How to make your fitness journey holistic to optimize results and the longevity of results

Holistic fitness has furthered and developed over the past decade to identify the difference between exercising the body just for physical purposes or appearance and the more integrated multi-dimensional view that takes into account the different dimensions of what it means to be fit and healthy

When you think about what it means to have a healthy and a fit body:

Are you able to function and do all of the things you want to do in life with relative ease, fluidity, and pain free? Is your body flexible, strong, and full of vitality? Do you have the energy you require to meet life’s daily tasks? Do you feel good both internally and externally?

When it comes down to defining what it truly means to be fit it isn’t just about having a chiseled abdominal 6 pack

Delete those misleading infomercials from your mind as there are very few out there that preach the truth of the matter

You have to consider all of the necessary dimensions emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and physically to encounter what it truly means to be holistically fit and healthy

The main point that holds all of these together is the spiritual component because our connection to our highest self is related to our ability to be able to listen to our own bodies with the intuitive gift that we are all given

It comes down to when your body tells you what it needs do you listen and respond?

Have you developed the awareness and consciousness with which to pay attention to the cues?

Your body is a wonderful vehicle perfectly designed to take you through life effectively if you cooperate with it, take great care of it and refuse to abuse it

You must become skilled at cooperating with the information your body sends you if you want to achieve optimal fitness for yourself

If we had to make it through an entire lifetime with just one car we would most likely be very cautious and thoughtful with its maintenance right and would pay great attention to protecting and preserving it

If we listen equally attentively to our body’s signals we can effectively get in sync with what our bodies need to achieve harmony of health and fitness at any time

If you are experiencing a lot of muscular tightness would it make sense to lift heavy weights or to take a yoga class?

If you’re exhausted know your limits and make the choices that shows you respect and love yourself

Give it some rest or a massage or some healthy food to assist the restoration and rejuvenation process instead of participating in any sort of strenuous activity

Holistic fitness can be simple by listening to your body and responding accordingly

Use your intuition and trust it

The human body is very wise and this must not be forgotten

How to get back on track with diet and exercise

Have you given up on your diet and exercise goals? Have you found that your goals were too hard to maintain? Or have you been successful but defaulted back to old patterns? Think there’s no use in trying? It’s normal. Don’t use it as a sign saying to give up.

Chances are you’ve been successful before. But, the momentum becomes hard to maintain. This occurs especially when you’ve achieved your goal and the motivation disappears.

Unfortunately, this is when you relapse into past behaviors and go back to your original set point. That’s because it takes time (lots of time) to undo those patterns that are etched into the brain. So, even when you’ve had success, you need to stay consistent with new behaviors to stay on track.

If you’re hesitant about starting over and wonder how to get back on track with diet and exercise, read on.

You’re never completely starting over.

Losing progress is normal. Most people fall backwards a bit when pursuing their goals. Even if you stopped pursuing your previous goals, you can still learn from them. And when you can learn from your mistakes, you are moving forward not backwards. You may be two steps behind, but you’re not starting with a clean slate.

[bctt tweet=”Remember: Diet and exercise goals are not achieved in a straight line, you spiral upwards. “]

What can you learn from your experiences? How can you avoid these experiences in the future?

Get in touch with that initial motivation.

Did your source of motivation change? Do you need to change your goals? If your initial source of motivation doesn’t exist anymore or it was an external motivation like peer pressure, then you should find motivation that meets your values.

Ask yourself this: Are you pursuing these goals because it’s something you really want or enjoy? Before you restart your diet or exercise plans, find foods and activities you find enjoyable. Or, find reasons why dieting will be rewarding.

Don’t take on too much.

If you’re trying to do too much, prioritize your goals. Multiple hard goals split your focus and decrease your willpower.

Choose the goal that will give you the most benefit. Once you achieve that goal or the new behaviors become a breeze, tackle that goal that fell by the wayside.

Turn your excuses around.

Instead of making an excuse not to do something (that is, of course, if they aren’t legitimate), make an excuse to do it. Here’s an example: Turn “I just don’t feel like doing it” to “I will feel better once I do it”.

Do a skill check.

Did you have the necessary skills to do your goal? For example, did you need help learning the proper portion sizes? Or, did you need to learn how to cook more nutritious meals? Did you need to learn how to play a particular sport like tennis? Or, did you need to a personal trainer to show you proper exercise technique at the gym?

If so, make a point right now to upgrade your skills. You’ll feel more confident when you restart your journey.

Change your environment.

