CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

Improve Performance and Reduce Fatigue



Most people have a favorite form of exercise such as barre, yoga, cardio, strength training, or HIIT. These workouts are what makes trips to the gym rewarding and motivating. Each form of exercise provides a unique benefit that can’t be achieved anywhere else. For example, Yoga and barre focus on isometric strength and developing flexibility and mobility. Strength training builds up your strength, physique, and bone density. Cycle classes intensify your cardio routine. The unique qualities of these types of workouts are their greatest strengths. However, with that strength comes their greatest weakness. Every form of exercise comes with a weak spot, an essential part of fitness that cannot be achieved. You cannot gain flexibility through strength training or increase your cardiovascular endurance with yoga. No one form of exercise covers the basics of fitness that will allow you to feel, look, and act your best. So, how can we ensure we are as healthy and fit as possible? Cross training!  


Cross-training is a style of a weekly workout split where you engage in multiple types of training in a single week. Cross-training is a tool that allows you to optimize your workout split. It focuses on your primary goals and will enable you to recover optimally. Cross-training provides for the reduction of weak spots in your training split by having you incorporate multiple types of exercises into your routine. To apply cross-training, you must incorporate two or more exercise styles into your weekly split. For example, doing yoga and cycling. Whether your split is two days or seven days a week, cross training is essential to support a balanced physique, improve your fitness skills, and allow for healthy recovery work. 


Many people start their journey with specific physique goals in mind. These goals can be strong motivators and help people find their place in the fitness world. However training for physique can lead to an unbalanced fitness routine. We have all seen people overwork a portion of their body, leading to an imbalanced composition. Many like to point out the “chicken legs” of upper body-focused exercisers. While an imbalanced physique can keep you from looking your best, what may be less noticeable is an imbalance in fitness skills. Many people who hyper-focus on strength training ignore their cardiovascular health and flexibility, leading to an imbalance of strength seen in their inability to have full mobility or proper cardio endurance. On the other hand, those who hyperfocus on flexibility and cardio can find themselves feeling weak. Both hyper focuses can lead to severe and chronic injuries that take away from your training. Overall, you cannot expect to feel your best when you are ignoring essential training types. This hyperfocus can also lead to excessive fatigue due to improper recovery.  


Doing only one form of exercise can quickly cause your body to fatigue, and no matter how much you may love that type of exercise, you can become bored with your split. For those who have the time and desire to do some form of exercise every day, cross-training is necessary to maintain this practice. Having no form of a rest day for any kind of exercise will quickly lead to an overworked body. Rest is when our body takes the hard work from our exercises and applies it to improvements in our body. Many dread the idea of doing nothing for the sake of proper rest. However, cross-training allows us to circumvent this issue. If you train your body differently, you can still benefit from rest while maintaining your routine. Doing Yoga the day after a weightlifting session or cardio the day after barre will allow your body to recover from the previous day while still getting a beneficial workout.


I hope I have thoroughly convinced you of the value of cross-training. If you want to use this fantastic split tool but don’t know where to start, I have created some examples of 3-day flow class-supported workout splits based on your focus!


Example Exercise Splits


The Cheat Code to Easy Cross Training: Flow Fit Classes! By attending one of each type of class a week you will hit all your essential fitness categories: Strength, Cardio, Balance, Mobility, and Flexibility!

Day 1: Endurance Fit Class

Day 2: Power Fit Class

Day 3: Resistance Fit Class


 Strength And Cardio 

Day 1: Lower Body Lift

Day 2: Flow Cycle Class

Day 3: Upper Body Lift


Strength, Balance, And Flexibility

Day 1: Full Body Lift

Day 2: Flow Power Yoga

Day 3: Flow Candlelight Yoga 


Cardio, Strength, And Balance

Day 1: Full Body Lift

Day 1: Flow FIT Class

Day 3: FlowBarre Class 


Cardio, Balance, And Flexibility

Day 1: FlowBarre Class 

Day 2: FlowCycle Class

Day 3: Flow Yoga Class

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move. Nourish.

How To Have A Happier And Healthier Holiday Season

The holiday season is full of guilty pleasures.  However over indulgence can ruin your holidays by making you susceptible to disease, causing or exacerbating health issues and damaging your mental health.  For many it’s far from the most wonderful time of the year.  Here are some tips on how you can be healthier and happier this holiday season! 

