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Habits

BAD FITNESS HABITS - WHICH ONES ARE YOU GUILTY OF?

There are countless interviews of CEOs, professionals athletes, A-list celebrities and other high-performing individuals that attribute their success to the habits they've fine tuned. To help you fine tune yours, we've compiled a list of 100+ bad fitness habits and how to turn them into good ones.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit
Aristotle

Strive for progress, not perfection

Even the trainers and athletes who helped contribute to the list say they have several bad habits they are still working on. Rather than feel bad about yourself, use these to identify some micro changes that will break the bad habit cycle:

How to use this guide

Throughout this habits article, you'll see a ton of bad habits. Some might resonate with you more than others. Don't worry, that's the point.

You'll see this orange button for each bad habit.

Orange guilty button

Feel free to click on as many of these buttons where you feel the habit applies to you. Each button click will reveal a good habit to counter the bad one.

These buttons will always be visible at the top while you're scrolling.

Sorting buttons

At anytime, you can click on any of these buttons to filter down the list to the habits centered around these specific categories.

Most of all, enjoy. We didn't create this guide to shame you but rather to empower you. Our actions are dictated by our habits so hopefully this is a good launching pad to take action starting now.

BAD HABIT MIND
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Watching too much tv


The TV has become a staple in our homes, and what starts as just watching one show, quickly turns into a binge-a-thon. Sitting for hours on end in front of the TV is not beneficial to your health.

Your eyes are constantly stimulated and being shown fast visuals. Our bodies are sitting for hours on end with little movement. That time spent in front of the TV could be better spent doing something active or spending quality time with someone.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

Try limiting the amount of time you spend in front of the TV by replacing that time with something more productive.

Go out for dinner with your friends, read more books or join a community group.

Working out is another healthy option compared to sitting in front of the tube.

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BAD HABIT MIND
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Letting workout clothes get really stinky


Don’t be the guy at the gym who no one wants to stand next to because your clothes reek of your previous workout!

Your clothes are filled with bacteria after a workout, don’t let them sit and get smelly.

The chances of you finding accountability partners at the gym diminishes the more times you wear the same gym clothes without washing in between.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

Properly care for your workout gear just like you would take proper care of your other clothes.

Wash them in an appropriate amount of time after your workout so that you avoid that nasty smell.

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Beating yourself up for making a bad decision


We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Focusing on how you messed up won’t make it better, it won’t undo what happened, and it won’t make the results any different.

What it will do is make you feel even worse, lead to stress and worry, and self-deprecation. Realize that bad days happen.

We all have moments where we are knuckles deep in a jar of peanut butter or ice cream. We all have bad days and we all screw up. You’re not in this alone.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

Rather than spending your night awake beating yourself up over a bad decision, accept that it happened.

Now, maybe it’s something that needs some thought about how to prevent it from happening again in the future. If so, spend some time putting energy into a game plan on how to avoid it next time. Otherwise, accept it and move on.

Tomorrow is a new day, and we can’t change the past. We can however make tomorrow even better.

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Not practicing gratitude


Sometimes we have terrible days, where we are grumpy, irritated and things just don't seem to be going according to plan. It can be easy to stay in that emotion and carry it.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

Practicing gratitude on a regular basis, and not just when things are going poorly, can have a profound impact on your outlook and attitude in life.

If you have never done this, start by simply being thankful for everything you can physically see in front of you.

Just like your biceps, the part of your brain required to practice gratitude is a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it.

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Allowing clutter to rule your work space, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen


I know that I personally feel anxiety and stress when my space (whether it’s my home, office or car) is cluttered.

I didn’t always feel this way, as a kid I didn’t mind clutter, but as an adult there is something about the area around me being messy that leaves me feeling as though my life is a mess.

Clutter can cause people unnecessary stress and it can also just be a challenge to find things!

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GOOD HABIT MIND

If your environment is in a constant disarray and you find yourself dealing with anxiety or stress, try taking half an hour out of your day to just clear up some of the clutter.

Clean out some of the physical space that feels chaotic and it may just clear up some of the chaos you feel inside as well.

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Having an "all or nothing" mindset


Being disciplined and committed are great qualities but you have to be careful when you find yourself getting into an “all or nothing” mindset. We all make mistakes and we all face challenges.

Comparing yourself against others is not as powerful as comparing your current self against your future self.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

Give yourself grace when you mess up and give tomorrow your best effort.

Don’t give up because you had one bad day. Fitness is a lifestyle and we are each on our own fitness journeys. I can confidently say that no one’s fitness journey is a straight line.

We all have dips, turns, potholes and detours along the way. Keep going and make tomorrow even better than today was.

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Not having a strategic plan


If you are walking into the gym and winging your workouts or not being intentional with your nutrition, then you’re not setting yourself up to succeed.

Success rarely finds it's way to those who don't intentionally go out looking for it

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GOOD HABIT MIND

Say you want to gain size in your delts. You need to be intentional to train them more than once a week and make sure that you work each head of the muscle.

If your goal is to lose body fat then you need to be intentional to set up your nutrition towards that goal. Calculating your macronutrients to supply fuel for your workouts but also with a focus on fat loss.

Developing a strategic plan for yourself will help you reach your goals, but it will also give you a good way to stay on track.

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Not slowing down enough to check in mentally


Sometimes we can be “go-go-go!” We get on a roll with things and fail to slow down. I know for myself, when this occurs I tend to be bogged down with stress and anxiety.

Taking some time to stop, reflect and check in with myself provides a moment to be grounded again. Sometimes we can lose sight of our “why” and our motivations. Taking the time to mentally regroup allows you to refocus, calm down, and get prepared to continue on.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

If you are a go-go-go type of person, try to block out 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to think about what you are grateful for.

As you get better at doing this regularly, increase the amount of time you take for yourself and start to think about every other aspect of your life. Thinking about Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a great place to start.

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Using negativity as a motivator


A lot of people fall victim to using negative motivation to try to fuel them to make changes in their lives.

Research shows, that while negative motivation is very effective in getting people to start making a change, it almost never leads to long-term success.

On the other hand, people who start making changes with a clearly defined positive motivation, based on realistic goals, tend to achieve the results they want.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

Here are examples of how to counter negative motivation with positive motivation.

Negative motivation: "I hate how big my belly has gotten."

Positive motivation: "I want to start eating healthier to shrink my belly"

Do yourself a favor and go with the 2nd option.

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Allowing your day to control you


Ever say this to yourself? "I can't workout because I have too much work to do" or my personal favorite "I'm too busy to exercise."

Sounds awfully familiar to what we usually hear as an excuse for not working out.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

We all have big projects we need to manage and with a limited amount of brain power every day, checking emails before taking care of your big projects will do 2 things:

    1. You enter the day reacting to things instead of proactively crushing your tasks
    2. You zap your brain power early on and have little to no motivation to take on the big things that move you forward
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Feeding your body more than you do your mind


For most of us, we gotta' eat if we want to survive on this green earth. Usually, this happens 3 - 6 times per day everyday...unless you are intermittent fasting.

Ask yourself, how often are you taking the time to feed your mind? And no, taking a chicken breast and slamming it against your noggin doesn't count as an attempt.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

If you work out like a mad man, but are always mentally checked out or overstressed, then what is the point of taking time out of your day to lift a few weights?

I can't even begin to explain the benefit of taking the time to balance your mind, body and soul. You will be surprised at the positive effects of having more balance in your life.

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Being a people pleaser and not taking care of your own priorities


First off, is there anything wrong with going out of your way to make others happy? Not at all! The problem isn't service to others, but rather the disservice you do to yourself when your priorities are not being handled effectively.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

Learning to politely say "no" is one of the most powerful things you can learn to improve the odds of success in your life.

In fact, the late Steve Jobs said "People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.

You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things."

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Letting a bunch of small things pile up…and up...and UP


Have you ever been in a fight with someone who kept a list? You know, that list of everything you’ve done wrong, and many of which you didn’t even know bothered them?

Some people let the small things in life that bother them pile up, they may not even say anything about them but they let it irk them all the same. Then one day, enough is enough and they explode and everything comes out. All the emotion they have pent up inside for who knows how long.

This is an unhealthy way to deal with confrontation and emotions, and often times leads to a lot of unnecessary pain for those involved. It’s always better to address issues as they arise. If there is something that someone in your life did that hurt you, calmly and compassionately let them know.

Speak truth in love and let them know how it made you feel. They may not have even realized they caused you to be hurt, but if you don’t address it then you are not giving them the opportunity to fix it. Perhaps then it wouldn’t become a consistent little thing that starts to pile up over time.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

It’s always better to address issues as they arise. If there is something that someone in your life did that hurt you, calmly and compassionately let them know.

Speak truth in love and let them know how it made you feel. They may not have even realized they caused you to be hurt, but if you don’t address it then you are not giving them the opportunity to fix it.

Perhaps then it wouldn’t become a consistent little thing that starts to pile up over time.

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Always saying "Im too busy"


Those who say that they are too busy usually are not. In fact, it's 99% likely that they are simply insecure.

People who achieve extraordinary amounts of tasks FIND THE TIME while the majority of the population simply default to saying they're busy when that's not the truth.

