Healthy Habits of Fitness Enthusiasts
You cannot expect to get in shape (and stay that way) after eating clean and hitting the gym for a week. Fitness is about more than lifting weights and gulping down a protein shake after a workout. It is a lifestyle made up of healthy habits, and only the people who focus on longevity can succeed in the domain.
People who have successfully undergone a physique transformation might follow different training programs and diet plans, but most of them abide by the same fitness principles. Meaning – they might choose different paths, but they are heading towards the same destination in similar vehicles with similar tools.
The best part about these healthy habits is that they are nothing crazy or extreme. You do not need a voodoo doll or light candles at midnight to carve the physique of your dreams. Instead, follow the rituals laid out in this article for a while, and they will soon become second nature.
Unlike your bucket list items, you cannot strike off healthy habits after doing them once as they are aimed at building longevity. Not only will these healthy habits aid in transforming your physique, but they will also help you take control of your life.
8 Healthy Habits To Get in the Best Shape of Your Life
The first thing most people subconsciously think when they see a fit person is, “Wow, that individual is blessed with great genetics.”
Before you fault your forefathers for your beer belly, we want you to forget about genetics for the duration of this article. Fitness is not a game of roulette that only the lucky can champion.
The next time you see a fit person, remind yourself that their physique is the result of their healthy habits and not some DNA lottery. This will be your first step in the fitness lifestyle.
Here are the habits fitness enthusiasts swear by:
1. Lift Weights 3+ Times Per Week
A fit lifestyle is like a marathon. Healthy habits add up over time and get you closer to your goals. With every step in the right direction, you get closer to the finish line (or a milestone). But on the other hand, you lose if you stop anywhere in between.
If losing weight is your primary objective, chances are most people will tell you to make cardio your life. While cardio can aid in burning calories, lifting weights can help spike your metabolism. A high metabolic rate ensures that you are burning fat even when you are not physically active.
Training a minimum of three times a week is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. You do not have to go Arnold Schwarzenegger on your workouts and spend upward of 2 hours in the gym. An intense 45-minute training session is all you need to get in the best shape of your life.
If you are not an aspiring bodybuilder, you should focus on functional training that includes exercises like squats, bench press, deadlifts, farmer’s walk, lunge, good mornings, etc. These lifts assist in building a stronger core and will help you in your daily activities.
Related: How Cardio Impacts Your Gains
2. Load Up On Water
I am not trying to flex, but I literally had to put down my water bottle to write this point.
The human body is made up mostly of water.
Do not believe us?
According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.
That is a lot of water if you ask us.
The healthy habit of drinking at least a gallon of water every day helps maintain your body’s fluid balance so that nutrients can be transported throughout the body without a hiccup.
Some benefits of drinking ample water throughout the day include:
- Lubricates the joints.
- Helps form saliva and mucus.
- Delivers oxygen throughout the body.
- Boosts skin health and beauty.
- Cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues.
- Regulates body temperature.
If you find drinking four liters of water hard and trips to the water cooler a waste of time, it is best to keep a water bottle with you wherever you go. Keeping a water bottle handy can serve as a visual reminder to drink more water. If you see the bottle on your desk or table, you will constantly be reminded to drink more.
While working out at least three times a week is important, you cannot solely rely on the one odd hour off training to get you in shape. Use every chance that you get to be physically active. Most fit folks remain active throughout the day by taking walks during lunch, playing tennis on the weekends, or playing tag with their kids.
Many people also make the mistake of weighing themselves too often. Although checking your weight every day can tell you where you are in your weight loss/gain journey, it is not necessarily the best indicator for accessing your fitness and health levels.
Your BMI, energy levels, annual medical check-ups, and how your clothes fit give you a better sense of where you stand in terms of overall health and fitness.
On days you do not hit the gym, make sure you do not turn into a couch potato. Do not get us wrong. You are free to Netflix and Chill on your rest days, but only after you have completed a 15-20 minute LIIT (low-intensity interval training) cardio session.
4. Eating High-Quality Foods
What is in your cupboards will end up in your tummy. Give away all processed, starchy, and sugary foods and stock your pantry with nothing but whole foods. Prefer locally sourced food when possible.
You should develop a habit of reading food labels before making a purchase. As a rule of thumb, do not buy anything that has something on the ingredient list that you do not understand.
Your healthy eating habits should not be limited to your home. When eating out with friends or family, order the healthiest option available. If you do not find something off the menu, do not hesitate to make a special request or give in to peer pressure and order a burger or pizza. You will be surprised at how accommodating most servers and restaurants want to be.
