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  • Ollie McCarthy

Foundations of fitness

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Before embarking on any fitness journey I believe you should have several foundations in place.

One of the biggest reasons people fail with improving their fitness and health is over complication. They try and do too much at once.

So to counter that I am going to lay out some fundamental prerequisites for you to nail, before you even think about adding exercise or a diet into your current routine. In fact these are so important to overall health (not only fitness) that if you nail these, you may just find then need to exercise or diet is significantly reduced and in some cases removed completely.

Most diets and exercise are based around a few simple concepts. Move more. Eat less. Drink water. Sleep well. Repeat.

So lets do exactly that.


Probably the most crucial of them all. Firstly we don’t get enough of it as a species. When we are well rested, we are physically and mentally better prepared to take on life.

Try to get 7-10 hours per night. This will vary on individual. If you need to then nap.

Sleep in a cold, dark room. Limit artificial light before bed.


Firstly the need to move is ingrained within our DNA. We are not made to sit. We are made to move. So do just that. The 10,000 step rule is one that gets thrown around a lot and is a great place to start. We need to begin nailing this before we even worry about exercise. Even when you do add exercise in, this step count should stay an important part of your daily routine.

This will help to raise our Non Exercise Related Thermogenesis (NEAT.) Which is basically the calories our bodies burn through daily movement.

Walk every day. 10,000 steps as a minimum.


Our bodies are highly adaptive. Unfortunately the position we have mostly adapted to is sat down, hunched over a desk.

To help reverse that some mobility is important. Move your joints through their full ranges. Think ankles, hips, spine and shoulders. Try to do this every day.


Again this can be made super simple. Eat more fruit and veg (50% of every meal.) Eat more single ingredient foods. Eat less processed food. Try to eat protein with every meal. Limit sugar.


The body is 70% water. It needs fluid to work at a cellular level. When you are dehydrated you are less focussed, more hungry and more lethargic. Drink more of it.

2 litres as a minimum per day.

Why these things?

You can get to a decent standard of health by simply nailing these things so it seems an appropriate place to start.

This will then become your baseline.

When life becomes busy and workouts fall by the wayside, it will be your baseline that sees you making continuous progress and staying healthy.

Once you have nailed this for a month. Then you can think about adding in additional exercise.

About the Author:

Hi my name is Ollie McCarthy and I am a Running Coach and Personal Trainer in Tunbridge Wells. I help people to build fit, robust and capable bodies that look good but also perform well. This is done through a combination of running, mobility, strength and conditioning work.

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