There is a saying that resonates with me, “Schedule your priorities, not prioritize your schedule.” This is a great reminder that if it’s important to you then you will make the time and find a way

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If you are always “too busy” to find time to workout then perhaps you should ask yourself if it’s actually a priority for you. This also goes for other areas of life as well.

If you’re always telling your friends you can’t meet them for an event or outing, is that relationship truly a priority for you? If those things that you continue to say you are too busy for are truly a priority for you, then take some time to schedule them in.

Don’t wait for your schedule to clear up or for the stars to magically align. Take the bull by the horns and make it happen.

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Not taking control of your stress


Stress can have an impact on you physically as well as mentally. It’s pointless to worry and stress over things that you cannot change.

You only cause yourself to live in a vicious cycle of unnecessary stress. This can lead to physical complications, as well as it taking a tole on you emotionally and mentally.

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Take control of your stress by asking yourself if there is an action step you can take in the situation. If there isn’t then breathe and let it go. I know that’s easier said than done, especially if you have a habit of stressing, but just like you developed a habit of stress you can develop a habit of letting things go.

Here are some great tips on ways to de-stress.

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Not taking time to reflect on your progress


It can be so easy to get on a roll with your fitness journey and forget to stop and reflect on how far you have come.

This is especially important (and easy) to do if you take progress photos. You can be amazed at what you have actually accomplished over a stretch of time without even realizing the changes day to day.

We see ourselves in the mirror everyday so the progress isn’t always noticeable. The changes may not jump out at us in an obvious manner. However when you look back over long stretches of time (months-years) you will see the incredible changes and progress you have made. A highly rated app is Fit Stitch.

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An experience I had with this recently was that I was feeling discouraged for whatever reason one day, and when I have those moments I like to compare my progress pictures over longer stretches of time.

I ended up comparing 3 images that spanned a total of 8 months and discovered that I had improved my hamstrings and glutes in ways I hadn’t even realized. I gained muscle size and had not even noticed before!

This reflection and realization put a major pep in my step that day (and for weeks really!) So I encourage you to take some time, whether it’s on a day you feel discouraged or just a random moment, to look back on how far you have come and celebrate!

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Trying to do too much at once


Taking on more than you can handle can lead to stress and burnout.

It's ok to say no. If you are trying to do too much at once most likely many of the tasks and projects you are working on will only get partial attention, won’t be done to the best of your ability and some may even fall through the cracks.

The worst part? You may get stressed out, exhausted and resentful.

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GOOD HABIT MIND

In the long run it is far better to learn to say no to things you don’t have time for, can’t dedicate the appropriate amount of attention to or simply don’t want to do.

A phrase that stuck with me as I learned this particular piece the hard way is, “an internal no cancels out an external yes.” Meaning that if you say yes to something or agree to take something on when internally you are cringing and wondering how on earth you will actually do it, then just say no.

You’re not helping anyone by taking something on when you're too busy or have a bad attitude. It’s perfectly ok to say no.

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Remaining in a toxic relationship


Toxic relationships affect every aspect of your life. If you have a relationship that leaves you at your wits end, feeling defeated, unworthy, in constant turmoil, or where you are fearful of your safety, then please seek help.

These relationships are some of the most difficult to walk away from because we clearly and deeply care for the individual which is why we continue to remain in the toxicity of the relationship.

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If this is something you are experiencing, reach out to someone close to you and ask for help. If you need a place to start, Kris Carr has a beautiful discussion on how to get started.

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Procrastinating…”oh yeah, I’ll do that later”


So you don’t feel like working out today, you’re putting it off and completing every other task you have on your to-do list. This is often the time when we just somehow get too busy to make it to the gym and skip the workout.

While it’s ok to miss a workout here and there, consistently procrastinating isn’t a good habit to get into.

You’re more likely to skip it, you push it off to later in the day when you will possibly be more tired and have less energy, and you’ll start to really dread your workouts.

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Procrastination is a poor habit in all areas of life, but with fitness you really want to challenge yourself to push through when you feel those desires to put it off.

This develops discipline and honestly, you’ll feel a million times better after you finish your workout! Stephanie, the Ultra Runner Girl has some practical tips on fighting procrastination.

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Thinking you don't need any accountability or help


Even coaches have coaches! No one is perfectly knowledgeable in everything, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. It’s ok to ask for help and it’s really beneficial to have someone hold you accountable.

You may be thinking "I don't need a coach", but remember...professional athletes, musicians and fortune 500 CEOs all have multiple coaches

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Personally, I have a coach and I have found great value in checking in weekly with how I am doing in my workouts, nutrition, water and physique changes.

I know that every Thursday morning I will be telling my coach how things are going and sometimes that honestly keeps me on track when there are days I don’t feel like doing what is on my plan.

It helps to have someone, coach or fellow fitness friend, to express your thoughts to during your journey. Someone who you can talk to when you’re struggling, someone to talk you out of emotional eating, a friend who can push you to do that last rep and someone to even do workouts with.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone in your circle, or find a reputable coach/trainer to hire.

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Going with the flow


Our bodies, and often our minds as well, flourish with structure. Our bodies pick up on patterns quickly and when these patterns are consistent your body will slip into the groove.

Ever notice that young children do exceptionally well with a routine? That’s because our bodies truly do function better with them than without.

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Try setting up for yourself a few simple routines. Wake up at a consistent time each day and follow a set morning routine.

Mine for example is waking up at the same time, putting some warm water in a bowl of oats to soak while I then get ready for work. When I am done, I make my eggs, cook my oats and then eat. My body responds well to routine, and my mind finds it calming.

When I don’t follow this routine, I find that it starts my morning off in an unnecessary cloud of stress. There is of course benefits to being flexible, but having a base routine will give you the opportunity to find those times to flex while still keeping your body and mind happy.

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Getting waaaaay too stressed out


Stress is not good for our health in many ways. It raises our blood pressure, messes with our cholesterol, and increases our cortisol.

If you attempt to adopt a more stress-free attitude in life you will find that your overall health will improve.

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I personally have had a time where I experienced extreme amounts of stress and my body responded physically by retaining several pounds of water, canker sores, and headaches.

Our bodies physically respond to stress, so the more you can adopt a stress-free or low stress attitude, the better.

Meditation is one of the best ways I have been able to neutralize most of my stress.

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Setting unrealistic goals


So many of us fall into the trap of setting a goal in an unrealistic manner.

We want to lose 20 lbs in 2 months. Losing 20 lbs may not be an unattainable goal, but the timeframe you set makes it impossible to do, let alone in a healthy manner.

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When setting a goal for yourself, think carefully about the timeframe you are wanting to accomplish it in.

If you want to lose 20 lbs then perhaps setting a timeframe of 5 months would be more likely.

That allows for you to slowly make changes to your nutrition and workouts and lose the body fat in a healthy and maintainable way.

Goals are phenomenal, we should all have some, but just be sure that you dedicate the appropriate amount of time to reach them.

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Carrying yesterday's setback over to today


So yesterday wasn’t your best day. Maybe you slipped up on your diet, or skipped a workout.

That’s ok!

Those days happen. It’s your consistency, development of good habits and overall trajectory that matters.

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Realize that today is a brand new day! Focus on doing the best that you can today. Don’t let yesterday or tomorrow distract you.

Give today your 100% and move on from whatever went wrong the day before. Worrying and stressing won’t make today any better and it won’t get you closer to your goals.

What you do today however, can.

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Sitting at your computer all day without taking breaks


Let’s face it, who isn’t guilty of this one? It is so easy to just work away and not walk away from our desks. Our computer screens project light which can be hard on our eyes.

We are being visually stimulated for hours on end. Ever notice that sometimes your eyes can hurt after a long stretch at the computer?

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Be intentional to take several breaks to stand up, walk away, maybe drink some water or grab a snack. Spend some time in a different space, walk down the hall, or go outside for a bit.

Even if it’s just 5 minutes! Taking short breaks will give your body, mind, and eyes time to rest and recover before working again. Mark has quite a few other ideas to try out.

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Thinking sleep is a waste of time


Sleep is something your body needs, more than just to keep the dark under-eye circles away! While you sleep your body actually is focusing on recovery.

If you’re hitting the gym hard but not getting enough rest your body doesn't have the proper time to repair the muscle fibers you just tore down. While you sleep your body is actually able to properly recover from your strenuous workout.

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An average adult should be getting roughly 8 hours of quality sleep. If you currently are not getting that much sleep, just try it for a week and see how you feel.

Getting 8 hours of sleep is just as important as drinking enough water. Nothing is worth sacrificing your health.

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Flying through your workouts


While working out at an intense pace is encouraged for keeping your heart rate up, if you fly too quickly through your workout you may not be paying close enough attention to what you are actually doing

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Muscle-mind connection is important when you are lifting weights. Feeling each contraction and focusing on your form.

If you’re rushing too quickly you may miss some of the benefits of a concentrated workout. You also may lend yourself to injury by risking poor technique.

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Stretch-lessly going about your entire day



By design, muscle tissue contracts if it is not being stretched...sort of like a rubber band.

The hip flexors typically become the tightest and may be the culprit of some back pain for a lot of people reading this

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Stretching is typically thought of at the end of a workout, but taking time to stretch during the day can provide a lot of benefit.

Your regular breaks would be a great time to do some stretching.

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Sucking in our gut



Got back pain? Odds are high that you probably suck in your tummy more than you should. Doing this causes a build-up of lactic acid from being overworked.