Get rid of your trigger foods. Ask your support system stop unknowingly sabotage you. Ask them to support your diet and exercise efforts. And tell them how. For example, you can start having more active social activities. Consider swimming, training for a 5k or an evening yoga class.

Set up cues that will trigger actions. Set a reminder to fill out a food journal after each meal. Send emails or phone calls to yourself if you don’t meet a specific goal. For example, you can use IFTTT to call or text you.

Here’s an example of a task that can be set up. If I have not worked out in 3 (or insert your number here) days with Jawbone, I can set up a phone call with a message saying, “hey, get back in there.”

Recommit to your diet and exercise goal.

Write down your goal. Then write down specific actions to take daily. While you’re at it, do something about that goal within 30 minutes. These actions don’t have to be big like running 10 miles a day. Make them small enough to keep up momentum.

  • If you want to lose weight. opt for a lighter meal today. Cut 100 calories from your diet tomorrow.
  • If you want to exercise more, take a short walk. Add your daily exercises to your calendar. Create a ritual around eating and exercise that will turn your actions in a habit.
  • Make it a ritual to add a serving of vegetables to each meal. Take a walk after each meal.
  • Make a habit of eating at a table and not on the couch.

It’s easier to stay motivated when you’re consistent. Make small bits of action a practice every day.

Find a role model.

Find someone who has been there and done, who can show you how to get back on track with diet and exercise goals. Find people who are like you. For example, if you’re not a fitness model, don’t aspire to have the body of one, at least not at first.

Nix the negative self-talk. Pay attention to the thoughts when you feel unmotivated. How can you turn these negative thoughts into positive thoughts? Is there another way of seeing the situation?

  • Turn “it’s useless trying” to “I’m doing the best I can at this moment. I will try again tomorrow.”
  • Turn “I am not good at exercise” to “I am learning and getting better with practice.”
  • Turn “I can’t control myself” to “I briefly lost control but I’m in control now.”

How to overcome time management, motivation and consistency

One of the most difficult parts of fitness is finding the time and the motivation to stick with it. Setting aside time for exercise—or making “me time” in general—can be harder in practice than it is in theory. When you’re swamped with school, pressed to stay late at work, or juggling a busy home life, making time to spend on yourself can seem selfish, even greedy.

If you do find the time to get into the gym and make healthy food, sticking to a plan for the long haul can be an even bigger challenge. Sure, you can do it for a few months, but after those first few pounds go, how do you stay motivated?

The truth is, motivation and time management are two of the biggest fitness obstacles, and there’s no simple trick to getting over them. However, we do have all the tools you need to take fitness from an occasional endeavor to a lifestyle.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Set realistic, achievable fitness goals.
  • Know you’re worth the investment.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Make fitness work for your family.
  • Be efficient in the gym.
  • Celebrate milestones.
  • Establish accountability.

 

Consider yourself a priority

Although time management, motivation, and consistency all fall under the same branch of fitness struggles, we’ll start with time management because it’s often the biggest hurdle of the three. Whether you’re busy being an office hero, an A+ student, or a supermom, you must also prioritize your health and recognize that you’re worth the investment.

Loving yourself and knowing that your health and fitness matters is an important part of the process. Even if you’re responsible for an entire business, your personal needs must have a place in your life.

 

Plan ahead

Failing to plan means you’re planning to fail. Try taking some time on a Sunday to set your schedule. If you have a late meeting one day, plan for that. Maybe you can still fit in a short workout at lunch or a quick circuit session after work. If not, make that late-meeting day a rest day.

Just like you schedule meetings and soccer practice, it’s also important to pencil in your workouts. As powerlifter and strength coach Jennifer Blake mentions in Kellie Davis’s “Health and Fitness Tips for the Busy Mom,” “I literally have to schedule training on my calendar; otherwise, it will inevitably get pushed aside,” she says. “Between clients, helping develop and grow our gym membership, and growing my own training business, the day can slip by very quickly before I even think about hitting the gym for my own workout.”

Use that calendar app on your phone and fill out your schedule.

 

Make fitness a family affair

Another way to reduce unwanted feelings of guilt is to involve the whole family in fitness—whether that means going for a run with your dog or embarking on a post-dinner hike with the family. It’s something many fitness-focused families have implemented to keep them on track and united in healthy living.

While you may not have a home gym or a tightly-woven web of support, implementing small changes—like playing games outdoors instead of plopping down in front of the television or taking a walk after dinner walk—can make all the difference.

