Fitness people can be scary (until you're one of them). The social media posts of green shakes and the early morning wake up calls appear to be strange forms of self-inflicted torture. If it's not your lifestyle, it seems like a lot of work, a lot of energy, and a bit intimidating. And yet, there's something that keeps you coming back to those people. You wonder why they feel so motivated and how they manage to stick to a routine when you're just trying to figure out how to fit a quick lunch break into your hectic schedule. You're not trying to go crazy, but you want to achieve that "everyday healthy" kind of life that you can actually sustain. People who succeed at living a healthy lifestyle have a few key things in common. These elements transcend the type of workout you prefer and the specific dietary regimen you abide by. These are the truths that we don't spend enough time talking about, but they are the ones that are most important for long-term success.
it's not about a goal
Crash diets and fitness fads are often centered around a single goal: lose x amount of weight in x amount of time. We are under the misguided impression that, in order to be healthy, we have to chase after a big goal that will leave us ready to conquer the Insanity DVDs without breaking a sweat. But, what happens when you reach the goal? You've been exhausting your body to get to a certain level, and then you don't know how to maintain it without getting completely burnt out. However, people who are successful at living a healthy lifestyle aren't doing it this way. They've made fitness and healthy choices part of their daily routine. That way, if they miss a couple of days or take a vacation, they aren't overwhelmed by the fear of "falling off the bandwagon".
mix it up
Even people who swear by certain fitness programs (like me) vary their routine. Sometimes, your body just needs to try something new, and it's fun to experience different forms of exercise! I'm not a huge runner, but I love to run on vacation. It's an awesome way to experience a new place. I'm at my Pure Barre studio anywhere from 4-7 days a week, but some days, I decide not to take Pure Barre, and I do something else! Normally, my hiatus just reminds me why I love Pure Barre the most, but I always learn something from trying a new technique, and it keeps me inspired.
we cheat, too
Unless you have a severe food allergy that keeps you from a wide variety of foods, there isn't a single "healthy" person in the world who doesn't have cheat days. Melissa Hartwig, founder of the Whole30 program that I just finished, has written several blogs about her own eating habits, including the foods she loves to splurge on. Balance isn't promoted to confuse us, it's designed to allow everyone to live a healthy lifestyle in the real world, where temptations and life happen. You can't be perfect in your nutrition choices 100% of the time, so live a little.
it's all about food
People who are healthy on the inside (aka not just what they look like) know that living a healthy lifestyle is primarily about what you put in your body, not how you exercise it. Being healthy isn't just looking a certain way, it's about taking care of the body you've been given and learning about the way food impacts you. This aspect takes the most discipline, but it also contains the greatest benefits.
sleep is a big deal
Early morning wake up calls are fantastic, but people who take care of their bodies on a daily basis understand the value of sleeping. You have to go to bed early in order to get up early and be rested enough to actually do work in your fitness routine. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but if you're feeling constantly exhausted, stress is going to take a negative toll on your immune system, physical health, and emotional well being.
If you haven't been able to reach your health and fitness goals, ask yourself if these 5 tips are true for you. If the answer is no to several of them, chances are that you aren't building a lifestyle that is going to be sustainable in the long run.