Muscles that are contracted all the time get shorter and tighter. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why so many of us have pain in our backs.

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Pulling the belly in and letting it go is a much better way to work the muscle to make it stronger. The result is more support for our backs and a leaner tummy appearance.

Lower belly breathing is something Dot recommends. Nothing decreases pain and tension faster.

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Slouching...need I say more?



Did you know that your posture affects your lifts and workouts? Our bodies learn our patterns and adapt, this includes posture.

If you are slouching at your desk all day, don’t be surprised if when you attempt to do a lat pull down or bent over barbell rows your back hunches over. You have taught your body to slouch and so it will also incorporate that pattern into your lifts. have pain in our backs.

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This unfortunately can lead to injury over time as well as when you lift in slouching positions or poor posture you are simply reinforcing that pattern.

Be conscious of your posture and work on correcting any poorly developed habits. There are cool new devices that remind you to correct your posture like Lumo Lift, Prana, Alex Posture and Upright Pose.

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Going to bed whenever and waking up whenever



Our bodies are smart, they adapt quickly and pick up on routine. If you are constantly changing what time you go to bed and allowing yourself to wake up at various hours you are keeping your body from finding a sleep pattern.

This is one of the worst things you can do for your health.

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Our bodies need rest, and if you always change your timing when going to bed it can be challenging for your body to fall asleep.

Set yourself up well with a pattern of consistent sleep by sticking to a schedule.

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Looking at screens 30 minutes prior to your bed time



Studies have shown that exposing your eyes to the light given off by phones, TVs, tablets etc before going to bed prevents our brains from releasing melatonin. This means it will take longer for you to actually fall asleep!

So those nights where you have trouble getting to bed on time because you’re not tired, so you stay up looking at social media or Pinterest, etc. You are actually then making it even more challenging for you to fall asleep when you do decide to go to bed.

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Stop looking at your iphone, computer, TV or iPad 30 minutes before you go to bed.

If you absolutely must, use an app called Flux. For iPhone users, there is a feature called "Night Shift".

  • Open up the Settings app
  • Tap Display & Brightness
  • Tap Night Shift
  • Slide the Scheduled button to "On"
  • Tap Sunset to Sunrise
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Only stretching muscles for 10 seconds



What if your masseuse only focused on each area for 10 seconds? How would your body feel? Probably very little benefit, right?

The same goes for stretches. It takes a bit for your muscles to really get the full benefits of each stretch.

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Elle recommends you aim for 30 seconds and pay attention to your body. You should start to feel your body relax into the stretch.

If you find that your muscles are still not releasing, try doing some pulses in the stretch.

Another option to consider is foam rolling!

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Waiting for an occasion to get in shape



"New year new me" is by far the most stupid phrase I want deleted from the internet.

Sure, it’s catchy and sounds good but the concept is flawed.

Fitness HAPPENS when you DECIDE it’s time to start, not the calendar.

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If you start now, you’ll be miles ahead (literally) of everybody else who is waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square. Steve over at Nerd Fitness has a wonderful guide to help you get started with fitness...not later...NOW.

Let’s all start saying “New me starts now”.

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Incorporating ZERO fun into your workouts



There is something called a motivational cycle that drives our behaviors.

If a very attractive person asks if you’d like to go have dinner, your needs, drive and incentives are quickly met because your goal is obviously to get to know that person better.

However, if you realize you missed your workout after you get home from work, your needs, drive and incentives will actually work against you

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Incorporating some fun into your workout will go a long way.

Join a recreational sports league, make friends at the gym or go run around a field with your kids.

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Sitting for extended periods of time without a break



Attention all you office nerds (that includes me).

Studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time is killing you.

"Holy $@%" would be an appropriate response to that!

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Get up every 30 minutes and walk around or fill up your water bottle. No matter how much you believe in the idea of “powering through”, it is scientifically impossible to be effective longer than an hour at a time.

A lot of high performers have adopted taking regularly scheduled breaks.

One of the popular techniques is called the Pomodoro technique, which I personally implement in my schedule.

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Trying to find the closest parking spot at the grocery store



How many times will you circle the parking lot looking for the coveted front row parking spot?

Intentionally finding a parking spot far away isn’t necessarily about the number of calories you could potentially burn, but rather the mindset of finding every opportunity to do something beneficial for your body.

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Let’s face it, sitting in a car getting stressed out about a parking spot not opening up is not a good use of your time.

There are always plenty of spots in the back so just park it and enjoy some fresh air.

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Not focusing on your landing



Many people read or hear the benefits of plyometrics but truly do not understand the purpose of it. Jon says that muscular development occurs via the landing phase/counter jump (if doing multiple reps).

That means it takes less muscle to jump up than it does to land softly.

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Bracing for impact and absorbing the force like a slinky toy down the stairs is vital for maximum muscular development and minimal risk of injury. Soft landings = a lot of strength to do, and using using landings to a high jump = power.

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Ignoring the subtle signs your body tells you



This is huge! Your body sends signals all the time! Sometimes they can be challenging to decipher, but other times they are extremely clear.

If you choose to ignore the signals that your body is giving, you are on a road to injury, illness, and overall putting your health at risk. In the gym this can mean that your body is telling you that you’re fatigued and taxed out. If you ignore this signal, you can easily get injured.

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If you’re sick and tired but your workout is scheduled for the day, take a rest day! Your body would be expending energy in a workout that it could (and would) use instead to aid in fighting whatever bug you have.

Listening to your body will only lead to improved health and greater success at reaching your goals.

Remember, fitness is a journey...not something you have to check off your to do list.

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Using sleeping pills



Sleeping pills can be extremely addicting. Your body will learn to rely on them in order to produce melatonin and serotonin.

If you consistently use sleeping pills you will find that you won’t be able to fall asleep naturally...you’ll be even worse off than when you started taking them!

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If you struggle with falling asleep, meditate with an app like Headspace. If you need a little extra help, try taking a melatonin supplement. If you find that stress and anxiety keep you up at night, Gabba is a great supplement to help calm anxiety.

All three are natural supplements and don’t produce the addictive risks of sleeping pills.

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Not using sunblock or a hat in direct sun light



The sun can feel incredible!

However, it can cause some serious damage.

If you fail to take the proper precautions before spending time in the sun, you’re allowing your skin to be exposed to potential danger.

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Excess sun damage is linked to skin cancer, wrinkles, dark colored spots, and more. Be sure to apply sunscreen before heading out in the glorious sun!

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Using drugs, DUH!



Everything we put in our bodies matters. Our bodies are living beings and our health reflects how we take care of them. Drugs are detrimental to your long-term (and even short-term) health.

This includes tobacco, and vaping as well as hardcore drugs. If you truly care about your long-term health, just say no to drugs. If you are currently struggling with a substance addiction, seek help from your team of support and professionals if necessary.

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I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard over the years that smoking isn’t healthy for you. It’s linked to cancer and many other health issues.

If you are someone who tries to take health and fitness seriously, I would challenge you to intentionally attempt to quite smoking. Directly related to working out, your lung capacity will increase and you’ll be able to breathe better during your workouts.

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Sacrificing quality for quantity



Andy reminded us of this one. If you are performing and keep performing quality movement and stretching, your body adapts accordingly with quality results.

This applies equally to technical movement and proprioception training such as gymnastics or an olympic lift as it does to learning a new exercise with your personal trainer

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When we become fixated with quantity we tend to lose sight of what is important, bad form and bad habits creep in. At best we don't progress as we would wish and at worst we injure ourselves.

A great quote from Muhammad Ali when asked how many sit ups he can do "I don't know" he said "I don't start counting until they start hurting".

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Taking warm/hot showers after workouts



You just finished an epic workout. Nice work!

After getting inside the shower, you crank the hot water and dial it back to achieve the perfect amount of steam and warmth. It feels f@$ing awesome!

Showering after working out is absolutely important, but what if I told you

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Here's quite possibly the best fitness tip that also doubles as a productivity hack as well. Take cold showers.

Painful? Yes. Uncomfortable? Hell yeah! Hear me out real quick. Cold showers have incredible anti-inflammatory effects but a lot of psychological shifts begin to happen that are more health-related than you might think.

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Being stinky and not taking care of yourself



First off, who genuinely enjoys being around people who stink?

Okay, I'm sure there are some weirdos out there but I'm willing to bet that most of us prefer the opposite. If you think about it, personal hygiene is correlated to the individual's ability to take care of themselves.

There are people out there who selflessly put others ahead and don't get me wrong - service to others is a phenomenal virtue.

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If it comes at the expense of not caring for yourself, it is actually a disservice to everyone. Here are some ways to prioritize yourself so you can serve others at 100%.

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Not brushing your teeth twice and flossing once a day




We were taught this ever since we first sprouted our first 2 bottom teeth as little ones, but growing up brings on plenty of challenges that put a big rift in our schedules.

Most of us brush our teeth twice a day, but that number likely falls off a cliff for those who brush AND floss.

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Remembering to brush our teeth twice a day let alone floss daily can take the back seat. There's a good reason why our parents and our dentists always tell us to brush and floss besides just having fresh-smelling breath.

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Not getting enough vitamin D




No...I'm not talking about Sunny D. In other words, are you getting outside to enjoy the sun?

