10 SIMPLE FITNESS HABITS YOU CAN PRACTICE THAT WILL TRANSFORM YOUR BODY AND LIFE STARTING TODAY

Before you start practicing any of these simple habits you have to do one thing…

Make yourself a fucking priority.

I’m a recovering work-a-holic. I love work, I find work, and I love working. I can easily wake up and book my entire day with work that “has to get done.” 

  • Now you might not be a work-a-holic but you may keep yourself busy in other ways. Are you always helping others? 
  • Are you a professional Mom? 
  • Are you a full-time student? 
  • Do you have your hands in a million different cookie jars? I sure hope not. That would really make creating healthier lifestyle difficult.

The truth is you will never find the time to get healthy. You’re going to have to create the time,

1 – WATCH YOUR MOUTH

Try this exercise on for size. Every time you say I’m too busy or I don’t have the time, change your language so that you’re saying you choose not to make it a priority.

For example: 

“I’m just too busy to prepare meals ahead of time” would become, “I choose not to make preparing meals ahead of time a priority for myself.”

“I just don’t have the time to workout” now becomes, “I choose not to make regular exercise a priority.” Pow! Right in the gut, huh?

Sorta stings doesn’t it?

2 – TRACK WHAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY DOING

Have you ever kept a time log? If not, it’s a real eye-opener. If you’re constantly saying you’re too busy and don’t have the time – then prove it. Track what you do every hour of the day for a few days. Write down exactly what you’re doing hour-by-hour. You’ll probably find that you spend more time then you think checking Facebook, email, watching TV, doing non-essential tasks, or simply bull-shitting

3 – REMOVE BARRIERS AND MAKE DOING THE GOOD STUFF EASIER

This goes back to changing your environment. If you don’t have time to get to the gym then don’t go. Instead do home workouts or do them on your lunch break. If you never have time to cook pick one to two days a week and cook in batches – making multiple meals at once so you don’t have to worry about it.

4 – PRACTICE THE DO IT FIRST PRINCIPLE

If you’re struggling to workout consistently go to bed with your workout clothes on and do it first thing in the morning. Wake up earlier if you have to. If you’re struggling to prepare healthy meals sleep with a spatula and just start by making a healthy breakfast every day this week. 

5 – HONOR YOUR SCHEDULE

This is the one thing that has helped me the most. Each week I take a look at what I’ve got going on and schedule in my workouts and meal prep on the days I know I am least likely to cancel them. Once they are scheduled in I DO NOT change them. These are appointments with myself.

6 – HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

  • Bad enough to eliminate TV? Cancel your cable or make it difficult to watch by unplugging it and moving it into the garage.
  • Bad enough to commit to checking email only twice per day?
  • Bad enough to start batching tasks and errands like laundry, grocery shopping, and house cleaning to one day so that the other days can be workout and meal prep days?
  • Bad enough to ask for help or delegate tasks to others?
  • Bad enough to start saying no to more responsibilities
  • Bad enough to delete your social media accounts so you’re not playing on them all day?
  • Bad enough to make your workouts and meal preps appointments on your calendar with yourself never to be broken

Need help making yourself a priority? Apply for a free coaching consultation

HABIT #1: TAKE 20 AND LEAVE A LITTLE

Why Practice This Habit?

No one has time for anything anymore. We’re constantly being rushed. From one appointment to the next, from one work assignment to another, do this and finish that. It’s forced many of us to eat while driving, on the go, through a window, and very quickly.

This is a huge problem because you’re never giving yourself a chance to actually feel satisfied from a meal.

It takes roughly 20 minutes for your gut to signal to your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. If every meal you consume lasts 5 minutes that’s 15 extra minutes you can keep eating until you actually know that you’ve had enough.

Yeah, but is eating slowly really going to make a difference? You bet your butt it is. Studies are showing that just by slowing down when you eat you’ll consume fewer calories. Enough to lose 20 pounds a year without making any other changes.

How To Practice This Habit:

Take 20 minutes to eat each meal and at the 20-minute make try and leave about 10-20% of the meal on the plate. Then ask yourself how much hunger you have. If you’re still hungry at the 20-minute mark go ahead and eat that last 10-20%

Tips To Help:

Set Aside Some Time. Because you’ll be practicing this habit for the next week I suggest looking at your schedule on Sunday and committing to eating during times of the day where you know you’ll have at least 20 minutes to eat.

Sit at a Table. This may seem silly but sitting at many of us now eat at desks, in the car, or even on our feet. Try eating all of your meals at a table this week and if you can’t – commit to waiting until you can find a table.

Eat In Courses. You can practice this by eating all of your salad first, then all of your veggies, than your protein, and finally your potato. Try and start with what you feel is the healthiest food on your plate and work your way to what you feel may be the least healthy.

