Top News

RYAN CAIRNS: Feed your body nutrients instead of calories


 SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — I recently snuck home to Canada for six days for a friend's wedding.

It was my first time back home in three years. I almost forgot how beautiful it was. The weather was amazing and the people were as friendly as ever.

I noticed something else as well. It is so much harder to make healthier choices than where I currently live.

I guess that when I lived on Prince Edward Island, the things I ate were normal to me. I look at those things now and it's hard to believe how different my healthy eating was there versus my healthy eating in Sydney, Australia.

Here fresh fruit and vegetables constantly surround me. Organic foods are very commonplace. In fact, it is the norm.

Now you don't have to eat perfect all the time, but you should make as many healthy choices as you can. What you put into your body has a direct effect on you. The things we eat literally shape us. Everything you put into your body creates a physiological response. It affects everything all the way down to the cells that make you who you are. Think about it this way, if you aren't preventing disease, you are feeding it.

Some people can look quite healthy. They may not be visibly overweight, but they still get cancer or some other terrible affliction. Physical appearance isn't always an indicator of overall health. Always aim to feed your body nutrients as opposed to just calories. I acknowledge that is harder to make choices on P.E.I. as opposed to other places. It takes a bit of foresight. You may have to prepare healthy food ahead of time. If you keep good food in your home, you will eat good food.

The other half of the equation is moving more. I know P.E.I. winters can be hectic. It sounds like I missed a couple of really bad ones as well. If you aren't a winter outdoors type of person, you will have to finds ways to move in your home or apartment. If you don't know what to do, YouTube or Google, home workouts. Be careful, because it is important to do things correct, but it is also important to just move.

No one gave you an instruction manual of how to exercise when you were a child. If you go out drinking some night and dance your butt off, no one stops you and asks if you have had lessons. You just move.

I am all about people doing things correct and hiring a personal trainer. I am just saying that if not being able to get professional help or you can't afford it is the reason you haven't got started, then shake off that excuse. Fall is an amazing time to still get outside and or to a gym. The days are getting shorter. The weather is cooler, but not too cold. Take advantage of it as long as you can before the winter sets in. There is so much natural beauty to see in a place that has all the seasons. I know when you live in one place for a long time you take it for granted. Get out in nature. It as good for you mentally as it is physically. 

So how do we put this all together?

1.   Aim for unprocessed food. Look for foods that don't have packaging or many ingredients. 

2.   Aim for nutrients and not calories. How many different nutrients can you fit on your plate? There is a good chance they are low calorie. Even if they have a few calories, the benefit to your health is there. 

3.            Move more. Don't ever go three days without sweating. 

4.            Don't skip Monday. Start your week strong. 

5.            Sleep. It's awesome. Enough said. 

6.            Hydrate. This one should be simple. We are water. We need water. You will be amazed at what cutting back on a sugar loaded coffee or soft drink will do to help your waistline and your health. 

7.            Remember, unless you plan on making a living as a fitness model, do things that are good for your health, not just your looks. What is the good of looking good if you aren't around to enjoy it? 

8.            Do it for yourself. Do it because you deserve to live a happy, healthy life. Do it to be a good example to your children or the next generation. Do it because there are way too many people using old age as an excuse for being unhealthy. Age is a number. 

You have everything you need to succeed. Stop getting in your own way. 


Ryan is certified personal trainer from Charlottetown. He currently resides in Sydney, Australia. Ryan's column Fit Happens appears monthly in The Guardian. You can reach Ryan at or on instagram @tattooed_pt. 




Recent Stories