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  • Clem Duranseaud

11 healthy habits that keep me fit


10 healthy habits that help me stay fit


I like to keep things simple when it comes to staying fit.


In order to streamline my fitness journey, I've developed the following habits over the years that have helped me consistently reach my goals.


Healthy habits to stay fit:


Healthy habit 1: Never miss two in a row

This 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 occurrence.


Healthy habit 2: 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.


Healthy habit 3: Walking

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.


Healthy habit 4: Priorizing 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 eating a small 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 also 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.


Healthy habit 5: 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.


Healthy habit 6: setting goals


Healthy habit 6: setting goals
My old man at the Wedge mountain Summit

Goals can be anything you want them to be: doing a certain hike, doing a race, lifting a certain amount of weight, going to the gym X amount of times in a month, feeling a certain way...the possibilities are endless.


I've subconsciously set goals for myself in the gym pretty early on. Mainly around the weights that I wanted to lift.


For example I would say "Ok I'm going to lift 200 pounds on the squat in three months". This gave me a purpose for what I was doing in the gym. I would make the best workout plan possible, use specific exercises, eat a certain way, it gave me a very clear idea of what to do.


It's important to have something to achieve, it gives clarity to your training.


When you set yourself a goal you must:

- Be specific, what is it exactly that you want to do. "Being fitter" or "Being stronger" are not specific enough. How do you quantify those?


- Set a timeframe, when is the challenge going to happen. The time frame can be short term (a few weeks), medium term (a few months) or long term (over a year). It's ok to have a long time frame, some of the best athletes in the world set goals years into the future. Olympic athletes set goals for 4 years in the future.


- Be bold. There are no goals too big. With the proper training plan and timeframe, you can bring your body to do incredible stuff.


Further tips on setting challenges:

- Registering for an event always makes it more real. Register for a tour, a meet, a race or anything else will give you an incentive to not waste the money you spent. Humans will go through a lot to avoid loosing money (loss aversion). So having a financial component to it will help you more than you think.


It will also give you an organized event to attend which is nice when doing something challenging. I find it easier to run an organized marathon than to run a half marathon by myself.


- Make it a destination. If you are going to sign up for an event, make it fun! Tie it in with a trip. Bring the family or friends along.


- Do it with a friend or a group of friends. It is always easier to do something with other people than by yourself. You can train together and keep each other accountable. I've had a training partner for over 5 years now. It makes a huge difference.


Healthy habits 7: Asking for help

I feel stuck at times! And I hate that! So I ask for help as fast as possible.


I truly believe that everyone has an area of expertise that I don't.


Asking for help is something I do in and out of my fitness life. If I am stuck with a lifting plateau then I go ask someone more knowledgeable than me about programming or technique. But if I feel stuck on a business decision or life decision, I also ask for help. Be it a friend, a parent or a mentor.


My only rule about asking for help is that I must make a genuine effort to solve my own issue first before asking someone else to help me.


I educate myself on the issue as much as possible, try to see what others have done and gather as much information as possible. If, after doing all of this I am still stuck, then I go for help.


Doing this will do a couple things for you. First you will realize that a lot of the time, you can find the solution yourself. Second, you will gather a lot of information about the subject so that when you go seek out help, you can make more out of the information given to you.


Being shy can sometimes make this process difficult. If you are at them gym, and don't know what to do, you can always ask the person that works there for help. I did this many times at first. You can also ask for help online, watch videos online or use good old Google to answer any questions.


Having an ego also gets in the way of asking for help and this one is more problematic because you might not even think you need help. The gym, and the fitness world as a whole, has to be an ego free space for you to fully reach your potential. Remember that (unless you are a professional athlete) your only competition is yourself. Being able to truly ask yourself how could you be better will help you reach new goals quicker than you think.


Putting ego aside is something I wish I did a lot earlier. Since then I've improved my technique, lifted heavier weights and developed a new approach to working out.


Healthy habits 8: Weekly check ins

This one started when I was doing my body building show. Every week, take 5 minutes to check in with your self and see if this week has brought you closer to your goal or not.