  1. Exercise regularly.  Regular exercise will keep your metabolism going and also has been proven to lower your appetite. 
  2. Don’t use food or drink as motivation for exercise.  Getting a workout in so you can eat or drink more is one of the worst things you can do.  Exercise should be part of your normal routine and not used as a reason to overindulge.
  3. Keep regular eating habits. Skipping a meal so you eat and drink more a holiday event will only lead to overindulging.  Keep your regular eating habits and consider having a filling snack before your event.  Focus on foods high in protein, or healthy fats or carbohydrates such as fruit, protein shakes or a small handful of nuts that will help curb your appetite and prevent overeating.
  4. Make a Rainbow. When making a plate, focus on adding items of various colors which will help ensure you include healthy, nutritious food items.
  5. Eat until you 80% full. This concept was originally developed in Japan and is an easy way to reduce calories and avoid that gross feeling of being overstuffed.
  6. Choose drinks wisely. Avoid drinks high in sugar and they are often higher in calories than the alcohol.  Focus on low calorie mixers (get seltzer not tonic), use fruit for flavor and if you feel the need for flavor ask for a “splash”. A way to ensure moderation is always have a glass of water between drinks.
  7. Take a walk after dinner. Studies show that talking a walk after meals can significantly lower blood sugar levels, help with digestion and even elevate your mood.
CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

How Strength Training Can Help You Lose Weight and Keep It Off

Being in the fitness business, we get frustrated seeing fitness misconceptions all over the internet. The most common myth we see is spot-reducing fat (which isn’t really possible), but there are plenty of others too, mostly centered around weight loss. While we’d love to throw away everyone’s scales, we understand the importance of it to many. The facts around weight loss have become muddled by stigmas, stereotypes, and other misinformation. (Anyone ever try to “work off” that extra donut?) But here at Flow, if we’re going to discuss weight loss, we’re going to use actual science to break things down. 

Before we start wading into the details, we need to clarify a few things about weight loss itself. Weight loss is lowering a number on a scale, however, it is not indicative of overall health or body shape/size.  Most people don’t want weight loss, they want to improve their body image, health, energy and self-confidence.   It’s important that we distinguish the difference when people say they want to lose weight, most want the later which this article will focus on. 

Next, we need to become aware of our misconceptions around weight loss and throw them out. It’s easy to keep a stigma because it’s what you learned at an early age. For example, growing up, every time someone would cough or sneeze, people would break out the vitamin C and take more than the daily recommended amount. We now know this doesn’t actually help, but we still pour a fizzy orange drink when we think we are getting sick. 

The same thing happens with cardio and weight loss. When people want to lose weight, they often try to do as much steady state cardio (e.g. running or biking) as possible. Cardio is absolutely proven to help lose weight, but it should always come second to diet, and is best when combined with other forms of exercise, especially strength training. 

Cardio does burn the most calories per minute out of any type of exercise, but it does a poor job of building muscle, and can even lead to muscle loss. A cardio program without proper strength training included can actually slow down your metabolism (due to muscle loss), leading to plateaus. This doesn’t mean cardio should be avoided and still provides significant benefits, such as improving aerobic conditioning and the efficiency of the heart and lungs, but it shouldn’t be your sole form of exercise. 

Strength training provides benefits that are often underappreciated. It builds and maintains muscle, improves bone density and posture, and  reduces the risk of injury. People who strength train are also more likely to recover quickly from injury.  You may not lose as much weight strength training program because muscle is denser than fat,  but it will help you achieve a leaner physique, lose fat and keep it off through a higher metabolism. The muscular development that comes with strength training won’t make you “bulky” either. There are specific ways to train and diet for bulking and it takes a lot of time and effort that most people don’t have.  So don’t be worried that it might happen to you. It’s like getting in a pool for the first time and being worried that you’ll become an Olympic swimmer. 

Muscular growth offers a wide range of benefits when it comes to weight loss. It creates longer-lasting calorie burn because muscle is metabolically active. This increases calories burned throughout the day and builds a better metabolism. You can further your efforts to lose weight by strength training to maximize burning calories. This can be done by moving faster between exercises, increasing reps and sets, shortening rest times, and choosing heavier weights. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises are a great way to do this, like in our Flow FIT classes. HIIT is still a strength training method, but it keeps your heart rate high, challenges your lung capacity, and burns lots of calories while building muscle at the same time. 

At the end of the day, both cardio and strength training are important and when combined can optimize weight loss.  So if you are trying to lose weight, be sure to incorporate strength training in addition to cardio. If you’re unsure of how to incorporate strength training into your routine, the good news is that you’re a member of a gym with a staff of knowledgeable trainers and instructors, ready to help you achieve your fitness goals. 