For folks like us at Crazy Muscle who live in places like the Pacific Northwest, sun isn't nearly as abundant as it is in states like California and Phoenix.

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In that case, it is important to get vitamin D elsewhere. There are numerous benefits of getting adequate levels of vitamin D, so get outside today and save Netflix for a rainy day.

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Taking naps because your body is absolutely exhausted



If you feel as though you are tired throughout the day and you simply must take a nap, then perhaps you are not supplying your body with the amount of sleep it needs at night.

Like we discussed earlier, sleep is where your body recovers and repairs so it is vital that you get ample amount of rest each night.

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Naps are completely ok (actually, recommended) to take, but if you are relying heavily on them to get you through the day, take a look at your sleep habits.

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Only thinking about the results, not the process




So you set a weight loss or physique goal, and all that you can think about is getting to that end result. You live for it, you think about it while you workout, you focus on it day and night.

After a while you start to feel discouraged because it’s taking a while to get there. You have to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. What I mean by that is you have to be patient. Enjoy the journey. You may think that once you achieve that desired result you’ll be happy and content, but the reality is that even once you do achieve that result you have to work hard to maintain it or improve.

Our fitness goals are a BIG part of our overall fitness journey.

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If you only focus on the end result you miss out on celebrating the small victories along the way. That time when your coworkers brought in homemade brownies and they smelled incredible, but yet you chose to stick to your meal plan.

Celebrate that!

The days you just really didn’t feel like working out or hitting the gym, but yet you went anyway (even if it was a subpar workout)! Celebrate it!

Each day is an opportunity to take you towards your goals, and each day there is something in your fitness journey that is worth celebrating.

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Trying to look like a magazine fitness model



So you see those amazing fitness models on the cover of magazines and you envy their physiques. You look at yourself and feel discouraged because maybe you don’t have the best delts, maybe you’re not as lean as they are, or your hair isn't as nice.

Stop it! What you are comparing yourself to is most likely a physique that has dieted down to extreme measures for a photoshoot and a short temporary time period.

You’re also letting an image of someone who is playing up their best angles, has lights shining on them, possibly some oil on their skin to enhance their curves, and post production editing done on the image tell you you’re not good enough.

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It’s a lie. Remember that those images you see are the fitness models at their best with hours of work going into creating and capturing that one image.

Don’t let those images discourage you! If you want to inspire yourself, feel motivated and encouraged, look back on your own progress and fitness journey.

Compare your progress pictures from a year ago or several months ago to see the changes you have made. Don’t waste your time comparing yourself to a doctored up image of someone in a temporarily extremely lean state.

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Not giving your body time to rest & recover


Many of us are guilty of this. We hit the gym hard day after day, make it a habit and then let those recovery periods slip. We love training, we enjoy the routine and challenge so the thought of a week off seems ridiculous.

Our bodies actually need and benefit from rest and recovery periods. I’m talking more than just 1-2 days of rest per week. More like 5-14 days away from the gym! I know, it sounds crazy! Our bodies need time to fully and properly recover and grow.

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In general, working out places stress on the body, taking a rest week allows for your body to repair and strengthen.

Not to mention that once you return to your regular workouts you will be more mentally prepared and excited to train and your body will respond well to your efforts. Here's what rest does for your body:

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Using the scale as a measure of your progress


The scale is simply one tool in which to measure progress, but it is one of many. Your weight is reflective of your gravitational pull, and your weight can easily fluctuate 5 or more pounds within a few days.

Weight can be affected by the amount of carbohydrates you consume, the amount of water you intake, your digestion, inflammation in the muscles and more.

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If you only track your weight to measure your progress, 9 times out of 10 you will be discouraged.

I recommend taking measurements and progress pictures to track physique progress and tracking your weight/reps each workout if you are aiming for strength progress.

You don’t have to avoid the scale like the plague, but if you find that you attach emotion to the number it reflects, I strongly recommend measuring your progress by other means.

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Failing to realize your minimum/maximum limits



Not knowing your minimum and maximum limits is a surefire way to injure yourself quite quickly! It’s always best to underestimate and then increase the weight or resistance incrementally.

With everything else in life, it's about learning to crawl until you're ready to start walking.

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If you jump to a large amount of weight on the bar you could easily injure yourself. On the contrary, if you always stick to minimum resistance you won’t see growth in your muscles because they are not being challenged.

The key is to find the resistance where your last 2 reps of each set are a struggle to get through.

Challenge your body but don't injure yourself.

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Thinking that crunches will get you a 6 pack



We talked about this earlier, but crunches are great at strengthening your core. However, what they won’t do is reveal your 6 pack.

The saying that “Abs are built in the gym and revealed in the kitchen,” is true! That soft layer on top of your abdominal muscles won’t go away with repeated crunches, it will however shrink as you clean up your diet.

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If you want to see those much desired abs, start with what you are consuming each day and take some time to consider cleaning up your overall diet.

You’d be surprised the results you may get!

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Not changing your running shoes every 400 - 500 miles




Whether it’s due to budget constraints, a love for your favorite pair of running shoes, or perhaps you just haven’t considered it before, but not changing your running shoes ever 400-500 miles is setting yourself up for injury.

Your shoes are your support system, especially if you are a runner! When running, you are putting pressure on your feet and legs and your shoes play a vital role in not only traction but also how your body absorbs the pressure and tension from your stride.

With continued use, the tread on your running shoes wears down. This renders your shoes less effective and you are more prone to injury.

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Look I get it, money doesn't just grow on trees. Even if money is a little tight, bite the bullet and invest in new running shoes every 400-500 miles.

Your feet and shins will thank you!

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Skipping leg day



Don’t be that guy who has a huge upper body with tiny chicken legs. Did you know that your quads are the largest muscle group?

Your legs are recruited in so many various exercises, but it’s important to spend some time in your workout schedule focusing on your legs.

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Symmetry is always a great reason, no one wants the upside down Dorito on toothpicks look!

But more importantly, your legs support your movement, balance, stance and more. Find the guy at the gym who has muscular legs and just ask him what he would recommend to get started.

You'd be surprised at how nice people are at the gym.

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Only doing isolation exercises...most likely, your training won't require this


Isolation exercises can be particularly great if you suffer from imbalances in your physique as it can allow you to focus on building up the particular area without simultaneously causing significant growth in others. Now, who does it sound like would benefit most from isolation movements? If you said bodybuilders, you're right!

However, it is best to use isolation exercises in conjunction with compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press and more. Compound movements are beneficial because they recruit other muscle groups during the movement, thus training more efficiently and burning a great deal of calories.

Squats for instance focus on your glutes and quads, but the movement also taps into your hamstrings, calves, and core. You are essentially training and strengthening multiple muscle groups at once. So if you have been focusing primarily on isolation work, try incorporating compound movements into your workout!

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It is best to use isolation exercises in conjunction with compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press and more.

Compound movements are beneficial because they recruit other muscle groups during the movement, thus training more efficiently and burning a great deal of calories. Squats for instance focus on your glutes and quads, but the movement also taps into your hamstrings, calves, and core. You are essentially training and strengthening multiple muscle groups at once.

So if you have been focusing primarily on isolation work, try incorporating compound movements into your workout!

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Not having a backup plan



Life happens, and things don’t always go as we plan. This goes for workouts just as much as any other aspect of our lives.

Having a backup plan for specific exercises is extremely helpful, as well as having ideas for at home or outdoor workouts when you’re in a pinch.

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It is much better to have a backup plan that you can easily utilize when life throws you a curveball than to skip a workout entirely.

If you have a job or have children, you know exactly what I am talking about.

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Focusing only on your "trouble spots"



You’re going to be so disappointed in this, but you can’t spot reduce.

Your body will eliminate fat in the order it chooses to and there is unfortunately nothing you can do to encourage it to reduce from one area over another.

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Doing a million crunches won’t give you the six pack you desire, it will absolutely grow your abdominal muscles, but it won’t reveal them. Decreasing your overall body fat percentage will.

Instead, focus on your overall fitness plan and always keep your attention on the desired outcome...not the pain you'll feel in the process.

Results and progress will happen with consistency and patience.

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Skipping the cool down after your workout



C’mon, it’ll only take 5 minutes.. Just like it is important to warm up prior to working out, it’s also vital that you take some time to cool down after your workout is complete.

You’ve just expended a great deal of energy, your muscles have a great amount of blood flow happening, and there’s lactic acid in there as well.

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You want to slowly bring your heart rate back down and allow your body to return to a more neutral state. This will help your body recover, prevent dizziness, you won’t have as much lactic acid build up, and you will be ready to stretch and foam roll.

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Stretching before your workouts instead of warming up



Stretching prior to a workout is not recommended, especially if you workout as soon as you wake up! You should take the time to warm up instead, especially if you’re someone who has a more sedentary job.

You want to get the blood flowing to your muscles, get them moving and primed before beginning any heavy lifting or running, etc. If you skip the warm up you will be much more prone to injury.

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Take just 10 minutes to do some active stretches, walking, slow pace on the stairmaster, etc before your workouts.

You will be essentially “oiling” your muscles for whatever activity you’re about to partake in. There are plenty of different ways to warm up that can literally be performed anywhere.

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Holding your breath during your reps


It can be a natural response to accidentally hold your breath while lifting or performing exercises.

