You know that really fit person that doesn’t even seem to try to stay in shape?
The person who confesses to crave healthy foods and actually looks forward to their daily workout, yet never seems to obsess about every calorie and eats dessert without even feeling guilty?
That person does not just have amazing genes. He or she has built up a set of habits over the years that allows them to stay in shape without having to think about it so much. And those habits can equal the difference between a really fit person—and a couch potato.
Here are 9 things fit and healthy 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, healthy people don’t diet—they make healthy eating a part of their lifestyle.
Ultimately, the key to staying fit and eating healthy is learning to listen to your body.? What keeps you feeling full and energized throughout the day? What makes you feel good? What helps you kick ass during your workouts? 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. Are prepared
Healthy people incorporate exercise into their daily routine; when the alarm goes off at 6am, their running shoes are right next to the bed, ready to go. They don’t need to go searching in the wardrobe or peering under the couch, looking for the last place the shoes were tossed. Because, let’s be honest, no-one can be bothered doing that at the crack of dawn.
3. Sleep well and wake up naturally
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. Sleeping helps the body repair, rebuild and recover. People who are fit fall asleep easier, have more quality sleep and require less sleep than someone who is unfit. Many fit people arise without an alarm clock feeling energized and rested.
Aim for at least 7-8 hours each night, and you’ll be a healthier, fitter and a happier person overall.
4. Exercise in the morning
Morning exercisers are more likely to stick to their program. It also creates a physiological advantage. As the day passes, they have a feeling of accomplishment and pride which is reflected in their food choices, behavior and stress management. Morning exercise is the best way to start your day and ultimately influence many other positive decisions throughout your day.
5. Plan their meals
People who are fit and lean tend to have set eating times, plan their meals around their workouts and know what they are going to eat and when. Initially it takes a little work to figure out healthy meals and snacks, but they do not leave eating to chance. In saying that 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.
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.
If your friends want to go bike riding or organize a game of volleyball for fun are into healthy cooking, or trying new restaurants with local, fresh ingredients you’re most likely going to join in and be more active as a result.
7. 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—some people hate working out at a gym and prefer running outside, or playing a sport. So find something you like—whether it’s running, sports, boot camps or something else entirely—and start looking forward to your workouts, not dreading them.
8. They prioritize their health and fitness
While most people let social engagements, family, work and other priorities get in the way of exercise, really fit people make exercise a priority no matter what.
Yes, this may mean working out on holiday, having to get up 15 minutes earlier when you’d rather be sleeping, 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.
9. 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:
• Get up and move whenever you can. Sitting is bad for you. Move often.
• Take the stairs. Always.
• Walk wherever and whenever possible.
• Choose active vacations. Hiking, kayaking, skiing, swimming, biking… there are so many possibilities!
• Pick active weekend activities like bike rides, hikes, or tennis.
And most of all, believe in yourself. You can do it. Now go get started!