We all know those people — the ones who never seem to have to even try to stay in shape.
The ones who get up early on a Saturday morning to work out with a smile on their face, then polish off a cookie (or two) later that day — without ever obsessing over calories or seeming to put on a single pound.
And while it may seem like they just have really good genes, whether they know it or not, naturally fit people have built up a set of habits over the years that have allowed them to stay in shape without putting in a lot of effort.
Here are 5 things naturally fit people do differently:
1. They actually enjoy staying active
If you’re one of those people who dreads every minute of your upcoming workout, it’s time to find a different approach to exercise.
Because most of the time, fit people find a way to actually enjoy — and even look forward to — their workouts.
And while that may not always mean they’re excited to do 100 burpees on any given day, it does mean that they like the feeling of being fit and value that more than their desire to sit on the couch.
If you really dread exercise, the problem may be with your workout, not you. Everyone enjoys doing different things — I used to hate working out when I thought running was the only way to stay in shape, but ever since I discovered HIIT training, I can hardly take a day off from my workouts (because I actually enjoy them!).
2. They don’t diet.
Have you ever known someone in really great shape who was constantly trying out every new fad diet?
Yeah, me either.
Because for the most part, fit people don’t diet — they make healthy eating a part of their lifestyle.
Ultimately, the key to staying fit and eating healthy is to learn to listen to your body. What makes you feel good and keeps you feeling full and energized throughout the day?
Learn to answer these questions for yourself, and you’ll soon be on the road to embracing healthy eating as a lifestyle — not following every new diet that comes along.
3. They spend time with other fit people.
You know that saying, “you are what you eat?” Well, you are who you eat with (and socialize with) as well.
Just think about it: if all your friends are constantly eating fast food and choosing sedentary activities instead of active ones, what do you think you’re going to do? Probably eat junk and sit around all day too.
On the other hand, if your friends are into healthy cooking, and enjoy doing active things like going for bike rides or playing tennis for fun, you’re probably going to join in and be more active as a result.
This may be tough at first if you have old friends with unhealthy habits, but you can try and encourage them to be healthy too with small changes to your usual activities — and you can always try and meet some new more active, health-minded friends as well.
4. They prioritize their sleep.
If you still think being fit is only about how often you work out, you need to think again. Because one of the top things fit people do to stay healthy and fit isn’t exercise-based at all — it’s getting enough sleep.
Not only does sleep give you the energy you need to work out consistently, it also helps regulate your metabolism, repair your muscles, boost your athletic performance and more. Try and get at least 7-8 hours a night.
5. They don’t try to be “perfect.”
Sure, there’s that rare person that refuses even a single bite of dessert in order to stay lean and actually seems to be OK with it. But most of us need to reward ourselves with a treat sometimes in order to keep our sanity.
Giving yourself permission to enjoy your favorite treat now and then — whether it's something as simple as a latte or even a chocolate chip cookie — will ensure you don’t feel bitter about your healthy diet (then go crazy and binge on all the things you feel like you're missing out on).
The same is true with your workouts — if you can tell your body is asking for a day off even when you hadn't planned on taking one, give yourself the rest your body needs, and refuse to feel guilty because of it.
Seek balance in both your eating habits and your workouts, and you'll be a healthier, happier and fitter person as a result.
By Krista Stryker
June 15, 2014 4:30 AM EDT