Top 5 Things Fit People Do Everyday
Fitness is a lifestyle. It is a set of daily/weekly practices that build-up towards the future you. In the moment, it feels like you are far from your goal but in another moment, you can’t believe how far you have come.
From my experience and encounters with hundreds of unique clients, the fittest individuals all have similar lifestyle habits that keep them healthy and in great shape year-round.
What you practice in private, shows in public.
My definition of ‘fit’ consists of the following qualities:
- Overall health – no cardiovascular, metabolic and chronic medical conditions.
- High quality movement and strength for daily function & activity
- Above average amounts of muscle mass with below average body fat percentage (10-15% for males, 15-25% for females).
Below I have listed the 5 most prevalent habits among fit individuals:
- Prioritize Protein
- Have A Reason
- Slow Eaters
- Stay Hydrated
Not everyone is born with these habits and they definitely did not always stick the first time around. To help you get started, below are summary of the benefits and implementation plan of each habit. Choose one that you think is the most realistic for you to get started on and do it. If you think you can start all these habits…don’t. I can’t emphasize the importance of choosing just one habit to take on at a time. (Habit Building Tips & Process)
5 Habits Benefits & Plan
1. Prioritize Protein:
Fit individuals understand the importance of protein. Regardless of being an exerciser or not, this essential nutrient helps preserve muscle mass and build muscle mass. Furthermore, it is the most satiating type of food out there. When you feel full longer, you will be less likely to overeat. In a study by Weigle et al., increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of your diet caused people to consume 441 LESS calories/day equating to an average of 10 pounds lost in 12 weeks.
To prioritize protein, actively seek out and choose meals that have a lean protein source. Don’t even bother ordering it or making it if you don’t have a source of protein to go with it.
Lean protein sources are foods that are high in protein but low in carbohydrates and fat (check your foods nutrition label). Examples of these sources are chicken, lean beef, turkey, fish, seafood, whey protein isolate powder, vegan protein powder w/ low to no fat and carbohydrate and plain greek yogurt.
For those who need more flavor, go to your local grocery store and pick out a low-calorie sauce! Low Cal A1 Steak Sauce is so good and plain greek yogurt tastes great with some frozen berries or mixed with your protein powder to make a pudding!
2. Have a Reason:
The extraordinarily fit have always at one point had a goal or purpose. They had a reason to train and a desire to workout on a consistent basis. Ironically, for many of these individuals, the goal wasn’t to get fit but to achieve a performance-related goal. Performance goals are physical accomplishments. They can range from being able to squat over 200 pounds to being able to play with your kids for 30 minutes without getting tired.
Getting “fit” is the side-effect of working towards a performance related goal. Coming to the gym to “get fit” is too general of a goal that provides you no direction and real drive. The reason so many different types of exercise exists is because there are so many different types of goals.
Bodybuilding – For those interested in sculpting their ideal body
Powerlifting – For those interested in strength-related accomplishments
Boot Camp/Group Training – For those who enjoy obstacle courses and a social aspect. Balance of strength and cardiovascular training
Cycling, Boxing, CrossFit (IMO not suitable for general population), Running…
Now that you have a goal, find training that you enjoy and go do it.
If you are starting with this habit: Come up with a measurable and attainable goal within 12 weeks. What have you always wanted to be able to do? Write it down and post it on a wall you walk past everyday.
3. Eat Slow:
Fit Individuals savor their food. They enjoy each bite slowly. Conveniently, this also gives the brain time to register signals from the stomach that the body is full. Because of this, fit individuals are unlikely to overeat.
Put it in practice, start using a smaller spoon and fork when eating at home.
4. Moving Often:
As we age, our muscles begin to degenerate and our metabolism slows down but our eating habits stay the same. What this means is that our bodies is using less energy but were consuming just as much. This is why most people in their 30’s & 40’s begin to gain weight.
Fit Individuals are fidgeters who don’t mind a little extra movement. Every activity and movement adds up to help our body burn more energy. It also preserves muscle and mobility of the joints hence the popularization of active workstations like standing desks and under-desk bikes.
Fidgeting can help you burn an additional 300-1000 calories per day! By pacing around your office or swinging your legs as you read, you can be burning off fat! Next time someone tells you to stop fidgeting, you can tell them I’m burning hundreds of calories!
In fact, there a lot of fit individuals that don’t exercise because they move so much. Example: hotel maids, waiters, operations staff, gardeners, retail employees
If more movement is the habit you want to start doing, here are some good tricks you can implement:
-start parking far away
-get a standing desks
-take walk breaks during work
-take up a recreational sport
-don’t be afraid to fidget
5. Staying Hydrated
Staying hydrated includes drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.
To confirm with everyone, Alcohol is a dehydrating fluid. Coffee is hydrating.
In my experience, water has been my secret fat loss weapon in the past year. Getting my clients to drink a full cup of water before each meal has helped them lose 5-10 pounds within 9-12 weeks. This is because the hunger hormone ghrelin is secreted when your stomach feels empty. Water helps stretch the stomach which down-regulates ghrelin resulting in less hunger and lower overall food intake.
Staying hydrated from a performance standpoint is beneficial because even a 2-3% decrease in body weight from fluid loss can negatively impact aerobic ability and strength respectively.
The amount of fluid each individual needs varies between person and environment. Generally you should be aiming for 5 clear urinations per day (a good starting point: 1L/23kg of bodyweight). Larger individuals and individuals that sweat often will require more fluids.
If you take on this goal, drink one glass of water before every meal OR make it a priority to keep a water bottle with you at all times.
Helms, E., Muscle and Strength Pyramid Nutrition. 2015: Eric Helms.
Weigle D, Breen P, Matthys C, Callahan H, Meeuws K, Burden V, et al. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;82(1):41–8.