The perfect formula for fitness is always a hot topic for discussion and brings with it dozens, if not hundreds of options to achieve that “ideal” fit body you are sure will bring you happiness. Each season fills magazine stands with covers that boast the newest and greatest diet plan and the up-and-coming new fitness craze that guarantees increased fat burn with half the amount of time. The overwhelming amount of options can make knowing how to stay fit and knowing what fitness regime will work for you feel not just daunting, but impossible to decipher.
It doesn’t have to be that complicated.
After almost ten years in the fitness industry, I certainly have seen firsthand many attempts at new fades and new scientific breakthroughs emerge as well, however, in the sea of options, there are a few fundamentals that ring true, and will always ring true. I wanted to share them with you because I want you to know that you can live a fit life and that your body can be sustainable at its healthiest and happiest weight – and that it doesn’t always have to be unbearably hard along the way.
The other day a friend asked me why I work out six days per week, and I answered, “why wouldn’t I? I love it – anytime I workout, even if it is just for twenty minutes, I feel like a million bucks, my mind is detoxed from stress and I believe I can conquer the world.” Being physically active for me makes me feel alive and also like the best version of myself. Working out is a lifestyle for me – it is my daily therapy and it brings me joy, and I believe that it can be the same for everyone. I don’t believe you have to workout six days per week like I do, but I do know that you have to prioritize and incorporate it into your weekly routine. There’s no excuse to not have time for your body and your physical health – you only get one body for life, so you have to care for it and honor it! It reminded me that there are three basic, foundational fitness essentials, often overlooked, that must not be forgotten if you truly want to live out the healthiest and happiest version of you.
Here are three things about fitness I need you to remember:
FITNESS ESSENTIAL #1:
It’s a lifestyle, not a calorie-burning mission.
Too often we focus on the wrong thing: on burning calories and on how many workouts we get in per week … all in the effort to reach a certain “finish line” of success with our bodies. It’s okay to have a weight loss goal, or a body fat percentage goal, or a performance goal, in fact, those are great things and serve as incredible motivators. What’s not okay is to let those goals be the only reason you are and stay active. The key to successful fitness is to make fitness a lifestyle, not a goal-based action. Workout and be active because you have goals, but also because you love the endorphin release, the stress relief and the physical movement of your body in action. A lifestyle of fitness is one that naturally prioritizes and incorporates all levels of activity on a consistent basis throughout the week – including cardio “workouts” of varying intensities, strength training, leisure walking, and any physical activity that brings you joy (like biking, swimming, dancing, sports, playing actively with your children, etc.)
FITNESS ESSENTIAL #2:
Nutrition is 80% of the results you get from an active lifestyle .
You can’t sneak food back your body, though we sometimes convince ourselves that that extra little bit of chocolate won’t make a difference or that donut you ate doesn’t really “count,” … over time, everything adds up. Achieving and maintaining an ideal body weight is less about working out and more about eating clean. Eating clean means that you prioritize greens, fruits, lean meats, healthy fats and unpackaged and unprocessed foods, and that you are working towards having a healthy awareness and balance in your relationship with food. In the clean eating lifestyle there is of course still room for indulgences and sweets in moderation, which is easy to maintain once you establish a healthy relationship with food (rather than a moralistic relationship, where food is “good” or “bad” and where guilt plays a role into how you feel when you choose what to eat), permitting you to eat intuitively. Ultimately, 80% of what you look like physically is a result of what you eat – the other 20% comes from your workouts and how active you are in your lifestyle, so what you eat matters. Your food is your fuel to carry you through life, so choose well and power your engine up to be at its highest performance.
FITNESS ESSENTIAL #3:
Your body is a beautiful machine, capable of more than you realize if you just stay consistent and keep showing up every day in an active way.
Too many people don’t reach their fitness goals because they are simply too hard on themselves, and well, outright mean sometimes. When you are motivated to change by expecting perfection out of yourself, you will find yourself in many a moment of self-sabotage and regression, sending you into the infamous and toxic yo-yo cycle of dieting and weight gain. Avoid the craziness of back-and-forth results by acknowledging right from the start – and then every day after – that your body is a beautiful gift. Your body is magnificent, no matter the weight it is at, and to help your body reach its optimal fitness level, you must honor it with kindness and appreciation. When you learn to love the skin you’re in – even when that skin isn’t quite yet at your aesthetic “ideal” – then you will find a deeper and more consistent intrinsic motivation within yourself to keep showing up everyday in an active way. You will know that being active isn’t just physical, it’s a full engagement into life, and it will fill your soul in its overflow. Moreover, the more you move your body, the more you will see just how amazingly capable your body is of doing some pretty incredible things and of taking on challenges. An active lifestyle teaches you that you can always do more than you think you can, and that truth, when translated into all areas of life is revolutionary.
Learn to love the body you’re in today by leaning into a lifestyle of being active. Fitness is not a punishment, nor a “work”out … it is an opportunity to clear your mind, sweat out some toxins and increase your mood and natural endorphins. Keep your eyes on your own journey and look for activities you enjoy and that bring you joy, and in doing so, you will find yourself leaning more and more into a lifestyle of fitness and will find your body naturally morphing into its ideal peak fitness.