Whether your goal is to lose fat, gain muscle, establish a healthy relationship with food, or whatever else you have set your fitness goals towards… achieving that goal is one thing. Maintaining it is a whooollleee 'nother ball game.
For example, studies have found that people tend to regain 50% of the weight the lost in the first year after losing it.
Particularly when it comes to food, we make more than 200 decisions around food and eating a day. Most of the time, we make these decisions on auto-pilot or act out of habit, rather than rational thought. Our gains in fitness can completely be derailed if we revert to our old habits that prompted our need for change in the first place.
Instead, let's work towards developing new habits that help us maintain these gains we worked so hard to acquire!!
CONVERT, DON’T REVERT!
No, I am not trying to convert you to my new religion! But have you heard about our fitness savior, Healthy Habits?!
Here are 5 habits you can start developing NOW, no matter what phase of your reinvention phase you are in! The sooner you establish these habits, the better 😊 Converting old habits to new ones – rather than reverting back as soon as your goal is achieved – is the key to maintenance.
(Psst: If you have been wondering what people mean when they say “it’s a lifestyle change!”, this is basically it. If you want to change your life, it will take long-term & sustained effort! You can't move forward by staying stagnant!)
HABIT #1: ROUTINE!
Establish a routine: eat and workout at roughly the same times each day/throughout the week. Try to avoid nibbling on food throughout the day; stick to set snacks and meals.
Although a popular fitness mantra is, “Routine is the enemy”, that only refers to the actual movements you do. Switch your exercises, lifts, and running distances on the regular; but find a regular, predictable weekly workout schedule for when you DO those exercises and stick to it!
HABIT #2: WALK IT OFF!
Walking is an awesome way to meet your fitness goals without even realizing it. Aim for 10 000 steps a day if you have a fitness counter. If you don’t, take the stairs or park at the far end of the lot to increase your daily physical activity. Or, consider throwing on a pair of Synergee Ankle Weights to up the ante on your walks! Small changes can have huge impacts!
You might also consider biking or walking to work. Change a regular, necessary daily task – like getting to work – into a part of your active lifestyle.
HABIT #3: DRINK WATER
Carry a reusable, refillable water bottle around with you. This will help you stay hydrated and help you avoid buying high-sugar drinks when your thirst hits! Remaining hydrated also helps you stay alert and feel great throughout the day so you won't feel too drained to get your workout in later!
HABIT #4: TRACK IT!
This Habit is especially helpful for when motivation dips or when you feel like you've plateaued.
At some point, you're going to reach your goal and acclimatize. Your new weight/strength/mindset will begin to feel like the new normal - which is awesome! But a lack of steady progress might be hard to come to terms with when you're used to dramatic changes.
This is why tracking your progress is so important. On days when you feel like you're not moving forward, it is important to remind yourself how far you have come!
As well, it is helpful to track workouts, mood/energy levels, and measurements to see that fluctuations happen and they aren't a sign of "falling off the wagon".
Stay on your path, keep moving forward, and realize maintenance is as worthy of celebration and pride as the big changes you experienced beforehand!
HABIT #5: BE INTENTIONAL!
Focus on your foods and workouts when you are eating and exercising. Eating or working out when distracted may be detracting you from your goals.
If you eat while distracted, you might be eating based on how much is in front of you instead of using internal cues of hunger and fullness.
When you workout in front of a screen, you can be more prone to injury (and it’s a sign you might be slacking!). Especially if you are using any sort of weights – Barbells, Dumbbells, or Weight Bars alike – paying attention to something other than the weight you are moving around can result in bad form or mishaps.
GO AFTER IT, ATHLETES!
Whether your goals are centered around losing or gaining weight, achieving a certain body composition, or developing a healthy mindset around food and your body, the potential for relapse and return to your previous weight/composition/mindset is high if you return to living, eating, working out, or thinking the same way you did before. You can't expect to achieve different results by doing the same things over again!
These 5 Habits are provided to help you get to and stay in your happy, healthy place.
You're doing awesome, Athletes! KEEP IT UP!