What is it that makes healthy people the way they are? How is it that while you’re eyeing up the local takeaway menu they are spiralising vegetables? There are many things that can influence how healthy a person is, but the main two things are priorities and habits.
One thing that becomes apparent the longer you spend exercising is that finding the time to spend 1 hour there is not an impossibility. No matter how long you spend at work, no matter how big a family you have, there is still time. But talk to someone who doesn’t exercise and you’ll always hear the same excuse “I just don’t have the time”.
The thing is that both people could have the exact same amount of time, but one spends three hours each week in the weights section, while the other spends time in a cinema, or a restaurant, or on their playstation. When you prioritise something you find it a lot easier to achieve it. If you prioritise eating healthily you’ll find it as easy to do as it is to eat unhealthily. Without prioritising your health, you’ll never be able to establish the following habits.
Going to bed at the same time each night, and waking up at the same time every morning is one of the best ways to improve your sleep quality. Your body loves routine, and once one is established it will respond well to it. Improving your sleep quality and quantity will deliver a range of benefits. Better appetite regulation, improved mood, improved cognition (problem solving, memory etc), better hormonal regulation, and you’ll be more alert during the day.
You can also look at improving your sleep by purchasing black out curtains, turning off all electronic devices 30 minutes before sleep, and concentrating on your breathing before falling asleep.
Getting home from work at 7:15pm and cooking a high protein chilli is an unrealistic expectation. So how do healthy people manage it? Are they spending hours in front of a hot stove every weeknight? No, they cook enough chilli, curry, bolognaise, chicken breasts etc … for the week (or month if they’re really on the ball) all in one go.
This isn’t as arduous as it seems. You can buy your food in bulk, if you’re going to be peeling potatoes, why not do double the amount to save time later? You can double the recipe size and automatically cook twice as many meals within the same timeframe. Just make sure that you have enough freezer space!
This goes back to priorities, but if you are a sociable person this can make a huge difference to your health. Think of the gym as an extension of your work, or as a weekly club (if the first choice is too depressing). Instead of moving the gym to facilitate a night out with a friend, move the friend to a different night. The more you do this the more your social calendar will adapt to your gym routine. Friends will know not to invite you to dinner on Wednesdays because that’s when you train legs, or attend your boxing class etc.
Most people in the Western world tend to have less protein than they should. Of the three daily meals, breakfast is consistently cited as the meal with the least amount of protein in it. An easy way to address both issues is to add a protein source to breakfast. Whatever you do, make high protein breakfasts a part of your routine.
As you can see, a lot of the habits are all about taking control over your life. Cooking food in advance rather than deciding what to eat in the supermarket on the way home. Having a gym time that you need to turn up, rather than just showing up whenever you can be bothered, going to bed at the same time each night.
Life is chaotic and it is impossible to always have the exact same routine, but making an attempt to establish these habits will make a huge difference to your health.
Are you a Personal Trainer coming across clients who have acquired bad habits?
Check out Future Fit Training’s Behaviour Change Coaching course, designed to all you to easily assess clients, choose the right strategies and techniques to facilitate positive behaviour changes.