We’ve all been there before, right? Those times when you have great intentions of getting in shape. You start the week with a positive mindset, and decide to make fitness a priority. You are going to get in shape, and stay fit for the rest of your life. Once the week gets going though, you realize that it’s not going to be as fun as you expected.
You’ve hit snooze on your alarm twice this week already.
Dinner took longer to make than you anticipated.
The weather threw some nasty curve balls at you yesterday.
Suddenly, you’re three days in to the week and still haven’t gotten that hour long workout in. You tried to eat vegetables for dinner but got hungry an hour later and splurged on ice cream.
We’ve all been there.
One of the great challenges of fitness is being able to manage it while living a normal life. Sure, there are some people who go through some crazy life changes. They convert themselves to fitness gurus and suddenly base their whole day around staying in shape. But as for the rest of us, we try our best to stay fit amidst our already-busy lives, and often find ourselves feeling guilty over failed attempts and missed workouts.
So many workouts and fitness tips we see seem unrealistic for normal human beings. Sure, it’d be great to run for two hours, sit in the sauna, then go to yoga and eat kale smoothies for lunch. But that’s really unrealistic. We don’t have time to spend 6 hours at the gym, and don’t have the appetite for 1200 calorie days.
There is a way to stay fit without changing your life.
Despite all the drastic ‘fix it’ strategies we see out there, there actually is a way to stay fit while still living a normal life. Whether you’re a busy mom, frequent traveler, high powered executive, or anyone in between, maintaining fitness doesn’t have to take over your life.
As I’ve transitioned from college to teacher and everything in between, my fitness routine has changed with me. From spending hours at the gym, to running after the sun has set, to working out at 4:30 am – my fitness routine has seen it all. The past few years have been a time of experiment and trial and error, but a few things have remained consistent. I’ve been able to stay fit without making any drastic changes to my life.
While a fitness routine may not look the same for each of us, and it may not look the same in our own lives from one year to the next, it is possible to stay fit no matter what life you lead.
How to Stay Fit Without it Taking Over Your Life
- This past year for me has been one of self discovery and self improvement, and the greatest thing I’ve learned is the impact of micro changes. So often we set out to make a change in our lives with the greatest of intentions. We are so excited that we want to jump in full force. We go for it with all of our might, only to find out that the goal we’ve set for ourselves is unrealistic to maintain. The greatest way to achieve something is by making small changes each day or week that help us get one step closer to our goal.
- For example, if you want to create a habit of working out for 6 days a week, don’t go from 0 work outs to 6 hour long sessions at the gym. Start by spending 10 minutes completing strength moves in your living room 6 days a week. Once this feels a little easier and has become a habit, increase the length or intensity of your workout. Slowly building your way to your goal will help it feel much more manageable.
Meal plan and/or meal prep
- Planning out your meals for the week before it begins will make it easier to eat healthy. You’ll be less tempted to go through the drive thru, since you already have a plan for dinner. It’ll make grocery shopping easier, and ensure that you have all the ingredients necessary to cook healthy dinners. (And get rid of the I-can’t-make-it-because-I-don’t-have-it excuses).
- It’s such a simple concept, but so many of us just can’t seem to accomplish it most days. Eating breakfast will kick start your metabolism for the day and give your body the fuel it needs to be productive. Even if you are trying to lose weight – eat your breakfast. Skipping meals actually signals your body to enter it’s ‘starvation mode’ which savors everything you eat rather than burning it. If you don’t have time to eat breakfast, make it the night before or find something easy to grab in the morning.
Find a workout or activity that you actually enjoy.
- Being able to stay fit doesn’t mean that you need to be a hardcore weight lifter or spend hours on a machine. Staying fit can be as simple as walking after dinner every day, hiking nearby trails, doing a yoga video, or bodyweight workouts in your living room. Experiment until you find something you enjoy. It is so much harder to stick with something that you hate. Fitness doesn’t fall into just one category, and there is no ‘wrong’ way to stay fit. Find your happy.
Surround yourself with people who want to stay fit as well.
- Trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle while out with friends who binge drink or go through drive thrus every night is going to make it that much harder for you to stick to your goals. Living a fit lifestyle means that you encompass this in each choice you make throughout your day. Sure, there are absolutely days where you deserve to treat yourself or skip a workout for a nap on the couch. But surrounding yourself with people who do this every day will make it that much harder to commit.
Living your life while you stay fit doesn’t mean there have to be drastic changes. Find the things you love, set goals and work your way towards them one small change at a time. Don’t let social media skew your vision of health: it is possible to work long hours, raise kids, and maintain a social life while staying fit – without becoming a crazed fitness junkie.