Unlock your Five Primal Needs

There are five simple yet powerful needs all humans must consider to achieve optimal health

Column by Matt Kay

Optimal health should not be difficult, restrictive, boring or anything other than part of your life. Yet so few people feel this way. To get in shape, stay there and to make health and fitness part of you conjures up different emotions for different people. A small minority get excited by the prospect of healthy living but for the majority there is confusion and dread.

There are in fact five basic human needs necessary for optimal health; ‘The Five Primal Needs’. These five needs are not difficult to understand, they are easy to work with and according to a new WHO report on the impact of obesity will help reduce your risk of contracting many different types of cancer.

Primal Need #1 EAT

If there is one habit above all others that will have the greatest impact on your health it is that what you put into your month. If you have read any of my articles before you will have heard this same message. So instead of repeating it once more I will instead list three rules to help you not only clean up your nutrition but also fire up your fat metabolism:

  • Plan Meals Around High Protein Foods

Proteins are very filling and satisfying. Proteins boost your bodies’ thermic effect, which means they require more calories to digest. Aim to eat proteins first thing in your day: eggs, nuts, fish. Energy expenditure can be 20 times greater when you eat proteins from meat and fish compared to beans and pulses so make sure you choose your protein source wisely.

  • Eat Fat To Burn Fat

Fats do not make you fat. In fact it is quite the opposite. Poly- and monounsaturated fats found in fish (omega-3), nuts, avocado and olive oil (not heated) increases your body temperature better than other sources of protein leading to extra calories being burned by influencing the activity of certain genes responsible for increased metabolism.

  • Eat Natural Foods Exclusively

We are big believers in a balanced lifestyle here at FITISM – eating clean  80 – 90 per cent of the time and enjoying naughty foods 10 – 20 per cent of the time. However, even during the naughty times we still recommend your steer clear of processed foods. For example, if you are going to eat some toast and butter use freshly made bread containing whole grains and seeds with organic natural butter instead of white bread and spreads/margarines. Always eat natural even when being naughty.

Primal Need #2 MOVE

The second primal need is movement. Your body is designed to move yet so few of us move enough. When it comes to optimal health and adherence over a long period of time I am a big believer in variety. However, it is important you use the principles of smart training. Ensure you select a minimum of three activities each falling within one of the following areas:

  • Aerobic

The most effective and time efficient forms of aerobic training are variations of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). On a very basic level HIIT workouts involve intense efforts of 20 – 40 seconds followed by rest periods for the same duration. These workouts do not need to last more than 20 – 30 minutes and can be achieved using activities amongst others including body weight, running, cycling, circuit training and boxing.

  • Strength & Speed

Strength training, especially if you are aiming to achieve a more toned physique is important. If like most you live a busy life with limited time and you are aiming to combine strength training into a balanced approach make sure every workout includes total body, multi-joint movements – no time for bicep curls, tricep push downs and calf raises I’m afraid. The name of the game here is deadlifts, back squats, pull ups, military presses, bench press, thrusters, box jumps, sprints, sled pulls, sled pushes and battle ropes.

  • Mobility

Finally ensure you take the time to integrate some restoration techniques into your weekly routine to stay injury free, flexible and stable. Fantastic activities include good old fashioned stretching, Yoga and Pilates.

Primal Need #3 DRINK

No, I’m not referring to the hoppy variety I’m afraid. If there is one human need above all others that requires next to no investment in money or time this would be it. The impact drinking of drinking two to three litres of water every day has on your health is incredible. Water will support body fat reduction, organ health, healthy skin and eyes and energy.

Primal Need #4 SLEEP

Sleeping maximises hormone production and regulation, positively impacts neurotransmitters in the brain and helps to modulate fat storing hormones like cortisol and insulin. However, the vast majority of the population, you might even be one of them, do not sleep well at all. For tips and tricks to improve your night’s sleep read my previous article titled ‘5 Steps To A Toned Torso’ and go to step 4.

Primal Need #5 CALM

Last but certainly not least is our fifth primal need – calm. Stress is often ignored, pushed to one side. We are aware of it but it is the one element of our lives that we do not actively seek to improve or manage better. Stress is toxic. Stress has a very real and damaging effect on our bodies. Stress accelerates the aging process, it makes us fat, it negatively affects our sleep, it reduces our ability to develop lean muscle; it is one of the most damaging factors effecting our health and generally makes life worse.

So what can we do about it? Twenty minutes of dedicated time each day of stress management techniques can have a big impact. There are some fantastic apps available to help you calm your body each day. I personally use Headspace. Some of my clients invest in guided meditation and others simply sit in a peaceful place each day and work through breathing techniques before they start their busy day.

The key with this entire approach is to take the complexity out. Eat natural, move more, drink lots of water, get a good night’s sleep and invest 20 minutes every day to calming your mind and your health will improve dramatically. riddle_stop 2


Matt’s company FITISM is opening a new gym in Wilmslow, Cheshire on the 3rd April 2017. If you live in or around the Wilmslow area you can get a free two week FITISM Experiences via this link: www.fitism.co.uk/wilmslow/  

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