Eat In a Calm Environment. When you’re eating in a hectic, busy, or rushed in environment you’ll feel the need to hurry your eating. This may include the people you eat with. You know whom I’m talking about. That fidgety eater that can’t seem to stop moving.

Utensils Down or Use Chopsticks. One of the simplest methods for slowing down and one that has worked really well for me has been to put down my utensils while chewing. This keeps me from loading up on the next bite before I’m even done chewing. Thus, avoiding what I like to call the shovel and swallow syndrome. Chopsticks have also helped me to slow down. I simply can’t get as much food per bite that I could with a fork or spoon. 

HABIT #2: DO A 10-MINUTE WORKOUT

Why This Habit?

A lot of your success will be determined by your expectations of success, and I want to make sure you have the confidence you need moving (no pun intended) forward.

Studies also show that those who participate in regular exercise are more  motivated to change their nutritional habits.

How To Practice This Habit

Commit to exercising seven days this week for a minimum of 10-minutes per day.

I don’t want you to go balls to the wall, 2 hours in the gym, all out Crossfit here. I just want you to create time in your schedule to get at least 10-minutes of exercise everyday this week.

Decide now when you can fit in 10-minutes to workout and commit to it. I highly recommend the first thing in the morning. As the day goes on, your willpower will drain and you will be less likely to do it, but look at your own commitments and schedule and see what works best for you.

Other Ways To Practice This Habit

You might be wondering what you have to do to get credit for doing this habit. Here is how you can earn a virtual high-five for getting in a 10-minute workout.

  • Try a 10-minute Workout example.
  • Take a fitness class and stay for at least ten minutes.
  • Try yoga for a minimum of ten minutes.
  • Play a sport for at least ten minutes (tennis, basketball, etc.).
  • Go on a run for ten minutes (take your kids or dog)
  • Go ice-skating for ten minutes.
  • Box for ten minutes.
  • Run the stairs at work on a ten-minute break.

10-Minute Workout Ideas

Do as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes.

Workout 1:

  • 20 lunges
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 inverted rows

Workout 2:

  • 30 Squats
  • 20 Sit-ups
  • 10 Overhead presses
  • 5 box jumps

Workout 3:

  • 5 pull-ups or inverted rows
  • 10 push-ups 
  • 15 Squats

HABIT #3: DRINK ZERO CALORIE BEVERAGES

Why This Habit? 

A couple of fancy coffees, sugar loaded smoothies, juices, and alcohol every week and the calories can really start to add up.

The tricky thing with drinks like this is that we never really think about them as contributing calories. We tend to associate eating with gaining weight but too many high caloric drinks can do the same thing.

The following list is the average amount of calories in some of our favorite beverages:

  • Fruit juice (8oz.): 115 calories, 29 grams of carbohydrates, and 27 grams of sugar
  • Soda (12oz.): 140 calories, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 39 grams of sugar
  • Vitamin Water (20oz.): 125 calories, 33 grams of sugar
  • Beer: 153 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrates
  • Coffee w/cream & sugar: 120 calories, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams of sugar

If you consume only two of these drinks every day, you are adding 250-300 calories, 30-80 grams of carbohydrates, and 20-80 grams of sugar.

How To Practice This Habit

Pour out or throw away all calorie-containing beverages:

  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Frozen mixers
  • Frozen juices
  • Gatorade or PowerAde
  • Vitamin Water

Look on the label, and if it has calories in it, get rid of it.

What To Drink & What To Avoid

Drink more of:

  • Water
  • Unsweetened herbal teas (green tea, yerba mate, chamomile, etc.)
  • Black coffee (try to limit to no more than 1-2 cups per day and always before 2 p.m.)

Drink less of:

  • Fruit juices
  • Milk
  • Soda
  • Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor, spirits, mixed drinks)
  • Vitamin Water and Gatorade
  • Sweetened tea or coffee (or any other caloric additives)
  • Any other calorie-containing beverage (i.e. coconut juice or coconut water) or zero calorie beverage with artificial sweeteners (PowerAde Zero, Vitamin Water Zero)
  • Smoothies
  • Starbucks mixed beverages like Loco mocho frappo lattes and stuff

HABIT #4: INCLUDE PROTEIN WITH EACH MEAL

Why Practice This Habit?

Protein is used primarily by the body for structure and function. It helps repair muscle after training, supports lean muscle, and adds in satiety (or helps you feel full longer).

How To Practice This Habit

If you only eat one meal, that’s OK, just make sure it has a protein source. If you eat eight meals today, that’s OK too, just make sure they all have a protein source.

  • Option 1 – Eat the same source the entire day. If you really want to make this easy on yourself, think about using the same protein source for each meal of the day. It takes a lot of the confusion out of what you are going to eat today, and makes preparation super easy and convenient.
  • Option 2 – Mix and match protein sources any, which way you like. If you need a little more variety within your meal choices, this may be the best option for you. Maybe some eggs for breakfast, a little chicken for lunch, and some salmon for dinner.

