Fitness and Wellness

12 Strategies For Thriving in Life

We get it. We’re all busy…

…sometimes too busy to squeeze in a workout—until something breaks or shuts down. And, if you’ve ever lost part of your health and wellbeing, even temporarily, you know it clouds everything else you do—or can’t do. So, it’s not rocket science, but here are some tips on making fitness a way of life versus a periodic thing.

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  1. Be Consistent – Build a Habit

Getting and staying fit is not an episode or a season in your life; it’s a way of life. Many years ago we worked with a trainer to build an on-the-road workout regiment. Pre-COVID we traveled the globe and wanted exercises we could do anywhere, anytime. In other words, no excuses. She said, “Carve out 20 minutes a day for a workout. If you can’t find 20 minutes in your day, you have a big problem.”

Here’s the thing, it’s easier to build a workout habit of 20 minutes a day than it is to get into the hour-or-nothing mode. And it’s easier to be intense, to give it your all for 20 minutes.

And these days there is NO excuse. There are countless online courses, free and for purchase to keep for a lifetime. Daily OM is worth exploring; it’s one example of an online resource offering a variety of workouts, healthy eating tips and mindfulness insights at various price points.

But remember, no exercise program works if you don’t do it consistently. Establish the 20-minute habit and then build on it.

“Getting and staying fit is not an episode or a season in your life; it’s a way of life.

2. Eat to Fuel

You are what you eat (and drink). Do you use food to comfort and soothe or fuel? Is it for purpose or pleasure? Not that it has to be an either/or. For the “foodies” reading, we’re not against the enjoyment of delicious food. But you need to understand, calories and content matter. Healthy eating is about eating in moderation. How to eat healthy starts with understanding when, why and what you eat. It’s about eating to fuel not to fill an emotional void.

We start with what you eat because we know people who are regulars at the gym or run every day. Yet, their fitness is not improving. They’re not toned and have very little muscle mass. We also know people who regularly attend Pilates or some other group class and immediately after, head to the local Starbucks for a decadent coffee and pastry. After the workout, they take in more calories than they’ve just burned and wonder, “Why no change or why am I ‘gaining’ in all the wrong areas?”

Bottom line: what you put into your body will either help, hinder or hurt your fitness and wellness. It will either leverage your workout regimen or cancel it out.

Be warned though, if you are on a quest to lose weight fast through a diet d’jour, good luck! Most speedy weight loss programs, fad diets, miracle weigh loss foods and supplements are fleeting or worse a hoax. Healthy eating is a personal experience, it has a lot to do with genealogy, metabolism and life style. One person might thrive as a vegan and another might feel like they are flatlining and need more animal-based proteins for energy and performance. Healthy eating is a one size fits one, it is a personal experience. Once you figure out what best fuels your body and mind then it should become a life style. Healthy eating is not a sprint, it is a life-long marathon.

The evidence is clear, if you want to commit to a life-long marathon for improving your fitness and wellness, you have to be conscious of what you consume. Start by asking yourself a few critical questions to help guide your journey.

What are your goals:

  • Lose weight?

  • Maintain current weight?

  • Gain muscle mass?

  • Get more toned?

  • Increase your endurance?

  • Gain greater cardio stamina?

If your goal is to lose weight, then it’s simple, you have to burn more calories than you consume. You have to monitor the kinds of calories you consume as well as when you consume those calories.

If your goal is to maintain your weight, you’ll have to regulate your intake against your output. If you want to build muscle, tone, increase endurance or gain more cardio stamina, all will require different approaches for accomplishing your goal.

  1. eat clean and work out: it’s not an “either-or” proposition

Fitness and wellness are the results of eating clean AND working out; it’s not an “either-or” proposition. One resource we recommend is following VeganBowls.com on instagram, visiting their website or ordering their cook book. We suggest it, not to advance that becoming a vegan is the only way to eat clean, it simply offers clean eating recipes. And it is easy to add or substitute animal-based proteins if that’s what you need or prefer.

