Working Out and Eating Well Should Enhance Your Life, Not Dominate It


Working out, eating well, and ultimately building the body you want should enhance and improve your life, not define and rule it.

That’s a hard lesson I learned many years ago.

My life revolved around rigid nutrition rules (similar to things like “The Skinny Rules“) or diets and I would never skip a meal or workout under any circumstances. I’d miss family gatherings, parties, and other events if they interfered with  my workout schedule or meal plan.

I was “hardcore” when it came to eating and training.

I was also miserable most of the time.

Not only was I sacrificing things in my life that truly mattered — spending time with family and loved ones — but I eventually developed some severe disordered eating habits and became a compulsive binge eater.

My life was defined by working out and eating.

And to make things even worse, I still didn’t build the body I wanted.

I was stressed out, exhausted, hungry, and miserable.

Things had to change. It was time for this journey — training hard and eating well — to be stress-free and enhance my life instead of dominate and define it.

I took a few easy steps and learned to relax, keep things simple, and enjoy the journey.

It took some time to make these changes, but it was worth the effort.

My approach to nutrition and working out finally enhanced my life and no longer ruled it, and that’s how I do it all today.

Working out is fun and motivating, and I’m no longer hungry or deprived.

And perhaps the best part is that by simplifying everything I was finally able to achieve the results I wanted all along, and I have maintained them since with ease.

Most people think you have to deprive yourself and be “hardcore” to get the results you want, but keeping everything simple is what ended up proving to be the most effective, and enjoyable, for me. It’s now a fun and enjoyable lifestyle instead of an unrealistic regimen.

Now It’s Your Turn

How you eat and work out should enhance your overall life, and not dominate it.

If your current workout program and nutrition habits aren’t enhancing your life, then it’s time for a change.

One thing you can do is simply get back to the basics of strength training and nutrition. It’s easy to get caught up in the minute details of a workout program or diet, but getting back to the basics will allow you to focus on the few important things that matter and produce the majority of the results. You’ll also ditch unnecessary stress in the process.

When it comes to nutrition, you can begin by ditching diets and listening to your body.

Whatever you do, remember that this journey should enhance the rest of your life.

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  • “I freaking LOVE this info! I'm determined to be a Beautiful Badass!” -Tina V
  • Matilda Iglesias

    I never thought that nutrition could have such a huge impact on my strength training.
    In August I did #whole30, and it really improved my performance. I’m glad I did it as I learned so much, and the number on the weights went up, which I’m very happy about.
    Overall I gained more out of my whole30 experience than I expected. But one thing is for certain, it definitely enhanced my life.
    Another great article Nia.

  • Mike Reys

    “worked out as much as possible”

    Not sure if that really improves your life. Life is more than just working out and only looking good. Feeling good and being part of a community matters as well. I think a well balanced lifestyle which includes a certain amount (different for each person) of hard work adds value to the rest is key to happiness.

    • Nia Shanks

      Exactly. That was the entire point of the article.

    • Åsa

      The quote is “I simplified how I ate and worked out as much as possible”–I think “as much as possible” refers to “simplified”, not to “worked out”.

    • Kara

      I think the confusion is how the sentence was written. :) I read it as: “I simplified how I ate and, as much as possible, worked out so that I didn’t experience unnecessary stress.” In that sense “as much as possible” modifies “not experiencing stress”, rather than “working out”.

  • Debbers

    I have Aspergers, and so get obsessed about things. Sometimes it is fractals or origami. Right now it is fitness. For me, obsessions enhance my life, but obviously I am weird :P Whenever my obsession involves self improvement, I usually cool down after a while, but never loose everything I learned. I will always have a better idea of how many calories are in foods, and if I no longer fit in 3 cardio workouts and 3 weight lifting workouts per week, I doubt I will go back to couch potato-ing, even when my new obsession becomes re-watching BSG from beginning to end. Not getting out every once in a while just won’t feel right anymore.

    I think a lot of people obsess because they are looking for a particular appearance. I just want to punch out bad guys! (And do some unassisted pullups) So I am probably not the target of this ;)

  • Srdjan Popovic

    Great article Nia. My strategy is to follow a 4:1 ratio of good decisions to bad decisions. It gives me the much-needed breathing room when I feel overwhelmed.