If you’ve ever seen the cover of a fitness magazine, I’m sure you’ve seen headlines that are very similar to “(insert fit celebrity) Reveals Her Top 5 Fitness Secrets!” It’s intriguing to the reader because the celebrity must know something the reader doesn’t if she’s in such good shape. But if you stop and think about it, you find yourself wondering: Are fit people really keeping secrets, whispered only among a select few, about how to stay in shape?
Of course not. In fact, their “secrets” have probably been under your nose the whole time. It boils down to this: People who are fit just have better habits than people who aren’t as fit. I’m sure you’ve noticed what these habits are, but maybe you’ve never really understood them well enough to try them out for yourself. Consider this your challenge: Try incorporating these five habits of fit people into your daily routine, and if you stick with it, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll see a significant change.
Habit #1: They make exercise a top priority.
Maybe it seems obvious that a fit person prioritizes exercise. However, what might not seem so obvious is how they prioritize their exercise. While most people plan their exercise around their day, fit people plan their day around their exercise. There’s a big difference between the two. Imagine you have a schedule of the day in front of you. First, write down everything you need to do except for exercise. Now, after all of that is in your schedule, now try to squeeze in exercise. Some days you might be able to pretty easily, but other days may be much more difficult. By making exercise a priority and planning your day around it, instead of your to-do list, you’ll ensure you’re more consistent with your workouts.
Habit #2: They know that consistency is key.
Slow and steady wins the race. It may seem like a good idea to do the hardest workout you’ve ever done on day one of your new exercise program to really get a kick-start, but are you going to be able to consistently keep that up? Find an appropriately challenging program that you can do consistently, because results will not come overnight, and they won’t come by quitting and re-starting a program over and over again.
Habit #3: Even if it sucks, they do it anyway.
As the owner of a personal training studio, I’ve encountered so many people who tell me they want to find an exercise program that’s fun and enjoyable so they can stick to it. That’s a fantastic sentiment — the search for a program that you’ll fall so in love with, it won’t even feel like working out — but don’t hold your breath. The fact is, sometimes working out isn’t fun, yet fit people do it, anyway. They do it not just because it’s fun, but because it comes with tons of other benefits that outweigh a seemingly boring or torturous workout. Whether it’s cardiovascular health, mental health or injury prevention, people who are fit will work out even if they’re not all that jazzed about it that day.
Habit #4: They do it for more than just looks.
Wanting to look good can be a strong motivator for some. However, some exercisers need more than just looks to motivate them. After all, the physical results of exercise — tighter muscles, leaner stomachs, looser-fitting pants — can take time to surface. So fit people use the many unseen benefits of exercise as a motivator to keep going, even when they don’t feel like it. Health benefits can be motivators whether you’re 20 and want to stay feeling young, or 50 and want to slow down the aging process.
Here’s just some of what exercise does for you, beyond chipping away at the number on the scale:
• Exercise lowers stress and reduces anxiety.
• Exercise makes you happier.
• Exercise improves brain function, including preserving memory skills and warding off dementia.
• Exercise is good for your gut.
• Exercise boosts productivity.
• Exercise helps you sleep better.
• Exercise is really, really good for your heart.
Habit #5: They reward themselves.
Fit people will reward themselves for reaching a goal. I’m not talking about results-based goals, like fitting into a pair of jeans or losing a certain number of pounds. I’m talking about process goals, like working out four days per week for an entire month or limiting eating out to just once a month. The point is that you’re telling yourself that you get rewarded for sticking with the routine of fitness, not for achieving an outcome, because — and this should sound familiar — consistency is key.
It’s important not to reward yourself with food, like eating an entire pizza or having 10 cookies. This tends to result in binging behaviors that can cause certain people to fall off their program. Try rewarding yourself with a mini vacation or a massage, or new gym clothes that you can’t wait to wear for your next workout.
See? These fitness “secrets” aren’t really secrets at all. Try them out for yourself and see if they work for you. Remember, if it seems overwhelming, you can always try incorporating one tip at a time until it becomes a habit. Once habits are formed, it will become that much harder to go back to your old, unhealthy ways — promise.
Original article written by Brian Maher on Be Well Philly