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Everybody wants a better physique. But while you might think attaining said physique needs that hot new workout program or some dazzling new trick in the kitchen, you can make solid progress by just practicing good habits. Here’s a list of 17 good habits you can not only work into everyday life, but will help you build that lean, athletic, and aesthetic body.
You’ve probably gone to the grocery store when you’re hungry, only to find yourself coming home with way more snacks and treats than you normally would. Going shopping when you’re full and satisfied minimizes your chance of bringing home food you know you shouldn’t. And if you don’t bring it home, you can’t eat it.
Improved sleep should be paramount among the good habits you try to build. By going to sleep and getting up at the same time daily, you regulate your circadian rhythm and teach your body when you should be sleeping. This makes falling asleep easier and will allow you to sleep more soundly when you do. Read more about the importance of sleep on training goals here.
Almost everybody needs to drink more water. By carrying water with you wherever you go, you can be sure to always have some handy, letting you sip on it throughout the day instead of having to chug several glasses at meals. Also, if you drink a lot of coffee, fruit juice or other beverages, consider a glass of water the next time you’re thirsty or go to put the kettle on.
Meditation can improve mental focus, reduce stress, and may even improve hormone balance. Practice basic meditation by setting everything aside and trying to clear your mind daily. You don’t have to do it for long – as little as 3-5 minutes starting out is enough.
By performing all your barbell and dumbbell exercises standing, you will engage your core more, develop more stability, and can even build more endurance in your legs. Every exercise will now have a sort of “full body” element to it, and you could even burn a few more calories. The main advantage of sitting on a bench while doing certain exercises is to keep form in check, so just keep that in mind while standing (controlled movements and good form).
By incrementally increasing the difficulty on your cardio, you’ll be able to burn more calories, improve heart health, and increase athletic performance without even feeling like you’re trying. You don’t have to do much – increasing the speed or incline by as much as .1-.2 on the treadmill per week can make a dramatic difference in the long run.
Following on from the tip above, by drinking a large glass of water prior to each meal, you can not only help ensure you’re drinking more water, but will get satiated more quickly. This can lead to you eating less and taking in fewer calories overall.
Many people have a hard time losing weight because they unknowingly keep their calories high via what they drink. By drinking your coffee black, water instead of soft drinks, and no-sugar added versions of your favorite refreshments (just keep these in moderation), you very well may radically decrease your daily caloric intake. If you have a hard time swapping out certain things, such as latte for black coffee, then just try to limit yourself.
Condiments are another way you could be unknowingly taking in a many extra calories each day. Drop the ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressing, and mayo for mustard, hot sauce, salsa, and the like. Other good habits could include using spices to give your food added flavor.
It might not seem like much, but by parking a few extra spaces away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and other such small activities can add up. When you tally it all at the end of a week, you’ll have walked maybe an extra mile or two, burned more calories, and were just that much more active. Best of all, it never took you more than an extra minute or two at any one time.
Machines are great, but free weights always force you to work harder. Among the good habits they build, they cause a higher NMA – neuro-muscular activation. This means the muscle works harder and requires a better mind-muscle connection than a similar exercise done in a machine. Plus, the added stability you build can translate well over into real world activities.
By making it not easy to grab a snack any old time you want, you reduce the chance of simply eating something just because it’s there. You don’t have to make it overly difficult, either. Keeping your snacks in the garage, basement, or even the trunk of your car will work. Bring in your daily allotment, and that will likely be all you need to satisfy daily cravings.
One of those good habits you might not think of, limiting your phone use can have many benefits. By eliminating yet another source of stimulation, you can let your brain rest, which lowers stress. Putting your phone away (and watching less TV) at night limits your exposure to blue light, which can let you get to sleep easier. And by not looking at your phone all the time, you have more time to interact personally with those around you.
If you don’t get enough sleep or your recovery is lacking, try to get a nap each day. Something as simple as ducking out to your car during your lunch break for a quick 10-15 minute cat nap can have drastic effects on how much better you feel, as well as restore brain function.
Whether it’s coffee, energy drinks, pre-workout supplements, sodas, or the like, most people take entirely too many stimulants. This leads to them not sleeping well, recovery being hampered, and adrenal fatigue. By reducing your stimulant intake, you can start to finally “reset” your hormones and your sensitivity to stimulants in general.
Even if you train for purely aesthetics, adding box jumps and medicine ball throws to your program will add just enough athleticism that you can feel it every single day. Then when you’re walking around in daily life, you’ll feel like your body “goes” as well as it “shows”. Learn more about functional movement here.
While this might not affect your physique directly, being grateful is still one of the most beneficial good habits listed on this page. Starting each day by writing down at least 5 things you’re grateful for will put you in a positive frame of mind and ready to attack your goals for the day.
None of these good habits are that big in and of themselves. However, when you combine some (or all) of them, and be consistent with them over the long term, you can’t help but benefit. Work them into your daily routine and see just how much better you’ll look and feel.