What really fit people do to stay in shape?
The person who confesses to actually crave vegetables and looks forward to her daily workout, yet never seems to obsess about every calorie and eats dessert without even feeling guilty?
That person doesn’t just have really good genes. Whether knowing it or not, she has built up a set of habits over the years that allows her to stay in shape without putting in a lot of effort. And those habits can equal the difference between a really fit person—and a couch potato.
Here are 7 things really fit people do to stay in shape:
1. They don’t diet.
Have you ever known someone in really great shape who was constantly trying out every new fad diet?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Because for the most part, fit people don’t diet—they make healthy eating a part of their lifestyle.
While I recommend sticking to an 80/20 nutrition plan, ultimately, the key to staying fit and eating healthy is learning to listen to your body. What makes you feel good? What keeps you feeling full and energized throughout the day? What helps you kick ass during your workouts? What keeps you feeling and looking fit?
If you learn to answer these questions for yourself, you’ll soon be on the road to embracing healthy eating as a lifestyle, not following every new diet that comes along.
2. They find a way to enjoy exercise.
If you’re one of those people who absolutely dreads every minute of your approaching treadmill workout, and hate it even more once you’re there, it’s time to find a different approach to exercise.
Because more often than not, fit people find a way to actually enjoy—and even look forward to—their workouts.
And while that may not always mean they’re excited to lace up their sneakers and go for a run on a rainy day, it does mean that they like the feeling of being fit and value that more than their desire to sit on the couch.
If you really hate to exercise, the problem may be with your workout, not you. Everyone enjoys different things—I used to hate working out when running was all I did, but ever since I discovered HIIT, I can hardly go a day without working out.
So find something you like—whether it’s HIIT, sports, boot camps, CrossFit, or something else entirely—and start looking forward to your workouts, not dreading them.
3. They prioritize their health and fitness.
While most people let work, family, social engagements and other priorities get in the way of exercise, really fit people make exercise a priority no matter what.
Yes, this may mean having to get up 15 minutes earlier when you’d rather be sleeping, working out on vacation, or fitting in a workout even when your life seems busier than you can handle. But once you build up the habit, it actually becomes harder to not exercise because you become so used to prioritizing it in your life.
“People who are fit are the same as anyone else. The only difference is their level of commitment.” – Boxing champion Laila Ali
4. They don’t eat perfect 100% of the time.
Sure, there’s that rare person with 5% body fat that refuses even a single bite of chocolate and seems to be ok with it. But most of us need to cheat a little in order to keep our sanity.
Giving yourself a cheat meal or day every once in a while ensures you don’t feel bitter about your healthy diet and go crazy and binge on all the things you’re missing out on.
So don’t feel guilty if you enjoy a cookie, some dark chocolate or your favorite treat once in a while—just don’t let it become too frequent of a habit or you’ll end up losing all that hard work you put in during your workouts.
5. They get a lot of sleep.
If you still think being fit is only about how often you work out, you need to think again. Because one of the top things fit people do to stay healthy and fit isn’t exercise based at all—it’s sleep.
Not only does sleep give you the energy you need to work out on a regular basis, it also helps regulate your metabolism, repair your muscles, boost your athletic performance and more.
Aim for at least 7-8 hours each night, and you’ll be a healthier, fitter and a happier person overall.
6. They hang around other fit people.
You know that saying, “you are what you eat?” Well, you are who you eat with (and socialize with) as well.
Think about it: if all your friends are constantly getting fast food and donuts for dessert, and always choosing sedentary activities like going to movies or sitting around for hours, what do you think you’re going to do? Probably eat junk and sit around all day too.
On the other hand, if your friends are into healthy cooking, or trying new restaurants with local, fresh ingredients, and want to go bike riding or organize a pick up game of soccer for fun, you’re most likely going to join in and be more active as a result.
This may be difficult at first if you have old friends with unhealthy habits, but you can try and encourage them to be healthy too with small adjustments to your usual activities—and you can always try and meet some new more active, healthy friends as well.
7. They stay active outside of the gym
While fit people always make it a priority to get in planned exercise on a regular basis, they don’t limit exercise solely to the gym (or home gym)—they do all they can do stay active outside of their workouts as well.
So how can you start incorporating this into your own life? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Walk wherever and whenever possible.
- Pick active weekend activities like bike rides, hikes, or tennis.
- Take the stairs. Always.
- Choose active vacations. Hiking, kayaking, skiing, swimming, biking… there are so many possibilities!
- Get up and move whenever you can. Sitting is bad for you. Move often.
And most of all, believe in yourself. You can do it. Now go get started.