“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act, but a habit”- Aristotle
What separates people who are in great shape year-round from the people that struggle with their fitness? I’ve tried to chunk it down into 7 habits.
They stay consistent
I know, that’s the boring one that nobody wants to hear about but it’s one of the biggest factors. Consistency is what separates people who get in great shape and maintain it from those who go through random periods of exercise and long breaks without any.
What is being consistent? I would say training consistently 2-3 times per week with no longer than 2-3 weeks without any activity. I know that might seem hard to maintain for a lot of people, but that’s why most people aren’t in the shape they would like to be.
It is good, however, and necessary to take a rest every now and then. If you’ve been exercising consistently for a period of time, taking a week off isn’t going to set you back at all. In fact, the more consistent you are, the more you can get away with taking breaks from exercise.
They maintain a good diet most of the time
Notice I said, “most” of the time. It’s not possible to be perfect all the time. The people that are in shape have a healthy balance. They are good at their nutrition 80-90% of the time and the rest of the time they enjoy some treats without beating themselves up.
Spend 80-90% of the time eating whole foods, lots of fruit and vegetables and sufficient protein. Don’t have one cheat day where you go on a massive food binge. This creates an unhealthy relationship with food.
They have a good relationship with food
Fit individuals know that one bad meal doesn’t make you fat, the same as one healthy meal doesn’t make you healthy. They don’t starve themselves to punish themselves for being ”bad”. Having a healthy relationship with food is definitely an important factor for staying in shape.
They get enough sleep
They know how important sleep is for getting in shape. So, they establish a good sleep routine which gives them at least 6-8 hours each night. If you struggle with sleep here is a good resource.
They have a positive mindset
Having a positive focused mindset is a crucial aspect of fitness. If you want to get in shape but you see yourself as someone who will always be overweight, you will unconsciously sabotage yourself.
In Carol Dweck’s book, she explains there are two different frames of mind. One is a fixed mindset and the other is a growth mindset.
Someone with a fixed mindset thinks that their potential is pre-determined and doesn’t change, whereas a person with a growth mindset believes that they can continually develop and grow over time.
One of the first steps with mindset is awareness. Awareness of your thoughts and how they affect you.
They write stuff down
Start to take note of your thoughts and jot them down. You will start to notice a pattern. A lot of times we have thoughts that don’t serve us and are negative. Your thoughts lead to your feelings which lead to your actions and ultimately results.
Write down 3 things that went well at the end of the day. It might be something small like drinking your 2 litres of water. It may be that you got your workout in.
This gives you positive feedback that you are making progress and you are focusing on what went well, not beating yourself up over something small.
They have accountability
They have a coach or partner/friend that holds them accountable. It’s not easy to continually motivate yourself to work out when you don’t feel like it. This is where accountability comes in. Doing that workout regardless of how you feel and limiting the voice in your head telling you to go home and lay on the couch instead.
Nigel is a personal trainer based in Ballsbridge, Dublin, who helps busy professionals get in shape. He also does online coaching, You can get in touch with him through the website or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org