However, it is important to supply oxygen to your body during your workouts and it helps generate more force in your lifts.

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When lifting weights, you will want to exhale on the concentric part of the movement and then inhale on the eccentric. You may actually find that it helps you power through your lifts.

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Using the wrong gear or apparel




his could span from making sure that you have a quality pair of shoes that are designed for the type of training you are doing, to utilizing the equipment properly.

Let’s use shoes as an example, if you perform your workouts using any old athletic style shoe you have laying around your house you could very well find yourself injured down the line.

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There are shoes designed for running, training, leg days, and more.

Be sure to find a shoe that best fits your desired style of training, otherwise you may roll your ankle due to lack of support, or simply find that a shoe with a sole that allows even weight disbursement allows you to have better stance and drive when performing barbell squats or deadlifts.

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Not having a plan of attack aka “winging it at the gym”



Beyond having a goal and a plan to reach it, you should have a plan of attack before you enter the gym.

It's important to know what you are training that day, what exercises you will be doing, the number of reps and sets, and what order you will be performing the exercises.

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If you enter the gym without a plan of attack each time you won’t be utilizing your time in the gym effectively.

To reach your goals you should have a set game plan that builds upon itself so that it moves you forward toward reaching your goals.

If you have no idea where to start, hiring a personal trainer is not a bad way to save yourself some time.

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Jumping from one exercise fad to the next



While there are benefits from trying new workouts and exercises, if you are always jumping from one workout fad to the next you may be doing yourself more harm than good.

You may find that you aren’t seeing the results you want, or you may not necessarily even notice progress or changes.

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It’s always beneficial to approach your workouts with a plan and a goal.

You can absolutely switch up your exercises, but be sure that you are intentional with what you are aiming to accomplish.

Aimlessly jumping from one trend to the next is not the most efficient way to reach your goals or build the physique you want. Set a goal for yourself and develop a plan to reach it.

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Exercising to eat, not eating to exercise



Food is delicious! Who doesn’t enjoy a great meal? However, if you’re in the gym solely to burn off that high calorie meal, or you think that working out means you can eat anything then you are doing yourself a disservice.

Your body uses the food you consume as fuel.

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In order for your body to perform optimally in the gym you will need to fuel it with quality nutrient dense foods.

That doesn’t mean that you have to always avoid your grandmother’s baking, but it means you should look at food through the lens of fueling your workouts.

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Not mastering bodyweight exercises before lifting weights



Weight training is necessary for virtually any sport (except eSports). The ability to jump higher, run faster and push harder always tie back to time spent in the gym.

Bodyweight training does many things. Two of the biggest benefits in my opinion are showing you proper form with minimal potential for injury and the ability to consistently work out while traveling

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If you’re new to weight training you will find benefit in beginning with some basic bodyweight exercises.

This will allow you to perfect the correct form before adding additional weight. When it comes to resistance training, form is key! If you perform exercises with poor form you will find yourself well on the way to injury, so correct form is vital!

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Only doing cardio and not squeezing in weight training




Cardiovascular activity is an important part of a workout regime, but if you find yourself hopping on the treadmill and never venturing to the weight room, you may be dissatisfied with your physique results.

Cardio is important for keeping our hearts healthy, but did you know that the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn in the duration of a workout? It's true!

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Don’t be afraid to spend some time pumping iron! (Ladies especially) When you take the time to focus on resistance training and building muscle you will most likely find that you like the curves you’re building, you’ll be able to consume a higher amount of calories while maintaining your physique, the carbohydrates you consume will be put to good use, and you’ll get stronger!

Something else to consider if you avoid the weight room is that excessive amounts of cardio can actually burn away muscle mass. If you want a full and strong look then excessive cardio won’t get you there.

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Working out for over an hour at a moderate pace




Time is precious, we all can attest to that! So why spend your quality time at the gym leisurely working out?

Sure we may get stopped for a brief hello from a friend, but making the best use of your time spent in the gym not only is efficient, but you’ll get a better workout overall.

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Keeping your pace fast not only will get you through your workout more quickly, but you’ll see benefits by keeping your heart rate up.

If you are mentally focused while performing each exercise and keep your rests short (30-60 seconds) between each set, or even include some plyometrics in between to keep your heart rate up, you’ll see greater calorie burning effects!

You’ll get out of the gym and home faster, AND you’ll have an increased calorie burn!

Who wouldn’t want that?

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Thinking the elliptical will solve all of your weight loss problems




The elliptical has it’s time and place for cardio, but if it’s your only source of cardiovascular activity, you are missing out on some quality exercises! Our bodies adapt to our routines, and if you limit yourself to one form of cardio or one machine such as the elliptical, your body will not respond to the activity as quickly or efficiently as it used to.

It’s also easy to accidentally zone out mentally on the elliptical, which can lead to cardio with an overall lower heart rate while performing the exercise.

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Steady state low intensity cardio is a great tool, but you will get more bang for your buck with cardio if you consider utilizing high intensity interval training.

HIIT can be performed on all varieties of cardio machines, including the elliptical, as well as activities such as battle ropes, plyometrics, and more.

It’s a great idea to switch up your cardio routine, keep your body guessing, and consider including some HIIT to burn a great deal of calories in less time.

Check out this video to learn more about the benefits of HIIT and some great examples to try out!

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Not knowing what that thick cylindrical piece of foam is...psst, it’s a foam roller



I will be the first to admit that I HATE FOAM ROLLING. Like many aspects of fitness, it provides a tremendous amount of benefit if you can develop this habit. If you haven’t heard of or tried foam rolling you are missing out on one of the best ways to promote recovery.

So, what is foam rolling? There is a fancy term for this: self-myofascial release. This technique promotes the release of muscle tightness, movement of lactic acid and increased mobility.

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If you are new to foam rolling, consider starting with a soft one. Apply pressure with movement along your muscles. It’s sort of like stretching combined with massage.

It may be uncomfortable at first, but with consistency, you will find that it will greatly decrease sore and tight muscles.

This can be done both pre and post workout, and even intra workout if you like to perform cardio after lifting to loosen any muscles you just worked.

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Skipping your workout because you think 15 minutes is not enough time



This is a very easy excuse not to start your workout. I mean seriously, what good can you do for your body in just 15 minutes? Of course I wouldn’t say something like that without an answer, so the answer is HIIT.

High-intensity interval training is a wonderful workout strategy for people who have demanding schedules. I’ve personally adopted the HIIT concept into all of my workouts..

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On Mondays, I do 20 sprint intervals with 25 seconds of work, 35 seconds rest. Marc over at BuiltLean recommends a 1:2 work ratio (rest 2 times longer than you work) but I’ve been conditioning myself for a very long time.

With only 15 minutes to workout, you could sprint 20 seconds and rest for 40 seconds for 15 intervals. If this ends up being too easy or too hard, adjust your work ratio.

Pro tip: Hill sprints are much easier on your joints and knees.

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Going too far out of your way to workout




This ties into the motivational cycle. Even if you look forward to your workout, let’s face it...many of us have jobs, families and other commitments.

However, we all have the same 86,400 seconds each day.

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If your gym is 30 minutes away, you are already spending 2 - 3 hours to travel, exercise and shower.

If motivation and discipline are not a problem for you, build a gym at home to get rid of travel time. At a maximum, try to find a gym that is no more than 15 minutes away from your home.

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Working out without keeping track of your results



If you are into professional sports, you have probably noticed that your favorite pro athletes can do a thing or two better than the general population. Whether it's running faster, jumping higher or swimming quicker...

I can guarantee that these athletes didn’t just mindlessly run as fast as they could every day until they signed a multi-million dollar contract one day.

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Improvement requires 3 things to be documented. Current ability, future goal and hard work to bridge the gap.

There are many apps that can help you like StrongLifts, Freeletics and many others, but I’ve always found that pen and paper works well too.

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Sticking to the same exercise routine with weights, reps, sets



Yes, theoretically it is easier to stick to the same workout plan especially if you have a demanding schedule. The major reason is because you will ultimately plateau.

A plateau is defined as the results of your body's impressive ability to adjust to stress and change.

Pretty neat right? In theory totally, but there is nothing that kills productivity and motivation more than realizing you’ve stopped making progress.

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Don’t let your body adjust to your new workouts.

Mix it up every few months.

One crazy thing that a lot of people do is take an entire week off every other month. Try it out...it might just be crazy enough to actually work.

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Taking the elevators instead of the stairs




Similar to the concept of trying to find the closest parking spot, most people prefer to take the elevator when you can take the stairs. Of course if you need to make a presence on the 163rd floor of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, taking the elevators would be an acceptable excuse.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in an elevator and the doors open on the 10th floor. Someone steps inside and clicks a button, the door opens on the 11th floor and that same someone gets off.

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I really don’t understand when people use the elevator to go up one floor especially when stairs provide a ton of health benefit.

You might be saving a couple seconds, but you are collectively wasting the time of everybody else in that elevator.

Don't be that guy or that gal who wastes people's time. Despite the extra health benefits, deciding to take the stairs instead of the elevators trains your mind to do something beneficial for your body.

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Downing energy drinks, pastries or coffee for an energy boost


Our bodies adapt to caffeine and stimulants which is why if you are used to drinking coffee every day and one day you aren’t able to get that cup of coffee in the morning you may end up with a headache.

