What do the lives of fit, healthy people look like?
Do they drink a special concoction of green-ness every morning?
Are they genetically gifted? What is the secret sauce?
And most importantly, how do they seem to pull it off day in and day out with the busy demands of life?
Well, I’m here to tell you some good news. There is no secret potion. There is no magical solution to living a fit and healthy life. The truth is that these people have figured out a way to execute a fit, happy, healthy lifestyle within the constraints of a busy, full life.
Here’s the basic reality – It comes down to a few simple habits and a few basic rules. That’s really it.
If you’re thinking something along the lines of “I know that exercise is good for me and eating at home will make me healthier – BUT, how the hell do I find time to work out? Or there’s no way I can spend precious time prepping and cooking healthy meals at home. No f-in way. Plus, I’m drained by the end of the week and beers sound sooo much better than a another glass of water.”
I hear you. Sometimes it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But I will tell you this. Once you learn a few skills, implement a few simple techniques, living a healthy, fit lifestyle doesn’t have to be this daunting, all or nothing task.
I know, for me, that’s what I thought. I had to either live at the gym or count every single calorie. Or I had to eat boring tasteless food and restrict the foods I loved.
At first, there’s no way I thought I could pull it off.
But now I do it effortlessly. And many of the people we work with do the same. We have an awesome group of people right now going though our 30-day Fat Loss program and they are learning exactly how to do just this.
Exercise isn’t a chore or some thing you have to go ‘do’ at the gym for hours and hours. You don’t have to go running or do endless cardio. In fact, short 20-minute workouts can be much more effective. And if you thought cooking at home means spending hours chopping foods and sweating it out in the kitchen, think again. With the right meals planned out and a few basic skills, you can cook up delicious healthy food in less than 15 minutes. Check out our FREE Meal Prep Guide for tons of simple ideas.
So living a fit, healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be this super-restrictive, boring, count-every-calorie complicated existence. NO way. It’s actually quite simple, you just need to follow a few basic guidelines.
4 Simple Strategies to a Healthy & Fit Lifestyle
1) Set Up Your Environment For Success
Ok, so what the heck does that mean? Making positive changes in life is hard. We are hardwired to avoid change.
Who likes change anyway? Maybe a baby with a wet diaper? (I know, I’ve used that a few times now if you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, my bad. I’ll stop. Last one, I promise)
But as an adult, change –> no thanks, I’ll do what I’ve been doing thank you very much.
It’s freakin’ hard. There is no denying that fact. And that very fact is where you must start. Understand that change is hard. Realize that changing habits around your food and workouts wont just happen in a week.
So the idea is to bring this awareness to the change process, and realize how difficult it is. And when you do embark on change journey, it’s crucial to make sure the path is as clear as possible. I mean crystal clear, with as few obstacles in your way.
This 2-minute video –The Elephant and The Rider – does a wonderful job explaining the conflicting push and pull of behavior change in the brain.
From a practical standpoint, what does this look like? Let’s take a look at food and exercise to see how powerful your environment matters.
If you have sweet, tempting junk food out on your counter top, you will eat it. Maybe not right away, but your willpower will eventually wane and you’ll indulge. Now, what happens if you take that junk food and you put it away in the cabinet, away from plain sight. You wont be as tempted, and there’s a good chance you’ll forget about it and eat something healthier that is in plain sight. So this same rule applies to the good stuff, ya know those veggies and fruits you buy – keep those as visible as possible – eye level in the fridge so when you open that fridge up for a little snack, your eyes go right to the veggies and fruit. Clear path.
Here’s an example in my own apartment. I have a small area in my living room with soft mats, foam rollers, and other stretching and mobility tools – balls, straps, yoga blocks, etc. It’s my mini oasis. Julie makes fun of me a lot for rolling around on these mats so frequently.
For me, as a tight guy who has battled lots of injuries, neglected stretching for most of my life, and likes to use my body physically, I know that foam rolling and stretching is good for me. It allows my body to recover better. It allows me to be more flexible and move better. But here’s the reality – I’m not always motivated to stretch and foam roll. Sometimes I feel like chilling out and reading a book or vegging out to a little TV. But the shear fact that my mats and stretching gear stare at me while I’m home means that I stretch and foam roll more often. That’s it.
The same thing happens when I put out my workout clothes out the night before. I see the gear and I’m much more likely to go workout.
There are numerous other examples, but the point is clear. Set yourself up for success by clearing your path. Remove the obstacles and create as little resistance as possible and you have the key to long-term sustainable success.
