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Matt Ventre


10 Things You Can do to Level Up Your Health and Fitness Today

I'm no guru, but these are things I'm trying or have tried to get myself into even better shape and keep my health on an upward trend.

10 Things You Can do to Level Up Your Health and Fitness Today

    1. Improve Your Joint Health

    I've been reading a lot of professional athletes and weightlifters talk about the benefits of collagen and other supplements and an overall focus on the joints as we train and age. I'll be experimenting with collagen soon to see if it's going to help with inflammation and recovery.

    2. Improve Your Recovery Days

    This used to be a day off. I know now that this is not a great way to "recover" from anything. Yes, you need a day off occasionally, but to go hard and then stop every time is not ideal. Now, my recovery is cardio of some form, usually in zone 2.

    3. Map Your Workout Intensity Zones

    I need to re-map mine because I've had some drift over the past year or so due to improvements. Knowing where your zones are in terms of heart rate is a great start. There is a school that says you should know your lactate threshold (e.g. Peter Attia, Allen Couzens) but that's an unrealistic metric for most people.

    4. Fix Your Stability Problems

    I'm just learning about how to assess my stability and imbalance issues using techniques I learned in the book Rebuilding Milo by Aaron Horschig of Squat University. I've known about my problems for almost a decade, but my physical therapist kind of didn't crack the code back then and my current strength routine is geared toward increasing stability, but in a broad-based way. Once I assess my root issue, I can work with my coach to produce a more suitable program that will help increase stability and also help me regain full range of motion pain free.

    5. Read Better Books

    It's easy to get sucked into the fitness guru sphere on Instagram or X. Most of these people are idiots or unqualified hacks. They're selling you some kind of "get fit quick" scheme with absolutely no regard for the truth, or lack thereof, behind their claims. I've been investing in books that give me the inside look at quality professionals who have spent the time to get the science and technique right. There is no shortcut. This is your health.

    6. Listen to Better Podcasts

    By "better" I mean those which match your type of training and health goals. Listening to a bodybuilding podcast when you're a distance athlete may have some marginal benefits, but the time spent on that content is not optimized. Find out the ones that help you learn about how to improve yourself. I find that the shows with extensive notes and references are the ones with the most to offer. Those that just have two people dropping "knowledge" for 2 hours don't strike me as as thoughtful or well-researched. Your mileage may vary.

    7. Don't Be Afraid to Slow Down

    Related to points 1 and 4, I'm coming to the realization that if I keep training with the same intensity, I'll continue to do damage to my joints and exacerbate my stability issues. If I acknowledge that I have to accept a lower level of training intensity to reprogram my body for success, I will allow myself to take that course of action. "No pain, no gain" is actually "Some pain, eventually no gain." Be smart with your training and recalibrate when necessary. You're probably not running an Ironman or training for Mr. Olympia. Your long-term body will thank you for slowing down.

    8. Measure and Manage

    I don't obsess over calorie or macro counts, but sometimes I do. It's a matter of my training situation and life circumstances. Since I'm resetting my training a bit with a different long-term outcome in mind, I'm going to measure different things now: focusing on aggressive protein intake, eliminating alcohol, and prioritizing fiber.

    9. Identify the "Silent Killers"

    That's dramatic. It's supposed to be. Things like hypertension, familial hypercholesterolemia, and chronic inflammation can counteract your training no matter how much you do. Figure out where your biomarkers land on the spectrum, and treat the underlying issues before they do long-term damage to your vasculature and neurology.

    10. Manage Stress Levels

    Everybody says this, but being on the other side of a stressful existence, looking at things with healthy perspective, seeing that the little things matter 0% of the time it's true: stress is real, but chronic stress is deadly. It wrecks your sleep, cortisol levels, psychology, and does long term inflammatory damage and will cause some of those silent killers to blossom underneath the hood if you don't check it.

    Exercise, sleep, limit drugs and alcohol, find purpose in your life - those things that you wake up to do. Find those.

    Then let all the rest go.

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