As a fitness trainer and gym owner, I’m often asked the same questions: “How can I stay fit? What’s the best way to lose weight and gain muscle? How often must I work out?” There are no easy answers to any of these questions. Once more, there is a lot of conflicting information out there that will frustrate and confuse you. In order to simplify matters and turn your fitness goals into reality, here are 5 effective habits of extremely fit and healthy people (Photo by cottonbro from Pexels)
- Consistency is the key: Make exercise a permanent part of your lifestyle. Schedule it into your day like any other important appointment. Try to exercise the same time of day if you can, and keep your program fun and challenging. Never go more than two days without exercising, otherwise it becomes too easy to make lame excuses. If you can’t get to your gym or fitness class, then take the stairs at work, take a walk after dinner.
- Work out smarter and have a plan: Experts say that just 20 minutes of moderate resistance training a few times per week can help preserve and even build muscle as well as increase bone density and overall joint flexibility. That’s a good place to start. If you are short on time or bored with plodding through your same old routine for hours on end, be adventurous. Try high intensity interval training (HIIT). Push yourself harder by alternating blasts of cardio with weight training for shorter periods of time, say 30 minutes per workout. Pump up the intensity of your workouts by taking shorter rest periods.
- Prepare food ahead of time: If your weeks tend to be crazy busy, then take some time on the weekend to prepare food for the hectic days ahead. Make homemade granola bars, boil some eggs, whip up some smoothies, chop up and bag fresh fruits and veggies for energizing snacks. Take food to work and avoid vending machines and fast- food joints!
- Have a healthy body image: Too many guys I know are hell-bent on having “the perfect body”. It is called Body Dysmorphic Disorder and it is a malady most of us suffer from at some point or another. It is reinforced by the mass media – 20 something models, 2%body fat, air brushed abs. These become our standards of male perfection. Bull! Very few of us can live up to these unrealistic images. Your body is a work of art in progress. It is not perfect, but for god’s sake accentuate the positive with hard work and good nutrition. Learn to accept your body, imperfections and all. You’ll live a happier life.
- Get more sleep: Eight to ten hours of uninterrupted slumber is recommended as the norm for all of us. Sleep allows your body to recover from daily stress. It also helps your body to grow and recover after workouts and fitness activities. Try not to eat less than three hours before retiring. Restrain your alcohol intake especially before bedtime.
Remember, fitness is a lifestyle that takes effort and commitment. Enjoy the rest of your summer!