Your probably thinking the fit life is all about hitting the gym for an hour or 2 six maybe seven days a week. It’s about eating keto, paleo, vegan or some other random restrictive diet out of plastic containers. And of course your fit life certification can’t be official without a closet full of lululemon, fabletics and gymshark athleisure gear that you wear everywhere regardless of your actual intent to workout.
I am so happy to burst your bubble and tell you that the fit life is about none of those things! Living the fit life is all about moving more and eating better consistently. It’s about doing life with energy and enthusiasm free from lifestyle diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, COPD and maintaining a waistline that you can be proud of.
What is the Fit Life Balance
The fit life balance is all about the 6 realms of Physical Activity, Sleep, Social Life, Relationships, Work and Food . It’s not about being restrictive in any area rather abundance in every area. Fact: weight loss and healthy living doesn’t happen in isolation. I don’t care how many seasons of biggest loser you watch it ain’t real. In real life you can’t quit work go live in a house with your personal trainer and personal chef, workout all day and avoid all family & friends.
Quite frankly we are sick of promoting that lifestyle so welcome to the fit life balance: where you get to do life and still be proud of that after shower glance in the mirror
Health doesn’t happen in isolation. It’s not just about eating better and moving more. It’s about loving the work you do, developing healthy relationships, having fun with family and friends as well as eating nourishing food. You are capable of growing your career and trimming a few inches off your waist at the same time. Even better is you don’t have to live at the gym or eat every meal out of plastic containers to feel successful. The fit life balance is about teaching the whole life model of wellness.
Let’s break down each area in detail.
Notice this section is not called exercise. Yes exercise is important and it will be an essential part of your Fit Life Balance but it is only a small part. Physical activity describes your total daily activity. Things like walking the dog, doing laundry, mopping the kitchen floor and grocery shopping all fall into this category. Our goal is to increase your daily active minutes each day. While some may advocate that moderate to vigorous exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week is enough, I think that’s only a starting point.
Let’s do a little math..
There are 10,500 minutes in a week. If you meet the recommendation above you’d be getting about 150 minutes of exercise a week right? Now if we adjust with the average sleep duration (~7 hours a night) that leaves you with 7560 minutes of awake time.
Out of that awake time you are only active for 150 minutes? That’s only 1.9% of your time. How much of a difference can that make? Well if you were thinking not much than you’re absolutely right.
The truth is outside of gym time we’re extremely sedentary. So we aren’t getting very many active minutes in our daily routine. Therein lies a super secret yet EASY opportunity to get our bodies moving. If your goal is weight loss than moving as much as possible is a huge benefit.
But what if weight loss isn’t that important to you? Why else should you move more?
Being more physically active has huge benefits outside of the scale. People who move more are happier, sleep better, enjoy better mental well being and have more energy. Anything on that list appeal to you?
Physical activity is a major to the your Fit Life Balance. Not only will it help you build look great it will allow you to build a body that can carry your towards your life goals. Health is not a destination it’s a vehicle, and your body is the transmission.
At this point there are hundreds of books & articles on the importance and benefits of sleep. Yet is still the one thing that we cut short when we get busy and our motivation runs high. I can’t for the life of figure out why but it’s definitely a misnomer that sacrificing sleep for success is the key.
Look I get it you’ve got a million things on your calendar and between work, family, friends and the rest of life you only have time to squeeze in 5-6 hours a night. But what if you the reason you are running around like a mad woman is because you aren’t as effective as you could be? What if you could operate at higher frequency that you didn’t think was possible.
There is a higher level of function that you haven’t been able to experience consistently because of your lack of sleep. Fit Life Balance is all about changing our mindset to prioritize sleep for success. Here’s a fact the less sleep we get the more ineffective we become.
Getting great sleep is more than just turning out the lights and laying down, there’s an art & science to getting high quality sleep. In order to get the best sleep possible start by making sure you have a pre-bed routine. By priming your brain and body for sleep you will be able to fall into a deep sleep faster.
The fast you are able to hit REM sleep the more cycles you’ll be able to complete before you wake up. REM sleeps typically occurs in 90 minute cycles, so ideally you want to ensure you aren’t waking up in the middle of one. Have you every woke up crazy early but felt like you were fully rested? You probably just finished a REM cycle.
Quality sleep is critical to Fit Life Balance, as you progress in creating a more holistic lifestyle approach you will be introduced to even better ways to improve sleep quality.
Who wants to sacrificing having fun with friends and family in order get healthier?
So why do we try to create healthy living routines that don’t include our social habits? The reality is that we usually crash and burn because we don’t plan for our social life. The key is to PLAN for social living in your healthy living routine. Look you are only going to be able to skip brunch with the girls for so long before you cave in and completely binge. So don’t set yourself up for failure.
What you should be doing is considering when you need to make high quality foods choices throughout the days and weeks in order to have fun guilt free. In Houston Chicken & Waffles is a bit of delicacy, so you won’t find anyone advising you to skip them. BUT you don’t need it every day right? And you also have other meals throughout the day that can offset the splurge meal. One fun meal doesn’t have to become a week of poor eating.