2) Learn to Move Well
We all know the benefits of regular exercise, but most of us don’t get enough. Or maybe you do exercise regularly, but you get injured often. Or even more likely, you experience nagging pain and therefore can’t do the activities you want to do? It’s reported that 85% of people will experience some kind of back pain in their life. That’s insane. Most of that is completely preventable.
Here’s what you can to avoid that inevitable fate. Learn to move your body well. It’s probably the most important aspect of staying injury free and avoiding pain, but often the most neglected.
What does moving well look like?
Well, we can look to elite dancers, martial artists, and athletes and see some amazing movement.
Misty Copeland, ballerina, is a fluid and beautiful mover.
Or how about these guys – some of the best fighters in the world training with just their bodyweight. Talk about body control, this is really impressive to watch.
But good movement should apply to everyone. You might not ever move like the above guys and girls, but I’d be willing to bet you can definitely improve from where you are right now.
It’s important to start with a few basic movement principles that provide the base for good movement.
A few of those basic principles include:
- Learning to brace your core and remain in a neutral spinal position.
- Having functional butt muscles that are turned on and doing their job.
- Making sure your hips have good range of motion (sufficient mobility).
- Making sure your middle back (thoracic spine) has good range of motion (sufficient mobility).
These basic movement principles are essential to living a healthy, fit lifestyle. Ignored for long enough, bad movement will most likely lead to injury or at the very least, pain.
Investing in a professional to do a full body assessment is one the best fitness investments you will ever make. I know for a lot of people, assessments might not be the sexiest thing out there. It’s feels better to just spend your money on one of these fitness programs like P90-X or Insanity and sweat your way to health.
Let me tell you this because I’ve seen it so many times – that’s one of the easiest ways to get injured. If you’re not moving well and you add intense exercise to that poor movement, you’ll most likely get hurt.
So the main point is to have an experienced trainer take a look at how you move. Find an FMS specialist and ask for FMS – Functional Movement Screen – an objective 7-exercise screen that will show you how you move, what limitations you have, and what you can do to improve your movement. This one investment can save you thousands of dollars down the road in avoided surgeries and more importantly, keep you healthy and fit so that you can do all the activities you love to do (we call that your Active Passion).
As a level 2 FMS specialist myself, I have seen countless examples of people neglecting movement and ending up in really compromised positions, unable to move without pain. Getting out in front and being proactive about how you move is vital to longevity and quality of life as you get older.
Because life’s for living, isn’t it!?
Speaking of living, let’s talk active passion, that’s our next topic.
3) Find Your Active Passion
What if I told you there was a way to never rely on willpower to exercise again?
What if there was a system to make a healthy & fit lifestyle a natural part of who you are?
Believe it or not, there is a way and it’s called Active Passion.
When you find physical activities you love to do, you’ll do it more often. You’ll be more active. It’s that simple.
We feel so strongly about Active Passion that our whole new coaching program is designated to “loving the way you move.”
You can read more posts on active passion here:
4) Measure Something
When it comes to living a fit and healthy lifestyle, it all comes down to habits.
Form good habits, and you’re good to go. Of course this is much easier said than done. The 1st step in forming new healthy habits is awareness of where you are right now. It doesn’t matter what it is, measure something for a number of days in a row. A week is normally enough time to see what is going on. Strip away any judgment, and simply record your intake of whatever it is you’re measuring. It could be a detailed food journal of everything that you put in your mouth or it could be something as simple as recording the number of alcoholic beverages you drink each week. Or maybe something even simplier like how many times you worked out.
Again, it doesn’t really matter what it is, the idea is to track something. Working with an experienced fitness pro, you’ll of course learn to track the right things, but at first, it’s about building the habit of awareness. And a simple way to gain awareness is through tracking. Measure it. And then work to change it. People always want to skip this vital first step and go directly into the change. That will fail in the long-run. Track first. Gain awareness. Then move forward.
There you have it, the four pillars to a healthy, fit lifestyle.
If you want more of this goodness, we’re really excited to announce our brand new private facebook group that we just launched. It’s a small community of kick-ass people who want to learn and grow and become their best, most fit, happiest self. We’ll be in there every day helping you with tips, strategies, workouts, and recipes so that you can pull off that fit, healthy lifestyle in your own busy life. Click below to join. We look forward to having in the group. It’s totally free and are excited to grow and inspire more of you this way.
Let me know if you have any questions. I want to hear about which of the 4 pillars you already embody or which one you’re going to give a shot. We want to hear from you, our email is always open – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look forward to hearing from you soon! Enjoy your day.