Every week I ask myself: did I lift more weights in the gym? Do I look the same as last week (I'm trying to maintain how I look, no gaining nor loosing weight), do I feel better? Did I run further? Did I slightly increase my training load?


If I answer yes to all questions, then that's perfect! I keep doing the same thing next week.


If I answered no to one or more of the questions, then I take a look at what I could do differently next week. How can I slightly tweak my training so it can be better aligned with my goals? Where could I be smarter with my training?


I only pick one thing to change. If I try to change more than one thing per week I either forget about them or get frustrated because it's too much. If I have more than one thing to change, I'll pick one thing for this following week, another thing for the week after that and so on.


Remember that you're on your fitness journey for a long time, rushing to change things quickly will never lead to anything productive.


Healthy habit 9: Picking healthy foods

The main thing I focus on with food is answer the questions "Can I dig it up, pick it up or hunt it?".


If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then I eat it without any after thoughts. Example: carrots can be dug up from the ground, fruits can be picked up from plants and meat can be hunted.


If the answer to all questions is no, then I consider that food to be cheat meal material. I'll still eat it, but I'm smart about it. I don't have it too often and when I do it's in moderation.


The amount of cheat meals you have every week depends entirely on you. There are no right or wrong answers. I personally go for 1-3 cheat meals a week. The rest of my meals are all the same thing and consist of whole, unprocessed foods.


I regulate the amount of cheat meals with my 4th habit, the weekly check in. If I want to be leaner, I'll go for 1 cheat meal a week. If I want to maintain my looks I'll eat 1-3 cheat meals.


Condiments are a fantastic way to add flavour to your meals. Spices, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, kimchi and so many more are healthy ways to add flavour.


I also make sauces, and the same rule applies: all the ingredients must be whole, unprocessed foods. You can make pesto, humus, salsa, guacamole and more with natural foods.


My go to meal includes vegetables, a healthy carbohydrate like rice, quinoa or sweet potato/yam, a protein source and a healthy fat. I have 4-5 different meals I love and eat mainly the same thing.


Healthy habit 10: Chasing consistency


Healthy habit: Consistency
Garibaldi summit, this took us 2 years of training to do

Another one I wished I started sooner.


Consistency is the most important factor to any training plan. It's always showing up to your workout ready to train smart.


When we start a new endevour, be it working out, a new hobby or a new career, the beginnings are always a bit rough. We need time to learn the required skills. It's during this period that consistency pays off.


Show up even though you may not be 100% prepared. Show up when you're tired or sore or grumpy. Even if what you end up doing is less that you had planned, it's better than not showing up at all.


It's always showing up, no matter what, and doing your best that day.


The other benefit of showing up consistently is the amount of learning you will do. Every time you show up less than 100% ready, there is something to learn. Why were you not 100% ready?


The key here is to be able to answer that question and implement the answer before your next training session.


Since I find that success is a continuous process, I make an big effort to be consistent in all the aspects of my fitness routine.


Healthy habit 11: Keeping an open mind

A few years ago now I developped chronic knee pain. Eventually the pain subsided and I was able to train normally again.


Unfortunately, the more intense I trained, the more the pain would come back. I know that if I wanted to workout like I used to, I had to change something.


Keeping an open mind to different methodolgies, ideas and techniques has helped me a lot. I believe this is also valid outside the gym.


This does not mean that we need to overhaul our whole routine. On the contrary, we want to keep what works for us, and be aware of what we could be doing better.


Once we find a successfull routine, it's easy to fall into the complacency trap. Sure it may work now, but will it work when we become stronger and fitter? Remember that as you get better at anything, you will need a new stimulus to reach the next level.



 

Conclusion

We all have different lifestyles that will influence our habits. Take the time to develop habits that work for you. There are TONS of different things you could do.


The best way to go about it is to commit to a fitness routine long term. Do something that you can do easily for a few months. Then you will start to notice that you will organize your life along with that routine and habits will start to form.


If there is one habit I would urge you to adapt right now it is the consistency. It has impacted my fitness like no other habits.


Happy training,


Clem





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