As most of you know, I have just begun the process for earning my certification in personal training. While in my class this weekend, I had a chance to socialize with the other students. We were all different ages and came from all walks of life. Some were changing careers, others were working at gyms and needed advanced training, etc.
Although there were different reasons why we were in training, it became apparent that we were all similar in one main way – we were all very fit and very health conscious. It was great being around others who really enjoy fitness and overall wellness as much as I do – it just confirmed that I am not the only health nut!
But also, it was very interesting to hear what others did to stay fit and how they cope with setbacks, like injuries, overeating, etc. This made me think of my own health and fitness habits. To keep my weight down (average 107 at 5′ 1”) and to maintain a high level of fitness, I engage in several fit behaviors and have for many years. By now, some of these behaviors are done unconsciously, but some of them I make a very conscious effort to follow.
So, what are my fitness secrets? Let’s take a look…
- Water, Water, Everywhere: I drink tons of water. Not flavored water, not sparkling water, just plain old water. I drink about 8 glasses (8 oz) a day, but more when it’s
hot or when I’ve been exercising more than normal. Water helps keep me stay hydrated, of course, but it also helps me stay full.
- Run, Baby, Run: As most of you know, I run anywhere from 20-25 miles a week, about 4-6 miles 5 days a week. I try to do other things, like walk, yoga, stretching. But running seems to be the one thing that keeps my weight down the most.
- Give Me Strength: Aside from running, I also do strengthening exercises for my abs and legs, such as a variety of crunches and lunges. Strength training helps me build muscle and strong bones, which is definitely something I need now and will need later in life.
- Breakfast Break: I eat breakfast every day. Yes, like everyone else, this can be a challenge, especially when I’m prone to running late in the AM. But, I find that by eating breakfast every day, I eat less calories throughout the day, especially in the morning.
- Snack Attack: I try my best NOT to snack but sometimes it’s inevitable. When I do snack, I try to eat healthy things, like nuts, whole-grain crackers and cheese, yogurt, etc. The key word here is try!
- Calories Count: Although I do not write down everything that I eat each day, I mentally add up my calories throughout the day. I know that if I hit a certain amount by lunchtime, that I need to take it easy in the afternoon and evening.
- Make Adjustments: Even though I watch what I eat and exercise, there are still times of the year when I may gain a pound or two, like when I’m stressed about work or when I’m on vacation and let things slide a little. When this happens, I do a recovery effort by writing down everything that I eat for a week to see how many calories I’m really eating. Then, I make adjustments to my food intake by swapping in healthier foods, or eliminating unnecessary snacks. If this doesn’t seem to be working, I modify my exercise routine for the week by adding an extra day of running or adding 5-10 minutes more each day. By making these small adjustments, I’m usually back at my normal weight within a week.
- Treat Yourself Good: It’s true! I eat a dessert every day! Whether it’s ice cream, cookies, or a piece of cake, if I want it, I eat it. But, that also means that I plan to eat it every day. Having treats is a part of life, so when you plan for it on a daily basis, you can cut a few calories in other places (no chips at lunch, no bread at dinner, etc.), to allow for your treat calories.
- Healthy Happy Holidays: During the holidays, when there’s more than enough food to go around, I pick and choose my indulgences carefully. I try not to eat things that I could eat every day, like chips, cookies, etc., but save my calories for more festive appetizers that only come once a year.
So there you go! These are the basic strategies I use every day, all year round to stay healthy and fit. They may not work for everyone, but they definitely work for me!
Have a great night everyone!