CategoriesBlog Live Fit.

What it’s like to be sober for 1 year

Flow Cycle instructor Catherine just celebrated her 1 year of sobriety and we wanted to share her experience to inspire others to live a healthier life.

What inspired you to give up alcohol?

To improve my overall health and mental well-being. I felt like drinking inhibited me from being active and fully present with life.

What was the your biggest challenge?

Feeling confident sharing my experience with others. It can be tough to go against what feels so engrained in our lives.

How did giving up alcohol impact your life?

I have new passions, deeper relationships and the inner strength to face the challenges life gives me now.

What advice would you give to others?

If you are thinking about making a big or small change in your life, know you have the tools to change within you. Take the first step – and ask for help along the way

CategoriesBlog Live Fit.

Why Heart Disease is the Biggest Threat to our Health

While COVID-19 dominates headlines, heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the U.S. and accounts for two times as many deaths annually as COVID-19. Consider that heart disease significantly increases risk of death from COVID-19, and it is clear that heart disease is by far the biggest threat to our health yet is largely unaddressed.

Heart disease is preventable and studies estimate that almost 80% of cases could be prevented by implementing a healthy lifestyle.  Regular exercise is the single best way to prevent heart disease and studies estimate it can reduce risk by up to 50%.

Regular exercise could save as many lives annually as deaths from COVID-19.  No masks , shutdowns or vaccines are needed.

February is National Heart Health Month and we ask you to consider:

  • Creating awareness of the risks of developing heart disease and how to prevent it
  • Making lifestyle changes to improve your own heart health
CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

Conquering Strenuous Exercise in a Mask

As many fitness lovers have experienced during the pandemic, exercise in a mask is possible.  Enjoyable?  Not exactly, but it’s do-able and becomes more tolerable with every workout.

Yoga, Pilates, Barre and some Strength Training workouts seem to be the mask-wearer’s preference as for the most part, the participant’s heart rate stays within manageable ranges.  But what about more intense cardio?

As Flow Fitness’s Cycle Program Director, my biggest challenge has been convincing people that they’re going to be just fine participating in my classes while wearing a mask.

Earlier in the pandemic, not a lot was known about exercising in a mask.  However, as more studies were conducted, it has been concluded that even intense exercise in a mask is not dangerous as long as the participant listens to their body. The body’s Oxygen and CO2 levels in a mask are at similar levels to those working out without masks.

We know it is safe, but how can we make it FEEL better?

The short answer is repetition (i.e. building up a tolerance to it).  The more we practice something, the more it becomes routine.  I’ll also share some of my own personal tips and tricks from teaching and taking Cycle and H.I.I.T in a mask for a few months:

Bring more than one mask!

Bring even more than two if you tend to sweat a lot.  I wear a pre and post class mask that I do not wear during the actual workout.  That way when class is over, I can switch back to my dry mask and chat with members without feeling gross.  Those who bring multiple masks are less likely to rush off and can socialize with other members and the instructor when the hard work has concluded!  Some people even bring two masks for the workout and switch halfway through to a fresh mask.  I know this sounds like a lot of masks, but it can be a game changer in making the class more enjoyable!

Own a mask that is actually made for exercising.

Not all masks are created equal when it comes to strenuous workouts.  Many established fitness apparel brands have taken the time to design masks for people who want to enjoy workouts in a gym during Covid restrictions.  Take advantage!  You would not join a class without proper equipment.  The same goes for your mask.

Ease into it

When I’m participating in a high intensity class, I push hard but I know my limits.  If it becomes hard to breathe with your mask on, simply back off.  If you’re in Cycle class, turn the resistance down.  If you’re in Team Conditioning and doing a tough cardio finisher, pace yourself if needed.  With a mask on, I’m not always achieving the power levels that I would normally maintain in Cycle and I’m okay with that.  It is important to remember that while there are restrictions, we still have a safe place to move our bodies and become stronger.

It may not be for everyone.

There are other physical barriers that may prevent some people from tolerating intense exercise in a mask, such as asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions.  If you have any concerns regarding exercising in a mask, you should absolutely consult your doctor before participating in a high intensity class.

Pacing yourself, staying consistent, and having the right mask(s) will set you up for success in conquering tough workouts during Covid restrictions!  As always, Flow trainers and instructors will be there every step of the way to encourage you and support you.

