Over the years of being a personal trainer I’ve learned the many benefits of building habits into daily life.
From eating fish and chips, dominos and large bags of maltesers every week as a teenager, I’ve now managed to refine this down to a largely healthy lifestyle while still being able to be pretty relaxed with meals out and chocolate (chocolate will never leave my life).
I’m very far from perfect and having this all nailed, but wanted to share some habits and routines that help me. Doing these things most of the time makes it a lot easier to indulge and just enjoy life at other times.
It means I can have my cake and damn well eat it when I want to and still stay relatively in shape. I hope some of these might help you too.
These are all things I aim to do…
• 10,000 steps per day.
This doesn’t always happen, but if it doesn’t it’s usually cos I’ve done weights or something else instead. Since getting a fitbit it’s inspired me to generally be more active and tick off those 10,000 steps as often as possible. Many of my clients have found this too.
• Weights training 2 – 3 times per week.
I don’t care about being the strongest or being super lean, bit I love feeling fit, toned, slim, strong and being able to eat more food. Weights training allows all this to happen and is an integral part of the week.
• Planning exercise into each day.
This helps a lot. Exercise gets booked in just like any other appointment. Treat it as non-negotiable and it tends to get done. I train with my mum every Tuesday and Saturday, so those slots are booked into my diary each week. Other days will be a mixture of cycling, usually another weights session, and walking.
• Staying aware of calories.
I don’t usually track and record everything I eat, but have done in the past and found it hugely helpful. It taught me enough that I now just stay roughly aware and occasionally go back to my fitness pal if I feel I’m eating too much. It’s so easy to underestimate calories so I am in the habit of checking the nutrition labels before deciding whether to eat something and how much of it to eat.
• Weighing certain foods.
Mainly oats, pasta, rice, cheese, cereal, potato and nut butters. It’s so easy to overconsume these types of foods and whenever I try to eyeball it it’s always more than I thought. Popping a few things on the scales is really quick and easy and stops needless extra calories stacking up.
• Getting breakfast stuff ready the night before.
This is usually protein porridge or protein pancakes, so I get bowls / spoons / oats / protein powder / grater (for courgette ) / my special knife (lol) / blender / spatula / frying pan / whatever I need out the night before. Saves faffing around in the morning – just get up and bish bash bosh.
• Planning food the night before.
Knowing what you’re having makes it so much easier to take / get / order what you need rather than trying to wing it each day. Winging it rarely leads to decent long term results.
• Aiming for protein and veggies throughout the day.
Usually it’s protein (porridge or pancakes) with berries to start the day, then it’s protein and veggies after that. Plenty of other things get eaten too but that’s what I base my meals around.
• Looking up menus online.
This is partly cos I am just a bit food obsessed, but it does really help as it allows you to plan your day much better. If you find there’s a meal you really want that’s a bit calorific, you can still enjoy it by maybe doing an extra walk and eating lighter leading up to it. Or you can pick a healthy option and then enter the restaurant having already decided, which makes it much easier not to get tempted by anything else when you’re there
• Cooking up extra portions of dinner and always having spares in the freezer.
Always helpful when needing a quick and easy lunch or dinner. I don’t label things (probably should) so also get to enjoy the surprise factor of finding out what the meal actually is as it defrosts.
• Having low calorie snacks in stock.
Really good for when you’re really craving something to eat but don’t want to consume too many calories that you really probably don’t need anyway. Some favourites are Hartleys 10 cal jellies, strawberries, options hot chocolates, mini sweet chilli rice crackers, and twister mini ice lollies. Also recently discovered McVities digestive thins but these are dangerously good and come only in one big packet…
• Getting up at pretty much the same time every day.
Sleeping in too long at the weekend can throw you out of sync even more when you need to get up early again on Monday. I find it works better to get up when I wake up (usually around 6.30am) and get to bed a bit earlier if feeling tired.
• Taking the stairs whenever possible.
Instead of getting the lift or standing on an escalator, burn a few extra calories and build your fitness by powering (or just walking) up the steps.
• Aiming to switch off social media around 9pm
Doesn’t always happen but this is the aim. Allows for sufficient wind down time before bed.
• Reading for 20-30 minutes before going to sleep
Time to chill and let the brain settle. Definitely find this helps with sleep as opposed to staring at a screen.
So there you go!
Are any of these habits things that already help you?
Any you might start doing?
I’d love to know
As always just drop me a message if I can help with anything.