6 Steps To Optimal Health for Couch Potatoes

6 Steps To Optimal Health for Couch Potatoes

Many of us have experimented with diets and weight loss products that claim to improve your health. Unfortunately, we find that many of them only work for a short period and are unsustainable or ineffective in the long term.

PH8 Water spoke to Aaron Buchan of Cross Training Systems (CTS), who after years of research and ‘hands on’ client training developed ‘6 Steps to Optimal Health’ helps people make the change to a healthy lifestyle that’s sustainable.

6 Steps Optimal Health


Often people don’t know how to start, Aaron says.

“We find that many people come in to CTS and they know they are unhealthy or even sick but they don’t know what goals they should be setting. We encourage people to follow the S.M.A.R.T principle when setting goals.”

The purpose of setting goals is to make people more accountable and ensure they have a clear result in mind. It also allows you to measure your progress – between where you are not (your starting point) and your defined goal.

“If you’re a ‘couch potato’ we recommend that you don’t implement everything straight away otherwise you will become overwhelmed and will achieve nothing.”

“People should aim for just one or two things to start off with and then progress from there.”

At CTS we break down client goals in to each of the following steps:


  • Breathing Eg – Practice deep breathing for 5 minutes every night before bed
  • Hydration Eg – Drink 2 X 1L bottles of water while at work
  • Sleep Eg – Go to bed by 9.30pm and set an alarm for 6am
  • Exercise Eg – Walk 4 times per week for 30 minutes
  • Nutrition Eg – Only eat dessert on Saturday nights

    (Please Note: These goals are only examples).

    Aaron says results and goals are the key drivers for taking action on all latter steps.

    “At the end of the day, if you don’t have a goal then you’re not going to get of bed”

    “If we notice any resistance we find that directing clients back to their original goals really helps with motivation.”


    Download and fill out your subscription and questionnaire to get your free nutrition and lifestyle program to help motivate you to success.

    Step 2 – BREATHING

    9/10 people don’t breathe properly, Aaron says.

    “Most people are short, shallow chest breathers so this has a big effect on up through the spine.”

    “We try and get people to breathe more through the diaphragm (stomach) will help to lift up the rib angle and change the whole angle of the spine.”

    If you’re not breathing correctly we could be taking up to an extra 20,000 breaths a day which is a big stress on the body, says Aaron.

    “Think about if you double your breaths per day your heart rate is going to be elevated so it’s going to make a big difference in the way that you feel in the way that you recover.”

    “We teach people breathing patterns which with time and practice becomes a natural part of your motor pattern.”


    Practice breathing deeply twice a day, morning and night for 3 to 5 minutes. Lie on your back with your knees up then push your stomach outwards when you breath in and draw your stomach inwards when you exhale.

    Step 3 – HYDRATION

    High Alkaline Water Australia
    Hydration plays a critical role in overall health with dehydration being linked to a range of adverse health effects.

    Aaron encourages people to start their day with a large glass of water before breakfast to rehydrate from the hours spent sleeping.

    “If you choose water with higher total dissolved solids (TDS) then it will take longer to pass through your system because it will more readily absorb into your cells – which means better hydration and better recovery.”

    “Next time you’re buying bottled water look for water with higher mineral content that will have a higher TDS per litre.”

    “If you’re drinking tap water the chemicals in the water will negatively effect the good bacteria which slows down the digestive process.”


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    Step 4 – NUTRITION

    Aaron says the most common problem with nutrition is getting people to ‘stick to it.’

    “I can give people a nutrition plan or people can find one themselves but what happens then? There is no way to follow up on it.”

    Aaron suggests people document what they eat in some way to keep accountable to themselves.

    “We have a web based online diary which is great for keeping people accountable. The great thing about an online diary is that clients are able to have someone looking over there shoulder making sure they doing things right and telling them if they are doing anything wrong.”

    For the average person who may be classed as overweight, Aaron suggests keeping it very simple initially.

    “To start with I suggest that people just focus on one meal a day.”

    “I might say to focus on eating a healthy lunch or avoid processed foods. If you’re starting out, avoiding packaged foods is one the best things you do for your body.”

    “One of the keys of nutrition is for people to identify with the feeling after they eat rather than when they eat. Too many people are simply basing their choices on how food tastes.”

    “That’s exactly we get people to write down how they feel to make them more conscious of how they feel after eating well.”

    “Some people come in and they’ve got no idea what it’s like to feel good after eating healthy food.”


    Replace eating processed/packaged foods with whole foods.

    Step 5 – SLEEP

    Most scientists agree that sleep plays a vital role in your physical and mental health. If you don’t have a stable circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) you will throw out your cortisol and melatonin levels resulting in hormone imbalances.

    Aaron recommends people sleep between 10pm and 6am to refresh the mind and repair the body.

    “Between 10pm and 2am is when physical repair occurs and between 2am and 6am is psychological.”

    “Avoid stimulants like caffeine and alcohol in the evening because they will cause changes to your natural cortisone and melatonin levels which makes it harder to sleep properly.”

    “Blue light also stimulates cortisol so avoid looking at smart devices like iPads and iPhones in the hour or two before bed.”


    At 8pm dim the lights and avoid using smart devices like iPads and iPhones.

    Step 6 – EXERCISE


    Walking is one of the best ways to get started for people not used to regular exercise, says Aaron.

    “Someone who is a ‘couch potato’ can easily do 3 X 20 minute walks per week without too much strain on the body. Try to do your walk before breakfast because that’s when you’re going to burn the most amount of fat.”

    After that Aaron suggests progressing to 1 X 45 minute strength training session per week to increase metabolism.

    “Strength training can even be done with your own body weight at home. For instance squats, hip extensions, planks, rotation planks and cobra holds.”

    “Increasing you muscle mass is going to help speed up your metabolism. It’s been proven especially for females over the age of 35 that they start to lose up to 200 grams of muscle per year. As they get older they start to decrease in muscle mass and put on more fat because their metabolic rate decreases.”

    After adding a strength component the next step is to add in cardio that will get the heart rate higher.

    “We find that circuit training classes here that get some fantastic results for clients.”


    Add one extra session of exercise or strength training to your current routine.

    About Aaron Buchan

    Aaron Cross Training Systems
    Aaron is founder and CEO of Cross Training Systems in Prospect. He will be representing Australia in the triathlon and Duathlon world series and an avid PH8 Water drinker and ambassador.


    Cross Training Systems – Aaron’s Company
    SMART Goals
    Total Dissolved Solids in Water

    – Aaron Buchan is a PH8 Water ambassador.
    – These steps have best results when they are applied together. If you ignore one step then you may put your health at risk.

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