Staying in shape all year round might seem impossible, but it’s not! The key to staying on top of your fitness game is to get into effective and straightforward healthy habits you can actually maintain. I've built these habits up over the years myself, and they've helped me stay strong, lean and feel good all year round.
Read on and learn the 7 healthy habits people who stay in shape all year round 👇 How many of these do you already do?
Let's jump straight into it!
#1 Read nutrition labels 🥦
Reading nutrition labels is great to learn what is actually in the food you eat. How much protein does it have? How much fibre? Is there too much added sugar? Or are the saturated fats too high? Quite often clever packaging and fancy words like “high protein” or “no added sugar” on the front of the pack can fool you into thinking it’s a healthy option, when it might not be.
Here are some things to look out for when studying nutrition labels:
Look at the nutritional information listed under "per 100g" instead of "per serving". Quite often the recommended serving sizes are much smaller than the portion you'd actually eat
Aim for foods with 15g (or more) of protein. This is a great amount and will help boost your fitness journey.
Aim for foods a good amount of fibre. This means that the carbs in the meal are whole grain, filling and nutritious.
If the food contains fats, aim for most of these to be unsaturated fats (healthy fats), instead of saturated fats (unhealthy fats).
In general, buy foods with less artificial ingredients, added sugar, salt and saturated fats.
#2 Strength train 3-5 times per week 💪
Strength training 3-5 times per week is the optimal amount to build lean muscle and a strong body. This is the amount where you’re training enough to build muscle while also giving your body enough rest time between workouts to recover. Doing this consistently every week is highly effective for gaining muscle and weight loss.
Tip: if you are strength training more than 3 times per week, split the workouts into “upper body” and “lower body”. This way you’re giving each muscle group a day's rest between training.
Why not make your workouts work for you? Get started with Online Coaching and get your own training plan.
#3 Walk 8,000-10,000 steps each day 🚶
Our bodies are made for moving, and so many good things happen (both physically and mentally) when we walk. Let me first say, there's nothing magic about hitting exactly 8,000 - 10,000 steps per day, but doing this means you are regularly on your feet and therefore keeping an active lifestyle.
You can easily get your step count up by walking to work, the gym or other appointments. Use it as an excuse to get outdoors, where you not only get your blood pumping but also boost your mental wellbeing. Also, try to walk to the supermarket when you're doing your food shop. As a bonus, carrying home the shopping bags will build stronger arms as well.
#4 Include protein and veg with all meals 🥘
It’s no secret that a high protein diet is key to seeing results in your fitness journey. It will fuel your muscles with the right nutrients to grow; it will nourish your body; help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels and give you fuel and energy for your workouts.
Aim to include a healthy protein source and vegetables with (nearly) every meal, and make this take up most space on your plate.
Want meals that fit perfectly into your own lifestyle? Contact me to get a personalised meal plan.
#5 Avoid binge drinking 🍻
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of wine on a Friday night or having a couple beers when catching up with friends, but for the sake of your fitness journey, alcohol is best enjoyed in moderate amounts. Try swapping out sugary sodas with soda water or swap heavy spirits with low-percentage alcohol drinks.
Binge drinking every weekend will leave you dehydrated and deflated. You will crave unhealthy foods and likely consume more than you need. And even worse, a hangover the next day will give you no motivation, energy or capacity to workout, making it harder to get back on your plan.
Give these tips a read on how I maintain both a social life and a healthy lifestyle.
#6 Prioritise rest and recovery 😊
During rest is when your body starts the muscle-building process, which is why enough recovery time is important to your fitness journey.
If you can, aim to sleep 7-9 hours every night, and aim to go to bed / wake up at the same time every day. It's the recommended amount for adults and will recharge your body, help establish a routine, and give your body time for the muscle-building process to kick in.
Furthermore, it’s important to prioritise rest days between workouts and to listen to your body if it needs a break. By going ‘all-in’ every single day you will risk burnout and injuries. Remember, there will be days once in a while when you skip workouts, and that’s fine - a healthy mind is as important as a healthy body.
#7 Be disciplined, not just motivated 🏆
Someone who has built a strong body knows it takes hard work and dedication to get there. They know that it requires getting comfortable with the uncomfortable – pushing yourself in workouts and staying disciplined with nutrition.
While skipping a workout every now and then, or eating what’s considered an “unhealthy meal” is absolutely okay, it typically isn’t something which someone who stays in shape all year gives in to every time the urge is there. They think ahead and remember what will feel good and benefit them in the long run, instead of just the current moment.
To avoid hitting a plateau in your training, aim to consistently progress your workouts with heavier weights or more challenging exercises. Use progressive overload to gradually push your muscles further. This will also keep you mentally stimulated and find working out exciting. And finally, remember that relying on discipline and motivation are two very different things.
Conclusion: how to start healthy habits and a workout routine
Staying in shape all year round is possible for anyone. It requires optimising both your training and nutrition in a way that fits into your lifestyle. And it's definitely possible regardless of what diet you are on or how many times you can workout. To recap, here are the 7 healthy habits of people who stay in shape all year round:
If you're looking to start working towards a body you feel amazing in and a lifestyle you can maintian, I'm here to help. Consider getting a personalised meal plan or starting online coaching. I've been a personal trainer for 10+ years and have helped hundreds of people in the same situation as you 😁
Don't be afraid to make the change. Sign up for Online Coaching with me below👇🏼
7 habits of people who stay in shape all year round