Welcome! This is my first ever Health Kick report for February 2018.
What is Health Kick?
A detailed breakdown of how my health has changed over the past month. Inside, we’ll take a look at how my health metrics stack up this month, what I think is responsible for these changes, and how I plan on using that information for the month ahead.
This report was created as a way for me, Chris Nadeau, to measure my overall health progress with actual quantitative metrics rather than just feeling like I was getting healthier. I wanted to see my progress firsthand, and have the data to back that progress up.
What’s more, I also hope these reports can act as a way to inspire you, my readers, to continue your own personal health journey (despite the hustle and bustle of your busy daily lives), learn from the (many) mistakes I’ve made, and increase your fitness and health levels along the way.
If this is your first time to Eat Greens Every Day, you probably have a few questions. Like, for example, why on earth would anyone want to tell the world about their fitness and nutrition every month? Isn’t that information a bit private, maybe even embarrassing?
The truth is, yes, it definitely can be. While I pride myself in moving towards a healthier way of life, I am most assuredly not an Olympian athlete. But to be perfectly honest, that isn’t really my goal with all of this.
For me, this project is about showing you, my readers that no matter how busy modern life can get, you can still make time to stay healthy and get fit fast. And if I as a father of two with an extremely hectic schedule can do it, so can you.
Now, let’s get to the report!
Health Metrics I Use as Benchmarks
Below are the seven health metrics I use every month to test and measure my progress. I’ve found that these seven measurements give the overall best indication of my body’s health and fitness. If you have any ideas on other health metrics I should include, I’d love to hear from you! I’m always looking for new and more precise ways of charting my progress.
1. Resting Heart Rate (Beats Per Minute)
One of the best indicators of physical health, in my opinion, resting heart rate is the measure of how strong your cardiovascular system really is. A stronger heart can pump more blood in a single beat and, as such, a lower resting heart rate usually corresponds with better fitness.
I take my resting heart rate first thing in the morning during the last five days of the month for this metric.
2. Weight (Pounds)
Weight is a simple, but important health metric and for many, is the primary focus of their health and exercise efforts.
During the last five days of the month, I measure my weight first thing in the morning and then take the average of those five numbers.
I use the digital BalanceFrom scale which is widely available, easy to use, and is pretty sleek as well.
3. Blood Pressure (XXX/XXX mm Hg)
Blood pressure is another great health indicator and is given in two separate numbers. The Mayo Clinic breaks down the measurement as such: “the top number is the maximum pressure your heart exerts while beating (systolic pressure), and the bottom number is the amount of pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure).”
The ideal range is for systolic pressure to be less than 120 and my diastolic pressure to be less than 80.
I use the blood pressure monitor app from iCare Health Monitor every week and take the average of all the readings for the month to get my final score. I am still looking for better ways to take my blood pressure, so please share if you know of any other apps. I am also looking into the Omron BP786N 10 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor Plus Bluetooth Smart
4. BMI (Pounds/Inches2)
BMI, also known as the body mass index, is a standard measurement of overall fitness levels. It takes into account both your height and your weight to come up with a loose indication of your health.
While its measurement is great for a general idea of your health, it is at its core a pretty inexact system and, as such, should be looked at alongside the other metrics.
I use the BMI Calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to calculate mine every month.
5. Sleep (Total Time, Number of Awakenings, Quality)
Sleep is incredibly important when it comes to overall health. Not only does it give your body time to recoup, it also influences your energy levels, mood, and motivation to take on another day.
I’ve broken down my sleep metrics into three separate characteristics: average sleep time, average deep sleep, average light sleep and my overall quality compared to others using the MI Band 2 to track their sleep.
For quality, I simply rank how I felt about my sleep the night before on a scale of 1 to 10 an hour after waking.
6. Fitness Test
Testing my fitness levels is another health metric I use to track my progress every month. At the end of each week, I perform one of four fitness tests to chart my athletic ability.
These tests are a timed plank, lunges, and push-ups, all performed to exhaustion. I also use the mile run as an indicator as well.
I tried to find the best tests to evaluate overall core strength, upper body strength, lower body strength, and cardiovascular endurance that are both effective and easy to perform at home (no weights required).
Using such fitness sites like Daily Burn, Verywell, Men’s Fitness, and LiveStrong.com I found that these four tests are the most accessible and comprehensive.
A crucial part of any healthy body, flexibility is another important metric for giving me an indication of my overall health.
I use the Modified Sit and Reach Test found on Sports Fitness Advisor for this one.
This metric is all relative. How I feel throughout the day is one of the reasons I started doing this in the first place, though, so I figured my energy levels should obviously be included.
My system is based on a simple scale of 1 to 10. I measure how I feel at five different points in the day (right when I wake up, midmorning around 10am, at noon, around 4pm, and right before bed) and then average them over the entire day.
Products I Use Each Month to Supercharge My Health Kick
I use a number of products and health strategies each and every month to help give me the energy and strength my body craves to get healthier, faster, and stronger every day. I’ve found that incorporating them into my daily routine is by far the best way to get the results I’m looking for faster while still giving me the vigor I need to keep up with a jam-packed life.
