Fitness, health, and happiness— it’s a winning combination for a full, rich life. However, the direction we go comes at the expense of our daily choices— the ones that impact our behaviors, moods, and even our appearance over time. Before I was writing about this stuff and helping others reach their personal fitness goals, I was on my own journey. The journey was rough though, mainly because I had to do the research myself and seek out fitness professionals to get the information I wanted. I made many mistakes. For some, exercise seems cumbersome, boring, and even expensive. I was one of those people.
I finally broke through, and once I figured out that my health and fitness should complement my life as opposed to ruling it, everything fell into place. Once I shifted my focus to the long-term as opposed to the short, everything became easier. Neither our diets, nor our training schedules are ever perfect.
If you can relate, I want to share some tips from others below on making health and fitness complement your life as opposed to ruling it.
First we have Jen Sinkler, senior fitness editor of Experience Life magazine based in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is RKC and CrossFit L-1 Certified, and a former U.S. national women’s team rugby athlete.
With such a busy schedule, how do you continue training and healthy eating without experiencing burnout?
“Perspective, almost 100 percent. I used to try to separate ‘work’ from ‘life.’ That did not go particularly well for me, however. Although I spent plenty of time assigning, editing, reading and writing fitness stories, I spent too little time working out myself. So, a few years back, I overhauled myperspective of my job and made the decision that a major part of it was going to be firsthand fitness exploration of what’s going on out there. Burnout isn’t an issue, because I’m always trying something new.”
“As for dining on the go, as long as I stick to bun-less burgers and salads instead of fries at least most of the time, I don’t see much fallout. I tend to keep the rules pretty simple, and I find it easy to avoid grains and dairy and not feel deprived in the least.”
How do your healthy habits improve your life outside of fitness?
“Good health and fitness means I don’t get sick. It means I wake up feeling great, it means my energy is boundless and it means I’m aging backward. As long as I don’t trade on or abuse this too often, it remains true and gives me an immense amount of freedom.”
What are your tips for those who want to get similar results?
“I believe so much of the fitness factor is mindset. If you don’t enjoy the type of training you do, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to sustain it for the long term. Fitness and nutrition have a lot of ‘right’ answers; the trick is experimenting long enough to find what’s right for you.”
Next we have Leo Babauta, a simplicity blogger, best-selling author, and creator of the popular blog ZenHabits. Leo is a former journalist (almost 20 years), a husband, and father of six children.
With such a busy schedule, how does one continue their training and healthy eating without experiencing burnout?
“I start by simplifying my schedule— reducing commitments so I have time for things that are important to me, like creating, exercise, and family. I also see exercise and good diet as the things that keep me from burning out— they’re necessary for balance, and if I didn’t do them, I wouldn’t have the energy release and relaxation I need to keep doing the other things I love. So it’s one of the few things that mustbe scheduled.”
How have your healthy habits improved other areas of your life (relationships, productivity, etc.)?
“It’s really profound how much health and fitness can change everything. I feel better, more energized, and more motivated in everything I do. I work better and create better. I play with my kids and run around and climb with them. I’m happier, which makes every interaction and relationship better. I just love life more.”
What are your tips for those who want to fitness to complement their life?
“Start small. You might see the fittest people committing hours to exercise, but they’re like the black belts. All you need to do is start. Commit to doing five minutes of an activity you enjoy, every day, and commit to changing one thing about what you eat— replace a junk food with something healthy you enjoy. You can find time for five minutes. Slowly, you’ll see yourself improve, and you’ll want to make more room for fitness.”
And finally, we have Leigh Peele, a certified trainer, writer, and fitness consultant from North Carolina. She is a vegetarian for ethical reasons, lifts heavy, and prefers dancing over traditional cardio workouts.
With your busy schedule, how do you train and stick to a healthy diet without experiencing burnout?
“This might come across as a cop-out answer, but it just isn’t an option. It isn’t something I feel I have to do. I want to do it and it is crucial to who I am as a person.”
“I have a very healthy relationship with diet and exercise. I know how to manipulate body composition with my eyes closed. I don’t exercise or eat healthy out of fear. I do so because it is a part of who I am. I like being strong.”
How have your healthy habits improved your life outside of fitness?
“I believe deeply in cause and effect. I believe that one motion leads to another and another. The chain reaction of making your body and health a top priority trickles down to everything. It isn’t about being the hottest or the strongest. Someone is always more attractive than you, and being a 5′ 4 ½” female, I think it is safe to say someone is always going to be stronger. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t surpass the average with my intent. My intent is to be the strongest I can be, the smartest I can be, and as successful as I can be. It isn’t about other people; it is about me.”
“I don’t believe in being average or letting your life pass you by, and that shows in the gym. That shows on your plate. It shows in how you treat people. It all leads to the other.”
What are your tips for those who want to fitness to complement their life?
“Don’t cheat your life. If you go into a situation saying to yourself, ‘What is the least I can do to actually make a change in my life?’ you aren’t going to change. You might as well go back to the drawing board… This isn’t about becoming obsessive and overtaking your life with diet and training, but it is about becoming obsessive with making your life something worth living.’
“Care enough to do something, anything to start taking better care of yourself. Then, once you make that an important part of your life, you can find the method and philosophy that works for you.”
i decided to modify the popular 100 workout by making it into a 25 workout! this way, it’s a bit easier for beginners like me, and if you want, you can do it 4x a day so it adds up to the original.
Many people who feel it’s time to get healthier want to get fit fast. They don’t want it to take a long time for their sacrifices and hard work to start showing itself off to themselves and others.
A new level of fitness will depend on how out of shape you are currently and how self disciplined you are as to how quickly these changes will happen. Assess yourself and your lifestyle realistically. It is obviously going to take longer if you are morbidly obese and have terrible eating habits. If this is your situation, please don’t expect to get fit in a month.
For those of you who are only a few pounds overweight, and are truly motivated to get in better shape, it is obviously very possible for you to do this much faster than someone who has 50+pounds to lose. The extra weight can be conquered with a healthy eating plan, cardio workouts and regular resistance training, which helps grow and define muscles.
This calls for dedication and commitment to whatever exercise program and eating plan you design for yourself. A good plan that is tailored to your specific needs can start to show some results in as little as 30 days. While you may not get fit overnight, you will see something positive for your efforts.
The positive results you desire won’t happen if you don’t fully commit to sticking to your program. If you aren’t used to getting a lot of physical exercise, you may need to start out with a regular walking plan, either outdoors or on a treadmill. Set reachable goals and increase them steadily.
Do something that you enjoy as part of your workout, whether that is playing tennis, dancing or swimming. Something fun will add to your motivation in keeping to your workout, and it may help you to get fit faster. Look for a walking partner, someone you can meet 5-6 days a week at the same time each day. You won’t want to let the other down, so you will be extra committed to your workout.
While your new exercise routine will help you get fit, making healthy changes to your diet will speed up the process. You can still enjoy foods that you love (for now), but start eating those in moderate to smaller portions than you are used to. Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your meals, and eat them for a healthy snack. Drink plenty of water each day. This flushes impurities out of your system, and keeps you from retaining excess fluids.
If it’s really important to you that you get fit fast, sticking to the plan you have chosen for yourself will make it happen. It might not happen as fast as you like, but you must remember that you didn’t get out of shape over night, and you will not get fit over night. It takes work and dedication, but the new choices that are made with every step create new habits that insure you stay fit forever.