Fitness is a lifestyle. It’s not something you just do once in a while.
We’ve said it many times, and it’s something that bears repeating due to just how important it is. Being fit (eating healthy, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body composition, etc.) is known to improve mood, self-confidence, productivity, longevity, cognitive function, and immune function while also reducing risk of injury and illness.
One thing that many individuals claim that prevents them from living “the fit life” is a lack of time.
In this article, we’ll offer 9 tips for better fitness that you can use in your daily life to help establish healthy habits and start improving your health, wellness, and longevity NOW!
#1 Get Structure
Many individuals wait for the “spark” or “kick” of motivation to get them in the gym, clean up their diet, or start a transformation challenge. And, while motivation can provide that initial impetus needed, it’s incredibly short-lived.
Basically, motivation can help you get your foot in the door, but it’s not going to always be there or see you through the challenging times.
What will get you through those days when you lack motivation is structure.
Simply put, writing down your workouts each week in your calendar will help you stay on track with your program, more than if you just try to hit the gym when you feel “inspired” or “motivated.”
Schedule your workouts just like you do other important aspects of your daily life -- meetings, doctor’s appointments, etc.
If you do need the initial kick in the pants to get going, consider joining our 8-week transformation challenge where you can also interact with other like-minded individuals and get support, encouragement, and advice on how best to accomplish your goals.
#2 Utilize Micro Workouts
As we mentioned at the outset, a lack of time is one of the main reasons people cite for not being able to consistently hit the gym.
The truth is that you don’t need to spend hours and hours in the gym each week to lose fat, build muscle, or get results. You can gain considerable amounts of muscle and strength with a relatively low amount of actual training time.
Part of the reason that some workouts last 60+ minutes is that they’re full of filler work and or bloated rest periods (on account of people scrolling on their phones instead of training hard).
Plus, if you actually break down how much time your muscles are actively under tension (which is the primary driver of muscle growth) during the workout, it’s likely only 10-15 minutes of an entire 60 minute workout.
What this means is that you can get a lot accomplished in a relatively short amount of time, even as little as 10 minutes!
One training technique that is great for those on a time-crunch is rest-pause training, which essentially condenses the rest periods so that you perform 1 “extended set” as opposed to 3 training sets.
So, for instance, if you wanted to train your back. Instead of doing a set of pull ups, then resting 2 minutes, performing another set, resting another 2 minutes, and performing a final set, you would do perform one set to near failure (1-2 reps left in tank), rest 20-30 seconds, perform another “mini-set” (with 1-2 reps left in the tank), rest 20-30 seconds, and perform another mini-set to technical failure.
You’ve effectively increased the number of “hard reps” your muscles are doing while decreasing down time, helping you get more done in less time, which is great for those with little time to spend in the gym.
#3 Keep Workouts Simple
Truth be told, there are a lot of exercises and training programs to choose from, which can make it seem daunting for individuals just getting started in fitness. But, realistically speaking, you’re best served by keeping things simple in your training:
- Vertical Push
- Vertical Pull
- Horizontal Push
- Horizontal Pull
- Loaded Carry
These 7 basic movements will cover all the bases and get you all the results you want in the gym.
Despite what online trainers and “gurus” tell you, you don’t need 10 different bench press or curl variations. Focus on the basics -- push ups, pull ups, lunges, squats, overhead press, deadlifts, etc. Attack them with intensity each week and try to add reps or weight when you can and you’ll quickly see just how effective a simple training plan can be.
And, if you’re ever unsure of how to perform an exercise, you can always open up the 1UP Fitness App, available on Apple and Google Play, and check out our extensive exercise library for demonstrations.
#4 Do Something You Enjoy
There is no “perfect” workout for everyone across the board. Some individuals don’t like to train in the gym, and other individuals can’t do certain exercises for a variety of reasons (including anthropometry, injury history, etc.).
The good news is that you don’t “have” to do one particular workout, exercise, or training program to get results. There are a seemingly endless number of ways to build muscle and strength.
Basically, find the form of exercise that excites you to consistently show up and hit your workout with intensity. Also, be open to exploring new modalities of exercise as you progress in your fitness journey.
