Ever heard the saying “putting lipstick on a pig?” Right. You can be dressed to the nines in the best of the best, but that can easily be all for naught if you’re simply papering over the underlying cracks. Meanwhile, this isn’t about trying to look like a movie star either. Being born with great hair, a symmetrical face, and razor sharp cheekbones is like winning the lottery. Good for you, but it’s nothing to be proud of. You didn’t earn it. It was a gift from the gods & odds. We’re all dealt a genetic hand. It’s how well you play those cards that matters. Here’s 10 easy-ish things that you can do to maximize your potential, outside of buying another pair of shoes or a new suit.
Taking care of the one body you’ve got is more than a two pronged approach. Recovery, especially sleep, has been all but ignored by most of the physical wellness community for far too long. Start keeping a sleep journal or using a sleep app to figure out what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to getting the rest you need. Chances are, you ain’t getting it. Whether it’s too much screen time late into the night, eating patterns, or caffeine/alcohol intake, analyze and solve the problems. And stop making excuses for not prioritizing sleep. If you’re not getting enough solid quality sleep, you’re gonna be crap at just about anything else you’re trying to accomplish. Whether it be professionally or personally, if you’re dragging ass, you’re never gonna be your at your best. And you’ll look like hell.
Unless you’ve got a special case when it comes to skin or hair, consider the less-is-more approach. Less scalding hot showers. Less shampoo (try every other day, or, every two-three days). Less hair product. Less skin stripping soaps. No one is advocating for you to go full forest-hippie-gnome and to drown your body odor in patchouli, but, question what you were taught and your current habits. And try to use a little less of what the big chemical companies are selling us.
Shop the outside aisles of the grocery stores. That’s where the fresh stuff is, since that stuff has to be restocked more often, and thus, is closer to the docks/delivery points. Consider a food (and digestion) diary, and look at how much processed stuff you’re taking in. This, like better sleep, might take re-prioritizing. Think less TV/Video games, and more time listening to podcasts while cooking and prepping food. I’ve got a pal who, in preparation for Elk hunting season, cut soda & late night candy binges out of his diet. He dropped 30 pounds. A few small changes really can make a monster difference.
Obligatory. Not only will it help you sleep better at night (DOMS is one way to look forward to hitting the sack), but chances are you’ll start looking better in those slim & tailored clothes you own. Gooey fat will be replaced by calorie burning muscle. And no, you don’t have to suffer in some sterile gym. Get out and enjoy where you live. Whether that’s going for a run, or hitting the mountain bike trails, or training for obstacle races, or hiking with your dog(s). Just consult your doc (speaking of, when was the last time you had a checkup there Highlander?) before you set out on a new program.
Meditation (yes really)
Hard to look good if you’re pissed off and stressed all the time, no? One of the reasons I wear a wrist watch is that I hate how distracting mobile phones can be. The Headspace app just might be the first thing to hit a mobile phone that actually makes your life LESS stressful, and more calm. It’s brilliantly executed, with a simple, straightforward approach, and a non hokey-dokey demeanor. More on the theory (and the man) behind headspace, can be found over here with is TED talk.
Brushing your teeth only does so much. If you’re an irregular (or, never) flosser, give it a shot. Use some gentle floss to start, since your gums are gonna be weak/sensitive. But man, you’ll be surprised how much crap you’re carrying around inbetween your teeth when you don’t floss. And all of those bits of stowaway food are contributing to the demise of your teeth and breath.
A lot of us (myself included) have less than perfect posture. And it’s undoing a lot of the hard work we put in when it comes to the kitchen and the gym. Sportcoats, blazers, and suitjackets might make you look stronger and more athletic, but slouching unravels all of those visual cues. Head here for an ultimate guide to posture from the good folks at Art of Manliness.
There’s no such thing as an attractive drunk. The sweating, the uncoordinated eyeballs, the loose lips and mush-brained diatribes. Even if you’re a light to moderate drinker, less alcohol in your system can do wonders. Consider volunteering to be the designated driver more often. Keep your place relatively (or completely) booze free so you’re not so easily tempted. Take a month off. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out what happens when you cut out (or cut back on) all those empty calories.
Fixing your nails
Whether it’s biting them, toenail fungus, or the inability to keep them at a reasonable length, bad nails (even if they’re hidden most of the time) can be… a hindrance. No, you don’t have to go get monthly mani/pedis. Just take care of them and stop ignoring a problem if you’ve got one.
Y’know what’s worth a few more trips to the bathroom each day? Better skin, eyes, and hair. Less headaches too. You might even drop a bit of fat since you’ll be fuller more often. Buy some 32 oz. Nalgene bottles. Fill one up to start the day, and get through it.
Editor’s Note: Does this post feel like something a nagging parent or older brother would say? (Flossing?? Really?) Sure. I understand that. I don’t do all these things myself (got plenty of work-ons, personally) but I can absolutely vouch for most of them. And again, clothes, shoes, and wrist watches can only do so much. Now, get off my damn lawn.