RULES: EXERCISE

Go out and be active. Every day.

Be naturally active

Workouts help you build muscle and stamina, and they boost your energy levels. In principle. But if you sit behind a desk all week and then try to compensate with an exhausting cardio workout, this may not be the most natural or healthiest approach to exercise.

In nature, humans would walk long distances in search of food and carry that food back to camp. They would climb trees to gather fruit and eggs, and they would build huts and make tools. Sometimes they would run to escape a lion or catch a wild boar. But running would always be short and explosive, rarely long distance. In nature, exercise consisted of four basic elements:

WALK / HIKE

Walking is the only movement we were designed to keep up for long periods at a time. Take a daily walk of 30 minutes or longer. Shorter walks are of course also healthy, but you maximize the health benefits if you allow your body to get into a good walking groove.

STRENGTH

Strength exercises build muscle. A more muscular body burns fat more efficiently. Try to plan 15-20 minutes of strength exercises twice a week. If you don’t have any equipment, no problem. There are plenty of strength exercises that require no more than a wall or a chair (see our exercise guide for some simple workouts). It’s also a good idea to do some functional strength exercises every day. Carry your groceries, toss your children into the air or do some pushups against the edge of your desk. These short and intense daily exercises keep your muscles toned with minimum effort.

SPRINTS

Sprinting helps maintain a healthy heart, and releases hormones that keep you sharp and alert. In modern exercise, sprinting exercises are often referred to as HIIT exercises (high intensity interval training). Any exercise done at maximum intensity for a short time can be a HIIT exercise. Do some sprint exercises at least once a week. It doesn’t matter how fast or how long you can sprint, as long as you go all out. Recent studies suggest that even a single sprint (run up some stairs with your shopping or do a 60 yard dash to catch the bus) has significant health benefits. So even if you don’t plan specific sprint exercises, try to do something all out every now and then. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s great for your health.

REST

Make sure your exercise pattern includes an appropriate amount of rest. Listen to your body and skip your exercise if your body is showing signs you’ve overdone it. Make sure you get enough sleep and don’t be embarrassed to take a nap if you feel tired. Some of the world’s most successful people were frequent nappers.

Focus on effort, not results

Even more than our diet, modern exercise is linked to unrealistic standards. Watch out for Instagram fitness, where every woman has a flat stomach and every man has bulging muscles. Worrying you don’t look like that will not help you become thinner or more muscular. What it will do is kill your motivation and throw you back on the couch.

An active life is not about comparing yourself to others. It’s about finding value in being active. If you truly enjoy your activities, it doesn’t matter how quickly you get results. Being active becomes its own reward.

Don’t set yourself goals or targets. You have limited control over your results and you only risk demoralizing yourself. Rather, commit to a certain effort and focus on what that effort brings you. If you commit to taking a daily walk and feel refreshed and energized every time you get back to the office, that’s more important than precisely how many ounces of fat you have burned.

Using the app

Now that you have reached the Balance phase, there is only one habit you need to adopt. Use the app. Every day. That’s it.

Every day, the app will allow you to log your activities for the day. For each activity you complete, you will earn an additional food of your choice for next day’s menu. You can use earned foods in any or all of that day’s meals and snacks.

If you want to have a lazy day and make do with limited foods the next day, that is fine. And if you have a night out planned and decide to go the extra mile so you can drink some beers, that is also fine. As long as you stick to our one unbendable rule:

 
ONLY EAT FOODS YOU HAVE EARNED
 

And always base your meals on vegetables and healthy proteins. Treat starchy foods as the cherry on the cake, not as the center of the meal. Even potatoes, rice or whole grain pasta. If you allow these starchy foods to become the center of all your meals again, you will slowly slide back to your old glucose dependency.

Although the app gives you a whole range of new activities to earn foods, we recommend you keep up the habits you learned. So drink lots of water, go to bed on time and take a daily walk. Walking and going to bed on time will still earn you food, but drinking water will no longer earn you food in the Balance phase.

With all of that out of the way, let’s download the app and get cracking!