And again, DailyOM is also a rich resource for learning more about healthy eating options.

Here are some basics on eating clean:

  • Choose good carbs, not no carbs. Whole grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds are your best bet.

  • Pay attention to the protein package. Fish, poultry, nuts and beans are excellent choices.

  • Choose healthy fats—plant oils, avocados, nuts and fish. Limit foods high in saturated fat—fatty and processed meat, pastries, butter, full-fat dairy products—and avoid foods with trans fat (Fast-food, frozen pizza, crackers, chips, etc.).

  • Load up on fiber—vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains.

  • With vegetables and fruits, go for color and variety—dark green, yellow, orange and red.

  • Calcium is important, but milk isn’t even your best source. Try yogurt, vegetables and beans.

  • Eat whole fruits, go easy on the juice and skip sugary drinks. But stay hydrated—water is the very best to quench your thirst.

  • Eat less salt.

  • A daily multivitamin, including extra vitamin D, is a great nutrition insurance policy.

  • Be intentional. Studies have shown that being bored contributes to an increase in overall calorie consumption. If you eat when bored, find an activity that replaces your boredom.

  • Be practical, not perfect. There are some things you simply know you aren’t going to give up. Ditch the shame and indulge once a week or every other week instead of every day.

4. You Gotta Sweat

Keep it simple. Most trainers agree that you need to incorporate three things into your routine: STRENGTH TRAINING to maintain or increase muscle density, CARDIO or aerobic exercise to expand heart and lung capacity and STRETCH.

Even if you are walking 20 minutes a day, walk at a pace that causes you to break a sweat. We’re amazed at the number of people we see in gyms who read while on the treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical. They are often overweight. Our personal trainer told us, “If you’re able to read while working out, you are NOT working out hard enough.”

If you’re not sweating, stop wondering why your workouts are ineffective—you have the answer.

5. Make it Fun

If it’s not fun you probably won’t do it, let alone make it a lifestyle. Studies have found that 95 percent of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, compared to a 76 percent completion rate for those who went into the program alone. The friend group was also 42 percent more likely to maintain their weight loss.

Accountability to friends appears to push you harder. Opting for a group workout at least a few times each week may push you past the threshold you tend to hit when working out solo—whether it’s time, intensity or both.

So if it is fun and with friends, exercise can become a way of life. Whether it’s biking, swimming, walking, running, dancing, interval training, cross-fit, yoga, Pilates or something else, keep experimenting until you find WHAT you enjoy and WHO motivates you the most.

Then it will become something you love not something loathe.

6. Make it Convenient

You don’t need fancy exercise gear, gimmicky equipment or expensive gym memberships to get fit. There are literally hundreds of exercises that can be done using your own body weight (sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, squats and lunges, etc.) in very little space. Some of the most popular workout series (P90X, Insanity Focus T25 and PiYO) work every part of the body with little or no equipment. Rock climbing and skiing might be high on your list, but if you don’t live in the mountains, find something that’s easy to get into, something you can do every day.

7. Consider Your Schedule

Some people know that the day will get away from them if they don’t get a workout in, in the morning. Others use an end-of-the-day workout to dispel stress and get a good night’s sleep. Some people are morning people and wake up with lots of energy, others don’t. Try to find a combination of what fits your schedule and when your body has the most energy. This also ensures that you will show up and get the most out of your exercise routine.

8. Be Realistic about Getting Better

Nothing will kill your commitment and resolve faster than being unrealistic about your goals. This is not about perfection, it’s about showing up. Who cares if you can’t run a 5K right out of the chute? Who cares if you can’t bench press 200 pounds or swim 10 laps? The important thing is to START and then concentrate on just getting better—adding time, distance, weight and intensity. This is a way-of-life mindset.

9. Find Some Buddies

Whether you walk, run, spin, dance or lift, find some people who share your goals for making fitness a way of life. Perhaps it won’t be the same person every time, spread the wealth.

