When it comes to getting and staying fit, words such as purpose, action, drive, enjoyment, consistency, dedication, adaptation, passion, transparency, follow-through, and achievement come to mind, at least for me. That is because results don’t happen without consistent action, either positive or negative ones. Positive consistency (developing habits supportive of goals), such as eating healthy and exercising regularly, usually leads to desirable end results. Negative consistency (developing habits unsupportive of goals), such as eating poorly and being inactive, typically leads to undesirable results.
This is, of course, is very obvious and well known. So why don’t people follow this logic in their daily lives? We have 1,440 minutes each day, and we need only a fraction of that time to dedicate to fitness-related actions, and the rest of our time simply needs to be spent avoiding bad habits. Sounds easy enough, right? If it were that easy, January 17th wouldn’t be the most common day that people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions. By the way, how are yours coming along this year?
Today I would like to share five quick tips to help you get and stay fit.
First, thank you to all of you who have read my latest book, Shred It!, endorsed by 28 world-renowned experts including Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Julieanna Hever, RD, and Rich Roll, to name a few (yes, I’m very proud of this). You no doubt picked up a tone in my writing style, that is one of accountability and transparency. I encourage readers to have a meaningful reason behind their pursuit of greater levels of health and fitness, and I expect consistency, accountability, and transparency to support the reader’s goals. Far too often, people put in a 40% effort, expecting a 100% return on an investment they didn’t make, but that’s not how health and fitness work. My approach calls upon science, metrics, logic, success stories, experience, and reason as its foundation, which is why it works so well.
If your daily nutrition requirement to maintain weight, based on BMR + caloric expenditure through activity (i.e.; real ‘useful’ metrics) is to consume 2,300 calories per day, but you routinely consume 3,800 calories per day without knowing it, you will likely gain weight. If your goal is to maintain the same weight or lose weight, you are unlikely to achieve your goal due to habits that are unsupportive of your desired outcome. There are countless examples (and of course, I provide many of them, in great detail, in Shred It!), illustrating why some people will likely achieve health and fitness goals and why others likely won’t. These compelling examples really matter because they map onto reality and apply to you and everyone you know.
Here are some tips to put you in a position to increase your likelihood of achieving your health and fitness goals:
Tip #1 – Determine what you want to achieve in the areas of health and fitness. Be specific, and find meaningful reasons to support your pursuit. Qualify this desire and compare it to other priorities in your life such as spending time with family and social time, work, errands, hobbies, checking Facebook notifications and watching YouTube, and see where this fits into your life in the Big Picture. Write your goals down, tell a few people you trust who can help keep you accountable, and work to develop habits that will support your goals, while detaching yourself from the habits that prevent these goals from being achieved. I find that the more meaningful the reason behind your health or fitness pursuit, the more likely you are to achieve it.
Tip #2 – Understand where you are starting from. Don’t give yourself too much, or not enough credit. Just be honest and accurate. What is your daily caloric expenditure based on your gender, age, height, weight, and activity level? What is your daily caloric intake? Do you understand the important difference between nutrient-density and caloric-density? Do you apply appropriate principles into your diet/lifestyle based on these factors? Determine these metrics for yourself so you have a baseline and foundation to work from. There are easily accessible calculators online to discover these figures for yourself. Search BMR calculator and Harris-Benedict calculator online to get started.
Tip #3 – Learn from others who have achieved what you desire to achieve. There is often pride and honor associated paving your own way and carving out your own path (I know, I became a vegan athlete before the Internet came around, back in the mid-90’s), but that isn’t always the most efficient way to reach your goals. It often brings a pat on the back, but it could cost you a lot of time when you could learn lessons from others who have been down that road before. Find role models who have had success in the specific areas of your own pursuit. Study what they did to get where they ended up. There were probably a lot of setbacks, lessons learned, and ups and downs all along the way, before they ended up where they are now. Trial and error doesn’t have to be yours, it could be learned from others.
Tip #4 – Once you have combined tips 1-3, implement what you’ve learned into a program or approach that you can follow with consistency, developing positive habits. A health or fitness program tailored to your specific interests will put you on a path to success. This generally means you’ll ensure your diet (based on caloric intake, not weight or volume) is primarily comprised of plant-based whole foods, and that you will be exercising with regularity, perhaps four to five days a week. You can also establish daily exercise habits, such as my push-ups and crunches every day approach, ensuring I do ‘something’ to burn additional calories daily.
Tip #5 – Evaluate your progress every few weeks. Is what you’re doing working? Is something working exceptionally well, or holding you back? Are there struggles or obstacles that need to be addressed? Have you plateaued, or are you ahead of schedule? This kind of reflection every three to four weeks will help keep you on a path to succeed. As you achieve goals, it is time to set new ones. Start over at Tip #1.
To further help you achieve your goals, here is a link to the entire workout chapter of Shred It! (minus the dozens of images demonstrating exercises)
I hope these tips assist you in your pursuit of elevated levels of health and fitness. Follow your passion and make it happen! Thank you for reading.
Wishing you all the very best,