Healthy “Rules” for Grown Ups – aka the “School Nights” Principle


Even health and fitness professionals and professional athletes get in some bad habits now and then and have to make efforts to get back into the healthy swing of things. I seem to have been reminded of this quite a lot lately…

Usually, after a fight a give myself one week to do whatever I like (I call this my week of sloth) and then I get back to the grind of healthy eating and regular workouts. But… sometimes I get a little of track. These past few weeks I was sidelined with post-fight sloth (but that does not excuse me because my fight was over a month ago). I took a trip to Vegas (which is not an excuse either, just a mini vacation where I accepted the consequences of my destination) and then a massive head cold, which I blame on the Vegas smoke and a/c… Anyway, regardless of the cause, let’s just say I have been eating too much ice cream and chips & salsa and skipping too many workouts for my standards.

So to help me get back on track, I am asking that anyone who is interested join me in instating a set of healthy rules for grown ups.

I’m calling these the “SCHOOL NIGHTS RULES.” Remember when you were in school and your parents made up rules like “no staying up past 10 pm” on school nights, or “no TV” on school nights, or “no candy” on school nights. Regardless of how strict your parents where they probably had at least one rule for you on nights you had to be up the next day to focus on learning. Well, how is your work any different or less important now? If anything I would think you would want to be more even functional now when your focus at work determines the success of your career and feeding your family.

There is no question that what we put into our bodies affects our brains. Having stable blood sugar and proper nutrients to fuel our minds is of optimum importance. However, I realize that for many people rigidly strict food guidelines are not realistic. (If they are and you are not going insane, my hat goes off to you, and you can pat yourself on the back for your extreme willpower and focus). For the rest of you here is a simple way to stay on track:

I ask you all to join me for the duration of this month, and hopefully the rest of your life in this simple (yet not easy) endeavor:


(School Days are defined as any day you work if you work less that five days a week, pick five days you consider productive days if you work more than five days a week, pick five that you consider your most busy days).

1. Say no to sugar and remember to floss – Eliminate or limit sugar on school nights/days. Avoid added cane sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, sugar alcohols, etc. – you may, however, have a small treat with 5 grams or less of sugar, for example, a small serving of dark chocolate). Oh, yeah and don’t forget to floss!

2. Save alcohol for the weekends – No booze on school nights (and days too). Everything counts. Yes, red wine counts too.

3. Eat as healthy possible all five school days and nights. For me that means eating mostly lean protein, veggies, cooking with healthy fats like olive and coconut oil and consuming only one serving (1-2 cupped palmfuls) of “smart starches” like yams, squash or rice. Cooking at home on school nights and having just fruit for dessert helps me stick to this principle.

4. Get at least 7.5  Hours of sleep. I try to aim for 8-9. The more I sleep I know, the better I will feel and awesome the next day, ready to tackle all my tasks full force with better willpower!

5. Develop a plan for your workouts and stick to it the best you can. Not every day is a perfect day in the gym, and sometimes I fall short of my plans, but I always HAVE a plan and have a workout scheduled in my calendar.

6. Don’t go full college party binge fest on the weekends. Have a couple of treats, maybe splurge on those nachos and have a couple of margaritas with friends. Treat yourself to a sundae etc… but keep it simple, don’t undo all your progress of the week.