Caffeine and sugar are quick energy boosters, but they often lead to a crash and/or a consistent desire for more.

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If you feel that you are reliant on caffeine or sugar to give you energy throughout the day then try cutting back slowly.

Your body will start to adapt and you’ll eventually need less stimulants to get you through the day.

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Saving your veggies until the end of your meal


So you have vegetables at your meal- great!

But then you eat your protein and carbs first and sort of push those veggies around.

You’re then too full to finish them so you opt to toss the veggies or “save them for later.”

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This is easily avoided by eating your veggies towards the beginning of your meal.

Get those micronutrients in before reaching for the delicious chicken and sweet potato!

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Completely trying to avoid fat


Fat is not bad. In fact our bodies need fat in our diet so that we can survive. Healthy fats in our diets promote the proper production of hormones.

Avoiding fats altogether will leave your hormones in pretty rough shape. For females in particular, fats in the diet are essential!

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Your body needs the proper amount of fat intake to produce hormones in a balanced and healthy manner for reproduction.

Consider quality sources of fat such as:

  • olive oil
  • coconut oil
  • eggs
  • avocado
  • fish
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Starving to makeup for overeating


So you had a bad day and you ate more than you probably should have. Don’t overthink it. Stressing about the excess food leads to spikes in cortisol which leads to water retention, which often leads to us feeling even worse.

Those days happen. It’s ok, take a deep breath...you'll survive.

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Eat just like you normally would, continue on with your day and week as normal. Punishing yourself with under eating will only do more harm.

Your body will be confused as to why it is no longer receiving the calories it needs to perform, and thus food you take in later will have a higher chance to be stored as fat.

Do yourself a big favor and just move on. We are all human, we all overeat at times. Take it one day at a time.

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Not drinking enough water


Many of us do not consume the appropriate amount of water each day. Think back on today, how many glasses of water have you had so far?

If you workout and get a good sweat session, then you need to be even more intentional to consume the appropriate amount of water for your body.

Our bodies need water in order to function properly, our digestion relies on it, our skin, and more.

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You may find that when you consistently provide your body with the appropriate amount of water each day you may look leaner and tighter.

Your body is able to function at it’s best and is a well hydrated machine.

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Completely cutting out carbohydrates


“Carbs are bad” is something you may have been told or heard through the grapevine. However, this is absolutely not true. Yes, the western diet is generally high in carbohydrates (most of which are simple carbohydrates like sugar) and high in fat which both in excess can lead to weight gain.

This doesn’t mean that you should cut out carbohydrates from your diet. Carbohydrates are a primary source of energy for your body, and your brain needs carbohydrates to function properly.

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Have you ever tried cutting out carbs and felt that foggy brain feeling? Where you can’t quite think clearly, maybe you have a more challenging time forming sentences, and you struggle through your workout.

That’s because your body NEEDS carbohydrates. They provide your body with energy rapidly, complex carbs contain quality fiber which aids in digestion, they are important for your metabolic health, sleep, and more.

Any macronutrient in excess can lead to weight gain, this is not solely due to carbohydrates.

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Eating until you're full, not until you are satisfied


Eating past the point of satiety can be rather uncomfortable.

Often times, you feel bloated, nauseous, and can at times be in pain.

It’s a good idea to practice listening to your body while you eat

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If you consistently eat until you’re uncomfortably full try eating more slowly and focusing on the signals your body gives.

When you slow down your body is able to better signal to your brain that it is satisfied. Learning to recognize this signal will keep you from overeating and feeling puffy and bloated.

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Not taking your Omega 3s


Omega 3 fish oils can be found in both fish oil and krill oil and provide a lot of really great health benefits.

They help fight against depression and anxiety, improve eye health, lower your risk for heart disease, help reduce symptoms of metabolic issues, can reduce inflammation and more.

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Getting your omega 3’s in can be as easy as taking a fish oil supplement, but with all the incredible health benefits (check out this list of 61 health benefits!) it would be silly not to.

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Being too saucey


Sauces and condiments can help take your food to the next level, but like with anything there is a point where it can be too much of a good thing. If you are blindly pouring sauces and condiments on your food you may be consuming more calories than you realize.

Many sauces can be high in carbohydrates, sugars, and fats. Learning how to use seasoning (like herbs and spices) to your advantage can help you cut the calories, but not compromise

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Next time you reach for a condiment, take a look at the nutritional label and see if the nutritional value per serving is what you anticipated.

Perhaps even measure out the recommended serving amount. You may be genuinely surprised at how little it ends up being!

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Using canola, cottonseed, corn, safflower, soybean, grapeseed cooking


Vani, the Food Babe has a wonderfully written article about which cooking oils you need to get out of your pantry now...no, seriously like NOW!

We’ve all heard of stories and research showing how huge companies create food with fake ingredients and sell it cheaper than the quality brands you should be buying.

I won’t even go into the details here, but the main point is that these cooking oils go through tons of refining, processing and bleaching...yuck!

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Try these cooking oils instead:

  • coconut oil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • extra-virgin sesame oil
  • hemp oil
  • red palm oil
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Not consciously thinking about your salt intake


Most of us don’t really pay all that much attention to our salt intake. Perhaps the most thought we give is to pick up items on the shelf of the grocery store that say “low sodium”.

However if you consume primarily foods with fresh ingredients, make your own meals and keep things fresh, you may actually not be consuming enough sodium.

That’s right! I personally have a challenging time getting my sodium intake to be what my body needs based on the amount that I sweat each day during my workouts.

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Look, our bodies need sodium, but it needs far more water.

These two need to be in balance with one another for our bodies to function properly. If you are always avoiding sodium, and then you splurge on a cheat meal at a restaurant that happens to contain far more sodium that your body is used to- you will retain water and most likely feel a bit bloated.

So yes, be aware of the amount of sodium you consume on a daily basis, but don’t completely avoid it or on the flip side consume only processed items that are generally very high in sodium.

Find a balance and keep your body happy.

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Not cleaning out your pantry regularly


Have you ever opened up your pantry and wondered how on earth you have accumulated so many items and realized you have no clue what all is actually in there?

It’s a great idea to clean out your pantry on a regular basis to keep you from having products you don’t need, perhaps aren’t great options for your diet, or things that you’ve been setting aside because they’re tempting but you just can’t get rid of them.

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Here's a simple way to do this. Go through and pick each item up. If it is expired, that's an obvious no brainer to toss it.

If any part of your brain reminds you it isn't a wise choice to eat, I would encourage you to toss it (or hey, donate it instead).

Keeping your pantry clear of clutter and unnecessary products will help you evaluate what you are consistently consuming and make good choices in the grocery store.

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Only eating a couple meals a day


First and foremost, the average person does not know what intermittent fasting (IF) is, so this habit applies to the general population. If you are living the IF lifestyle, you can skip the rest of this and move on.

While you don't have to eat 5-6 meals a day, it can be beneficial in a few ways. If you balance your meals with quality protein, carbs and fats each time you eat you will notice that your blood sugar stays more stable. This will help you avoid those dreaded afternoon crashes!

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Eating multiple times throughout the day will also keep you satisfied, feeling less hungry and provides ample fuel to get you through the tasks at hand.

It will also help keep you from those days where you keep pushing off eating until later and then end up ravishing which leads to eating lots of calories all at once and typically not healthy items.

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Ignoring ingredients labels on food products


So you’re reading the nutrition labels on food products, great! It is important to understand and learn about macronutrients. However, if you’re not taking a closer look at the ingredient list on the items you’re purchasing you could be missing out on some important information.

Take granola bars for instance, you may find some that are lower in fat, moderate in carbs and pretty decent in protein for a granola bar. But take a look at the ingredient list and you may notice they have quite a few on there that you can’t even pronounce.

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It’s a good idea to try and keep the food you consume as natural as possible. Learning to look at the ingredient lists will open your eyes to what you are actually putting into your body.

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Eating low-quality red meat every single day



Steak, burgers, beef brisket...mmm. Red meat is just THE BEST!!!

While a lot of people say that eating red meat every day is bad, there are some experts who disagree.

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The only instance in which I would say that eating red meat every single day is a bad habit is if you buy low-grade/processed meat and burn/char it with high heat cooking (like on a grill).

So make sure you learn how to grill properly.

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Snacking even if you aren't hungry


Mindless eating is exactly that. Your body will tell you when it needs more fuel but when you snack even when you’re not hungry you are training your mind to ignore hunger cues.

You are most likely also consuming additional calories that you don’t need.

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Don’t let mindless snacking become a habit, instead train your mind to wait until you feel a true hunger pang before eating.

Sometimes thirst can be masked as hunger, so try drinking some water and seeing if you are in fact hungry afterwards.

Be intentional about your eating, and you may even notice a drop in your measurements by not aimlessly snacking.

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Starting your day off with sugar



Should you start your day off with a bowl of the sweet fruity cereal or some candy? No. Here’s why: while both of those items are carbohydrates, they are simple carbohydrates due to the high amounts of sugar.

Simple carbohydrates are easy for your body to breakdown and will put the glucose into your bloodstream rather quickly. This will lead to an insulin spike and then a hard crash

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You are much better off starting your morning with complex carbohydrates (along with protein and some fats) which will take longer for your body to breakdown.

