Achieving a greater level of health and fitness is a goal that is shared by most, but achieved by few. In many cases, it’s not for a lack of motivation, but due to the simple fact that people don’t know where to begin and what works. While there is a slew of information on the subject, it can be difficult to understand what you can trust, especially when so much of it comes from rock-hard Adonises and Aphrodites who look like they were born chiseled out of iron.
What works for real people? Those of us who aren’t personal trainers and athletes and nutritionists with perfect genes? (Note: I am not saying trainers are not real people. I’m simply referring to the rest of we people who are not blessed with superhuman physiques. Take it as a compliment you sexy beasts you.)
To answer this question, I did a quick survey of everyday fitness enthusiasts. Below are a few things that worked for them.
Fitness Tips from Real People
“The #1 thing for me was changing my mindset toward eating. It’s easy to read and find “rules” for healthy living, but for me the base principle was to eat for fuel and think about how I would feel after eating to determine what and how much I should have. Of course my overall health and fitness plan goes much deeper and is constantly evolving, but by simply changing how I think then adjusting my behavior accordingly, I lost 70lbs without increasing my physical activity. It’s my opinion that the biggest obstacle on the path to health and well being is our mind.” Ben B.
“Keeping a food diary and being painfully honest with it. I’ve been tracking diligently for months now and knowing I have a “calorie budget” has really helped me curb my eating habits. Example: I was in a convenience store yesterday and really wanted one of those packs of mini donuts….looked at the calories and realized I would have to basically not have dinner to eat them. Not worth it. Put them down with no regrets.” Chaney C.
“Hit your core and don’t lie to yourself or make excuses. I really believe that totally relies on how committed you are. If you want results but aren’t willing to suffer a bit nothing will ever happen.” Melissa C.
“Cutting out most sugar, especially added sugar.” Anthony W.
“Lifting heavy stuff and putting it back down then lifting it back up again.” Patrick F.
“Try your best to stay away from fast food and processed foods. Stay away from most frozen foods and preservatives, eat whole foods, and make a workout plan that challenges you. Don’t get complacent with a workout, switch things up. Make a list of goals and stick to it.” Jeff T.
“Move your body!” Destiny F.
“When it comes to exercise, abandon the sense of “what you should do” and instead get in touch with what actually sparks joy in you. I will gladly go on a long hike or hit a kundalini yoga class with no hesitation, but I’d seriously rather die than run around the block. Putting joy first makes it vastly easier to keep up a routine.” Nick M.
“Make a hobby out of drinking lots of clean water every day.” Lulu S.
“Started taking mixed martial arts and Brazilian jiu jitsu classes. Helped me lose 35-40 lbs, reduced back pain, and reduce burn out.” Thomas H.
“I (usually) spend Sunday night meal prepping for the upcoming week: it keeps me from getting so hungry I eat things I shouldn’t impulsively. Breakfast is the most important meal to have pre-made. As someone who doesn’t do mornings, cooking is totally out of the question before 8am. Having a slice of quiche or frittata I can microwave and eat in the car on the way to work means I actually eat protein first thing in the morning and can have a lighter lunch.” Kelsey G.
“Signed up for a marathon several months in advance, then I HAD to train. Best decision I ever made regarding my health.” Roxanne R.
“Quit sugar.” Benjamin R.
“It’s critical that you think of exercise as a way of life (as it should be; humans were meant evolutionarily to exercise) rather than a short term project to pick up in order to lose ten pounds.” Josh P.
“I’ve been following a food program for 10 years, which has TRULY changed my life for the better. I was out of control with eating disorders and body dysmorphia before and that’s all gone now. I’m eating a healthy, reasonable diet and have tons of energy. I no longer eat sugar, drink alcohol or eat refined carbs, but it’s more than cutting stuff out, it’s about adding stuff in as well. It’s a long story.” Schneck T.
You probably noticed a few themes:
- Proper nutrition comes before all else
- Find a form of exercise you enjoy (and do it)
- Cut sugar out of your diet
For all practical purposes, this is a pretty solid equation for fitness. It might have come from amateurs, but if you ask just about any expert, they’ll tell you the same thing.
So build a consistent diet plan that doesn’t overdo it on calories, create an exercise routine involving activities you enjoy, and stop eating sugar. Sure, there are complex methods that dig deeper, but followed-through these basic tactics will work for just about anyone.
What helped you achieve a better level of health and fitness? Share your advice in the comments below.