#5 If All Else Fails...Just MOVE
Any movement is better than no movement. This is important to keep in mind if you’re struggling to figure out what type of exercise regimen or training program to follow. If you’re not focused on any particular physique or performance goal (hitting a new 1-rep max on your squat, for instance), it’s ok to keep things fluid and flexible in your training. You don’t have to be locked into a rigid training structure all the time. What you should do is continue to maintain high levels of physical activity as it supports cardiometabolic health and is essential for maintaining your weight loss results.
For instance, if you happen to be in a maintenance phase, your weekly exercise plan could include 2-3 days of resistance training, a day of interval training, a day of yoga, and a day of walking. The next month it could be 4-5 days of resistance training, a day of active recovery, and one day of hiking.
#6 Embrace Slow & Steady Weight Loss
It can be tempting to jump on the latest nutrition craze or fad diet, especially when they’re promising rapid results (e.g. “lose 15 pounds in 5 days”). But, the truth is that sustainable weight loss comes from developing and ingraining habits that you can carry out today and everyday for the foreseeable future.
Things like tracking your food intake with the 1UP Fitness app, maintaining a calorie deficit, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress are the pillars of weight loss success, and they all begin with making a concerted effort (aka “habit”).
#7 Fuel Your Workouts
Weight loss is an interesting challenge. On the one hand, you need to consume less calories than you burn in a day (i.e. a calorie deficit) in order to lose weight. On the other hand, you still want to train hard in your workouts, but being in a calorie deficit can cause a drop off in performance and recovery. Furthermore, reducing your calories too much can directly impact how many calories you’re burning during a workout (and throughout the day), which ultimately undermines your athletic performance and weight loss efforts.
So, while it’s important to be in a calorie deficit for weight loss, you also need to fuel your body properly for workouts.
Typically, this means consuming a mix of carbohydrates and protein before and after training. The carbohydrates give your muscles the energy they need to perform at a high level, while the protein supplies the body with the essential amino acids it needs to build and repair muscle tissue.
One of our favorite pre workout or post workout meals is high-protein smoothie composed of:
- 1 scoop 1UP protein powder (such as whey protein, egg protein, or vegan protein)
- ½-1 frozen banana (cut into chunks)
- 1 cup milk of choice
- ½-1 tablespoon nut butter
This supplies the body with everything it needs to perform at a high level, build muscle, replenish glycogen and support stable energy levels.
For added intensity before your training session (which can help increase calorie burning and athletic performance), you can also take a serving of our best-selling pre workouts, 1UP Pre Wormen & 1UP Pre Men.
#8 Get Enough Sleep Each Night
Sleep isn’t only important for fat loss, muscle growth, or performance in the gym. It’s vital for your physical and mental well-being.
Far too many individuals (including us) eschew sleep for a wide variety of reasons.
But, the simple truth of the matter is that if you want to have greater energy, focus, vitality, cognition, performance, and results then you must make sleep a priority each and every night.
That begins with getting some exposure to sunlight during the morning, which helps align your circadian rhythm. Other useful tips for getting enough quality sleep each night, include:
- Going to bed at the same time each night
- Limiting/avoiding blue light exposure 2-3 hours before bed
- Limiting/avoiding stimulants and alcohol before bed
- Taking a warm shower or bath
- Avoiding sources of stress before bed (work emails, texts, social media, new outlets, etc.)
- Making your room cool and dark
- Having a supportive mattress and pillow
- Stretching and/or performing breathing exercises
You can also utilize a nighttime recovery and relaxation aid like Beauty Dream PM or Recharge PM, which contains natural ingredients that help promote feelings of calm, thereby helping you get the deep, restorative sleep you need to perform to your best each and every day.
#9 Keep Showing Up
Life happens...we get it.
There will be times when your schedule gets completely upended, and it seems virtually impossible to stay on track with your nutrition plan, let alone your workouts.
The important thing to remember is to stay focused on the long-term, not the short term. So long as you’re doing things “right” (eating healthy, hitting your macros/calories, exercising consistently), a missed workout here or a “cheat meal” there, won’t make a huge difference.
If something causes you to miss a workout or a meal, own up to it, and then get right back on track with your plan as soon as you can. And, if you need extra motivation and encouragement to get you through trying times, reach out for support to family, friends, or other like-minded individuals in our private group that you can access through the app.