8 things all fit people do
If you want to get into shape and make 2015 the year where you start to get the body or performance you want you have to change your habits.
Long-term health, fitness and performance comes from following a lifestyle and acting in a certain way, not from following fads, ‘transformation’ programs or looking for the next secret pill.
Neither is it going to come from depriving yourself, forcing yourself or making yourself miserable.
The real truth is that people who are fit or in shape don’t struggle to be in that state. They’re not fighting cravings or dragging themselves out of bed to go running.
They largely find it quite effortless, because their lifestyles are about fitness: they have formed good habits that mean that it’s not a question of motivation, it is simply how things are.
Obviously the best place to start such habits is when you are young: this is why it is such a travesty that so many young people and children are these days not getting into a lifestyle of activity or fitness.
But it is never too late. My brother was never a keen sportsman in his school days, he might even forgive me for saying he was relatively unfit in his younger days but during university he became interested in the lifestyle of fitness, specifically the way that the human body is evolved to run.
A few months ago he completed his first 100-mile ultra-marathon. Yeah, that’s not a typo, one hundred miles. He runs and trains multiple times a week, mostly by himself: he doesn’t need anyone telling him to do it.
How do people like him, fit people living a fitness lifestyle, do it? Below is a short list of things that they do which makes being in shape as much a mental as physical necessity.
1. They enjoy training
My brother obviously likes running. It’s not on my list of favourite things. I still do some to stay balanced but I’d rather be in the weight room. He does some bodyweight stuff to stay strong, but would rather be out in the woods.
We choose what we like to do and focus on it. It’s not better or worse, we just choose the training that we enjoy.
If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll never stick to it. Everyone is different: some people like to work on their own, some prefer to be with a group.
Fit people are fit because whatever their chosen sport or way of exercising they enjoy doing it. And they value their achievements in that area.
I do believe that there are certain exercises everyone should be doing, but if you are someone who currently hates exercise you need to try out the options until you find something you like.
If you find running boring try doing circuit training. If you don’t like lifting heavy weights try focusing on body weight exercise. The important thing is to generate the habit and the fulfillment, the enjoyment of exercise and progress, that gets you on the path to living a fitness lifestyle.
2. They’re never on a diet
Dieting is not a lifestyle, it’s a phase. Fit people don’t do diets because in their lifestyle they make being in shape a priority: healthy eating is a given.
Related post: Why dieting never works
Diets restrict you and make you feel miserable. You can’t keep that up for too long. If you enjoy training and making progress however you’ll make good dietary decisions so that you can continue to feel good about your results.
3. They don’t eat healthy all the time
Being fit is nothing to do with eating bland or sugar-free foods all the time. If you have an active, exercise orientated lifestyle you’ll find that when it comes eating out or dessert it doesn’t really matter.
You’re doing the training, burning the calories, increasing the metabolism. You eat properly most of the time because you value your training. So when it comes to that fried chicken or pizza on the weekend, you can enjoy it.
4. They make time for their training
Fit people prioritise their training: not having time is not an excuse.
Again it boils down to having the fitness lifestyle and mindset. You enjoy training. You value your achievements and results.
You feel good about yourself, so you make time to train and keep getting results.
Related post: I don’t have time to train
5. They like trying new activities
When you’re in shape you have confidence in your body and its abilities. Training is also an ever-evolving process of acquiring knowledge: as you get to know your body you will want to learn more about it.
Fit people know that doing the same thing week-in week-out gets boring after a while. So they are always searching for new ways to do it and improve. This could be as simple as trying a new exercise or on the scale of trying a whole new sport.
Either way fit people don’t let their training stagnate.
6. They keep learning
Fit people prioritise their training, therefore it makes sense to them to learn more about it.
This is key to the longevity of a fitness lifestyle. Everyone is truly unique and no matter how much a personal trainer or scientist could study your particular eccentricities you are the one person in the universe best placed to truly know about yourself.
Fit people get results because they enjoy training, which means they want to improve. So they never stop learning about their body and their training.
7. They plan their training, and stick to it
Another big difference between those who live a fitness lifestyle and those who only ever complete an annual 2 month training block (Jan to Feb) is linked to being equipped with knowledge and prioritising.
Increasingly as you get more experienced you need to plan to get somewhere. Planning also helps focus effort and get better results.
This is why random programming such as that found in Crossfit is so illogical and setting you up to stall: it’s fine for the first 9 months when you go from zero activity to something, but from there you need to set yourself firm goals and practice to get there.
Related article: Crossfit is good…?
Of course, a plan by itself is not good enough: you need to follow-through.
8. They are never satisfied
People look at someone who is in shape and works out hard and think that it is all down to natural drive.
‘How do you have so much discipline?’ they might ask, or ‘you have a great work ethic’. It’s true, some people are naturally more driven than others.
But I truly believe that motivation can be nurtured. Motivation isn’t a finite quantity, it appears when you can see, feel or anticipate results and hope for what is to come. You gain motivation when you look back on a journey and see how far you have come.
With motivation comes a need to improve. The more motivated you are, the more you want to improve.
When training and fitness is your lifestyle motivation comes easily. Going for a run or going to the gym is not just another chore on the list, it is something as essential and natural as eating.
Fit people enjoy what they do because they have taken the time to recognise the importance of exercise and find out what they enjoy best. It’s not a 6, 8, 10 month program; it doesn’t have an end.
As a result, they always want to improve.
How can you take steps to get started or finally make being in shape stick in 2015?
Look at those who already live the lifestyle and try to copy their habits.
Instead of making a goal of losing x number of pounds or building x kgs of muscle make your first priority to develop the fitness mentality.
Once you think like a fit person, the rest will follow. And what’s more, it won’t even be a struggle.