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Nourish. Uncategorized

5 Behaviors That Support Weight Loss Goals

Being a personal trainer, I have seen clients try a variety of diets, such as keto, paleo and Mediterranean, with varied success. I can tell you with certainty that success had very little to do with what diet they were on. However, I have observed five common behaviors among those who were successful that can applied to any weight-loss regimen. If you are looking to lose weight and keep it off, here are five behaviors you should focus on:

Target consistency over perfection.

If you follow your plan 80% of the time, you will get better, more sustainable results than if you try to be 100% compliant. But be mindful—even if you make good choices throughout the week, you can quickly waste all that effort with weekend splurges. In addition, binging can change your body’s metabolism, forcing it to store extra calories again. So strive to be compliant 80% of the each day rather than 80% of each week.

Find ways to reduce stress.

Life is stressful on your mind and body, and weight loss can add additional stress. You’re asking your body to work hard, and changing your diet takes effort. Stress can lead to poor nutrition choices and low energy. To reduce stress, plan both your workouts and meals for the week in advance. You should also create a list of stress-relieving activities and set aside at least 15 minutes a day to complete them.

Focus on diet first, then exercise.

Weight loss starts in the kitchen. While many would prefer to work out more rather than change the way they eat, you can’t outwork a bad diet. Exercise will help expedite weight loss, as it burns calories and raises your metabolism, but any successful weight loss program needs to focus on nutrition first.

Doing less is better.

Complex diets can be overwhelming and cause additional stress. Focus on a few behaviors that will create a significant impact, such as cutting out late-night snacking, sweets or drinking, and do those well. If you try to do too much, you will end up doing a lot of things sub-optimally. This is a surefire way to waste energy and create more stress. Identify what is truly important and focus your energy on those few behaviors.

Get help!

If you’re serious about losing weight, you need help. A dietitian or health coach can save you lots of time creating meal plans, and a personal trainer can provide you with the most effective workouts. Getting professional help not only gives you expertise, accountability and support, but they also relieve a lot of stress—all of which greatly increases your chance of success.

Weight loss is hard; you will have setbacks, and that’s ok – don’t expect perfection. By focusing on these five behaviors, weight loss can not only be achievable, but also sustainable in the long term. Take control of your health and your fitness and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Learn more about our “Healthy Lifestyles Program” that will help you create habits around nutrition, exercise and stress relief that will last a lifetime.

McDonalds Drink Size ComparisonCategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move. Nourish. Uncategorized

What we can learn from the Japanese about health

Japan is widely considered one of the healthiest countries in the world, with one of the highest life expectancy rates (84 years, versus 78 in the U.S.). And while their older population should make them more vulnerable, Japan also has the fewest deaths, by far, due to Covid-19 when compared to other G7 countries: only 18 deaths per million (compared to over 1,000 per million in the U.S.).

While many experts believe cultural factors such as a homogenous society; no handshaking or hugs; and pre-existing use of masks have contributed to Japanese success against COVID-19, their population’s extraordinary health is also an important factor. As the Economist reports:

“Although the population of Japan is disproportionally elderly, and therefore potentially more vulnerable to Covid-19, it is also very healthy. Only 4.2% of Japanese adults are obese, a condition known to make the disease more lethal. That is the lowest rate in the OECD and one-tenth of America’s.”

Gyms aren’t as common in Japan as they are in the U.S., and the Japanese smoke and drink more than Americans. So how do they stay so healthy? I had the opportunity to live in Japan years ago, and can point to several cultural norms that we can learn from the Japanese to improve our health.

Focus on Health

In Japanese, the equivalent of “How are you?” is the phrase “Genki desuka?” This translates to “Are you healthy?” Imagine if you were asked about your health numerous times a day; wouldn’t that keep it top-of-mind?

For those of you old enough, you might remember the movie “Gung Ho” with Michael Keaton, where a U.S. car plant is acquired by a Japanese company. In the movie, the new Japanese owners unsuccessfully attempt to implement a morning exercise routine that they do in Japan. Japanese companies still value exercise and give their employees exercise breaks throughout the day.

Key Takeaway: Make health part of your daily discussion. Ask others about their health and what you can do to support them. And think about ways that you can implement healthy practices in your workplace or community.

