Have you ever looked around whilst working out, sweat dripping off you, looked over at someone else not putting in half the amount as you are in to their workouts, and thought to yourself “why are they in better shape than me”?

I always talk about workouts, provide new exercises to keep things interesting, and how to motivate yourself to crush each and every workout, but it’s not often I talk about the other 23 hours of the day. Or those little things you don’t see or hear about. From years of being in and around gyms, fit and healthy people, and seeing tons of transformation successes I’ve come to learn some of the daily habits of highly successful fit and lean people, and those that give these people the upper hand. What’s more is that often they haven’t been told to do these things, they haven’t even considered them, they just do them. It could be part of their job, one of their natural traits or learned habits, but these habits are what make them successful in the long term. There are many more, but I thought I’d just quickly share these 40 habits with you to see how many boxes you can tick?

    • 1. They’re not sat down all day, they don’t have a sedentary job, or they do a lot of non- exercise physical activity (cleaning, gardening, walking, keeping active but not actually exercising with intent). Ever noticed you don’t too often see an overweight labourer, builder, gardener etc.!?
    • 2. They enjoy cooking, and are creative in the kitchen.
    • 3. The wake up earlier than they need to in the morning, so they can prepare properly for the day, have a proper breakfast, and plan the day ahead.
    • 4. They watch less TV, or spend less time in front of a screen than you do.
    • 5. They surround themselves with healthy, positive people. Habits good and bad are infectious.
    • 6. On social media they follow aspirational people.
    • 7. They read health and fitness articles, in a quest to want to learn more.
    • 8. They understand that it’s not just about working out hard; it’s about working out smart!
    • 9. They invest in their own health and fitness, they spend money on products and programmes that will help them, rather than poor investments such as booze, takeaways, and the new outfit you’ll probably only wear a few times!
    • 10. They eat lots of “real” food.

    • 11. They eat when they’re hungry, and listen to what their body is telling them.
    • 12. They see the bigger picture in why they’re exercising, and are patient. Lack of patience brings about poor choices, and less success in the long-term.
    • 13. They don’t wait until they’re bored with their fitness routine, they constantly seek new challenges, find new programmes and set goals for themselves.
    • 14. They often find workout buddies, gym partners, running clubs, and fitness communities to surround themselves with likeminded goal-driven people.
    • 15. They know the difference between being “starving”, feeling “hungry” and just “craving” food….
    • 16. They have emotional control over their food.
    • 17. They find someone (or something) else to be accountable for their results, such as a Personal Trainer, or a workout programme. Or make themselves accountable by telling someone else what their goals are, such as a friend or family member.
    • 18. They never skip a meal! Obvious, but true.
    • 19. They mostly eat at home, or prepare food to take with them to work.
    • 20. They get enough sleep, but no more or less.
    • 21. They eat lots of fruit and veggies.

  • 22. They don’t care how they look whilst exercising.
  • 23. They don’t drink their calories.
  • 24. They plan meals for the day/week, and never find themselves having to grab something on the go.
  • 25. They eat lots of healthy fats, and don’t worry about their fat intake.
  • 26. They weirdly have lots of small plastic containers in their cupboards!
  • 27. They wear a pedometer, or have one on their phone or watch.
  • 28. Even if they only have 20 minutes spare, they never use that as an excuse not to get in their daily workout. 20 minutes is more than enough. You never regret doing a workout, you only ever regret skipping it!
  • 29. They invest in a FitBit, Garmin, Jawbone, or other fitness tracker or App.
  • 30. They focus on how great they feel after a workout, and remember that feeling the next time they are struggling to head to the gym.
  • 31. They don’t use soreness as an excuse not to exercise, in fact they never really have any excuses not to exercise. They always find a way.
  • 32. They workout at home if they can’t get to the gym.
  • 33. The don’t drink a lot of alcohol.
  • 34. They give themselves a 90/10 rule… 90% of the time sticking to good healthy habits whilst the other 10% can be used as a bit of a release if needed.
  • 35. They never miss more than two days in a row of exercise.
  • 36. They train their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
  • 37. They sometimes train with their boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife. Couples that train together stay together!
  • 38. They understand nutritional basics, what protein, carbs, and fats are, and what foods they can be found in.
  • 39. They make friends around the gym, so the environment almost becomes like a second home, and an enjoyable experience.
  • 40. They “do” something rather than just talk about it. If they set themselves goals they take action on them and take steps towards achieving them.

Does this sound like you? Can you identify areas in your lifestyle that could be holding you back from your fitness success and achieving a lean and defined body? If so there’s no better time like the present to start making that change.


Gareth Sapstead (MSc CSCS) is a Strength and Conditioning Coach, sports performance and conditioning coach sports performance and conditioning coach and one of the UK’s leading Personal trainers.

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