In the past we thought a person we would call ‘naturally fit’ had a genetic advantage and were lucky enough to have inherited a fit, trim body due to their parents or even grandparents. The good news is this is not necessarily the case with science proving there is more to it. Whilst your genetics do play their role in your physicality, the environment you create and surround yourself has a large and influential effect too. And it is this environment that you have complete control over. Whether they know it or not, these ‘naturally fit’ people have established a set of habits which create this environment for them to be the way they are. Normally these have been developed over years and often have been influenced by their parents or a significant person in their upbringing.
I believe success leaves clues. It is not necessary for us to reinvent the wheel each time we want to make progress. It is easier to examine the actions of the type of person you want to become and do what they do. It’s not cheating it’s being smart. With this ideal in mind I have defined 5 habits ‘naturally fit’ people do. By following these and making these habits your own, you too can enjoy the advantages to your health of the ‘naturally fit’.
5 habits of the naturally fit
1. Enjoy being active
If you hate going to the gym, don’t. If you hate to run, don’t. If you love to dance, do. If you love to hike, do. For many the word ‘exercise’ drives up emotions not normally associated with a good time. I hear you! The idea of running on a treadmill isn’t a good time for me but others love the safety, comfort and convenience of it. We are all different and making your chosen exercise type something you enjoy is the most influential factor I know for ongoing commitment to it. Explore the options available theses days for keeping fit. With an abundance available feel free to ‘shop around’ until you find an activity that you enjoy. For some the idea of not being feeling fit is enough motivation to get them off the couch. Whatever juices you use, use to your advantage
2. Don’t diet
I would consider myself in reasonable shape. I’m 46 so not in the same shape I was in as a professional athlete in my 20’s but content with where I’m at. I don’t ever diet. People who are in really good health are not constantly trying out every new fad diet on the market. Neither are they taking a multitude of supplements. Eating to improve my health is part of my life, a big part. Listen to your body and eat foods which leave you energised and full. You will find these are mainly plant based with vegetable and fruit amongst the most energy giving. Good fats from nuts and seeds, with enough protein from lean meat, fish and eggs, rounds it off. Food is your most valuable tool for weight loss if this is your goal. Weight loss is a consequence of eating good nutrient rich food not through restrictive dieting.
3. Get fit friends
The environment you create is heavily influence by those you spend time with. If your friends are unfit, you probably are too. Having a social life is very important for health but it goes both ways. A social life involving active persuits with friends and family are not only healthy but fun. Team sports, gym classes, beach walks all get you moving and are best done with friends. On the other hand if your social life is heavily associated with drinking alcohol, eating too much and sitting around, it’s not hard to connect the dots. This may be tough at first if you have old friends with unhealthy habits, but instead of dropping them, encourage them to be healthy too. Take it slow, don’t preach and hopefully your positivity for change will rub off on people you care about. You can always try and meet some new more active, health-minded friends as well.
4. Get enough sleep
If you still think being fit is only about how often you work out, you need to think again. Because one of the top things fit people do to stay healthy and fit isn’t exercise-based at all — it’s getting enough sleep. Not only does sleep give you the energy you need to exercise, it also helps regulate your metabolism, repair your muscles, boost your athletic performance and more. Try and get at least 7-8 hours a night.
5. Give yourself a break
I love my morning full milk, one sugar cappuccino. I have it every day. I enjoy a beer with my mates too. Being naturally fit is not about depriving yourself of every bite of desert. How boring! Give yourself permission to enjoy your favourite treat now and then. Just not all day everyday. Notice why and when you over indulge and how often you do it. This will give you the insight to areas of your life you are not happy with. So often we use food and drink to gain a moment of happiness or stress relief. If this is you, seek help for the real trigger and in doing so, you’ll find your urgency and need for ‘treats’ becomes more controlled. The same is true with your workouts — if you can tell your body is asking for a day off even when you hadn't planned on taking one, give yourself the rest your body needs, and refuse to feel guilty because of it. Guilt is a poor long term motivator. Seek balance in both your eating habits and your workouts, and you'll be a healthier, happier and fitter person as a result.