We all want to just wake up one day and be fit! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Wouldn’t it be so nice if it did? In actuality, it takes a lot of hard work, commitment, dedication, and consistency. It doesn’t mean waking up one morning and deciding that you are going to do EVERYTHING right; you’re going to eat perfectly, workout for 6 hours each day, meditate for 2 hours every day, and still fit in the rest of your life; your work, your family, your obligations. It means making a few changes at a time and I’ve got the ultimate list of the easiest ones to get you started on a fitter YOU!
I see you rolling your eyes at me… Yes! Waking up early is one of the most commonly seen activities in fit individuals, also in successful individuals. Why? Well, waking up early has been linked to lower levels of mental health conditions (depression, anxiety, etc.) in women. Studies have also shown that those who wake early have less negative thoughts. Your overall sleep quality improves when you wake up early because you go to bed earlier instead of waiting until you are dead tired and exhausted. And sleep is super important for your fitness. Basically, waking up early leads to greater productivity, which ultimately makes you more tired by the end of the night, making you actually fall asleep when you lay down instead of just laying there staring at the ceiling. So start getting up early and quit sleeping in!
Get Your Exercise In
Well this one is quite obvious (especially since you are reading a blog by a fitness professional). Make sure you are getting in some sort of physical activity each day. I am not saying you need to hit the weights hard and do a 2 hour workout every day, but you should be doing what you can to stay active. Maybe that means going on a walk every day or having a wrestling match with your kids. Maybe it means an hour of yoga or hitting a CrossFit class. Whatever it means to you, make sure you are doing it each day.
If you want to be a fit or just a healthier person, you need to start with your diet. The saying is true, “You can’t out train a bad diet.” No matter how many calories you try to burn throughout the day, if you aren’t putting good, quality food in, then you are failing yourself and ultimately wasting those workouts. I am not saying you have to eat perfectly clean 100% of the time. What I’m saying is that you should follow the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of the food you eat should be good, whole, healthy foods that are helping you fuel your body properly. The other 20% can be your “cheats;” where you indulge or give in to some of your cravings. This doesn’t mean an entire day of eating poorly but maybe a meal that you have been wanting that isn’t so great for you or adding in a desert or two throughout the week. But overall, the 80/20 rule is one of the most sustainable diets around. It is simple to use and will get you results!
Exercising and eating well isn’t all there is to health. Keeping your teeth in good health is also very important. More and more studies are being conducted on the links between oral care and chronic illness. This article references just a few interesting things about your teeth health. What a lot of these studies are finding is that good oral health is better for your cardiovascular health, so get to brushing those teeth!
This goes along with “waking up early.” Sleep is so important to your health. Not only does it help your performance and productivity, but getting good sleep helps you fight off infection and avoid chronic diseases. The recommended amount of sleep is at least 7 hours a night but some people may need even more to feel well rested. This site recommends setting a regular bedtime so that you get your body into a rhythm which will help your body function better.
I know that I have said this before: DRINK YOUR WATER! This doesn’t mean seltzer water, or coffee, or juice. This means plain old water. So, what happens if you don’t drink enough water? The big one is dehydration. Especially when it is hot out and you are sweating more than usual, you need to drink water just to stay hydrated. It is important to note that “Thirst isn’t always a reliable indicator of the body’s need for water.” Don’t make a huge mistake; drink your water!
Stay Active Throughout the Day
Sometimes, getting in your one hour of exercise each day isn’t enough. Sometimes you just need to be active throughout your day. Think about taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Invest in a stand up desk so that you can keep yourself from sitting for long periods of time. Take a 5-10 minute break a few times a day to walk around and loosen up especially if you have a job that keeps you at a desk most of the day. Just find a way to keep yourself moving as much as possible.
Being in nature does so much for your mental health which does so much for your physical health. Recent studies have shown that getting outside for as little as 2 hours is enough to positively impact your health. Spending time outside can help lower stress, blood pressure, and hormone levels. It can enhance the function of your immune system and increase your self-esteem along with improving your overall mood. Do yourself a super simple favor and get outside more.
Foam rolling is not just good for your sore muscles. It also can help increase your range of motion. Foam rolling can help you relieve back pain when done properly. I love to use foam rolling to help me relax especially after a tough workout.
Mindful eating isn’t as weird as it sounds. In its simplest form, it is slowing down your eating and to not get distracted when eating. This article lists a few ideas to include setting your fork down in between bites to make yourself slow down and eating foods that are small and individual so that you take your time on them. I find the best piece of advice in it is to “eat without distractions.” The author talks about paying attention to your food and really taking it in with all of your senses instead of simply mindlessly eating while you watch a show.
Logging your training can be beneficial for anyone. If you are just starting your fitness journey, keeping a log is a great way to look back at how far you’ve come. One day, not too far from now, you are going to look at your log and see the workouts you used to do and realize one or more things. You are going to see that you can lift heavier, run faster, do more work, or feel better after a repeated workout. If you are further along in your fitness journey, logging your training is even more important. In this case, you should be logging your rest and recovery, your meals, and how you feel after a workout. You will be amazed at what results you see when you pay attention to the little things.
Plan Your Meals/Prep Your Meals
This is a super important tips. How many times have you lost track of time and before you know it, you’re grabbing whatever you can find. When you’re out and about, that’s usually fast food. That’s what makes planning/prepping your meals so important. Pick one or two days a week to prep your meals and a day to plan out what you’re going to eat. This also helps you save money because, once you make a meal plan you can make a grocery list to follow.
While I listed a lot of habits you can add to your life, this does not mean you should be adding them all at once. Pick a few here and there and focus on them. Get a few down and perfected and executed without having to think too much about them then add on another. This is how effective change happens. It is not all at once; it is not instantaneous, it is a slow process that will take time and little steps to achieve. If you spend time focusing on making yourself better each day, you’ll wake up one morning and realize that the person you were dreaming of a year ago, 5 years ago, is finally the person you are. It will happen but only if you put in the daily, consistent, and deliberate effort.