This post was written by J.J. Creegan, Youfit’s COO.
When I applied to work for this company roughly 15 years ago, I thought to myself, “I am going to be in the best shape ever!” The truth is that just like the rest of society, fitness industry professionals face the same daily struggles when it comes to their own personal fitness journey. During my 15+ years in this industry I have been in the best shape of my life, the worst shape of my life and everything in between. I’m a normal guy, just like you. I wasn’t blessed with cover- model genetics, I was never a varsity athlete and I definitely have to be mindful of what I eat.
I am happy to say, though, that in recent years I have come into my own. I have found my own recipe for success. I set achievements I want to hit and celebrate them when I do. For example, I used to celebrate the achievement of increasing my bench press or the definition of a certain body part. That was in college. Today, I celebrate the same mantra that I have shared with Youfit members and staff for years: look better, feel better and live longer.
I know that living out this mantra for the next few decades is the true challenge. Nothing gets easier as you get older, especially breaking bad habits. For this reason, I know that I have to stay consistent with my healthy diet and regular exercise. Don’t get me wrong; I have as much of a passion for eating as I do for my family and this company. I love it. However, I have learned how to balance it, and I want to share my real and reasonable tips with you.
Pick your poison: I am partially convinced that many of the picture-perfect bodies you see in the media are airbrushed or robots. No one can have abs like that and actually enjoy life, can they? In reality, some can. But I can’t, so I have to pick my poison … or cheat foods. When it comes to calories I have two major weaknesses: dessert and beer. In fact, as I write this article, I know I will be going to my favorite local brewery The Funky Buddha tonight with some buddies. It will not be a low- calorie night. But, I limit my poisons. I drink no more than three nights a week, and I have dessert only once per week. Once I blow them both, I am done. These are reasonable boundaries that help my waistline and that I can maintain.
Plan to fail: Far from the most optimistic and motivating tips out there, but definitely the most realistic. My suggestion is to create a plan in which failure is still positive. Personally, I plan to work out six times a week knowing that semiregularly I am going to fail at that and miss a few days. With this plan, a 50% failure means that I still exercised three times in a week. This mostly happens when I travel for work. I stay out too late and struggle to make it to the hotel gym at 7 a.m. Let’s be real. It happened this week at home when I stayed up too late binge-watching episodes of Ray Donovan until 2 a.m. Set a plan for yourself where you still come out ahead, even if you fall short.
Quit lying: Calorie/exercise tracking apps are some of the greatest tools out there. I use the one offered by Youfit’s partner dotFit, as well as a few others. The first one I ever used was called Lose It!, and man, was I surprised to see what I was eating. I had been lying to myself for years assuming that one pint of ice cream wasn’t 1,200 calories. I believed that the third slice of pizza wouldn’t hurt me … after all, it was better than four. When I finally quit lying to myself and began monitoring what I consumed, and calories burned during my workouts, it opened my eyes and made my diet much simpler.
Something is better than nothing: Some fitness experts out there may kill me for saying this, but I say keep it simple. Science has proven that some workouts are better than others, but common sense has proven that anything is better than sitting on the couch. Personally, I enjoy resistance training. I like how it feels, and I love the constant challenge of it. But some days I look at those dumbbells at my local Youfit, and I shake my head no. That’s when I head over to our Express Circuit or the treadmill. However I choose to exercise that day, I know that something is better than nothing.
Plan for boredom: The only thing worse than a boring workout is the decision to continue with boring workouts. I have found that my boredom is aligned with my physical plateaus and results. As soon as I start to get bored, I also lose intensity and results. I have learned that this happens between months two and four of a routine for me. Nowadays I anticipate it and plan for boredom. Six months ago I decided that I was going to include Yoga in to my fitness routine to mix it up.
As you can see, it all comes down to what works for each individual. If you have stricter fitness goals, you might need a bit more discipline. Either way, Youfit is here to help you discover the right health and fitness routine for you.