Tips If You Have To Eat Out

  • Choose baked or grilled over fried.
  • Avoid any sauces or dressings on your protein sources (ask them to 86 it).
  • Portions are usually huge. Eat 1-2 palm sized servings and to-go box the rest
  • Look at your options ahead of time and even suggest restaurants you know where you can get healthier protein sources.

HABIT #5: EAT VEGGIES WITH EACH MEAL

Why Practice This Habit?

Vegetables are chalk full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

Vegetables also promote feelings of satiety. Thus, causing you to feel fuller longer, eat less, and burn more body fat. One way in which they help to do this is through the large amount of nutrients they give for your body.

When you’re not getting the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs to thrive, you can start to crave foods and experience ravenous hunger in search of the nutrients that you’re currently missing. You’ll also likely experience mood swings and fluctuating energy levels.

Vegetables are far and away the winner when it comes to increasing your food consumption, while keeping your calories in check. You’d have to eat 40 cups of spinach to equal the same amount of calories in 2 oz. of a chocolate bar. Damn you chocolate you delicious little devil you.

How To Practice This Habit

A good way to increase your veggie servings is by mixing and matching different vegetable sources with each meal.

For breakfast, you may make an omelet and include a fist-sized serving of spinach with some chopped bell pepper. 

For snacking in between meals, try some carrot sticks, celery or cherry tomatoes. Big ass salads are another easy way to get your veggie totals for the day.

Tips If You Don’t Like Veggies or Struggle to Eat Them With Breakfast

Himalayan sea salt and olive oil make everything taste better. Explore your spices like garlic, turmeric, curry, basil, and paprika.

If all else fails try these three strategies:

  1. Just commit to eating one single piece of vegetable at each meal. You, that’s right – Just one single piece of broccoli, one single brussels sprout, one single green bean, one single leaf of spinach.
  2. Hide them in other foods. Sneak a few in chili, soups, and other dishes that you enjoy. Most of the time they will take on the taste of the food you’re hiding them in.
  3. Use a fist sized serving of low sugar berries like raspberries, strawberries, and black berries as a replacement. 

HABIT #6: SWAP GRAINS WITH GREENS AND CHOOSE SMARTER CARBS

Why Practice This Habit?

In my opinion, this is the one single habit that will produce the most dramatic results, not only in terms of your body composition, but also for your energy levels, mood, and overall health.

If you’re thinking, “I can’t give up my bread,” don’t worry, you’re not alone, but this is actually part of the problem. Some carbohydrates, grains and sugars actually have addictive properties that cause us to release pleasure sensors in the brain and become addicted or to seek them out.

How To Practice This Habit

Swapping grains with greens and other veggies is a pretty simple process. When you typically would be having bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta, you will now be swapping those bad boys with lettuces, broccoli, spinach and other veggies.

I like to think to divide carbohydrates into 4 different categories.

  • Veggies
  • Starchy carbs (post workout only)
  • Fruits
  • Higher sugar fruits (post workout only)

You’ll want the majority of you meals to include carbohydrates from veggies, low sugar berries, and to save the starchy carbohydrates and higher sugar fruits for post workout meals mostly

Simple Swaps

  • Spaghetti squash instead of pasta
  • Skip the bun on a burger in favor of a lettuce wrap
  • Use cauliflower rice instead of traditional white or brown rice
  • Butternut squash or zucchini instead of potato

HABIT #7: EAT HEALTHY FAT WITH EACH MEAL

Why Practice This Habit?

Healthy fats help with satiety, cholesterol, inflammation, depression and mood, and body composition. Healthy fats also help with hormone production and the absorption of certain nutrients like vitamin A and D.

How To Practice This Habit

You can use healthy fats to cook with, as dressings, topper, or in dips. Choose a healthy fat from the list below and try to include a serving with most of your meals today.

Easy Ways To Include Healthy Fat

  • Grab an avocado and go
  • Cook with coconut oil, grass-fed butter, or olive oil (medium heat)
  • Use a small handful of nuts (peanut free)
  • Try a tablespoon or two of nut butter
  • Throw some flaxseed or another source of healthy fat in a shake

Note: Nuts and nut butters are easy to overeat so watch your serving sizes.

HABIT #8: CREATE ALL DAY AND POST WORKOUT PLATES

Why Practice This Habit

This is the cornerstone of your nutrition moving forward. A Limitless All-Day Plate is going to be the foundation of your nutrition going forward. All-Day Plates are the types of meals you will be eating during the day with the possible exception of after you workout. Your Limitless Post-Workout Plates are a bit different but more on that later.

How To Practice This Habit

Include the following with each meal that you eat today.

