Healthy Living Simplified

Three keys to healthy living


Photo by Lindsey Carraher

The food app used by One Gym members.

During 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of people’s lives. With the closure of many gyms, sports clubs, and extracurricular activities, people had more and more time on their hands. This led to many hours at home where people developed sedentary lifestyles where overuse of technology, not properly nourishing one’s body, and rare exercise became habitual. 

Wake up, skip breakfast, come home, face stuck to a screen, eating food with ingredients impossible to pronounce, became a common routine for teens all across the country. The desire to live a long, healthy life is bombarded by bad habits and inescapable sedentary routines. Eating whole foods, regularly exercising, and having a good balance of all things you enjoy can help you live a healthier lifestyle. 

The basis for flourishing health consists of a well-balanced diet excluding high-sugar, artificially flavored, etc. foods. Your diet does not only impact weight; it can impact sleep, mood, and gut health. 

“If you’re eating a diet that’s full of processed foods with a lot of artificial sweeteners and artificial ingredients, it’s really hard for our body to digest them and people can end up killing of the good bacteria in our gut which can then lead to digestive problems,” nutritionist Liz Jenkins said. 

Liz Jenkins is a nutritionist and athlete at local performance facility One Gym. She not only coaches classes but she does nutrition coaching. This gives her opportunities to share her knowledge with various members at the gym. Knowing where to start is the biggest hurdle for people who want to change their lifestyle. 

“Start simple, it’s really a challenge for people when they try to completely turn 180,” Jenkins said. “By taking small steps; it could be as simple as taking out pop from the diet, that could be one step to work towards or maybe it’s creating a more balanced meal… so just small steps.”

Taking one step at a time can make the journey to eating and feeling better more sustainable. Making a dramatic change in diet can lead to burnout and discourage someone from making a change. 

“The biggest thing is trying to reduce the amount of processed foods,” Jenkins said. “That would be my number one goal for people.” 

Following a nourishing diet, living a healthy lifestyle consists of consistent exercise. Trevor Baxter, owner, coach, and athlete at One Gym, was always involved in sports as a child. He has experience on both sides of the spectrum of being an athlete and being a coach. 

“Work hard, have fun; that’s the two main things that I say before every workout,” Baxter said. “The whole idea of getting better, getting a pull up, getting a six-pack, losing weight, that’s just part of the process they’re going to do it no matter what. But they have to enjoy it, work hard each time they come in, and give it their all for what they have for that day and have fun and build relationships. That’s the ultimate goal.”

When trying to get into an exercise routine, it can be challenging. Some days it can be hard to push yourself and have the energy to even work out. Baxter prioritizes each member’s situation and makes adjustments to fit their goal for that day. 

‘“There has been many times when people are just not feeling up to it for the workout of the day or they had a bad day and it’s just like ‘it’s okay, you don’t have to do this weight, you don’t have to do this number of reps you can just do this,”’ Baxter said. “We gotta do something just to move, just come in here and move; and so I think as long as a coach you meet them where they are for that day then they’ll leave here feeling better than what they came in as. 

Having a community that inspires and supports one another can make this process so much more enjoyable. The most important thing about incorporating exercise is choosing something that genuinely interests a person. Forcing a task that you don’t like will make it unbearable and significantly more difficult to accomplish. 

Wilmers exercising at One Gym. (Photo by Lindsey Carraher)

Incorporating good nutrition and exercise into your life can bring great habits for a healthy lifestyle, but you have to remember to maintain an overall good balance and know when to take breaks. 

“Sundays are reserved for families and friends and hanging out at home,” Annika Wilmers, athlete and coach at One Gym, said. 

Wilmers has been doing CrossFit, a high- intensity workout incorporating strength and conditioning, for three years. Hard training, tracking food, and staying focused on her goal for a long period of time, can be emotionally draining. Wilmers accepts when she needs to take a break and utilizes her rest days to enjoy the things she loves. 

“Having the balance of enjoying things outside of the gym and enjoying things here,” Wilmers said. “That’s the key.”