Here are some scary stats: More than two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese and more than half do not meet the physical-activity guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While that paints a rather grim picture of the fitness of Americans, what’s going on with the other third that is able to maintain a healthy weight? Why are some able to get fit and stay fit while others struggle to do so? As life coach Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues.” The following include: behaviors, characteristics and strategies our most successful clients routinely practice and exhibit.
1. They Make the Decision to Make Health a Lifestyle
Those who achieve and maintain high levels of fitness are not interested in short-term or temporary fixes. You won’t find them dieting for six weeks to get into a bathing suit for a week long vacation. No, instead, people that truly decide to become fit make it a permanent lifestyle and prioritize it over the long haul. The most successful fit people make training and nutritious eating a way of life. Of course they still slip up from time to time just like everyone, but rest assured that they’ll be training at least a couple of days per week, 52 weeks out of the year.”
2. They Have Fun
Physical activity doesn’t have to be synonymous with drudgery. It can be fun if you choose to make it so. Our most success clients find fun and enjoyment in their fitness journey. They experiment and do new things all the time to stay fit. Falling into a stale routine is the downfall of many. Monotony, either planned or self-imposed, derails a lot of people. Look for the fun in your plan -- from learning to cook new foods to playing sports with friends to learning new exercises. Focusing on some variation and fun keeps you fully engaged with your plan.
3. They Follow the 85/15 Rule
The myth that fit people don’t enjoy a drink from time to time and live on nothing but chicken, broccoli and brown rice is just that -- a myth. One thing I’ve found that separates people who’ve been more successful with maintaining their fitness and physique is embracing moderation in their nutrition. In other words, they follow the 85/15 rule. This means that if 85 percent of the time you eat in the way that emphasizes fruits and vegetables and high-quality meats, eggs and fish while limiting processed food, simple sugar, hydrogenated oil and alcohol, then 15 percent of time you can eat whatever you want. In real-world terms, that’s about one in every seven meals.
4. They Recover Quickly From a Relapse
We noticed our most successful clients who have maintained a high level of fitness over the long haul don’t give themselves permission to go on a “food bender” or a month long hiatus from hitting the gym if they deviate from their normal nutrition style or miss one workout. Savvy fit folks don’t allow the wheels to totally come off the tracks. Unfortunately, our society has adopted an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to our fat loss and health goal, whereas a more effective mantra would be “Eat the brownie, enjoy and savor every bite of it and then move on.”
5. They Know What They Don’t Know
If you’re not an accountant, you could attempt to complete and file your own tax returns. Of course, you’d probably only get about 30 percent correct and risk being audited. Or you could just hire an accountant. Point is: Fit and healthy people defer to experts and are open to being coached when needed. They know what they don’t know and seek advice from people who are in the know to get the best results in the least amount of time. Our most successful fitness clients are open to coaching and trust in our expertise. They don’t allow infomercials, a book they read or something their neighbor told them at a cookout to influence them. They don’t think they know everything there is to know about fitness and wellness or that they can figure it out on their own 100% of the time.
6. They Realize a Training Program Is Not Synonymous With a Weight-Loss Program
Our most successful clients don’t look at exercise as a weight-loss method. Instead, they gauge the effectiveness of their training program on improvements in strength and performance -- not on how much weight they’re losing. Those who do see the value in their workouts understand the role nutrition plays in fat loss (it’s huge!) and don’t stop training because the scale number hasn’t moved much. Accept that changes in diet are what primarily drive fat loss, and the primary objective of a good training program is to enhance fitness and performance. You’ll be far happier if you adopt this mind-set and will stay more consistent with your workouts.