Helping my clients develop healthy habits is the secret behind my coaching success over the last 10+ years working with hundreds of people.
Using these habits helped me lose 75 pounds and get fitter and stronger than I had ever been. Learning these rules and developing consistent healthy eating and fitness habits dug me out of that unhealthy hole I had dug for myself and gave me the confidence I needed. So much so, that I ended up dedicating my life to helping others create their own healthy habits with the hope that I could bring as much joy and happiness to them as it did me.
If you tune out the noise and focus on developing these habits, it will work for you too.
Following the step below will give you clarity and guidance toward building these healthy habits. But first we need to get the lies and confusion out of the way before we move on.
YOU HAVE BEEN LIED TO!
Everything you see and read about fitness is just a hook to sell you on the next fitness fad.
I’m talking about all the common fitness promises we hear about daily:
These kinds of programs and ideas lead to all the reasons people don’t stick to working out.
WHY YOU DON'T STICK TO WORKING OUT
The most likely thing that will happen by following the quick-fix, extreme, all out intensity approach sold to you is:
Essentially, we have a fast start leading to a quick burnout and layoff.
You end up on the merry-go-round of high motivation- exercise is life- broccoli- I can’t keep this up- I can’t do this- donuts- I quit. Repeat.
I don’t want to see you waste another day on that cycle; I want to teach you the method to developing healthy habits that become a part of you for the rest of your life.
These are the steps that I stumbled upon and that I use with my clients, both at the gym and online. Based on science and real-world experience.
Ultimately, I ended up developing healthy eating and fitness habits that got me fitter, healthier and feeling better about myself. The result of developing those habits was a lean, strong, pain-free body that is effortless to maintain at this point in my life over 12 years later.
I credit getting healthier and fitter to avoiding being swept up in fads and extreme fitness programs; instead focusing on an approach I could turn into sustainable habits. Resulting in a training and lifestyle plan that is guaranteed to build a lean and strong body without the common injuries, burnout and plateaus that most programs have.
My approach doesn’t have any grand promises of losing 21 pounds in 21 days or getting you to deadlift 300 pounds in 12 weeks. But, if you are tired of the motivation merry-go-round and ready for something real, then you are going to do great.
Now that we are clear on the obstacles we are looking to avoid; we can start focusing on the steps to follow and finally create some healthy habits we can sustain for life.
THE STEPS FOR CREATING SUSTAINABLE HEALTHY HABITS
Step #1: Focus on Starting Small
We can’t expect to get up off the couch and start doing intense daily workouts. Not building a solid fitness base and not establishing proper recovery habits (nutrition, sleep and stress management) are all things that we must account for to benefit from any exercise program.
When we try to start off with the “perfect” plan, we are doomed. It takes a lot of focus to create a new habit. Taking on too much up front is just going to leave us discouraged and overwhelmed. Let’s start with a simple exercise and nutrition component to get some momentum going and build our foundation.
Even if you are already advanced, I recommend circling back and making sure you have some of these foundational habits automatically working for you.
I had to do this with my mobility and stress management and only wish I would have worked on them sooner.
Some of these options are for those of us who are starting from scratch, while there are some for those of us who have been working on our fitness, but just struggle with being consistent over the long haul.
Exercise Option Examples:
Work on one option from each category every day for the next week or two. You will notice some momentum building as you start knocking out these simple, easy habits daily. Honestly, you can lose weight and improve your health drastically just focusing on improving your nutrition and walking daily. But, if you are ready to build a lean, strong body that gives you the physical and mental confidence you are searching for, move on to the next step.
Step #2: Dedicate One Hour a Day
One hour a day is 4.17% of your day. Think of it as time dedicated for “you.”
Now that you have some momentum and are feeling good from your focus on Step #1, it is time to look at your schedule and plan an hour to dedicate to your exercise habit.
In my early days with myself and clients, I made the mistake of trying to make working out the least time consuming as possible. Back then, I would recommend just dedicating 2 or 3 days a week to quick workouts with that being all that was needed.
The problem with that approach is it is easy to fall out of the habit the other days or worse yet, not even develop the habit. What happens is we end up scheduling something else during our workout time the days we don’t work out, which means that our time isn’t being ‘protected’. Ultimately, not protecting that time leads to pushing it aside even on our workout days!
Lesson learned: For long-term sustainability, make an everyday commitment.
Here is the kicker:
This does not mean we are going to have a “killer” workout every day. That kind of approach is why we keep burning out and quitting, remember?!
