Since I’ve transitioned my corporate career to my new calling now in health and fitness, I’ve been invited several times by different companies to share some tips on how to stay fit.
Oftentimes they expect me to share exercise routines and diets but I always tend to veer away from that and start them off with my favourite tips. At this point, I have probably tried most workouts out there and I’ve also been guilty on jumping on every diet trend out there but time and time and again, I find that these 9 mindset shifts are what keeps me on track with my goals.
Today, I’m sharing with you my 9 Tips for Staying Fit for Life. Enjoy and let me know what you guys think!
TIP NO. 1: Change your definition of fitness
I used to think that fitness is only about what you can see on the outside. I was once obsessed to with getting “thin” and the cuts that came with having a lean body. At an early age, I constantly felt the pressure to maintain a certain weight and as I got older, that’s when I realised that that pressure and obsession led me to some unsustainable health and fitness decisions.
If you’ve been wanting to jumpstart your fitness journey, I suggest that you start looking at it more holistically. Health and fitness encompasses not just your physical health, but also your mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health. I find that all these aspects are so closely interconnected and if you forget to nurture a part, the other parts tend to slowly flail too.
TIP NO. 2: Say goodbye to dieting
I’ve tried it all – you name it, I’ve probably given it a shot at one point. But what I realised is that when you deprive yourself, your appetite just comes back with a vengeance and you will end up making poor, impulsive choices. I’m a big Yo-Yo in the past because of the vicious cycle diets have put me in and so a few years back, I decided to quit diets forever.
I’m a believer that nutrition is 70% of the battle and it is a key thing to focus on when you want to make a big dent on your fitness. However, I think most of the time, we have been so programmed to think that this equates to calorie deprivation. Now, I believe the healthier way to go about this is to choose quality calories instead.
For example, if your daily diet consists of burgers and fries – that packs a LOT of calories, and pretty empty ones at that. But, if you actively make better food choices and shift your daily diet to greens and more fresh stuff, you don’t necessarily have to cut your portions (you will probably end up eating more) but you’ll end up more nourished and your body starts functioning better.
I’ve recently gone vegetarian (for 2mos. now, hooray! Read more about this here) and the results on me have been amazing. Now I’m not saying go plant-based but I guess the important thing is to find the diet the suits your lifestyle, shift your definition of a diet from deprivation to nourishment, and stay committed.
Oh, and drink lots and lots of water. I mean it! Sometimes because we are dehydrated, our body’s thirst mechanism gets confused and usually we start mistaking thirst for hunger. And so we overeat and that’s an easy way for us to either choose low quality calories or go over our real caloric needs daily.
TIP NO. 3: Prioritise your health
There’s a lot of articles now circulating online (one from famous TESLA founder like Elon Musk) that say in life, there are 5 key things you can focus on: Family, Friends, Career, Health, Sleep; However, they say the reality is that you can only pick 3 to excel in. I’ve given this some thought and it made sense to me. And so that brings me to my next point – choose to include health in your top 3.
If you let your health down, it will be hard to excel in all other things. Luckily for me, health and career intersect at some point. But I can understand that for most you guys, this will be a tough choice to prioritise given that your life demands something different. My suggestion is to take life parts at a time, it is a cycle after all. You can cycle through your priorities and when you make the effort in making health a lifestyle, then perhaps in the long run you will not need to spend so much energy chasing it.
If you’re feeling like the task ahead is going to be intense, remember – consistency beats intensity. Choosing to become more active for a few minutes daily beats hardcore workouts done only 1x-2x a week. I’ve repeated read that it takes about 30 days to build a new habit so, yup, your consistent efforts daily add up to the fit and healthy lifestyle that you want.
TIP NO. 4: Get enough sleep
We live in an era where being busy has been glorified and hustling hard is the new norm. I’m guilty of this too and whenever I catch myself in a flurry, I consciously make the effort to tell myself to slow down.
Sleep is the best way to recalibrate and reset the body and I believe we should all get enough sleep for us to all function better and to stay happier. The body repairs itself during sleep and just like a well-oiled machine, when the body is at a fresh state, our metabolism is better and our mood is better. 7-8 hours of sleep a day should be good and if you’re having trouble sleeping, cut down of drinking caffeine after 12nn and make sure you stop using your electronic devices an hour or two before you plan to sleep (I know this is hard BUT the blue light emitted by these devices stimulate brain function making it hard to shut our thoughts and body down).
Sleep in when you need to. No guilt there guys!
TIP NO. 5: Exercise early
Who has the time to exercise right? We’ll we all do! We just have to decide to make time instead of wait for “free” time to happen. I always tell everybody that the best way to squeeze in exercise is to do it first thing in the morning.
When you plan to workout early in the morning, the only excuse you have to overcome is that you’re sleepy. That’s it! After a few days of waking up early, I promise you that you won’t even think about the time.
Working out during other times in the day open up a whole new slew of excuses like: “I’m tired”, “I have to be somewhere”, “I still have to finish something”, “Its traffic”, “The weather is not good”. The reasons NOT to workout just piles up. Think about it. 🙂
I say, if you have to sleep in your training gear so that all you need to do in the morning is lace up your sports shoes, I say do it.
TIP NO. 6: Fix your form before going for intensity
Our daily activities create movement habits and postural anomalies which accumulate over time. This means that, since it took time to build these, it will naturally also take some time to correct these. Most of the time, I see a lot of people, though all in good intent, start right away with intense training routines but they tend to forget the importance of good form. I’m very worried about this because over time, this can lead to serious injuries and that will definitely dampen anybody’s journey towards health and fitness.
As a coach, my philosophy is all about building better basics and so one key thing I’d like to advise everybody is this – never sacrifice your longterm physical health for a short term goal. Fitness is a lifestyle, meaning its something you build on day after day after day. Invest in a coach that can help bring awareness to your “bad” habits and that can help you learn the proper way to do exercises. Build better body awareness using simple exercises first. Then be patient and soon enough you’ll be seeing yourself break new boundaries without the fear of injuring yourself. You’ll be stronger, for longer.
TIP NO. 7: Find a workout you love
This one is pretty straightforward. You WILL NOT stick to something you do not enjoy and love. Different strokes for different folks first. But I’m a firm believer that if you do something that doesn’t feel like a workout, you’ll find it pretty easy to stick to it and eventually excel in it too.
If you haven’t quite found that workout for you, keep searching. Try and try until you find yourself in that AHA moment where it feels like you just fell in love. 🙂
TIP NO. 8: Always think of the bigger picture
Becoming fit and healthy is not a short term thing. I can’t say it enough. If you want to be fit for life, then you have to think of health and fitness as a lifestyle. Your daily choices add up and if you keep making small lapses, the future goal gets farther and farther away.
TIP NO. 9: Surround yourself with motivators
Nothing makes the journey easier than people than people that cheer you on. Positive energy attracts positive energy and if you surround yourself with people that believe in you and support your decisions, you will surely find it easier to stay on the path. Find people who inspire you, challenge you, motivate you to be better. If they are not in your immediate circle, expand your network. Soon enough you’ll find your own tribe. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed that! If you love it, hope you can share it! 🙂