  • Zero calorie beverage
  • Protein
  • Vegetable (or low sugar fruit)
  • Healthy fat

If you workout today include the following with your post workout meal.

  • Zero calorie beverage
  • Protein
  • Vegetable
  • Healthy fat
  • Starchy carbohydrate or fruit

Take a look at some of the people in your life that you consider to be healthy. What do they do?

  • Meals are often prepared ahead of time.
  • Meals are typically eaten at specific times during the day.
  • They never allow themselves to get too hungry or too full.
  • Their largest meals are earlier in the day and become smaller as the day progresses.
  • They typically don’t snack or graze all day (they eat meals vs. snacks)
  • They usually don’t skip meals.
  • They combine different proteins, carbohydrates (mostly veggies), and healthy fats with each meal that they eat.
  • They know how to choose healthy foods at restaurants or when in a pinch.
  • They almost always seem to be prepared with a healthy option.

Big Tip

  • Cook meals in bulk once or twice per week (Sundays is a great day)
  • Make the same meals for the week to simplify the process
  • Forget crazy recipes. Olive oil, salt, and garlic make everything taste great

HABIT #9: CREATE A FOOD PREP RITUAL

 

Why Practice This Habit?

Because one of the hardest things about eating well and developing healthy habits is finding the time to do so. Time definitely feels like a luxury these days. Family, friends, work, commuting, and many other factors seem to zap the hours from our days.

How To Practice This Habit

Strategy #1: Prepare All Of Your Meals For Tomorrow Before Bed Tonight

While you’re hanging with the family, or checking out the boob tube, get your cook on. It’s easy to cook up 3-4 meals in about thirty minutes, if you follow this approach.

Strategy #2: Pick two days out of the week, or one if you really are a time Nazi.

I like Sunday and Wednesday but work with your schedule.

Strategy #3: Don’t Let The Restaurants Get You Down

Look for meals that include:

  • A source of protein – Chicken, Salmon, Turkey, or Beef. Look for grilled, baked, or barbecued. Avoid breaded, battered, buttered, or fried.
  • A source of vegetables – Green and leafy, salads, broccoli, asparagus, and use your real food chart and find some of your favorites.
  • Zero calorie bevs – Stick with water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee. No sense in adding liquid calories.
  • Make smart swaps – 86 the potato and ask for extra veggies. Ask if they can cook your proteins with olive or coconut oil. You can do this with rice and breads as well.

Easy Cooking Method:

  • Put oil in a pan (up to you but 1 tablespoon for every 6 ounces of meat is a good reference)
  • Brown some meat in the oil
  • Add in some spices
  • Add in your veggies
  • Cover it up and let it sit. Check on it every 2-3 minutes
  • Rinse and repeat. 

Big Tip

Simplify meal prep by cooking the same 3 to 4 meals every day and eating them for the entire week.

HABIT #10: CREATE A FOOD JOURNAL

Why Practice This Habit?

Lets face it, most of us live pretty busy and hectic lives, and our nutrition is often the first to go when things get tough or complicated. Unfortunately, our health gets put on the back burner as other priorities like finances, relationships and work take precedence.

That’s exactly why this week’s habit is so important. We want to create awareness about what it is you’re eating on a daily basis. You can also use this as a great way to see if you are adhering to the other habits consistently enough to see progress.

How To Practice This Habit

  • Step 1 – It’s very important that everything that goes in your mouth is recorded: a sip of OJ, if you break off a 1/4 of a chocolate chip cookie, if you pick your nose and eat that … I think you get me.
  • Step 2 – Commit to logging right after you eat your meal.
  • Step 3 – Take a look at each meal and see if it is compliant with the other habits we’ve been practicing. (Zero calorie beverages, protein, veggies, healthy fat, is it an All-Day or Post workout meal).

You Are Not Your Log

Recording what you eat should not make you feel bad. If you slip up, and forget to follow one of the habits, it shoudn’t eat you up (no pun intended). Instead, your Food Log is a chance at personal discovery, a way for you to see what you are actually doing, and to contemplate ways you can improve.

You may notice that you skip lunch all the time, and are so ravenous around dinner that you will eat anything. You may think you have been following the habits 100%, but keep forgetting about that creamer you’re using in your coffee every other day. Or you may see that your habits are locked-in during the week, and fall off as the weekend comes. Take advantage of this habit and be as detailed and meticulous as possible with it.

Tips

You can use the notes on your phone, a notepad, MyFitnessPal, or other online trackers. Whatever method is easiest for you works

THE WRAP UP

Practice each habit for at least a week starting with habit number 1. Track your progress and if you’re 90% consistent with it move on to the next habit. If you struggle, stay with it for a little longer before moving on.

Need help with any of these habits? Apply for coaching with me. Together, we’ll work on building a body you’re proud of.

Justin

Need help making yourself a priority? Apply for a free coaching consultation

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Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

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