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Creating (and sticking to) Healthy Habits
Everyone starts out their health and fitness journey with the best intentions. They get to a point where they know that change is necessary and they acknowledge that they are not in the shape that they wish to be. They quickly sign up to a gym. After that, it’s smooth sailing; they lose the weight, feel terrific and never look back, right? Wrong! As much as the fitness industry is booming right now, we as a country are in the midst of an obesity epidemic.
So, why can’t people just get their act together? A big piece of the puzzle is the habitual nature of what they’re doing, and that’s what we will discuss today.
Habits form who we are. They determine our successes and our failures. A very popular saying is “how you do one thing is how you do EVERYTHING”. To a large extent, this is true. Healthy habits create, you guessed it, healthy people. Many people fail because they don’t create the pathway in order for them to succeed. This all starts with our habits.
Here is our top 3 for creating healthy habits:
Commitment to exercise: We hear you; duh, this a no brainer.... of course you should exercise. This is true. However, what we notice is that many people think that merely signing up to a gym means they will soon be healthy. What you must do is commit to exercise every single week. You need to pencil in when you will train and, most importantly, make those sessions. All habits, good or bad, form slowly. If you commit to 4 sessions per week at your gym, over one year you will have done 200 sessions. The average gym membership in commercial gyms is a 12 month contract in which the member uses the gym 20-35 times. That’s it! The rest of the 12 months they pay, get fatter and don’t get any healthier. Those 200 sessions that you do in that 12 month period will not only make you stronger, but also mean that the feeling of accomplishment you get from the training will also have the effect of seeing improvements in your nutrition also. This correlation has been shown time and time again; the more you exercise, the better choices you will make AWAY from the gym.
Stop blaming Mum and Dad: The amount of adults who come to us and blame their parents for them not liking vegetables is quite common. Many people use their childhood as a get out of jail free card with eating healthy foods. This advice has been around since the early 50’s, but vegetables are not only important, but necessary for your health. Commit to eating vegetables 2-3 tines per day, regardless of your goal. They are fibrous, sugar free, full of vitamins and minerals, and also contain lots of water. By developing a routine of eating vegetables, you will not only look and feel better, but also be saving your own kids, or impressionable people around you, from growing up and using the same excuses. Eating your veggies habitually will mean an almost instant improvement in your health both physically and internally, with lower visceral fat and body fat as a result.
Goal Setting: This is the most important. So many people just believe they’re going to the gym to “tone up and get fit”. YOU AREN’T! You’re going because you are dissatisfied with certain facets of your life and your poor health is a catalyst to that happiness. The first thing to do is to acknowledge why you want to get fitter (is it weight loss, muscle gain, improved cardio, etc) and then set some goals around that, both for the short and long term. People with no goals generally achieve very little. It takes courage to set goals, and those that do generally get there.... and even if they don’t, they will always achieve more than those with no goals at all. A great example is long time MPT’er Shane. In our recent 6 week challenge he wanted to get him body fat below 10%. For anyone, this is no mean feat, and it was a daunting prospect.
Following these 3 habit parameters he didn’t just get below 10% but got to 8.9% and brought out his abs for the first time ever! Now, if he just said “I want to get fit and tone up” the likelihood of him achieving this would have decreased drastically. Lastly, with goals, tell those around you; it will make it easier for them to identify your new habits and support you. At the end of the day, you do the work, but that extra support is very helpful.
Long term progress takes TIME ⏱
2 years between photos
From 31.1% to 8.9% body fat
Now has a 6 PACK
There you have it, guys. Create those habits and create a new, healthier you!
Have a happy, healthy day.