I’ve seen quite a few blog posts on how to stay fit or how people who are fit stay in shape. A lot of them promise much, but deliver little. This can be pretty frustrating, especially when we’re always looking for new ways to better ourselves and our lifestyle.
So after being around quite a few in shape and healthy people, I thought I’d give you the habits I noticed fit people had to staying fit. Whether you want to call them hacks or simple advice, here is what I’ve observed and have been taught.
HABIT 1: WATER INTAKE
This is one of the easiest ways to help you lose weight. It’s a given that we should drink water, but how much when we’re trying to be healthy and lose weight? Well it all depends on your gender.
If you’re a man, your water intake for each day should be 3 quarts (or 12 cups). For women, it’ll be slightly less with a water intake of 2 quarts (8 cups).
When I first started this habit, I found it hard to keep track of it or keep motivated to finish my water intake for the day. So the advice I got from fit friends? Have a drink container with measurements on the outside (doesn’t have to be expensive), fill it up, keep it out where you can see it, and drink from it throughout the course of the day. It’s a great way to see your progress and know your exact intake.
Quick Tip: A great way to start your day off right and burn calories right away? Make the first thing you drink a couple cup of water instead of coffee. It hydrates you, burns more calories, and flushes out the toxins out of your body.
HABIT 2: SLEEP BURNS CALORIES
The quick and simple reason for this? While you sleep, your body performs certain functions that require calories/energy, such as repairing cells, digestion, or even regulating your body temperature.
For every pound, you burn around 0.5 calories each hour. So to make it simple, if you weigh around 100 (that’s a nice round number), you’ll end up burning between 40 to 50 calories. So this could add up to 360 calories if you sleep for a full eight hours. Now if you weigh more, the more you’ll lose.
Now you may be thinking one of two things.
- “If I sleep longer than eight hours, I’ll burn more calories.” Sadly, this is not the case. If you sleep more than nine hours, you can end up gaining pounds.
- “This is great and all, but I have a hard time getting sleep.” Turns out, one of the reasons why people may have sleep apnea is because our bodies aren’t necessarily meant to sleep all at once. What I mean is, our internal clocks can be set to have two different sleep times, hence why many of us feel tired during the day. So if this is the case for you, take a power nap when the sun is up and let those calories burn away.
HABIT 3: CALORIE QUICK FACTS
So when I asked for advice or when I was given advice from health conscious/fit people, I learned quite a few things about calories and calorie intake. I knew the obvious; you shouldn’t eat fast food every night and you should probably cut out certain things from your diet. What I didn’t know were 4 things:
- A lot of people will tell you that you should eat a small amount of calories per day. And sometimes they’ll tell you about the Japanese diet and how they have a healthy diet with little caloric intake. What they don’t tell you is this: while our western diets may give us certain cancers later in life (because a lot of the processed foods we’re eating are feeding the cancer cells within us), the one cancer that the Japanese have that you’ll hardly see here is stomach cancer. This is because of their small caloric intake. So the end tip you can take from this: have the right amount of calories for your body type, and educate yourself on the right calories you should be taking in (what you should and shouldn’t be eating).
- So this ends up begging the question of how many calories you should be taking in. Well here is the next fact I learned. Your calorie intake depends on your gender, weight, height, age, and how active you are. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there on the web on on apps that will give you a direct amount of calories based on how fast you want to lose weight. I’ve used MyFitnessPal (not sponsored) to help me with this; they’re great with giving me a healthy number for my goals.
- Not all calories are created equal. You may think you’re doing yourself a favor and buying a pack of granola bars because they claim to be a healthy option for a snack. And while they might not be as bad as soda or chips, many of them still have processed ingredients that will prevent or make it hard for you to lose weight. End tip here: check the back for ingredients. If they’re seeing a lot of names that you don’t know, good chance is, they’re not a healthy option.
- Now here is the end habit that I’ve learned from fit people. Many of them have a splurge day. This means you don’t have to cut out everything that you like. So yes, sugar isn’t great for you and neither are certain carbs, but if you pick a certain day of the week to have a specific meal or snack, then it’s not going to kill you. And if this isn’t something you’re up for, eat things in moderation. So it’s ok to sometimes have those fries, just don’t make it a large and don’t have it everyday.
HABIT 4: KNOW WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
The next thing I learned from fit people was that a lot of the time, the reason why some have trouble creating a healthy habit of being active is because they haven’t found what’s right for them. So they’ll go to the gym one day, go crazy on the treadmill and a few exercise classes, tire themselves out, get discouraged, and quit.
Each person is not created equal. So while some get a high off of working out hardcore for three hours, another person might do well with exercise spurts. So let’s say you want to get rid of a protruding stomach. You can do a set of fifty to a hundred sets of sit ups, and each twenty vary it up. So in other words, every twenty sets, do a different type of sit up such as bicycle crunches or knee to elbow crunches.
Don’t exercise everyday either! Sounds counter intuitive, but if you exercise the same muscles that burn the next morning, you’re not helping yourself. The reason why muscles burn is because they’re torn from exercise, and once they heal, you’ve built up muscle which burns fat. So allow yourself a break from working on your abs or legs and do something else or something more passive such as an easy walk.
If you want to start off small, then do small things throughout the day. So instead of the elevator, take the stairs. If the store isn’t far away, it’s good weather, and you’re getting just a few things, walk there. Cleaning the house can even be made more active as well. Do exaggerated movements when vacuuming or straightening rooms.
Still too boring? Watch Netflix while you exercise or ride your bike if that’s something you enjoy a lot. Find a way for it to work for you so the habit can be created.
HABIT 5: GOALS
Make them realistic. Don’t try to lose ten pounds in one week. You’ll burn yourself out, become discouraged, and give up. Know your limits and set something that’s realistic.
Or set the goal low. Give yourself a week to lose two pounds. If by the end of the week you’ve lost four, it’ll motivate and encourage you to go on and continue in your healthy habits.
Lastly, you can make the goal fun. Lost five pounds in a week? Great! Go out for a drink with friends and have fun.
HABIT 6: HAVE THE RIGHT MINDSET
So yes, you want to look great, but one hack you can do to motivate yourself is getting into the habit of thinking about how you feel.
It gets you beyond the superficial side of looking great and helps you focus on your future rewards such as a longer life or mobility to do more things. Because when you put your whole focus on how you look, you won’t always succeed. We’ll see others that look better than us and it’ll discourage us from even attempting to push ourselves or continue.
Sure not everyone is like this, many run off the motivation of their end result on their appearance. However this isn’t always the case, which is why you need to focus on present ways you’re physically feeling and ways you’ll benefit from later on in the future.