There is a lot of research to suggest that you become more like the people you hang with, so why not team up with people you can encourage and who will encourage you toward a healthier lifestyle? When you hang with people who are into health, wellness and nutrition, who walk the talk, it can motivate you to do the same. 

And another added benefit, studies consistently show that people tend to lose more weight if they spend time with fit friends. So the more time you spend with fit friends the more weight you are likely to lose.

We have friend who holds meetings with people during walks around the lake. And we know another executive who holds meetings in a room with no chairs as a strategy for improving posture, focus and efficiency.

We’ve borrowed from both practices and there is no doubt, we’ve benefited. Both are worth trying.

10. Listen to your body

As you experiment, listen to your body, it will tell you what works. All of our adult lives Jackie has been a fitness fanatic and has done many different kinds of workouts. But when she discovered spin and later cycling, she lost inches while gaining good muscle tone. Spinning and cycling work for her on two dimensions. Both yield the desired physical results, and second, she loves doing them. Cycling is her creative space and often, her church.

11. Call on the gurus

Whether you are just starting or have been working out for a long time, advice from a seasoned trainer can be worth its weight in gold. A good trainer will build variety into your workout and keep it interesting, not to mention hold you accountable and help you establish new exercises. If you want to get more for less, that is more results in less time, a trainer can show you how to isolate muscles, expand your cardio capacity and get a better stretch to get a bigger bang for your time and money. 

However, choosing a trainer is a very personal choice. Go back to your goals and choose a trainer who is best suited to assist you in accomplishing those goals. Keep in mind a trainer is someone you need to have chemistry with, so be vigilant in selecting a trainer who will motivate, challenge and customize a routine or a series of routines just for YOU.

You are the client and you are paying a trainer to guide and coach you toward the achievement of your goals.

12. Don’t Get in a Hurry

Be patient. Too many people get discouraged and give up when they don’t see results right away. Or, they overdo it and get extremely sore or get hurt and then throw in the towel. Our friend Jerry Warren, one of the foremost ski instructors in the world, says this about skiing, “If it feels the same it probably is the same.” In other words, if it doesn’t feel new, fresh and a bit awkward, you’re probably not changing and growing much.

The same could be said for workouts. If you’re not a bit sore and taxed, you’re probably not doing much. Balance and moderation are they keys. Press enough to get out of your comfort zone, but be patient enough to stay in it for the long haul.

And if you need a bit of motivation, you’re normal! Scroll through Pinterest with a fitness search. You’ll find various pinners who appeal to you. Follow those who inspire you, it works for us and it’s well worth a 5 minute scroll. Here is a place to start, perhaps some of the quotes that inspire us will lead you to a community who provides a similar kind of inspiration for you.

Warning, fitness and wellness is only one of six important life dimensions we all want to thrive in but, insecurities, resignation and fear of failure get in our way.

Grow Resilience  |  Do Brave Work  |  Lead & Live EPIC

Fitness and Wellness is one of 6 life dimensions we explore in our new online course CRUSH FEAR. We’ll guide you through 8 life-changing modules designed to help you thrive in work and in life.

Learn More About CRUSH FEAR

resources

DailyOM classes are typically available at three price points.
Pinterest is a rich source of recipes and valuable workouts, all classified by goals you want to achieve.
Game Changers Documentary, in this recommendation, we’re not advocating an all-vegan lifestyle. We simply offer it as an interesting perspective on the value of adding more plant-based proteins into your diet. The documentary is pro-vegan and follows the journey of many elite vegan athletes as they train, prepare for, and compete in world-class events.
Younger Next Year, (He and She versions), Chris Crowley
4X4 Diet, Erin Oprea
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health, Gary Taubes
What Happy People Know, Dan Baker
The Blue Zones, 9 Lessons for Living Longer, Dan Buettner
The TB12 Method: How to Do What You Love, Better and for Longer, Tom Brady
The Women’s Health Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts: A Leaner, Sexier, Healthier You–In 15 Minutes a Day!, Selene Yeager
The Men’s Health Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts: A Leaner, Stronger Body–in 15 Minutes a Day!, Selene Yeager