We’ve already discussed how to fit the gym into your daily life but when it comes to your social life they gym can be part of the action. Fitness companies have begun to prioritize community building as part of their business. If hanging out with other fit people is important to you(which it should) then maybe join a club/program that offers regular social activities.
The quality of your relationships are a food that can nourish or starve you physically and mentally.
The tactical side of fit life balance is much easier than addressing the quality and nature of the relationships in your life. While we aren’t relationship experts we do believe that building nourishing relationships has a huge impact on your health and wellness.
Like work, money and your social life relationships have an effect on your overall wellbeing. The quality of your relationships with people will invariably affect the quality of your relationship with food.
The line of correlation might not be absolutely clear to you now but take a second to consider how/what you eat when you are angry at your spouse. I’m sure there’s not a smorgasbord of fruits and veggies present when you are crying into your pillow watching romantic comedies.
How you approach relationships with friends and family will be different but they do need to be evaluated and improved if you hope to have a real fit life balance.
We’re not saying that you need to go cutting everyone off but how you cope with potentially toxic relationships will determine your physical and mental wellbeing. Don’t forget that a strong circle will elevate all areas of your life. Our goal is to make sure you are growing nourishing relationships and attempting to improve or remove toxic ones.
Is your work purposeful? Do you get filled with anxiety on Sunday nights before you go to bed? Do you think that what you do for a living is affecting your wellbeing?
Well the short answer is Hell yes it is.
There isn’t a way around this fact; your vocation/career is a significant part of you wellbeing. You are likely spending ATLEAST 8 hours a day 5 days a week working, if you don’t find a way to ge to some joy out of that time then you are doomed for a life of heartache.
There is a way to find purpose or some balance in the work you do. You don’t have to slog through life doing work that drains the life from your blood.
This is the last category on the Fit\Life Balance journey for a very good reason. All of the above affect how you select and prepare the foods you eat. This is why taking a whole life approach to your health is critical. You think you would eat better if you weren’t as stressed out at work or had more time in you day to prepare healthier options?
The food we eat is usually a reflection of the lifestyle you live. While I would love to flip the script for you and plan your life around the food you want to eat, but that’s not living in reality. You will have to consider your lifestyle when planning to eat better foods.
Our focus isn’t on stopping eating certain foods or even ridding yourself of food categories but really to add in better options…over time.
Achieving Fit\Life Balance in Food is about looking at your life, considering your goals and finding easy ways to increase the amount of high quality foods you take in daily. It’s that simple. No this ain’t no new diet plan and we aren’t telling you to stop eating meat.
All you have to do is forget everything you read online and ask yourself what is the one thing I can do that won’t feel like a chore this week? If that’s buying a water bottle in week 1 than great! Job done.
Over time you will begin to see a “crowding out” so to speak of poor quality food for the more nutritious foods that are better for you. Don’t stop drinking soda cold turkey. Very few people are capable of maintaining that for very long just like those who try to quit smoking.
The feelings you get from the foods you eat is part of your mental & emotional well being. Abandoning all of the comfort foods you enjoy in the same week is a recipe for stress and will power drain. Let’s not do that. Slow and steady is the game in the Fit\Life Balance. Small changes will make a huge LASTING impact. That’s what we are after.
We all create stories around our past, present and future; unfortunately those stories usually lead us to make decisions that aren’t based on reality. The stories we make up are usually birthed from some truth but then sensationalized, dramatized and castastrophized.
Those stories make up part of the belief we have in our ability to change our health behaviors. Fit\Life Balance starts with brining those stories to life so we can question their truth.
Do I really hate all vegetables? Is everyone at the gym really watching how much weight I choose? Are those people over there seriously laughing at me because I’m sweating so much? I’ll never be able to cook healthy meals because I’m a terrible cook! You are not those stories.
Tell me the last veggie you’ve eaten? What made you choose that one? Would you eat it again?
How do you know that those people are laughing at you? Are they pointing at you? Are you the only one in the entire facility who’s sweating?
Tell me who is following you around the gym watching every weight you select? Is it the same person every time?
If you were provided all of the necessary foods, seasonings and tools with step by step directions could you follow them?
When we put questions like these to our stories we start to realize that we are pretty awesome at telling compelling stories, maybe a film career is in your future! But really, don’t allow those dramatic stories to prevent you from making the health behavior changes you desire.
As you can see achieving Fit\Life Balance isn’t as complicated as you might think. We don’t even want you to work on all six areas in the beginning. What we recommend is to start in the area causing the most stress and/or disruption to your life right now. If you aren’t getting any sleep maybe you’ll focus on that and worry about food and physical activity later.
Our bodies don’t operate in isolation, if you make improvements in just one area above you will see improvements in the others. Don’t waste your time trying to start a new life on Monday. Start by making one small change today and keep that change going for as long as you can. Keep yourself accountable by tracking your daily wins on a calendar. A simple x on days you do your new behavior will give you all the motivation you need.
This is a marathon. You’ll have good days and bad, you’ll lose lots of weight 1 week and gain a pound the next. Focus on creating the lifestyle you want and each week make tiny changes that don’t hurt. You’ll be there in no time.