What do the lives of fit, healthy people look like? Do they drink a special concoction of green-ness every morning? Are they genetically gifted? What is the secret sauce? And most importantly, how do they seem to pull it off day in and day out with the busy demands of life?
Well, I’m here to tell you some good news. There is no secret potion. There is no magical solution to living a fit and healthy life. The truth is that these people have figured out a way to execute a fit, happy, healthy lifestyle within the constraints of a busy life. Here is the basic reality: it comes down to a few simple habits and a few basic rules. That’s really it.
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be this restrictive, boring, count-every-calorie complicated existence. It’s actually quite simple, but you just need to follow these basic guidelines.
Build An Environment For Success
Making positive changes in life is hard. We are hardwired to avoid change. After all, who likes change anyway? Maybe a baby with a wet diaper? It’s freakin’ hard. There is no denying that fact, and that very fact is where you must start. Understand that change is hard. Realize that changing habits around your food and workouts won’t just happen in a week.
Bring this awareness to the change process, and realize how difficult it is. When you do embark on change journey, it’s crucial to make sure the path is as clear as possible. I mean crystal clear, with as few obstacles in your way.
If you have sweet, tempting junk food out on your counter top, you will eat it. Maybe not right away, but your willpower will eventually wane and you’ll indulge. Now, what happens if you take that junk food and you put it away in the cabinet, away from plain sight? You won’t be as tempted, and there’s a good chance you’ll eat something healthier in its place. This same rule applies to the good stuff like veggies and fruits. Keep those items as visible as possible and at eye-level in the fridge. That way when you open that door for a little snack, your eyes go right to the veggies and fruit. Clear path.
Here’s an example in my own apartment. I have a small area in my living room with soft mats, foam rollers, and other stretching and mobility tools – balls, straps, yoga blocks, etc. It’s my mini oasis.
For me, as a tight guy who has battled lots of injuries, neglected stretching for most of my life, and likes to use my body physically, I know that foam rolling and stretching is good for me. It allows my body to recover better. It allows me to be more flexible and move better. But here’s the reality – I’m not always motivated to stretch and foam roll. Sometimes I feel like chilling out and reading a book or vegging out to a little TV. But the shear fact that my mats and stretching gear stare at me while I’m home means that I stretch and foam roll more often. That’s it.
The same thing happens when I put out my workout clothes out the night before. I see the gear and I’m much more likely to go workout.
There are numerous other examples, but the point is clear. Set yourself up for success by clearing your path. Remove the obstacles and create as little resistance as possible, and you have the key to long-term sustainable success.
Learn to Move Well
We all know the benefits of regular exercise, but most of us don’t get enough. Or maybe you do exercise regularly, but you get injured often. Or even more likely, you experience nagging pain and therefore can’t do the activities you want to do.
Here’s what you can to avoid these issues. Learn to move your body well. It’s probably the most important aspect of staying injury free and avoiding pain, but often the most neglected.
What does moving well look like? It’s important to start with a few basic movement principles that provide the base for good movement.
A few of those basic principles include:
-Learning to brace your core and remain in a neutral spinal position.
-Having functional butt muscles that are turned on and doing their job.
-Making sure your hips have good range of motion (sufficient mobility).
-Making sure your middle back (thoracic spine) has good range of motion (sufficient mobility).
These basic movement principles are essential to living a healthy, fit lifestyle. Ignored for long enough, bad movement will most likely lead to injury or at the very least, pain.
Investing in a professional to do a full body assessment is one the best fitness decisions you will ever make. I know for a lot of people, assessments might not be the sexiest option out there. It feels better to just spend your money on one of these fitness programs like P90-X or Insanity and sweat your way to health.
Let me tell you this because I’ve seen it so many times – that’s one of the easiest ways to get injured. If you’re not moving well and you add intense exercise to that poor movement, you’ll most likely get hurt.
As a level 2 FMS specialist myself, I have seen countless examples of people neglecting movement and ending up in really compromised positions, unable to move without pain. Getting out in front and being proactive about how you move is vital to longevity and quality of life as you get older.
Find Your Active Passion
What if I told you there was a way to never rely on willpower to exercise again? What if there was a system to make a healthy & fit lifestyle a natural part of who you are? Believe it or not, there is a way and it’s called Active Passion.
When you find physical activities you love to do, you’ll do it more often. You’ll be more active. It’s that simple. We feel so strongly about Active Passion that our whole new coaching program is designated to “loving the way you move.”
You can read more posts on active passion here:
What’s Missing From Your Exercise Program
Unlock Your Motivation Forever With Active Passion
When it comes to living a fit and healthy lifestyle, it all comes down to habits. Form good habits, and you’re good to go. Of course this is much easier said than done.
The 1st step in forming new healthy habits is awareness of where you are right now. It doesn’t matter what it is, but measure something for a number of days in a row. A week is normally enough time to see what is going on. Strip away any judgment, and simply record your intake of whatever it is you’re measuring. It could be a detailed food journal of everything that you put in your mouth or it could be something as simple as recording the number of alcoholic beverages you drink each week. Or maybe something even simplier like how many times you worked out.
Again, it doesn’t really matter what it is; the idea is just to track something. Working with an experienced fitness pro, you’ll of course learn to track the right things, but at first, it’s about building the habit of awareness. A simple way to gain awareness is through tracking. Measure it, and then work to change it. People always want to skip this vital first step and go directly into the change. That will fail in the long-run. Track first, gain awareness, and then move forward.
There you have it, the four pillars to a healthy, fit lifestyle.