With spring around the corner, everyone is obsessed with getting in shape and leading a healthy lifestyle, so my friends at Equinox have asked me to share my guide to living a “Fit Life“. To be honest, if living a fit life was easy, everyone would be doing it. Most don’t because staying fit takes dedication, hard work and often requires a complete change of lifestyle; however for those that make their best effort, the benefits of living this way are endless. Why? It helps you live a longer, happier and fulfilled life. Not mention, it also allows you to get a better quality of sleep, increased energy levels and minimizes the chances of getting sick.
1. Set Measurable and Attainable Goals: Growing up my coach always used to say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail“. For some reason when I retired from playing tennis, I briefly forgot the importance of goal setting when it comes to fitness and wellness. With the help of my dear friend, Equinox Group Class Instructor and Canada’s only Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath (pictured above), I have re-learned the importance of goal setting. Sure, ideas of things we want to achieve always come to our minds, but one of the most important things I have learned from Eva is that goals don’t mean anything unless you write them down. For some reason, putting your goals to paper automatically gives you a responsibility to make sure they get done. There are two types of goals – those that can be measured and those that cannot. “I want to run a half marathon” to most people is an example of a set goal. A lot of people want to run a half marathon but the question is when and how fast? A better goal would be, “I want to run the NY Half Marathon in 3.5 hours”. That is a goal that you can work to achieve in a specific amount of time, at a specific place in time. Not only is it measurable, but it’s also attainable.
If working out and living a more fit life is new to you, you’re going to need some assistance helping this new lifestyle stick. According to Eva, “Commit to just 30 days to start off. This is the initial conditioning phase and a month is a great block of time to commit to a change. Research shows it takes anywhere from 21 to 30 days to form new behaviours.”
Eva Redpath’s 3 Tips for “Making Goals Stick”
- Create a daily goal. Forget choosing something that you can only do a couple times a week. That will only make your habit harder to stick. Picking something you can incorporate daily
- Don’t jump in with both feet and try to change your life in one day. Choose a goal that can be measured and start off small. If you want to “close down your kitchen” at 7pm so you can stop eating before bed…try it first at 9pm and work your way down to the goal time
- Form a trigger. A trigger is a ritual you use right before executing your habit. If you want to get more sleep, this could mean creating a way to go to bed the exact same time each night. If you want to quit smoking you could drink a glass of water every time you have the urge for a cigarette
Equinox Toronto Boxing Instructor Nate Bower (natebowerfitness.com)
2. Find Fit Friends: When you look at the things you like to do with your friends they usually include; traveling, eating and partying. These are all fun and great, but if you want to lead a “fit life” why not bring your friends along for the journey? You’re human, so not everyday will you wake up and want to workout, so it’s nice to have others around you that enjoy staying fit and active to keep you motivated. Joining a run crew, a cycling club or a fitness facility that promotes a healthy lifestyle can work wonders. My friends and I have been making regular sweat dates to hit up the group classes at Equinox. They are designed to not only be challenging but fun. The highly trained instructors, like Eva Redpath and Nate Bower, ensure that you walk away from a 50 minute class feeling good about the work you just put in. Learn more about Nate and his signature boxing class at Equinox Toronto here and details on Redpath’s cult fave “Signature Stacked Class” here.
3. Shop The Perimeter of Grocery Stores: Close your eyes and picture your grocery store. Chances are the organic, fresh produce section, the meat and seafood departments and the dairy case are all located around the perimeter of the store. Ironically, these are the foods that we should be eating on a daily basis, so this is where we all should concentrate most of our shopping time. Why? The center aisles is where you will find all the non-perishable, gluten laden, sugary and processed foods. Bypassing the middle aisles means you’ll rarely be faced with the temptations of potato chips and cake mixes.
4. Stay Hydrated: Our bodies often confuse thirst for hunger. Staying hydrated helps you avoid overeating and unnecessary snacking. More importantly, water enables your mind and body to function properly. There is tons of confusion still over how much water one should intake daily. Everyone has heard the advice “drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day” but this only equates to 1.9 litres of water. The “8 by 8” rule remains popular because it’s easy to remember but not supported by hard evidence. Recent studies have shown that the adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 litres) and the 9 cups (2.2) litres for women.
Photography by Nathalia Allen @amillionminds and Dirk Teunissen @InciteVisuals
5. Get Moving At Least Once a Day: I don’t care if it’s for 15 minutes or for an hour, it is important to move your body daily. Getting a workout in will help release endorphins; which is a natural mood elevator, help decrease any pain related issues, reduces stress, alleviate anxiety, sharpen memory and can boost brain power. It’s very easy on our busy days to say we don’t have time to fit in a workout, but trust me when I say a 15 minute workout is better than no workout at all.
I would love to hear from you…if you have any questions or comments on living a “fit life” hit me up on Twitter or Instagram. For more information on Equinox, to find locations nearest you or to schedule a visit, head to Equinox.com
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