Dan Churchill, a chef who works with Chris Hemsworth, said being fit doesn’t need to be complicated.
Simple changes can help you hit goals like building muscle or burning fat.
Start by eating more veggies, cutting back on sugar, and prioritizing sleep, he said.
For stars like Chris Hemsworth, better known as Thor in the Marvel movies, it can take months of rigorous prep to train for roles in blockbuster movies. For the rest of us, simple steps can help you reach your fitness goals, according to Dan Churchill, a celebrity chef and nutrition and fitness expert for Chris Hemsworth’s health app Centr.
“So often, barriers to being healthy are time, cost, and skill, and our goal is to remove those,” Churchill told Insider.
Rather than jumping into a trendy diet or strenuous gym fad, he recommends starting with three basic changes to your routine that nearly everyone can implement right away.
If you’re trying to build muscle, lose weight, or simply improve your health, start by adding plants to your diet, subtracting sugar, and sleeping more, he said.
Cut out refined sugars from your diet
The first thing Churchill recommends is to start paying attention to sources of added sugar in what you eat, and try to reduce those foods.
“That’s the most important thing. It’s a very easy, low-hanging fruit in my opinion,” Churchill said.
It can be helpful to start here because sugars are so common in everyday foods, you may not even realize you’re eating them. Surprising sources of added sugar include bread, yogurt, and condiments. Beverages that are high in sugar include even healthy-seeming options like juice, smoothies, and oat milk.
Taking small steps to reduce sugary foods can help make room for more nutrient-dense foods on your plate.
Eat more plants
Churchill is also a huge proponent of plant-based eating, and you don’t have go fully vegan or vegetarian to see the benefits, he said.
To get started, he recommends setting small goals for yourself, such as buying a few more vegetables each time you visit the grocery store, or trying a new plant-based recipe each week.
It’s a common misconception that plant-based foods, especially vegetables, are bland, boring, or low in important nutrients like protein, but that just isn’t the case, according to Churchill.
“I eat tasty food, it just so happens to incorporate things that I believe in,” he said.
Some of Churchill’s go-to ingredients are olive oil as a source of healthy fat, lemons to add flavor and vitamins, and lentils as a source of protein and fiber.
Get more sleep
The last tip in Churchill’s holy trinity of health principles has nothing to do with eating; he swears by prioritizing sleep not matter how busy you are.
“I make sure to get plenty of sleep. It sounds weird because it’s not related to food, but it has a massive effect on your ability to digest and your hormones.”
Sleeping enough (7-9 hours a night for most people) is essential, whether you’re trying to gain strength and muscle or lose fat, research shows. One study found that people who were sleep deprived ate significantly more, up to 385 calories a day on average, compared to their well-rested peers.
“In the course of a week, you could put in a whole extra day’s worth of calories just by not sleeping enough,” Churchill said.
Read the original article on Insider