Also, the healthy habit of eating high-quality meals ensures that you are getting nutrition-rich food. High-quality food might pinch your wallet a little but will pay its dividends in the long run. And as someone once said, “You get what you pay for.”
Remember: Just like eating a piece of cheesecake does not result in an immediate weight gain, eating a salad serving will not instantly make the unwanted pounds melt away.
Related: 10 Budget Muscle Building Foods
5. Sleep at least 8 Hours Every Night
No matter how hard you train in the gym, you will not see results until you give your muscles ample time to recuperate. You break muscle tissue while you are training or performing physically intensive tasks. Your muscles grow back bigger and stronger when you are in deep sleep.
The fitness industry does not need more supplements, lifting accessories, or training programs, but it needs more influencers to talk about the importance of a good night’s sleep.
If you are running on a tight schedule and cannot get eight hours of sleep on a single stretch, make up for it by programming a couple of power naps into your routine.
6. Do Not Let Your Cravings Get The Better of You
Many new dieters make the mistake of cutting out their favorite food from their diet all at once. While it is important to limit your food choices, you should not develop a negative relationship with food. Signs of a negative relationship with food include:
- You feel guilty about eating your favorite food and focus on clean eating.
- Maintaining a long list of foods you can and cannot eat.
- You use exercise to “earn” food.
- Labeling food “good” or “bad”.
- You refuse to eat food outside your home altogether.
- Ignore your body’s natural hunger cues.
- You have a history of yo-yo dieting or following the latest diet fads.
Your food habits should fuel your overall well-being. Fit people do not let their relationship with food dictate their routines. By balancing your diet and not depriving yourself of your favorite food, you are more likely to stick with your healthy habits in the long term.
7. Stretch For at least 10 Minutes Every Day Without Fail
By stretching, we do not mean mindlessly rolling around on a ball or roller. During stretching, you should focus on improving your mobility, range of motion, and flexibility.
Different types of stretching techniques:
- Active stretching
These are the benefits of stretching:
- Increases flexibility.
- Improves range of motion.
- Reduces chances of injury during physically intensive tasks.
- Increases blood flow to muscles.
- Helps heal and prevent back pain.
- Improves your posture.
- A stress buster.
- Gets you in tune with your body.
Also, being in tune with and understanding your body plays a vital role in building your dream physique. You need to make sure that you are not overexerting yourself in the gym or at work as it can be counterproductive.
Learn to listen to your body. Stop when an exercise feels uncomfortable or when your body needs rest. But at the same time, do not use it as an excuse to skip workouts or go easy during your training routine. Move when you feel lethargic or your body needs more movement.
8. Train Your Mind
Fitness is as much psychological as it is physiological. By training your mind, we do not mean that you should be solving complex math problems every day. Instead, spend 10 minutes every day meditating, practicing gratitude, and focusing on your breathing.
Whether you meditate traditionally or not, some sort of meditation practice is an essential healthy habit to have in your toolbox. If you are not into meditating, find 10-12 minutes of quiet each day. Go for a walk with no music, sit in quiet and think, do some yoga while focusing on your breath or use a meditation or breath work app to help you with the breathing patterns.
You cannot transform your physique if you are not consistent. You have to be consistent in terms of training, dieting, and recovery to carve your dream body.
Exercise even if you are running late and only have 15 minutes to work out. A short training session is better than nothing. Not skipping a workout and meal can also have psychological benefits and can help keep you motivated.
You should enact structured discipline to make the most of your transformation program. Structured discipline is the method of planning and organizing behaviors based on building long-term, sustainable systems for success in habit-forming. Structured discipline to reinforce healthy habits include:
- Start on the right foot:
- Stock up on healthy foods and keep them within reach.
- Donate food that is not in line with your fitness goals.
- Remove barriers to good behavior:
- Choose a gym schedule that does not interfere with other important stuff.
- Buy comfortable gym shoes and clothes.
- Start with exercises you enjoy doing, like bicep curls.
- Reward yourself for positive behavior that shapes new healthy habits.
- Set a schedule for your workouts and stick to it.
While hot shots of the fitness industry talk about the importance of taking supplements and lifting weights, hardly anyone talks about waking up early.
Waking up early is one of the most important healthy habits, and most successful athletes train first thing in the morning as it is the time when they are beaming with energy.
Also, keep your nutrition, training, and recovery programs simple.
Why is that, you ask?
Because complexity kills consistency.
Remember: Early bird gets the worm – or, in this case, a fit body.
You could gauge the effectiveness of a person’s transformation program based on these nine healthy habits. If an individual cannot lose weight or build muscle mass and their fitness routine lacks two or more of the aforementioned healthy habits, you now know why.
How many of these healthy habits do you follow? Let us know in the comments below.