I love working in fitness, but . . .
. . . I also hate working in fitness.
Let me explain . . .
The fitness industry is a community of deeply caring individuals who are primarily focused on helping others live their best life.
Sure there is money to be made, but there is a lot more money to be made in other industries that offer more stability, security, and opportunities for vertical mobility.
Most individuals who are in fitness are there because they found a passion for caring for their own health and wellness, experienced the profound impact it had on their life, and want to help guide others to that same enlightenment.
However the fitness industry can also be pretty insulating.
Fitness professionals often times find themselves speaking, living, and working with mostly other fitness professionals who share similar values, beliefs, and lifestyles.
Don’t get me wrong finding your tribe and being with that tribe is important, but unlike many other professions fitness professionals don’t typically interact with others that have significantly different lifestyles than theirs.
The problem with this is it often leads fit pros to be disconnected from the actual reality that the majority of adults are living in and the lifestyles they have.
Consider these facts . . .
- 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese.
- 86% of Americans do not belong to a gym.
- 56% of those Americans don’t go.
- 80% of Americans do not get the recommended amount of exercise each week
These statistics paint a pretty dismal picture of the state of the union for health in the US.
It means that as fitness professionals our industry is largely failing at it’s stated mission.
Sure we might be having success with a few clients here and there, but we aren’t truly reaching the people we want to reach.
We aren’t reaching you.
I’m not reaching you.
And I believe the reason we are failing is because we have you and every other person like you completely and utterly fucking confused about what they should be taking action on nutritionally and physically to improve their health.
We are writing articles about the pros and cons of eating sweet potatoes vs. regular potatoes, white rice vs. brown rice, and multiple set strength training vs. single set strength training.
Some of us are supportive of crossfit.
Some of us hate yoga.
Others of us demonize pilates and vegan smoothies.
We publish videos and infographics about when to take whey vs. caesin protein.
All the while the majority of people aren’t even exercising.
Most people are overweight and obese.
Most people don’t have a gym membership.
The problem is that we have you focused on the minutia, the pebbles, the small stuff.
I believe the keys to your success lie in focusing on the big rocks - the 20% of habits and behaviors that are going to drive 80% of your results.
So let me start contributing to the solution by giving you the top 5 habits you should be building in order to deliver on your health goals.
1. Track your macronutrients and calories each day.
I know I know a lot of you are going to resist me on this one, but the truth is what gets measured gets managed and managing your intake on a daily basis is how you are going to drive outcomes in both the short and long term.
This habit will allow you to truly understand how much food you are taking in each day and how even the smallest slip ups several times a day can impact your progress towards your goals.
I recommend using of of the free apps for your phone such as myfitnesspal, Macros+, or Lose It!.
I made an entire video on why I prefer to use Macros+ here, but it’s totally up to your preference.
Hell try them all and see which one works best for you.
The reason I recommend using a phone on your app is because you are almost never without your phone at a meal time making it that much easier to get the data logged and entered.
2. Eat protein at every meal.
In my opinion this is one of the bedrock habits that all great performance and aesthetics is based on.
Prioritizing some type of protein consumption at each meal is going to be crucial regardless of whether you are trying to build muscle or lose fat.
Make it your new definition.
It isn’t a meal if there isn’t protein.
And please don’t overcomplicate this.
I don’t care where the protein comes from only that you do in fact eat it.
Fish, chicken, beef, dairy, protein supplements whatever works for you, your budget, and your lifestyle.
3. Drink 8 - 12 cups of water each day.
Do I really need to explain this one much?
I mean you get it, right?
You would die without water so it stands to reason you will live better when you consume plenty of it.
I don’t think we need much more scientific understanding than that.
4. Sleep 6 - 8 hours each night.
I know what you are thinking especially if you are a parent.
“Sleep? That is a thing still?”
And trust me I get it completely.
As I write this I have two children under the age of 2, a wife, a more than full time day job, Freeborn Training Systems, and a desire to create all kinds of personal branding content.
Sleep is at times on short supply or prioritized last, but if you have serious performance, health, and/or aesthetic goals than you have to first prioritize allotting time for sleep then rationalize how you will spend the other 16 - 18 hours a day.
5. Lift weights 3 - 4 times per week.
I know that somewhere along the line you heard you have to run to have a flat stomach or cardio is how you burn off the pounds, but the truth is for true lasting health, performance, and aethstics you should be spending time that you have to exercise each week on some form of strength training.
It will not only help you build the muscle you need to have a defined physique, but it will improve your metabolism, help you age more gracefully, and keep your bones healthy.
Start slow, start light, and continue to try to progress each training session whenever possible.
Strength training only works if there is progressive overload - adding weight or extra reps and sets.
I honestly believe that those five habits are the vital few and I wouldn’t recommend focusting on much else until you have those down.
And I don’t mean for like a week or even a month.
I mean they have to become part of who you are and what you do.
That takes time so have patience and be diligent once you get there you will know because you won’t even have to think about doing them.
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training