You caught the Super Bowl LIV halftime show and instantly regretted the 13-plus buffalo wings you just washed down with the finest American lager. At 50 years old, Jennifer Lopez looks and performs like a Latina spring chicken. She is a physical specimen and as the kids say, #bodygoals. Did the 15-minute showstopper remind you of that "new year, new you" promise you made only a month ago?
Don't worry, there's still hope. Providing us with some expert knowledge – along with a reality check – Steven Hightower, a Hong Kong-based strength and conditioning specialist at Coastal Fitness, gives us the low-down on the trifecta that is key to every health and fitness journey.
The J.Lo trifecta
First and foremost, he advises that "getting your nutrition sorted out is going to give you the biggest reward – do I need to say it louder for the people in the back?" Forget about keto, Game Changers, or carb-cycling, let's keep it simple. Do you know what you're putting in your body? Is what you're eating fuelling you to perform at your best? When they say you can't outwork a bad diet, they mean it.
Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is the amount of energy you use per day, also known as your maintenance calories. Track your food like you track your finances. If you spend $100 a week, you need to make sure you're earning $100 a week – energy in and energy out – with protein giving you the most bang for your buck.
If you're new to the meal prep game and tracking your food, meal plan services like Eatology and Nutrition Kitchen offer a range of tasty, nutritious meals with a clear breakdown of the macronutrients, delivered to directly to your door.
"Not all forms of exercise were created equal. If we're still using J. Lo's body as a pillar of excellence, she is far from being described as frail or a stick," Steven explains. "Through resistance training, she has developed a body for both form and function. Periodised strength training builds muscle and muscle increases metabolic rate; an increased metabolic rate is more efficient at burning calories," he adds.
Steven suggests a training program that prioritises resistance training and high-intensity interval training, with a touch of cardio to develop aerobic capacity. If you do not see results in your current routine, it's time to mix it up.
According to Steven, stress, work, family, relationships, your environment, and even exercise all cause stress on the body. "Taking a day or two in the week to do light, active recovery like walking, hiking, or yoga can reduce stress hormones and promote recovery and mindfulness."
With the rise in the incidence of lifestyle diseases – while you may not necessarily be sick – you're also not healthy if you're constantly stressed, anxious, burnt out, and suffering from digestive issues. Holistic and wellness centres like Life Hub can give you a modern approach to healthcare, while addressing suboptimal health issues in a simple, affordable, and consumer-focused manner through a multitude of treatments and tests, from lymphatic massage and acupuncture, to food intolerance, gut biome tests, and even vitamin IV drips.
"Avoid any gimmicks, quick-fixes, programs, or diets that promise fast results," Steven says. "Goals are achieved via the small incremental things we do every day that turn into habits which culminate into significant changes. Think of daily habits as putting pennies in the piggy bank. It doesn't seem like much at first, but it adds up over time."