Tuesday, July 1, 2014


As I spend 90% of my time either learning, coaching or advising on health and fitness, I have often wondered in simple terms what the fit and healthy have in common that everybody else doesn't. Yes I know they eat well and exercise but that's a big generalisation and though true it doesn't explain what they actually do everyday without thinking.
So what is a habit? According to the Oxford English dictionary a habit is;-  'A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.'
So these habits are done everyday without thinking, it's instinctive. Now if it's alcohol, smoking, cocaine or even worse then one can see how the power of habits can be to the detriment of your health ... and so healthy people use the same psychology but they use it to the benefit of their health.
       It's a lot easier to have habits than it is to force yourself to go to the gym or force yourself to refuse another glass of wine ... and so it's habits that we need to have in our everyday lives to make it easier to be healthy. I asked many fit and healthy people in researching this article to find out what they all had in common on a daily basis. What did they do without thinking? - a habit - and came up with these 7.

The Protein/Vegetable Breakfast Habit.

They all ate breakfast, hungry or not and they all knew how much protein they had for breakfast. I've heard the 'unhealthy' say this is too anal and obsessive but to healthy people its easy and takes about 5 seconds to calculate. They know what nutrients they consume every morning because they do it everyday, its just like brushing your teeth, its simple ... and takes no effort at all. If you educate
yourself with what is a healthy breakfast, how hard can it be, just eat it?

The Water Habit.

They all knew how much water (approx. 3 litres) they had per day. If you have a half litre jug, glass or bottle... or all three, then 6 of those in the day and your done. Again its easy if you think about it. I know I drink a litre in the morning before leaving the house with my various green drinks, probiotics , fish oils, etc, everyday. I always have another half litre at the cafĂ© with my coffee. So  I've already had half my daily quota before 9 am!  I don't think about it because its a habit.

The Supplements Habit.

Everyone could real off a list of daily supplements. The majority of these were the same too; Fish oil, Green drinks, Probiotics, Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamins ... and Whey protein, BCCA's and Glutamine in their workout shake. Again no effort required for them to tell me what they were.

The Exercise Habit.

This was interesting. Before I asked the question they would tell me how many days a week they exercised. It wasn't, 'let me think about it'. It was, '5 days a week' or 'every morning' or 'I do weights 3 times a week and sprints twice' or 'I run every other day and do weights twice a week'... or I cycle about 80k's per day' ... Amazing, because it was a routine habit and although the nature of the regime varied the amount of exercise per week was a known quantity to each person despite age or

The Shopping Habit.

This may surprise you ... and I don't mean they all go looking for the latest designer pair of shoes! They all eat clean 90% of the time but they do this by the way they shop. If you only ever buy healthy fruit and vegetables, fish and meat... and no Coke, packet foods, tinned crap, bread, pastries, biscuits or alcohol, then that's all you have in your house. They only have clean foods in their fridge so that's all they ever eat. They also plan ahead on journeys, knowing where to get the right food.         
Now I will admit the hard part is socialising because if you go to a restaurant or someone else's house for dinner then you are in their hands to a certain extent. So what do the fit and healthy do. They plan. I want to know what time we will eat and what food will be served. If its late, which is something I never do, I will eat before I go out and then I can select the healthy food options without pressure. Most healthy people do this and when it comes to alcohol we have water. I know many people think this is boring but for the record I find everyone who stands around drinking for an hour before dinner incredibly tiresome.

The Medicines Habit.

They don't take any. They never visit a chemist ... seriously. Fit and healthy people live a healthy lifestyle so why would they A) need to, or B) want to go to a pharmacy (or drug store). They may, due to some unforeseen problem have to, but they will go to any lengths to avoid it and usually they find they don't need anything and will get better without any drugs at all. Indeed as Voltaire said, The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease' and Deepak Chopra - 'We like to tell our patients that the body is the best pharmacy in the world and is capable of making wonder drugs.'  having the ability to heal itself if you feed and take care of it in the right way. Indeed this is how most placebo's work as the body believes its healing and so it does. I know some people who unfortunately live in the pharmacy believing drugs are the only answer to their problems ... they seem unaware that a healthy life style is the real answer.

The Attitude Habit.

They all believe that health and fitness is available to all and their entire focus is primarily the belief that health brings happiness. Literally hundreds of studies show that exercise relieves depression, Alzheimer's, Diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, Arthritis, Dementia, the list is endless. This belief is an habitual thought and it dominates every moment of their lives. It is not just a positive attitude, it is a fundamental principle and it is shared with their loved ones, friends and families. As a friend of mine always says to me when bidding me goodbye - 'Stay healthy.'

Now I know others may disagree or want to add to this list, so please comment below and finally try and adopt, if not all these habits, then at least some and ....'Stay healthy'

PS, One of my coaching friends, Richard, mentioned the 'Sleep Habit'. You have to get your 6-8 hours of quality sleep per night for all the other habits to work effectively.


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