This fantastic article from Kelli Calabrese was posted on the eDiets site! There is a lot of good information and strategies in here for those of us who, lacking the naturally-thin ectomorph body type, actually need to WORK at achieving and maintaining physical fitness.
Which of these 10 things do YOU do? Which could you incorporate into your daily routine to set yourself up for success?
By Kelli Calabrese MS, CSCS
Do you ever wonder what fit people do differently from those with excess fat? If you think they were born with the special gene to release fat, and you were born with unfavorable ones which promote the storage of fat, think again.
While genetics does play some role in where fat you store fat, recent studies show you have the ability to overcome genes and express the positive side of a gene. At any given time, a fat cell can swell or shrink, depending more on your lifestyle (eating and physical activity) than your genes.
Since the gene theory no longer holds the weight it was once thought to, where do the differences in attaining a fit body begin?
If you had the chance to spend 24 hours with a fit person, you would observe several key things that they do differently than the average sedentary one. Read on to understand — and ultimately incorporate — decisions fit people make regarding exercise, eating and recovery in order to live in a lean, healthy, strong and fit body.
1. Sleep well and wake up naturally. Many fit people arise without an alarm clock feeling energized, rested and hungry. They have set fitness goals and a plan to achieve them. People who are fit fall asleep easier, have more quality sleep and require less sleep than someone who is unfit. Lack of sleep is strongly associated with obesity. Sleeping helps the body repair, rebuild and recover.
2. Get prepared. Fit people pack their gym bags the night before, have clothes laid out for exercise, toiletries packed for a shower, clothes for work and an appointment in their planner for physical activity. They regard their workout appointments as highly as any other business or social commitment.
3. Exercise in the morning. Morning exercisers have the highest compliance rates and are more likely to stick to their program. As the day passes, they have a feeling of accomplishment and pride which is reflected in their food choices, behavior and stress management. Morning exercise is the best way to start your day and ultimately influence many other positive decisions throughout your day.
4. Plan meals. People who are fit and lean have set eating times, plan their meals around their workouts and know what they are going to eat and when. Initially it takes a little work to figure out healthy meals and snacks, but they do not leave eating to chance. Finding yourself headed to the buffet or driving through for fast food in a famished state is a formula for disaster.
5. Rebound from setbacks Fit people do not let one missed workout turn into two or three. They get right back to their next workout and use the added rest to work even harder. They also don’t let one slice of pizza or cake derail their efforts. They move on to the next healthy meal knowing they exercise, sleep and eat well so they can have the occasional indulgence or missed workout without it effecting them negatively.
6. Make lasting lifestyle and behavioral changes. Fit people have become fit over time, not over night. They empower themselves with information about fitness and eating, and adopt one new habit at a time until it’s no longer something they work on, but instead something that is part of their daily routine.
7. Separate the psychology of success from self-help snake oil. People who are fit do not fall prey to the quick magical “solutions” to health and wellness. They know living longer, stronger, leaner years is a lifelong process, and they reap the benefits daily. They know if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
8. Lose weight and keep it off. Fit people know dieting alone is not enough to achieve long-term fat loss. Exercise plays a large part in keeping pounds off. With regular exercise, they are likely to keep the weight off for life.
9. Use positive self talk. People who are fit use positive self-talk. They don’t beat themselves up with negative sayings such as “I am fat” or “I am lazy”. Instead, they say “I am strong,” “I am powerful,” “I nourish my body” and “I am thankful to be moving my body.”
10. Set and accomplish goals. Fit people have a realistic goal in mind when they train. For some, it’s being a certain size or having a particular waste measurement. For others, it’s competing in an event or fund raiser that is near to their heart, like walking for breast cancer or cycling for leukemia. When one goal is accomplished, another is set and there is a deliberate plan to achieve the result.
If you want to live in a lean, fit, strong, unstoppable body, you should choose one of the 10 components listed above and decide to tackle it. Once you have tackled one, move on to the next. Over time, the more of these habits you incorporate, the more living in a fit body will become an everyday reality, and you’ll love the reflection that stares back at you in the mirror.
Kelli Calabrese, MS, CSCS, 2004 Personal Trainer of the Year. Kelli is a 20-year fitness professional and the author of Feminine Firm & Fit, Building a Lean Strong Body in 12 Weeks. She is the editor of Personal Fitness Professional Magazine and on the board of advisors for Get America Fit Foundation. Kelli is a boot camp instructor, online trainer and is available for phone coaching.