Making meals at home demonstrates the importance of healthy eating to your children. This will help you and your family realize that clean eating is a lifestyle choice, not a short-term sacrifice. Take it from BPI co-founder and vice president James Grage. “My wife and I don’t diet,” he says. “That’s just a horrible word that sets people up for failure and makes all of your lifelong changes sound like a short-term remedy. Instead, we just eat healthy and take care of ourselves.

fitness-icohs-2016

Make the most of gym time

Many people think that to have the body of their dreams, they need to set up at least a 90-minute date with the iron. That’s just not true. The only bad workout is the one that’s missed. Even a simple 20-minute workout at your gym or some time spent with bands and dumbbells at home can do wonders.

Even if you have more than 20 minutes to train, it’s important that you make your gym time efficient. Don’t waste time on your phone or chatting with other people. When you walk into the gym, you should have a specific plan already set up. Do the work, and then get out. You’d be surprised at how much you can get done in just 20 minutes.

In order to make the most of your gym time, your workouts should be intense. Increase the intensity of your sweat session by keeping your rest periods short, using challenging weight, and developing a high-volume training style. Your heart should be elevated throughout your entire workout, and you should leave the gym feeling tired but good.

The same can be said about your cardio. Don’t waste time doing 60 minutes of treadmill walking. Get more work done using high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Just 20 minutes of 1:1 work/rest intervals will provide the fat-burning, muscle-building environment your body needs to make progress.

You can do your cardio on the bike, treadmill, or stairmill. But, you can also run or bike outside, do agility exercises, or even do bodyweight exercises. Experiment and have fun!

 

Motivation

Time management issues are often tailed by motivation problems. It’s difficult to remain 100 percent focused and inspired every day, we know. There are things you can do, however, to decrease the chances that you let your lack of motivation win out.

The most important way to stay motivated is to remember that, you don’t have to suddenly go from one extreme to other. Tiny, manageable changes to your lifestyle will make small changes in your physique and your overall health. Each change you notice is a win. Over time, those little changes will add up to enormous progress.

Jesse Shand is a prime example of this. When he started on his weight-loss journey, he weighed 653 pounds and was hardly able to walk. After making tiny changes like eating seven chicken quesadillas instead of eight, and taking just a few extra steps, Jesse began to notice changes in his body. Now, Jesse weighs 297 pounds and can actually fit in his shower.

While your story might not be as dramatic, setting up smaller goals to reach a larger goal can help ease the feeling of being overwhelmed. Other times, a workout partner can be the best form of motivation and a great way to put things in perspective. “My friend started working out, and when I saw him that summer, I was shocked at the amount of progress he’d made,” says Joe Batic, who lost over 100 pounds. “He came to live with me, and that was enough to make me realize that I had to do something. If he could work 10 hours and then go to the gym and get his running in, I had no excuse.”

Whether you’ve been struggling for years or just recently changed your mindset, connecting with other people who have had remarkable transformations and being able to relate to their stories can provide that last push to keep on going.

 

Consistency

When it comes to exercise and seeing results, people tend to be impatient. Too often, the urge to look for the next quick fix trumps the time and commitment it would take to see real results from a program. The truth is, you won’t get abs by going hard half of the time and binging on potato chips while you sit on the couch the other half.

It’s not realistic to try and be perfect 100 percent of the time. Instead, the goal should be to follow your program as well as you can most of the time. The longer you stick with something, the better you’ll become. Here are some tips to stay on track:

  • Highlight your priorities: Realize you can’t do it all. Make sure you hunker down and focus on what’s important based on what you want to accomplish.
  • Set definite goals: Set small, manageable goals in concrete time frames. Identify what they are, and determine how you’re going to make them happen.
  • Prevail over stress: When you’re busy and feel like skipping the gym, remember that even 20 minutes of training can make all the difference. Not only will you be chipping away at your goal physique, but setting time aside to meditate, lift, or simply self-reflect can be a good coping mechanism.
  • Make a schedule: Use a planner or calendar to set a reminder of your daily activities. Portioning out your day ahead of time will leave no room for the excuse that you just didn’t have time for the gym. Meal prepping on the weekend is a great way to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Establish accountability: Shout your fitness goals from the rooftop. Often, verbalizing your goals to others helps increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with them. Joining a like-minded community like BodySpace can also help.

Really, making changes to your lifestyle you know you can continue is the best way to stay consistent to your goals. Don’t try for the zero-to-hero approach. Start by making small changes you know you can stick to, and then move forward from there.