The Toilet Test – Do You Have Functional Fitness?

Fitness has everything to do with your length of life and quality of life, but it’s not just about avoiding heart attacks and being able to jog on a beautiful beach.  There are practical, functional tasks that, if you can’t perform them, mean both your length of life and quality of life are on an active decline and your dignity is likely taking some hits along the way as well.

For example, many people who must sacrifice their independence and be cared for in a retirement facility have to make the transition because of one simple functional fitness problem.  They can no longer get up off the toilet by themselves.  If they sit down they no longer have the functional fitness to get back to their feet and have to call for help.

The following is a basic questionnaire to determine if you have functional fitness:

  •  If you were to fall in a completely open space with no access to people, furniture, or other structures, would you be able to get back to your feet with zero assistance?
  • With your hands slightly raised (hands up, this is a stick-up!), are you able to sit on a toilet seat and rise to your feet with zero assistance?
  • If you need to go to the bathroom or have a build up of gas are you able to hold in your bodily fluids and gas until an appropriate time to relieve yourself?
  • If the building you were in caught fire, are you able to make a reasonably quick exit to safety?

These basic functions, when maintained, take a great deal of stress and fear out of basic falls, going to the bathroom, normal digestive issues when in social settings, and unexpected emergencies.  When not maintained, really bad things can happen.

If you determine that you currently do not have the independent ability to rise from a fall, sit and rise from a toilet seat, exit a building quickly, or identify that you are experiencing incontinence or flatulence, this is something to be aware of, not afraid of.  Simple immediate action to increase your fitness can help to improve the situation relatively quickly.

Want help with improving your functional fitness?  I’m here to lend a hand!  Tired of incontinence and flatulence?  I can put together a program that will tighten your pelvic floor muscles.  Want to stand tall, navigate an icy sidewalk confidently, and know that if you still slip you can get back up again?  I can put together a program that will build your balance, strength, and coordination so winter weather, wet floors, and trips over your own feet (hey, everyone does it eventually) don’t leave you trapped on the ground.  To learn more about fitness coaching and program options click here.

When functional fitness is in place a lot of possibilities open up to you.  It lays out the foundation for continuing to experience greater and greater fitness rather than finding yourself on a slow decline.  Take it seriously.  Live long, live strong!

Nutrition for Beginners

To be healthy you need to limit your fat intake. Wait, I meant don’t eat carbs. Eat 7-11 bananas a day! Eat lots of eggs! Don’t eat eggs! Eat the whites only! Go paleo! A ketosis diet is for you! Eat Mediterranean! Eat like rural Chinese! Be Vegan!

What? Why is this so hard? There is so much competing information it can be hard to make sense of it all, so allow me to share a few things that most experts seem to agree on.

As much as possible, avoid entirely or limit:

  • Pop
  • Alcohol
  • Drinking calories
  • Processed sugar
  • Processed carbs
  • Processed anything
  • Chemicals and substances that you can’t pronounce
  • Stressing out about food. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
  • Negativity leads to more negativity.

As much as possible, try to:

  • Plan! Planning ahead makes it easier to avoid reaching for whatever is convenient.
  • Keep a record. We record workouts to plan and monitor improvement. Doing the same with nutrition will yield positive results.
  • Eat regularly.
  • Have protein and vegetables with every single meal.
  • Fill hunger gaps with small snacks that include protein.
  • Get fiber from various sources; nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains.
  • Drink water throughout the day. More with exercise and the outdoors.
  • Eat high quality carbs like vegetables and sweet potatoes.
  • Enjoy your food. It’s fuel that you need to be healthy and happy.
  • Be positive about your food. A positive approach leads to more positivity. 

Get comfortable with the above first, then you can start tweaking the plan and find what is ideal for you. Remember that any diet will only work if you can stick to it, so going extreme is likely not sustainable for you, and when you fail, you’ll likely gain back more than you lost.

Unless you are preparing for a specific event that’s imminent, enjoy a single cheat meal per week (a single planned cheat that you are preparing for is better than just allowing little cheats here and there which will eventually become uncontrolled). If you know you’re going to be spending an evening eating lots of bad stuff, you can prepare for it by keeping track of your cravings and satisfying them with your cheat meal. Knowing that you are only delaying gratification during the week, rather than never having it again, will help you stay healthy. If possible, you can also plan your single biggest or most intense workout for that day or the day after. Of course, when you feel how much harder that workout is with junk fuel in your system, it might also help you make more steady progress towards your goals.

To implement, try adding and/or removing one thing a week. Remember that bad eating can be an addiction. Few people succeed quitting smoking by just stopping all at once, so maybe try weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar over time, save yourself the headaches and enjoy watching that gradual and sustainable progress.