I believe that the foundation of living a fully happy and whole life is the fitness of our minds and bodies. As such, I also believe that everyone should be able to create this kind of fitness with some ease and with some degree of simplicity each and every day of their lives. So my idea behind #livingfit365 is the idea that we can put daily habits and routines in place that are sustainable for the long term, habits and routines that become sort of like rules we live by, which consequently create greater freedom in our lives and a greater feeling of overall health of our minds and bodies.
What I have noticed, however, is that there is much confusion surrounding the kinds of habits and routines that create a fit lifestyle. And I think that the reason for this is that the messages about creating a fit lifestyle by which we are bombarded are so varied. These messages can be conflicting, and often have us assuming that the formulas for fit living that they present, are the formulas for how we should be living our lives. Furthermore, these messages often do not present formulas that are sustainable and flexible for living fit each and every day (i.e. for #livingfit365).
As a whole, I think we tend to define fitness by certain eating methodologies, workout styles, and/or people who seem to embody the ideals of fitness. And I say we because I know I am guilty of this same tendency. If I asked you right now what you were going to do tomorrow to become more healthy and more fit than you are today, you would likely name a workout program and/or eating program you were going to adopt into your lifestyle. And while I think there is value to choosing models and using them as exemplars for our own actions and plans, I think that with fitness this can become problematic because so many of the models of fitness with which we are inundated (whether they be people, concepts, or strategies), are focused on varying purposes and are thriving in many varying contexts.
Too many conceptual ideals of fitness hinge on the ability of an individual to maintain a lifestyle that is simply not maintainable. Sure, 30-day challenges, 14 day detoxes, and the like, can be helpful in doing things like detoxing or dropping X number of pounds, but they don’t help us cultivate the routine living of fitness. They don’t help us implement the small habits that we can keep up with some ease and some degree of simplicity in the big picture, for the long haul. Now, I use the word some to describe the ways in which I believe we should be able to implement our fitness habits because they should be habits that take thought, intention and purpose so that they may have an impact on our lives. Yet, they should not make us feel stressed about how to balance them with the rest of the expectations placed upon us, nor should they make us feel like we constantly have to choose between fitness or enjoyment.
Over the past 8-10 months, I’ve shared a few posts about consistency versus extremes because of my own experiences with these concepts. In my past, I was always looking for the next program, challenge, kickstart, or whatever you want to call it, to “get myself back on track.” Until I slowly began to realize that “back on track” simply meant getting on someone else’s track of what they were telling me (and the world) it meant to be fit. I also realized that I had never actually created my own “track” of healthy living–one that I would actually stick to without having to get “back on it”–because I’d never get off it. I hadn’t created a lifestyle of #livingfit365.
If you’ve been following my fitness journey as of late (thank you!), then you know I’ve recently entered the world of competitive bodybuilding. And I am so enjoying this time I’m spending fulfilling my interest, building my strength, and learning the sport. However, this is a hobby of mine, something I enjoy putting my time and energy into aside from the day to day tasks of work and adult life. And even if I was spending my time fulfilling some other interest, I would still be #livingfit365. Because as I mentioned above, the blossoming of my happiness and well-being are dependent upon the seeds planted into the soil fertilized by my daily fitness habits and routines. These are my baseline, the habits that I don’t stress over, that have become a regular part of my lifestyle, and that give me the freedom to show up as my best self each and every day.
My #livingfit365 Habits
1: Workout Options!
- Join a gym that offers you multiple locations. For me where I live, there are several Y’s and several Gold’s Gyms. I can belong to one and for just an additional negligible cost per month, go to any of the other locations. This helps for the days my schedule prevents me from going to the gym close to my home after work because there is a gym right near my office that I can get to in the morning, or between work and a meeting or appointment.
- And if you’re not a gym goer, find the yoga studios or crossfit gyms, or parks and trails that are not only near your home, but also near your work, your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s house, your children’s daycare, your hair salon…you get the idea.
- Another option I have for myself is at-home workouts. So get a workout DVD or a set of dumbbells and a stability ball to keep at home. These don’t have to be your usual routine, but they’ll get the job done when time is limited or weather is an issue. Remember, the only bad workout is the one that never happened.
- If you make working out convenient, you can easily fit in as you go about your daily routines, even on the days when the routine is not quite so routine.
2: Get the good stuff in.
- Make it a point to get in your nutrients through food. This one may be more difficult for some than others, depending on what your current diet looks like. But, you will begin to feel so much better once you are consistently getting the adequate amounts of vitamins and nutrients in your diet. So if this means you drink a green smoothie every morning, or every night (I’m not sure why smoothies are always drank in the morning), then that’s what you do. Or maybe your lunches are always going to be big salads full of greens and veggies; or perhaps you make it a point to cook a couple different vegetables every night for dinner.
- My suggestion is that you pick one meal each day that you consistently make it a point to fill with vitamins and nutrients. There is no need to stop with one meal; work to do more when you can. But my opinion is that if you one meal your baseline, you can keep that consistent even on weekends, even during holidays when things get crazy busy, and even when you’re on vacation. Again, it’s about creating habits that you sustain long term.
3: Give yourself a bed time.
- So I remember when I realized as a teenager that I really no longer had a bed time, and I thought it was kind of cool. Maybe that’s because I was always the kid who wanted to stay up late, past when I was supposed to be in bed sleeping. Now as an adult, that mentality is laughable; I welcome any night that I’m able to get in bed before 10 pm. What happened to me??
- Some of you reading this are probably saying, 10 pm? Because you’re lucky to be in bed before 11 or 12. And that’s fine. We all have different lifestyles, wake up times, and sleep needs. But sleep is SO important. If you missed my sleep post a couple weeks ago, you can read it here.
- So my suggestion to you is to really be honest with yourself about how much sleep you need to feel awake, alive, and ready for the day when you wake up in the morning (hint, as much as I love coffee and wouldn’t want to do without it, you really should feel awake and rested prior to the coffee kicking in). Then, just count backwards from the time you usually wake up in the morning, and use that as your nightly bedtime. And stick to it! Set a nightly alarm if you need to. You’ll notice a considerable difference in your overall well-being when you begin to consistently give your body and mind the rest it needs each night.
4: Always keep water handy.
- Those that know me know I always have a water bottle (or jug) on hand if I’m out of my house; and if you’ve been to my home, you know I constantly have a water cup in my vicinity (with a lid and a straw, because if you know me, you also know how prone I am to dropping and spilling). I’ve always been a consumer of a lot of water, so I honestly can’t understand the struggle of people who need to be encouraged and reminded to drink it regularly. However, I know that for some people it is a true struggle, and for me, my struggle comes when I don’t have water because I just feel better when I’m hydrated.
- So for those of us who enjoy the benefits of water, and for those of you who want to enjoy the benefits of water, always have it handy. Have some way of checking yourself throughout the day too–maybe it’s a certain number of water bottles that you’ll drink, or a full gallon of water that you’ll finish by the end of a day. Whatever it is, keep drinking, and stay on top of yourself. The only inconvenience you’ll have here is making it to the bathroom every time you feel the need to go–but that’s why public places have restrooms ;).
While these are the 4 habits that work for me, they may not all fit for your lifestyle and the way that you want to feel in your life. Remember, these habits should empower you make you feel good. If it stresses you out, seems like it’s not authentically you, or doesn’t feel sustainable, then it’s probably not the right habit for you. Be willing to experiment and find the things that make you feel great about #livingfit365.