Creating a lean, fit body is way more than just the workout and ending up on your back gasping for oxygen every day. You see, working out breaks your body down, then your nutrition and lifestyle habits help repair everything. Training, nutrition and lifestyle habits are synergistic in helping you build lean muscle, burn fat and improve your fitness.
Your ‘Fitness Habit Hour’ is all-encompassing and time you use for:
The key to the second rule is finding a good balance of hard/easy fitness days. Hard and easy being about the impact it has on your body and the recovery it is going to demand. Hard days cause damage to your central nervous, muscular and immune systems. Easy days are restorative and aids recovery of all those systems.
In the beginning, it is more important to block off the time and dedicate something to it. Even if that means you change your plan on going to the gym and end up going for a walk instead.
That is fine!
If you get sick or your car breaks down, you can use that hour to research healthy meal recipes to try. Just do something to build on your healthy habits every single day. Ideally at the same time.
Step #3: Build a Lean, Strong, Fit Body with the Basics
Now it is time to find out how to structure your workouts. When it comes to building lean muscle and burning fat while staying pain-free, you need to structure your workouts around movement patterns.
Build your strength workouts around movement patterns. The 7 movement patterns are:
You also want to exercise your heart and develop a good base of conditioning, so you have the endurance you need.
Most people make the mistake of making every conditioning session a competition, with the goal of getting tired.
We know better than that though.
Our goal is to improve heart health and endurance. To do this we want an 80/20 balance.
Low-intensity conditioning work should make up 80% of our conditioning workouts. It helps you stay lean and improves recovery between strength training workouts. It’s tremendously valuable and must be a part of your program. 2-3 days a week of hiking, jogging, biking, rowing or swimming for 30-60 minutes with your heart rate between 60-70% of your MaxHR will work great.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can round out the other 20%. Try doing one session of 15-30 minutes per week.
To do HIIT correctly, you want to go as hard and fast as you can for 20-60 seconds, raising your heart rate to between 70-90% of your MaxHR. Then you take a break for 40-60 secs or until your heart rate recovers to an aerobic range (about 60-65% of your MaxHR). Repeat for 15-30 minutes. The bike, rowing machines and running sprints are perfect for HIIT workouts.
Step #4: Develop Healthy Nutrition Habits
Nutrition is a complicated subject that is full of conflicting opinions and cult-like followings. You can pick from any one of a million diet books and crash diets. But they all result in short-term weight loss fixes with long-term negative impacts on our psyche towards food. If you want to have a real chance at losing weight and building muscle, you need to focus on developing healthy nutrition habits a priority.
For a lean, strong body you simply need to focus on eating whole foods, not processed foods, including both plants and animals (depending if you’re vegan or not) in the right proportions.
Your grocery list should consist mainly of these foods:
Don’t try and make a complete overhaul at once.
Work on one thing every two weeks. Aim for progress, not perfection.
Make progress towards improving your nutrition following these steps:
Step #5: Take Recovery Seriously
Now that you have your training and nutrition covered, I want to make sure you are recovering properly. Nutrition and proper hydration are a big part of recovery, so don’t forget that.
The next biggest piece is sleep.
There are a ton of other recovery techniques and avenues, but for this article, I want you to understand the importance of consistent, quality sleep.
You need to get 7-8 hours a night!
Improve your sleep with these tips:
WHAT TO DO:
This whole approach works because it allows you to be more consistent. You get the best results when you can stick with fitness day in and out, over the years. Even if you can jump out in the beginning “doing everything right,” it won’t matter if you aren’t still doing it 3 years later.
Take the time to build a foundation and create the habits needed for success. You won’t be sorry.
Step 1: Focus on starting small. Pick one small, simple exercise and nutrition habit to get started.
Step 2: Dedicate one hour a day. Carve out an appointment with yourself every day to work on your fitness. Think of it as your wellness hour that can encompass workouts, nutrition, recovery or relaxation.
Step 3: Build a lean, strong, fit body with the basics. Utilize a smart, balanced approach to your workouts to build a lean, strong and fit body that gives you confidence.
Step 4: Develop healthy nutrition habits. Get off the yo-yo diet train and start building healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Focus on eating 3 protein and veggie-based meals a day.
Step 5: Take recovery seriously. Work towards getting 7-8 quality hours of sleep a night and plan recovery strategies.
Taking action is all that’s left. One hour a day. One day at a time. I promise if you commit to your healthy habits every day… you will have more confidence, balance and happiness in all other areas of your life.
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Mitch helps people lose unwanted pounds, boost their energy levels and turn their bodies into 24/7 fat burning machines using his Metabolic Adaptation Protocol™.