Who doesn’t want to know how a professional takes care of business? We've all read the articles: "What Does A Genius Do To Help Remember Important Tasks?" (They apparently focus on one task at a time.) or “What Does Jennifer Aniston Do to Have Sexy, Beautiful Hair?” (She uses "Living Proof," her own haircare line, go figure.) or the most recent one I read: “How Does Oprah Relax?” (She takes Sundays off.)
I have been a personal trainer for over 20 years. During these past two decades, I have helped a lot of people lose weight, get fit, feel better, and live longer. In this time I, myself, have actually gotten leaner and healthier too. I have a lower body fat percentage at 44 years old than I did when I was 30 (take that middle-age!), and I can still beat people younger than me in a foot race and in the gym – however the recovery time is a tad bit longer than it used to be.
These are the top 6 things I do to stay in shape.
Image: Matt @ PEK via Flickr
Image: Ginny via Flickr
I am not perfect. I know. This may come as a surprise and you may need to sit to digest that little nugget. But, I do not live on kale alone. (Actually, I prefer spinach over kale, and I can’t stand kale chips.) I am not constantly pumping out lunges.
Recognize that you too are not perfect and this whole healthy living thing will get a lot easier. Yes, you will slip up. Yes, you will stay on the couch when you know that you should be exercising.
Realize that and then take the steps to avoid it. These steps involve:
- Planning and prepping your meals every week.
- Scheduling your workouts, just as you would an important appointment.
- Registering for an exercise class, or hiring a trainer – spending money on fitness will help to keep you accountable.
- Having a fitness buddy to lean on. (Our GFG community has a private Facebook page where they pick each other up all the time.)
- Not having the crap that you tend to binge on in the house in the first place.
Case in point, I cannot say “no” to cookies. I love cookies, and when there are cookies in the house, I have to eat them. All.
So, I counteract this by not buying any cookies. Simple, right?
However, what about those times when I have to have a cookie and will kill someone if I don’t? I make a deal with myself. I tell myself that if I am willing to put my shoes on, get my jacket on, get Bella’s leash (cause when you have a dog you can never leave the house alone), walk to the store, buy the cookies or ingredients for the cookies, walk back home, and then bake them then I must really want cookies.
If I go through all that, then I eat the damn cookies and I eat them guilt-free. 90% of the time I do not go to get the cookies. The other 10% I make myself work for those buggers.
Know what your triggers and slip-ups are, and then prepare for them and they will happen a lot less often. Try these prepping tips to help make your meal planning and prepping easier.
Image: Tier 1 Leadership via Flickr
Never, never, never let two days in a row go without exercising. This includes while on vacation and especially during periods of high stress in your life.
Exercise must stay a habit and by keeping consistent with a routine it will. Even if you only have 30 minutes. Go. Do. Something.
I have been known to tell myself when I’m dragging, “Okay PJ, just get your runners on and do 6 minutes. If after 6 minutes you are still hating life, you can stop.”
Now, why do I give myself 6 minutes? Because after 6 minutes the endorphins are starting to kick in. Because of those endorphins, there has never been a time where I have said, “Okay, I gave you 6 minutes. I’m done. ” Instead, I keep going.
Try this workout next time you want a short, but effective, workout.
Image: Wendy via Flickr
You know who I’m talking about. Those nay sayers who bring you down. In fact, I have actually fired a few Negative Nellies who come to me as clients . I don’t want these types of people infecting my personal life or my professional one.
I also try very hard not to be one myself. Never let the “oh woe is me” bullshit cloud your grey matter. Everyone has a story, and yours is no worse. In fact, yours could be insignificant next to someone else’s.
So, don’t do it because it will suck the life out you and the goals that you want to meet. Do what you have to do stay on point and positive about the experience of getting fit and healthy. Follow inspiring people on social media, have a motivational quote of the week on your fridge door, remind yourself that life could ALWAYS be a lot worse, and that where ever you are right now in life, this is exactly where you are supposed to be.
Mindset. It can kill you or it can help you conquer the world. Ask yourself, which one appeals to you?
Image: Ryan Synder via Flickr
If I am failing a bit nutritionally, I start food journaling. This one simple act has been known to get me back on track faster than Rob Ford can get himself into rehab.
Research has also proven that food journaling helps with weight loss. In a study published in the Science Daily, the lead researcher’s reported that people who food journaled lost double the amount of weight than those who didn’t.
I know from personal experience that if I have to type a certain food into my journal, I make sure it’s worthy of typing.
Image: Boemski via Flickr
We are now discovering that willpower is infinite and can be trained. So why is yours waning by 5pm, you wonder? Why is breakfast, for you, the healthiest meal of the day and by the time dinner hits, you cannot control your hunger anymore and start making bad decisions nutritionally?
It’s not your willpower, it’s your mindset.
Stanford researchers found that people who believe that they have a limited source of willpower displayed a lower ability to exercise self-control than those people who believe their willpower is unlimited. If the study participants deemed that they had “limited resources” – those who viewed willpower as a resource that can be easily depleted through mental exertion – then they showed worse response than those who thought otherwise.
How can you train your willpower? Start by pinpointing your toughest part of the day (it’s usually the evening for most people), plan for ways to avoid making nutrition and fitness mistakes (refer to tip #1), and then commit yourself to believing that you can exercise self-control anytime and you will start to.
The key is continuously training your willpower muscle.
Image: Shannon Kringen via Flickr
Working out 3-4 times a week does not cut it for keeping a svelte and healthy body. Research has proven this (click here to read an awesome blog we did on this), and we have start listening and putting it into action.
You see, 3-4 hours a week of exercise is not going to offset the damage of 4-8 hours of sitting a day. We all need to move a lot more, throughout the entire day.
I very rarely use my car. I walk everywhere. On those days that I am chained to my computer (which seems to be more and more as Go Fit Gals grows), then I make a point of getting up every 20 minutes to move.
Don’t roll your eyes either. You can take 120 seconds out of your 20 minutes to do the same. It’s not hard and your body will LOVE you for it. (Give our Desk Jockey Stretch Workout a try.)
Incorporate as much movement as you can every day, and you will maintain your body weight a lot easier, as well as offset the damages that sitting can do to the body.
The Go Fit Gals are experts in fitness and nutrition for women from new mommies to menopause. They provide the plans and the inspiration to get their members strong, healthy and confident through their unique online programs based on eating clean and training dirty.
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