I like to keep things simple when it comes to staying fit. I don't like constantly thinking about what I need to do, when I need to go to the gym or what I am going to eat. I've developed the following habits over the years and they have helped me stay on track consistently.
Never missing two in a row
This mainly refers to workouts but can also be applied to grocery shopping and meal prepping. This is a very simple trick: don't miss two workouts in a row, or two grocery shopping days in a row.
Sometime life gets in the way I don't make it to the gym. No big deal. To be honest I would like to believe my life is exciting enough that my routine gets disturbed a little bit from time to time.
To stay on track however, I make sure that I never miss two workouts in a row. That might mean going to the gym on a day I wasn't supposed to, or doing a shorter workout, or doing a different workout entirely. But my rule is, never miss twice.
Missing a workout once is ok, missing two in a row is the start of a bad behaviour that I don't want to develop.
The same can be said with groceries and meal prepping. I usually do them on Sundays, but often find myself away on weekends. When that happens, I try to see what I could do the following weekend to make sure I do get my groceries in. If I know I'll be away that weekend, I'll try to grocery shop on Friday or make more time on that Monday to do it.
Once again, the main goal is to keep a good habit going and not let a missed event become a regular occurence.
Tracking my workouts
Once you start working out regularly, it's important to know whether or not you are making progress. The easiest thing to track is what you do at the gym, write down the numbers of reps, sets and weights that you use so you can see how you are doing over time.
If you prefer going to group classes, try to have a general idea of which weights you are using. If you go to spin classes try to see if you can track you heart rate, calories or something else that a watch could track.
The purpose of tracking our fitness is to make sure that we are progressing towards our goals.
Tracking your workouts is also a great way to remind yourself that you are progressing. Fitness progress is usually a lot slower than we would like. I don't know about you, but I can barely remember what I did in my workouts last week, let alone last month. Having a simple workout log is an easy way to reference what we did days, weeks and months ago to see how far we've come (or how long we've stagnated...)
When we see that we haven't progressed over a few months, it's a good reminder to change up our routines. But if you live in blissful ignorance of wether or not you are progressing or stagnating, you may never realize you have to change things up.
Probably one of the most underrated thing you can do to be fitter. Walking isn't just about burning a few extra calories and helping digestion. It's also a time for you, to be with yourself and clear your mind.
I don't think as walking as a mean to burn more calories, rather as a way of to get around. If I can walk instead of taking the car, I'll do it. It might take more time out of my day, but I started asking myself if I wanted more time or more health, and the answer was easy.
I'm sure you've heard of the 10,000 steps a day guideline. I personally do not follow that guideline but try to get at least 30 minutes of walking each day. I find that a timed guideline versus a number guideline worked better for me.
Spending time on your feet during the day is important for your health, and if you aren't actively monitoring how much you walk during the day, I would recommend that you do.
Prioritizing my sleep
Prioritizing sleep means that you are serious when it comes to preparing your body for bed. There are many, many factors that influence your sleep quality and it would be foolish of me to tell you that there are things you MUST do. At the end of the day, if you have a night time routine that works for you, and you find that you have excellent sleep, then you don't need to change anything.
I struggled with getting quality sleep for a long time and the biggest change I made was altering my professional schedule so I actually had enough time to unwind after work and had enough time to sleep in the morning.
The other big thing that helps me sleep better is not eating a large meal before going to bed. Very often I use to come home late at night exhausted and hungry. I would eat a full meal to be satiated, but then I would go to sleep and even though I was exhausted, I couldn't fall asleep!
It's not that your body can't digest and sleep at the same time, it's more that if you eat a big meal, you might just feel too full or have stomach aches that prevent an easy sleep. Lying down also slows down digestion because gravity can't help push the food down like when you are standing up so that may also lead to sleep disturbance.
I still eat before bed now, just not a full meal. A healthy snack before bed does not seem to affect me.
I've developed a pre bed routine that helps me get mentally ready for bed. It involves cleaning the kitchen, taking a shower, brushing my teeth and then reading in bed for a bit.
Drinking enough water
Another low hanging fruit that most people don't bother to pick (including myself). Drinking enough water helps our body function better. What is the recommended amount? Since it will change with the seasons and your activity levels, the easy bench mark is the colour of your urine. If it's clear you're good, if it's yellow drink more. Don't need to overcomplicated that one.
I've got into the habit of filling up a one gallon water bottle in the morning and trying to finish it by the time I go to bed. I'll try to have at least half of it done by noon. Having one big bottle, that I only refill once a day works a lot better for me than have to refill the same water bottle 2-3 times over the day.
These are habits that have had to best results for me. I've been doing all of the for at least 5 years, except the sleep one which is relatively new (1 year ish).
You will also find habits that are useful to you, and they will most likely be different than mine.
You can book a free assessment with me if you want to find out which habits you can start working on.