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Holistic Fitness Is A Trifecta Of Good Sleep, Diet, And Exercise

Responses by Shreyas Mehta, Actor, Model, and founder of FlashMob Nation:

Fitness is more than just physical appearances. At times, a person “appearing” fit could be lacking good health and well-being because the human body, as they say, works in mysterious ways. In recent years, especially following the pandemic, the idea of fitness has expanded to include mental well-being, nutrition, and adequate rest, besides traditional exercises. This new-found “holistic fitness" is being actively pursued by actors and models. Shreyas Mehta, Founder of high-street designer fashion brand FlashMob Nation, actor, model, and an ardent believer in holistic fitness, shared his valuable insights. 

1. It is said that we are what we eat. How true is it from your personal experience and in the context of holistic fitness?

Nutrition is paramount to fitness. Generally, people with a history of consuming a balanced diet have good health. I’d also emphasize moderation in consumption along with a nutritionally balanced dietary intake. However, neither is easy to start and sustain, especially if you are in the public sphere, where one cannot be over-particular about dietary preferences. Also, as often as not, health-conscious choices come at a high cost. So, there is a financial aspect to reckon with. 

A balanced diet can be accompanied by a few lifestyle changes, including but not limited to substituting coffee with healthier alternatives such as green tea. Loaded with antioxidants, green tea supports neurological and cardiovascular functioning and reduces the risk of developing cancers. Likewise, if you are keen on muscle development, supplements like MCT oils can be beneficial due to their fewer side effects compared to other synthetic options. 

2. Holistic fitness is all about strengthening the mind-body connection. How do physical exercises help achieve it?

Exercise can be both physiologically and psychologically empowering. Yoga, in particular, exemplifies exercise that strengthens the mind-body connection. When practised regularly, it helps optimize brain functions, such as the regulation of cortisol hormone (associated with ageing). As a result, one can avoid premature ageing. Physical exercises, in general, have a direct bearing on critical brain parts such as the hippocampus, which is associated with memory and learning. 

That said, I believe exercises must be performed under expert guidance and with appropriate gear. An exercise done haphazardly can be futile, as well as dangerous in some cases. Therefore, athletes tend to focus heavily on the method. Gear such as shoes must be fit-for-purpose, designed for a particular sport or activity. However, mere initiation will not translate to instant benefits. The positive outcomes will only manifest after exercises become a habit that is hard to break — like second nature.

3. How does sleep, or the lack of it, impact holistic fitness? 

The popular saying about sleep being the best meditation is absolutely true. Without sound sleep, any amount of exercise will go in vain. Sleep rejuvenates both mind and body, helping you recover for the next cycle of activities. That is to say, sound sleep helps you exercise effectively and maximize the benefits, creating a virtuous fitness cycle. Therefore, sleep should be improved both qualitatively and quantitatively. Along with good nutrition and a comprehensive exercise regimen, it forms a trifecta of holistic fitness. These three are so inextricably linked that a lack of one will impact the other negatively. I’ve found that the opposite is also true — improvement in one will positively influence the other.

4. Please elaborate on the linkages between sleep, nutrition, and exercise, along with their impact on holistic fitness. 

Regular exercises are known to induce a sense of discipline by resetting your circadian rhythm and the biological clock. That will inadvertently improve your sleep cycle while also helping you overcome anxiety and insomnia. Likewise, certain dietary supplements and changes can help you sleep well. A good night’s rest will translate to a good workout session the following day, and strenuous exercises will naturally tire you and put you to sleep. If you adhere to that routine, it becomes a self-reinforcing cycle whose impact on your life can be profound. 

So, train hard, eat right, and sleep well. Your body will thank you. However, dietary disruptions such as the intake of coffee or caffeinated products or a meal close to bedtime can adversely impact that virtuous cycle. Such stimulants keep the brain active for longer periods, hampering the sleep cycle. Similarly, even exercising close to bedtime can impact sleep due to the release of endorphins. So, I schedule eating, exercising, and sleeping strategically, ensuring they are not on a collision course with each other. If you make them complement each other, holistic fitness is only a matter of time. 

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