4 Tips to Make Good Health a Habit
In my humble opinion there has been a paradigm shift in the fitness sector in the last 15+ years. Growing up (I’m 40, just to give some perspective) it felt like the majority of people who didn’t exercise thought of the gym crowd in one of two ways: One, they were athletes who were working out for performance. Or two, those who weren’t athletes were vain meatheads who just wanted to watch their muscles bulge in a mirror while they performed basic bodybuilding movements. Now, of course there are plenty of people out there who fit into either of those categories and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s also a third category that has gained a lot of momentum in the past two decades: The average person who works out for functionality, longevity and mental/physical balance. More and more people are realizing that getting some sort of structured movement on a regular basis is key to living your best life. The energy, confidence and balance it brings to your life will only benefit other aspects outside of the gym such as work, social and love lives. I think it’s great that so many people have been turned on to the power of fitness but I also understand that it’s hard to start and even harder to stay consistent. With that in mind, here are 4 things that I would like everyone to know about health and fitness.
You need to make an effort to prioritize your health
“I just don’t have time.”
“I’m not athletic and I’ve never worked out before.”
“I would have to get up early to workout before work.”
These are just a few excuses that I’ve heard from people as to why they can’t or won’t workout. Not having time is the most common and just to be blunt, that’s BS. There are very few people out there who don’t have at least a little time to devote to their health. I hate to break it to you but making your health a priority takes time, effort, discipline, and sacrifice, and that last one is big. For most it’s necessary to sacrifice at least a little to make time for the gym or Peleton or whatever. That may mean giving up some TV time or even some socializing. Now look, I’m not telling you to give up your social life all together or your R & R time. But the simple fact is this: your health is your richest currency. Everything else in your life falls into place after that, and it’s going to take some work on your end to make that happen. There is no quick or easy way to go about it, and anyone that tells you different is lying. These days we know what the fountain of youth is: Working out, healthy eating, hydration, quality sleep and stress management. The commonality between all those things is effort. It’s like the old saying goes, ‘I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.’ It’s up to you to decide that your health matters and then do something about it. You need to make an effort to prioritize your health!
Something is better than nothing
“I’ve joined class-style gyms and didn’t really like it”
“I downloaded this fitness app but it got so boring”
You’re overthinking it. Or rather, you’re being oversold. There are so many workout programs and different types of gyms that it’s hard to find what works best for you. I’m not here to break down all the different options, I just want you to know that something is better than nothing. Media, specifically social media, has brainwashed people into believing they have to go all in or else it’s not worth it. And yes, to be completely honest working out 5 days a week with an efficient strength and conditioning program is the best way to get into optimal health. But having said that, I know there are many people out there that aren’t able to commit to that style of programming for one reason or another. I’m not trying to convince you otherwise, because that is a futile endeavor. I just want you to know that something is better than nothing. If you can only workout 2 days a week, that’s fine! Just stay consistent, and find what works for you. That may be Yoga or the Peleton or even just going for walks. The objective is movement no matter what form that comes in. Just keep in mind that not all movement is created equal. If you are walking multiple times a week that’s great, but you can’t expect to build muscle if that’s your only form of exercise. There has to be a realistic expectation attached to the type of exercise you are practicing. But once again….something is better than nothing!
Good health is a lifelong journey, not a quick fix
“My only goal is losing weight”
“I started working out because I want abs like Ryan Reynolds”
There is nothing wrong with setting goals like the ones above. But problems start to develop if those are your ONLY goals. These are what I call short term/vanity goals. They have a short shelf life and aren’t built for longevity. If this type of goal is all you have then what happens when you achieve them, or more likely, what happens when you don’t achieve them within the timeline you had set or at all? More often than not it spells the end of your fitness journey. But alas(!), there is a simple fix to this problem. You must have a bigger, more general goal of exercising for overall health. Giving yourself credit for putting in the work on a regular basis, and realizing every time you put in a session you’re healthier than you were the day before is a great way to help yourself stay motivated even when you encounter challenges to your smaller goals. A very common misconception, exacerbated by social media and fit-fluencing, is that one person can achieve the same results as another if they mimic their actions. More times than not this is a recipe for failure for many reasons, first and foremost, genetics. Everyone is different whether it be body type, metabolism, hormone production or ability/athleticism. So instead of setting your sights on someone else's body shape, make sure your goal is based around you. You can’t have another person’s body, but you can become a better, healthier version of yourself. This will help you to stay motivated in the long term. Because remember, your health is a lifelong journey, not a quick fix.
Everyone is different specifically with fitness and eating patterns
As I mentioned above, everyone is genetically different. Because of this, the world is filled with different body types, metabolism, and ability. It also leads to differences in ideal eating habits. There are some that are more fat adapted, meaning they can process dietary fat better. Or there are others that are more carb adapted so their body is able to process carb more easily. Diet is really a trial and error process that involves breaking down your macro intake (protein, carb, fat) for a few weeks at a time to see how you react in terms of your weight fluctuation and energy levels. Also, try cutting out certain food groups to see how your body reacts. You may never know how good it feels to cut out dairy until you try. But make sure to keep in mind that what works for you may not work for a friend or family member. Everyone is going to have different ideal eating habits.
Fitness is no different. Everyone is a different athlete. There are some who are fast twitch athletes, so they will excel at short, powerful events and movements such as sprints or max-out lifts. Then there are others who are slow twitch athletes who will be better at endurance events, both strength and conditioning. And of course there are other factors and traits that separate athletes, but no matter who you are, the point I’m trying to get at is to keep the focus on yourself. Don’t compare yourself to the person next to you. It’s never a bad thing to work on your weaknesses, but you mustn’t set the bar with someone else’s ability. If you’ve never been a good endurance athlete, does that mean you can’t get better at it? Absolutely not, but you should understand that you may never become elite or even good at it. And guess what? That’s ok! For example, I’m not a good fast-twitch athlete. I’ve never been good at sprints or max-out lifts. I would love to be able to squat 500lb, but I know that is not going to happen, unless I devote all my time to just that one goal, which even then, there’s a good chance it would not be an achievable goal. That doesn’t stop me from back squatting though. It just keeps my expectations in perspective because I know that everyone is different specifically with fitness and eating patterns!
Above all, find the program that is Fit 4 You!