Meal planning is one of the best ways to build a healthy meal plan and (even more importantly) actually stick to it. I know when 5 o’clock rolls around after an exhausting day the last thing that I want to do is spend an hour and a half cooking a nutritious meal. But with premade meals in the fridge that just require a bit of reheating, I know I’m more likely to stick to my carefully constructed diet.
Enter eMeals – a weekly meal planning service that offers delicious and healthy weekly recipes, corresponding grocery lists, and a variety of diet choices to meet your specific needs. It’s saved my family both time and money and helped me get into amazing shape fast.
Beachbody On Demand
This is one of my favorite workout programs ever. I got on the Beachbody kick starting with P90X (of course) with Tony Horton and continued to get into even better shape with Shaun T.’s Insanity. And now that streaming content has become even simpler and more widespread than ever, Beachbody is finally offering an enormous number of their workouts on demand. And I couldn’t be happier.
This brings more variety to your workouts as well as the ability to follow your personal program anywhere you have an internet connection. Definitely worth looking into.
Health isn’t just about what you eat; it’s about what we drink too. We all know that soda, fruit drinks, and even teas can add up to a lot of extra calories not to mention the added sugar, caffeine, and other additives that weigh your body down. And when you replace them with good old fashioned water, you’ll not only be cutting back on these extra troublesome chemicals, you’ll feel more energized throughout the day too.
But there are a number of nasty health side effects of drinking too much bottled water, not to mention their contribution to an overwhelmingly polluted planet. The solution? Reverse osmosis. This extra-filtered water removes all impurities, salt, minerals, chemicals, and bacteria from your water and personally, I think it tastes crisper and cleaner than anything else I’ve ever tried.
Costco Grocery Lists
One of the biggest struggles my family has always had is actually figuring out which foods are really healthy and which ones only pretend to be healthy. It makes it harder to incorporate a lot of variety into our meals as well as know what to look for when we head to the store for the week.
That’s why I created a list of the healthiest Costco foods to help guide my shopping cart and cut down on guesswork. It’s a great foundation to build off of for any family looking to improve their healthy eating habits.
My family and I always try to eat healthy but sometimes it can be tough to find the time to make the nutritious meals I know we should be eating. That’s where HelloFresh comes in. This meal delivery service is run by health-conscious, passionate people who know that the key to eating right is great tasting food that’s easy to make, even for the busiest among us. Be sure to check this one out!
This high fat, low carb diet is all the rage right now and I can honestly say it can be a solid addition to any health regimen, as long as you make it work for you. When I first tried the keto diet, I gained a significant amount of weight in the first week alone. Beyond that, I was also having a hard time sticking to the diet.
Once I tweaked it to fit my needs though, I found that the keto diet was one of the key factors in getting into the best shape of my life. Here’s more on that story.
The #1 on-the-go solution for a healthier lifestyle, this organic, non-GMO superfood supplement is by far one of my favorites. It comes in powder form and is easily added to your morning smoothie or even mixed into a bottle of water.
It contains ingredients from:
11 green foods
8 fruits and berries
It’s a great way to keep your body healthy in a hectic modern world.
The Health Kick Breakdown: How Did February Stack Up?
Each month I will provide a detailed breakdown of how my key health metrics have changed. I take into account Resting Heart Rate, Weight, Blood Pressure, BMI, Sleep, the results from my Fitness Test, and my Flexibility.
Watch for this section next month.
What I Plan on Changing In March
Judging by the results from February, there a few major takeaways that I plan on using to change my routine for March.
Changes for March
Add more walking : In February, I struggled with building up the motivation to actually get active later in the day and go for a simple walk once in awhile. I love walking outside and the weather has been terrible. If I need to, I might walk inside on a track. Walking is a form a slow cardio and is a great way to burn fat. I am going to try and get 40-60 mins in twice a week.
A Few Historical Health Kick Posts (Coming Soon)
The journey to exceptional fitness and health is a long one and sometimes it can be tough to tell if I’m really making any progress at all.
But that’s one of the best things about this project: it’s given me the ability to actually look back into the past and see how far I’ve come by comparing my current key health metrics to my past ones.
Starting next month you will see past reports below to help give you a better indication of how far I’ve come, and how far you can go if you put your mind to it!
Questions Of The Month From You
Each month I field questions from some of you to help clarify any issues and offer advice specifically catered to their unique situation. I may not be a certified trainer or a degree-holding nutritionist, but I do have a long history of improving my overall health.
Also, feel free to ask any questions about the process or some of the incredibly helpful products I use along the way. I’m happy to help you achieve your fitness and health goals any way that I can!
Question of the month from Kerri: I have a quick question for you about Green Power... Why would I want the capsules over the powder? Is it just for the convenience? Or the taste?
Some people don't like the taste of the powder, so a capsule is a better fit for them. For example my son likes the capsules more. If you do buy the powder, it does have a very faint taste, but it goes unnoticed, especially if you use a blender like a vitamix or blendtec.
Each month, I take a minute to highlight one question or product that’s really helped fuel my progress and make my journey towards a healthier body just a little bit easier.
What questions do you have for me? Ask in the comments below.
That about wraps it up for me this month. Check back next month for an update on how March went and some of the health insights I learned along the way!