10 Tips For Staying Fit For Life

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One Life Studio’s Tanya Maria Aguila shares her favorite mindset shifts to help us stay on top of our goals

It’s a brand new year and we all face an extraordinary start at that. 2020 forced most of us to stay home and change up our lifestyle in ways we didn’t quite expect. But January is a great month for resolutions and recalibrations. Here are a few of my favourite mindset shifts that help keep me on track with my goals — no matter what setbacks I face. 

Tanya’s tips for staying fit:

1. Change your definition of fitness

I used to think that fitness is only about what you can see on the outside. I was once obsessed with being “thin” and lean. As I got older, I realized that this fascination and obsession was unsustainable.

If you’ve been wanting to jumpstart your fitness journey, I suggest that you start looking at it holistically. Health and fitness encompasses not just your physical health, but also mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health. All these aspects are interconnected and if you forget to nurture a part, the other parts tend to slowly flail too.

2. Say goodbye to dieting

What I realized is that when you deprive yourself, your appetite just comes back with a vengeance and you will end up making poor, impulsive choices.

I’m a believer that nutrition is 70% of the battle and it is a key thing to focus on when you want to make a big dent on your fitness. However, I think most of the time, we have been so programmed to think that this equates to calorie deprivation. Now, I believe the healthier way to go about this is to choose quality calories instead.

Actively make better food choices and shift your daily diet to greens and real food. Doing so doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut your portions (you will probably end up eating more) but you’ll end up more nourished and your body will start functioning better.

In the last few years, I’ve simplified my approach to food and focused on “painting my plate” with at least 5 colors everytime and the results on me have been amazing. The best kind of diet is one that suits your lifestyle and is convenient to maintain. Shift your definition of a diet from deprivation to nourishment, and stay committed.

3. Drink lots of water!

Oh, and drink lots and lots of water. I mean it! Sometimes because we are dehydrated, our body’s thirst mechanism gets confused and usually we start mistaking thirst for hunger. And so we overeat and that’s an easy way for us to either choose low quality calories or go over our real caloric needs daily.

4. Prioritize your health

If you let your health down, it will be hard to excel in all other things. Luckily for me, health and career intersect at some point. But I can understand that for most you guys, this will be a tough choice to prioritise given that your life demands something different. My suggestion is to take life parts at a time — it is a cycle after all. You can cycle through your priorities and when you make the effort in making health a lifestyle, then perhaps in the long run you will not need to spend so much energy chasing it.

If you’re feeling like the task ahead is going to be intense, remember – consistency beats intensity. Choosing to become more active for a few minutes daily beats hardcore workouts done only 1x-2x a week. They say it takes about 30 days to build a new habit so, yup, your consistent efforts daily add up to the fit and healthy lifestyle that you want.

5. Get enough sleep

We live in an era where being busy has been glorified and hustling hard is the new norm. I’m guilty of this too and whenever I catch myself in a flurry, I consciously make the effort to tell myself to slow down.

Sleep is the best way to recalibrate and reset the body and I believe we should all get enough sleep for us to all function better and to stay happier. The body repairs itself during sleep and just like a well-oiled machine, when the body is at a fresh state, our metabolism is better and our mood is better.

Also, sleep in when you need to. No guilt there guys!

6. Exercise early

Who has the time to exercise right? We’ll we all do! We just have to decide to make time instead of wait for “free” time to happen. I always tell everybody that the best way to squeeze in exercise is to do it first thing in the morning.

When you plan to workout early in the morning, the only excuse you have to overcome is that you’re sleepy. That’s it! After a few days of waking up early, I promise you that you won’t even think about the time. Working out during other times in the day open up a whole new slew of excuses like: “I’m tired”, “I have to be somewhere”, “I still have to finish something”, “Its traffic”, “The weather is not good”. The reasons NOT to workout just piles up. Think about it.

7. Fix your form before going for intensity

Our daily activities create movement habits and postural anomalies which accumulate over time. This means that, since it took time to build these, it will naturally also take some time to correct these. Most of the time, I see a lot of people, though all in good intent, start right away with intense training routines but they tend to forget the importance of good form. I’m very worried about this because over time, this can lead to serious injuries and that will definitely dampen anybody’s journey towards health and fitness.

When it comes to exercise and coaching, my philosophy is all about building better basics and so one key thing I’d like to advise everybody is this – never sacrifice your longterm physical health for a short term goal. Build better body awareness using simple exercises first. Then be patient and soon enough you’ll be seeing yourself break new boundaries without the fear of injuring yourself. You’ll be stronger, for longer.

8. Find a workout you love

This one is pretty straightforward. You WILL NOT stick to something you do not enjoy and love. Different strokes for different folks first. But I’m a firm believer that if you do something that doesn’t feel like a workout, you’ll find it pretty easy to stick to it and eventually excel in it too. If you haven’t quite found that workout for you, keep searching. Try and try until you find yourself in that AHA moment where it feels like you just fell in love. 

9. Always think of the bigger picture

Becoming fit and healthy is not a short term thing. I can’t say it enough. If you want to be fit for life, then you have to think of health and fitness as a lifestyle. Your daily choices add up and if you keep making small lapses, the future goal gets farther and farther away.

10. Surround yourself with motivators

Nothing makes the journey easier than people than people that cheer you on. Positive energy attracts positive energy and if you surround yourself with people that believe in you and support your decisions, you will surely find it easier to stay on the path. Find people who inspire you, challenge you, motivate you to be better. If they are not in your immediate circle, expand your network. Soon enough you’ll find your own tribe.

Now let’s make 2021 the start of many more healthier years ahead!

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