How To Stay Fit For Life: The Official Top 10 Countdown – Part 2

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Author Ben Greenfield (above) rounds the corner at a 5K event.

If you missed part 1 of this series on how to stay fit for life, then you can read it here. Be sure to leave your comments and questions below!

#5: Productivity

You’re far more likely to stick to an exercise routine if you can somehow feel productive while you’re doing it. I’m a huge proponent of multi-tasking during your fitness efforts, and one of the top ways that I do this is to turn each workout into a mini-university session by listening to podcasts. Whether brushing up on investing, the latest science and political news, or health commentaries, you’ll rarely find me listening to hip-hop while I workout. Some of my favorite podcasts that you can search for in iTunes include “TED Talks”, “The Disciplined Investor”, “NPR Science Friday” and “Radiolab”. As an added bonus, if you don’t listen to music while you exercise, the rare times that you actually do use it (such as during that last high intensity interval of the day) will be highly motivating.

#4: Grease The Groove

I think I first came across the phrase “Grease the Groove” in a body weight workout book called the Naked Warrior. The book explained the concept of becoming more proficient at a movement by simply performed it repeatedly through the day. For example, somebody who wanted to be able to do 50 pull-ups in a row could put a pull-up bar over a door in their house or in the garage and go do 2-5 pull-ups every hour during the day. This concept works very well for fat loss as well. For example, I “grease” my metabolism’s “groove” by never allowing myself to sit for more than an hour without standing and doing something (in my case, typically 50-100 jumping jacks). Another example of this concept is that on a day during which you know a structured longer workout will be impossible, you simply set a goal to do, for example, 100 push-ups and 200 squats. You can split them up however you want, such as by doing 10  push-ups and 20 squats an hour, but by the end of the day, you must reached your goal.

#3: Stand

In the article, “Could Sitting All Day Be Killing You”, a Pennington Biomedical Research Center Ph.D explains: “It can be as simple as standing more,”… For instance, a “standing” worker—say, a sales clerk at a Banana Republic store—burns about 1,500 calories while on the job; a person behind a desk might expend roughly 1,000 calories. That goes a long way in explaining why people gain 16 pounds, on average, within 8 months of starting sedentary office work, according to a study from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Standing activates lipoprotein lipase, one of the body’s key fat burning enzymes. While turning your desk in a standing treadmill workstation may not be practical for you, you can try one of my methods – simply use a cabinet or tall desktop to bring your computer to eye level while you’re working if you have the luxury of adapting your workstation. Even if that’s not possible, choose to stand whenever possible – at the doctor’s office, waiting to renew your driver’s license, mingling at a cocktail party – even when social expectations have placed a chair in front of you, there’s usually no requirement that you have to sit in it. As a bonus, you’ll strengthen your core and legs when you stand at every possible opportunity.


#2: T-15 Minutes

What time do you currently wake up? Take that time, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier, and begin to wake up at that new T-15 minutes time. Not only do the most successful people on the planet begin their day with some form of meditation, prayer, yoga, devotional, or positive affirmation, but this can also be a perfect time to jump-start your metabolism and your fitness. For example, upon waking, I grab my .mp3 player, put in a devotional, and break into a series of yoga moves and calisthenics. Within 15 minutes, I have a light sweat, my brain is active, and my body is ready to tackle any tasks for the rest of the day. Compared to groggily stumbling outside to get the newspaper, slumping on the couch and checking e-mail, or simply lying in bed an extra 15 minutes, this practice thoroughly enables you to be physically active for the rest of your day.

#1: Shock The Body

And so we come full circle. If you read tip #10, you learned that being flexible with your positive habits and not being locked into an exercise routine is important – but you must take this even a step farther and actually shock the body with constant introduction of new exercises and workouts. There is a principle in exercise called the “SAID” principle, which stands for “Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands”. This principle states that the body will eventually adapt to the demands that you place upon it, and you therefore must constantly introduce a new stress if you want to experience fitness gains. To be fit for life, you twice weekly treadmill amble must be mixed up with steep sprints on a stairmaster or a random spin class. Your old stand-by weight machine circuit must be occasionally ditched for a month or two of free weights, kettlebells, TRX or cable work. Your long, slow lunchtime swim must once in a while be sacrificed for an intense superset of rowing machine and elliptical trainer. You get the idea. Never get stuck in a rut, choose moves that keep your body guessing, throw curveballs at your muscles and shock your body.

Well folks, that wraps it up. Did I miss something that you feel is important? If so, let me know by leaving your comment below. If you missed part 1 of this series on how to stay fit for life, then you can read it hereBe sure to leave your comments and questions below!


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