This means that the glucose will slowly enter your bloodstream at a more even pace which will give you the energy you need but without that dreaded sugar crash.

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Giving in and saying yes to supersizing your meal


You are in control of what you consume. If you’re in the drive through and the server asks if you want to supersize your meal, you have every opportunity to say no.

You are in control of what you order and what you consume. It’s important to make decisions for yourself, and exercise self-control. Self-control and discipline will grow with practice, just like our muscles.

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We get stronger and better over time the more we practice saying no.

If you simply cannot say no to the person on the other end of the drive-thru speaker, just go to Panera.

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Not thinking about portion control


If you are making healthy food choices, it doesn’t matter how many servings of sweet potatoes or grilled chicken you eat, right?

Wrong! Your body needs a certain amount of calories to fuel the activity you do. Food contains calories and if you consume more calories than what your body needs to perform then the excess can then be stored as fat.

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Your body stores fat to be used as fuel for later, so when you eat in excess, even when healthy food choices that are micronutrient dense, your body doesn’t need them right away.

Portion control is important for giving your body what it needs to perform but not an excess.

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Skipping the protein with every meal



Stop for a moment and think about how many meals out of your day that you consume protein. How many of the meals where you lacked a quality protein source did you find yourself hungry shortly after?

Protein should be consumed at every meal for a few reasons: your body needs protein to repair your muscles, so if you’re hitting it hard at the gym and not consuming enough protein then your body cannot properly repair the damage you did in your workout.

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Protein is the building block of muscles. Another reason you should consume protein at every meal is because it’s satiating.

If your meal consists of primarily carbohydrates or fats you will find that you will be hungry again shortly after consuming your food. It takes your body some time to break down the protein in a meal and it will keep you feeling fuller longer.

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Busting out the BBQ grill too often



The grill can add excellent flavor to any meal! However, be aware of what you’re loading onto it. Do you tend to just grill steaks, hot dogs or burgers

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Why not try grilling some salmon and asparagus? Another great option is shish kabobs with chicken, bell peppers, onion and zucchini!

There are so many options for keeping your meals healthy if you like to grill. Don’t be afraid to throw some vegetables on there!

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Requiring cream and sugar with your coffee



It’s ok to add a little cream and sugar for taste to your coffee, but have you paid attention to the calories you’re adding to your cup of joe?

Take a look at the nutrition label on the container of your coffee creamer and actually measure out the serving size...you may discover that you’ve been pretty heavy handed!

We talked about not drinking your calories earlier, and this is one way that you can cut back or at least be more aware of what you’re drinking.

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We talk a lot about not drinking your calories and this is one way that you can cut back or at least be more aware of what you’re drinking. Bullet Proof coffee is a wonderful way to replace cream and sugar in your coffee especially if you are intermittent fasting.

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Not buying grass-fed meat, wild caught fish, free range eggs, etc



While being conscious of the way our diets and eating habits impact the environment and the way our culture deals with the food industry is good, you may be tricked into buying food with an overwhelming amount of hormones.

What the Health is an incredible documentary on Netflix that was extremely eye-opening if you are brave enough to watch it.

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Here's a list of the best types of meats you should buy if buying organic/grass-fed is out of the budget.

If you want to be sure you are making a positive impact on the environment and eating quality food sources, be sure to research the companies you are buying products from.

If at all possible try to by local and even visit the site where your food is being produced. This way you can ensure you are purchasing while armed with all the information to make a good decision.

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Blindly believing the claims on food labels



“Immune Support”
“Lowers cholesterol!”

Have you seen claims like these on food labels? While they may be a better option than the competition on the shelves, the product alone is not responsible for those benefits.

Lowering your cholesterol for example comes from making good choices in all aspects of your diet, not just by choosing one product over another.

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Don’t blindly believe each and every claim on a food product, because simply buying that one item won’t make the impact it’s claiming.

However working it into an overall healthy diet and workout routine, it could potentially be a good choice.

I encourage you to take a look at the big picture rather than blindly believing marketing claims.

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Eating while being preoccupied with something



It’s easy to mindlessly pick up snacks and eat them while you are sitting at the computer working, watching TV, or reading.

To avoid consuming calories mindlessly and probably more than you intended, do your best to not eat while engaging in these types of activities.

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Instead, focus on being mentally present when you are eating or exercising.

Heck, enjoy each bite!

Savor it!

You’ll be more aware of what you are eating, the quantity and you will gain more enjoyment from the food you are consuming.

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Hydrating with sports drinks



Sports drinks have their time and place, especially if you’re finishing up an intense sweat session. Electrolytes do need to be replenished at times, but make sure you choose a healthier alternative than the crap being made by the big companies.

However sports drinks should absolutely not replace the amount of water you intake.

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Water will always be number one! If you really enjoy sports drinks, try limiting yourself to consuming them only after you have had an insane workout.

When you’re going throughout your day to day life, keep a water bottle with you instead.

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Having the need to always try new foods



It can be daunting to think through what to eat to help you reach your goals. Now don't think for a minute we are saying that trying new foods is a bad thing. We've just seen all too often where the thought of meal prepping or tracking macros becomes overwhelming and then diets fail.

If you find yourself in this conundrum then try taking the guess work out of it. Stick to simple food items and stay consistent.

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Think in terms of what each meal consists of (protein, carbs and fats) and find foods you enjoy that meet your needs.

For instance, I have found over the years that when I try and get “fancy” with my food I actually end up often times not enjoying it.

I personally prefer to keep my foods simple. It also keeps my meal prep and grocery shopping quick and easy!

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Requiring dessert after dinner



I personally have a pretty big sweet tooth, who doesn’t? I have found that if I am purposeful to plan into my nutritional intake a small treat or sweet each day than I am far less likely to cave when someone brings homemade cookies into the office.

I know that I have already allotted in my macronutrients for the day that I am having 66 grams (or one serving) of my favorite ice cream after dinner, so I don’t feel the urge to linger by the office treats. It’s ok to have a sweet tooth, but being purposeful about how you approach fulfilling it is key.

Always giving in to desserts whenever they are present is an easy way to consume a great deal of sugar, carbs and fats that generally have very little nutritional value, and may even leave you with the dreaded sugar crash or craving more.

Be smart about how you fulfill your desire for dessert and work it into your nutritional intake and try to keep it to healthier options. My personal favorite lower calorie dessert is Halo Top ice cream.

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It’s ok to have a sweet tooth, but being purposeful about how you approach fulfilling it is key.

Always giving in to desserts whenever they are present is an easy way to consume a great deal of sugar, carbs and fats that generally have very little nutritional value, and may even leave you with the dreaded sugar crash or craving more.

Be smart about how you fulfill your desire for dessert and work it into your nutritional intake and try to keep it to healthier options especially if you have kids.

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Eating while standing up



A highly debated health suggestion is that it is better to eat while sitting down. The premise is that you may consume fewer calories because your focus is usually on your meal.

When sitting for a meal you are more apt to enjoy each bite, hear your body’s hunger cues and stop when content.

If you are eating while standing or walking your attention is typically not on listening to your body but you are focused more on what else you are doing so you may accidentally consume more calories than your body needs at that time.

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If you happen to catch yourself eating while standing up, just make sure you aren't walking or pre-occupied with work or watching TV.

The main takeaway here is to make sure you chew your food thoroughly so that your digestive system has an easier job.

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Always cleaning your plate...with your tongue



Simply because the food was placed in front of you doesn’t mean that you have to consume all of it. If you feel comfortable and no longer hungry but there is food on your plate, that’s ok!

It is much better to walk away than to gorge yourself or overeat.

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If you are at a restaurant, ask for a box and eat it the next day. If you're home, this is why God invented saran wrap.

Listening to your body’s natural hunger cues is a good habit to have.

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Counting calories instead of counting ingredients



While counting calories can certainly be helpful, counting the macronutrients is a much better way to reach your goals.

If you’re only counting calories you may not be paying attention to the amounts of carbohydrates, fats, protein or fiber you are getting.

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Calories do matter, but if your goal is to build or maintain muscle then your protein intake will be very important. Fiber plays a key role in your digestive health.

If your goal is to lose body fat then your intake will look different than when in a building season. As a whole, your body will thank you if you pay close attention to the ingredients and macronutrients in the food you consume.

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Not planning your meals in advance



When aiming to reach a fitness goal planning out your meals in advance is key.

When you fail to plan ahead it is all too tempting and easy to end up hungry with few healthy options to choose from.

If you plan your meals ahead for the day, you are more likely to stick to them.

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One of the best ways to start running in the mornings is to go to sleep in your running gear even down to your FitBit and socks.

You'll wake up already dressed for success and that is one less hurdle to overcome. The chances of you getting up and pounding the pavement is suddenly 50% better.

Same concept goes for eating nutritious meals. Here are some great tips on how to develop a healthy and delicious meal plan.

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Buying snacks at the movies



First of all this is a VERY expensive habit! If you are in the movie theater business, sorry...but not really.

I am more interested in people's health than I am about you turning a profit.

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Save yourself some money and do your health a favor by bringing your own snacks to the movies. The food at the movie theater is generally covered in butter or oil, or laden with sugar.

Bring a serving or two of popcorn you made at home where you know what is on it, or bring beef jerky with you for some protein.

