part of every cell in your body and it is used to help build muscle, organs, and other tissues. It is also important for brain health and makes enzymes, hormones, and other necessary chemicals,” states A.J. when emphasizing the need for protein.
A.J. uses the following quote that I really like:
“If life gives you lemons, ask for something higher in protein.” Anonymous
2. Healthy Fats
Healthy fats include olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, omega 3’s, etc. Healthy fats are helpful for your body and are important for: making hormones, brain health, energy levels, supporting your thyroid, strengthening your bones and immune system. Through A.J.’s program, I have tried a number of delicious homemade smoothies that incorporate a number of these. One of my favorites includes avocado, blueberries, and walnuts, YUM!
3. Water Consumption
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to take care of your body. According to A.J., water is essential for our body to function at its highest level. It also helps to increase our energy levels, promotes weight loss, improves digestion, improves the quality of our skin, and can help with headaches. I like the quote in the Next Level Fitness Plan that states, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” – Lauren Eisely
4. Always Be Prepared
This can mean to have your workout clothes in a place where they are easy to grab or it can mean to schedule time in your week to grocery shop for healthy options. A.J. shared that being prepared will mean the difference between success and failure. Set yourself up for success by making a grocery list, scheduling time to shop for healthy items, and commit to times to strengthen and condition your body.
5. De-Stress Your Life
A.J. has such a productive way of defining what is important. His philosophy is, “If it is not going to help you grow, contribute, or reach your personal goals, then it is probably wasting your time. Getting rid of the ‘extra stuff’ protects your most valuable resource, your time. Guard your time like your life depends on it because it does.”
If you would like to contact A.J. you can email him here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth and I have really enjoyed partnering with Next Level Fitness and are interested in what works for you. What helps you feel healthier, stronger, less stressed, or more focused?
Wendy Benson, MBA, OTR/L