In general, movie theater snacks are really unhealthy options.

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Not packing a lunch to work



This may seem like such a small thing, but it can truly make a difference in reaching your desired results. Pack a lunch on workdays!

When you skip bringing a lunch from home you run the risk that you won’t be able to find a healthy option, and you will also be far more inclined to go grab a slice of pizza with coworkers.

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Packing a lunch for work only takes a little bit of forethought and generally only a few minutes, but it can save you hundreds of calories.

If you honestly have no idea where to start, do what I do.

Ground turkey + black beans + brown rice + small scoop of organic hummus + organic salsa + green juice.

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Eating foods you do not enjoy



They say the best diet is the one you will stick to. If you don’t enjoy eating brussel sprouts, then don’t choose them as your veggie every night at dinner.

Pick foods that you actually enjoy eating but prepare them in a healthy manner. If you like asparagus but typically like them sauteed with butter and bacon, try grilling them with a little olive oil, garlic and splash of lemon juice. If you hate the taste of cauliflower, then simply choose a vegetable you do enjoy.

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Whatever diet you can stick to is the one you should be on. If you pick items you don’t like- you’re more likely to pick at them or derail yourself from your plan.

If you choose foods you actually enjoy eating- then you’re more likely to eat your meals, look forward to them and stick to your plan.

Start with this list and see if you like any of these foods.

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Prioritizing taste over everything else


When first starting to make healthy choices in the kitchen food can feel rather bland. This is because your tastebuds are adjusted to being wowed by excess amounts of sugar, additives and sodium.

Fear not! With time your taste buds will adjust to healthier food choices and begin to crave those steamed veggies that you used to like doused in butter.

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Our bodies and taste buds adapt and change with time. Consider slowly reducing the amounts of sugar, condiments, butter, oil and salt that you use to cook your food.

This will give your body and tastes time to adjust to the changes in diet.

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Believing that dieting has an end date



When most people think of a diet, they think of it in terms of getting lean for a special event or the summer. While it isn’t necessarily a bad idea to have a timeline or end goal, but where things can get tricky is when you crash diet.

Crash dieting is where you restrict your diet for an end date, and then once that date or special event has come and gone you revert right back to unhealthy habits. This is a quick way to gain the weight back and be right back where you started or worse off.

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It’s best to focus on making healthy eating and working out a lifestyle.

This way you can maintain the weight loss and physique year round without needing to rush into a crash diet for a special event. It’s truly also just better for your long-term health overall.

Crash dieting can wreak havoc on your body and easily put your long-term health at risk.

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Always eating out



Eating out can be a lot of fun, but if you are consistently eating out rather than preparing your own meals you could be sabotaging your progress.

When you eat out, it's harder to control the way that your food is prepared. There are some restaurants that provide nutritional information online, but most don’t. That can make it challenging to track your intake.

Restaurants often prepare meats using marinades or cook with oil which can add up. 1 gram of fat is 9 calories, so the unknown factors in the way your food is prepared can quickly increase your caloric intake. Another reason consistently eating out isn’t a great idea is that it can be challenging to find healthy options.

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Fast food doesn’t provide you with veggies or ample micronutrients, so you’d need to find a decent sit down restaurant that serves portions of meat, vegetables and salads in order to consume a micronutrient dense meal.

It’s not impossible, but it can truly be challenging.

As a whole, it’s best to stick to preparing your own meals as often as possible and limit eating out to those cheat meals. It also saves you a ton of money.

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Eating/snacking after dinner



There’s no scientific evidence that shows you need to stop eating at a particular time. However, it’s often when we are snacking late at night (which is a huge NO NO for getting cut) that we are consuming more than we actually need.

You may not even be hungry, but that marathon on TV just feels better with a bowl of ice cream or popcorn.

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If you struggle with eating at night, try brushing your teeth after your last meal to signal that you are done eating for the day.

Another trick is to mentally tell yourself that the kitchen is closed.

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Eating too fast



One thing that we tend to struggle with is not taking our time to enjoy our meals.

Often we are sitting at our desks and shoveling food down so we can quickly get back to work.

Maybe chew your food, bro.

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It’s important to stop what you are doing, enjoy each bite, and take your time with your meal.

You’ll avoid unnecessary bloat and gas that can happen when you eat too quickly, mentally you will actually enjoy your food, and it gives your body time to signal when it’s comfortable so you can avoid overeating.

This week, slow down a bit and try stepping away from your desk when you eat lunch, paying more attention to each bite.

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Social drinking is fine from time to time, not every day



We’ve talked about not consuming your calories through beverages, and alcohol is one of those culprits.

While alcohol packs a great deal of calories in one glass, they’re empty calories. Alcohol provides your body with no nutritional value whatsoever.

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Sure it tastes great and can be a fun way to socialize with others, but know that the calories do not provide your body with anything it can use as fuel.

If you NEED to have a drink, try a Vodka + Club Soda.

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Not stocking up healthy snacks at home and at work



Hunger strikes and there’s nothing in sight. You find yourself desperate to fill the hunger pang so you head to the vending machine and grab a quick candy bar. That will hold you over for what? An hour before you’re hungry again.

Or an even worse scenario is you don’t have any change for the vending machine and so you must bear through the hunger until you get home for dinner, and you find yourself accidentally taking out your “hanger” on your coworkers.

Neither scenario is good.

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That’s why it’s important to keep healthy snacks available at home, work and maybe even your car.

Keeping options around that provide a balanced bite to tide you over is a great idea to prevent you from eating something off-track that you may regret or find leaves you with less energy, or worse- taking it out on those around you.

The missing piece is "healthy" is no longer the same for you and me or five other people in the room. We've got such unique food sensitivities that testing is the only way to find out for sure what is "healthy" and often too much of a good thing turns into a problem for gut health.

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Grocery shopping on an empty stomach



This is never a good idea because when you grocery shop on an empty stomach you are more likely to purchase items you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Whether it’s the pint of ice cream, extra frozen pizza, something to snack on while shopping or in the car, etc. When you grocery shop on an empty stomach, your hunger does the shopping.

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If this is something you struggle with, make it a habit to eat a balanced meal or snack before hitting the store.

You’ll find that you are able to make better choices and probably save some money by not purchasing items you don’t need or aren’t on your list. Here are some great tips on how to have an effective grocery shopping trip.

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Being “too cool” for breakfast



They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s true. When you take the time to start your day with a balanced breakfast you’re starting your day off on a healthy note.

You are less likely to buy that pastry when getting your morning coffee because you aren't ravishing with hunger. You are giving your body fuel to function during your work day and giving your brain energy to stay focused.

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When you skip breakfast you will most likely find yourself caving to foods you’d otherwise say no to, and you may find that your performance at work in the morning or the gym especially will suffer.

Give your body some proper fuel before starting your day and try out these egg-stuffed bell peppers or this delicious smoothie bowl!

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Having zero cheat days if you are new to eating healthy



You really want to hit your weight loss goal and so you decide to cut out all cheat meals and cheat days. This is a terrible idea for multiple reasons.

Physically giving your body a cheat meal or a cheat day every once in awhile is an excellent idea. This provides your body with an excess amount of calories beyond what it has adapted to normally take in, which means your body will have to speed up your metabolism in order to process those calories.

This is a good thing! Our bodies adapt quickly, so having a cheat meal or a cheat day every once in awhile will kick things into high gear. Another reason why you shouldn’t eliminate cheat meals/days are for mental breaks.

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Eddie from Fitness Mentors says "Unless you cook and eat 100% of your meals, the chance of slipping up once or twice a week is very common. Planning a day to pig out is like working your butt off to get in shape for a 5K and on race day running barefoot. You should never plan to eat bad, just attempt to minimize the damage of eating out. Or jump on the cook and eat 100% of your own meals train."

If you’re always focusing on eating within your macronutrient or caloric range, it can lead to feeling deprived. It can be challenging to participate in social activities, and it can unfortunately easily lead to bingeing.

It is far better to incorporate a planned cheat meal or day to give your body and mind a break from the restriction that a typical diet provides.

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Drinking most of your calories



Beverages are a sneaky way to accidentally consume more calories than you intended. Do you know the calories in a Pumpkin Spice Latte? How about that soda you’re drinking with lunch?

You only add a splash of half and half to your coffee? How many calories are in that glass of wine or beer? Many of us don’t stop to think about what is in our beverages.

Those little splashes of milk or sugar, let alone a latte add up. While you don’t have to cut out those fun beverages all together, it is a good idea to limit the amount of calories you consume through beverages.

It is always best to aim to consume your calories through food as they will keep you fuller longer, provide more nutritional value and thus better fuel for your body.

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While you don’t have to cut out those fun beverages all together, it is a good idea to limit the amount of calories you consume through beverages.

It is always best to aim to consume your calories through food as they will keep you fuller longer, provide more nutritional value and thus better fuel for your body.

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Not drinking a large glass of water before every meal



Our bodies are made up of water and many of us are simply not getting enough water throughout the day. Often times thirst can even be mistaken for hunger!

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Drinking a large glass of water before every meal will help you feel more full, provide hydration for your body and begin the habit of consuming more H2O.

Your body will adjust to the water intake and you’ll start to notice the difference in how you feel, your skin, and the way your body functions. You’ll also start to better recognize the difference between thirst and hunger.

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