Value Quality, Not Quantity

The Japanese are infamous for having high quality standards, and this includes their food. It’s virtually impossible to find low-quality food in Japan, even at McDonalds! The “bento” is a traditional Japanese meal that epitomizes the focus on quality over quantity. With high quality standards comes increased prices, as fresh fruit, vegetables and meats are notoriously expensive in Japan; however, high prices helps limit consumption and waste.

Key Takeaway: Resist the urge to “super-size” and focus on smaller quantities of higher-quality foods. Don’t be afraid to indulge in foods high in fat and protein, such as meats, cheese, nuts and avocados, which will help you feel “full” and avoid overeating.

Pro-tip: Eat at local restaurants that use local ingredients, and avoid fast-food and chain restaurants.

Eat Fresh Foods

While you can find a variety of pre-packaged foods in Japan, the Japanese emphasize home-cooked meals and fresh foods. It was typical for me to eat a salad at breakfast. Below is a picture of a traditional Japanese breakfast which typically includes fish, rice, miso soup, eggs and vegetables. This looks a lot healthier than a stack of pancakes covered with syrup and a side of bacon, right?

Key Takeaway: Focus on whole foods. You should have a serving of fresh fruit and/or vegetables at each meal. Even if you don’t have time to cook, make sure you always have some fresh fruit and vegetables on hand to supplement.

Pro-tip: Become a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) member or get a weekly fruit and vegetable subscription to ensure you always have fresh fruit and vegetables on hand.

Walk and Bike More

Walking, biking and public transportation are the main forms of transportation in Japan, and they have one of the best public transportation systems in the world. (It helps when owning a car, parking and taxis are incredibly expensive.) Even if you are taking public transportation in Japan, you typically have a decent walk to and from your destinations, along with any transfers.

Key Takeaway: Before calling Uber or driving, see if walking, biking or public transportation is a feasible option. Not only will it improve your health, but you’ll save some money and the environment.

Portion Control

The Japanese have a phrase “hara hachi bun me,” which translates to “eat to you are 80% full.” This term originated in Okinawa and has been credited with the extraordinary health of Okinawans. Portions in Japan are much smaller than in the U.S., and we Americans constantly felt “hungry” when eating out. Perhaps it was not that the portions were too small, but rather, that our portions are too big! High food prices in Japan also help them to limit portion sizes.

Key Takeaway: Eating until you are 80% full is a simple yet highly effective way to control calories and lose weight. No calorie-counting or dieting is needed. Try it for a week, and you’ll notice a huge difference in the amount you consume and how you feel.

Pro-tip: Try using smaller dishes, which will help you limit portion sizes. When eating out, considering sharing your food.
McDonalds Drink Comparison

In American, our health is deteriorating; we reached an all-time high in obesity rates in 2020 at over 42%. Not only does this make us more susceptible to illness, such as heart disease and COVID-19, but it also takes a significant toll on our economy, as healthcare costs continue to rise. To improve our health, we need cultural changes that emphasize regular exercise and healthy eating habits. This can only happen with support from the government, businesses and communities.

What changes can you make to create a healthier society?

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

If you believe in wearing masks, you should also exercise regularly

Regular exercise can boost your immune system

You’ve probably heard that exercise can boost your immune system, but maybe you’re wondering how significant this is, and how much exercise you need to reap the benefits. Studies have consistently shown that regular exercise can not only significantly reduce your risk of infection, but also the severity of symptoms if you are infected. Exercise is more important than ever as the coronavirus pandemic continues, and in this post, we’ll explain how exercise can help keep you healthy.

How Exercise Affects Your Immune System?

You first need to understand how exercise effects your immune system. While scientists have yet to identify the exact reason why, there are several theories about why exercise boosts immunity, which is likely a combination of several factors:

  • Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways.
  • Exercise increases the amount of white blood cells and their circulation within your body, so they can find pathogens and wipe them out.
  • The brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing and may help the body fight infection better (similar to what happens when you have a fever).
  • Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones, which can compromise your immune system.
  • Exercise can improve sleep. Research has shown that sleep improves the efficiency of T-cells (a type of white blood cell) ,which help fight off pathogens like viruses and bacteria.
  • Regular exercise can reduce sources of inflammation in your body that impair your immune system.

How Much Does Exercise Matter?

A 2019 scientific review in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that exercise can improve your immune response, lower illness risk and reduce inflammation — but by how much?  Studies show the impact can be quite significant:

  • 2018 study of 1,413 people in China found that those who reported exercising at least three times a week reduced their likelihood of getting a cold by 26%.
  • Another 2018 study of 390 people found that those who were trained with an eight-week regimen of moderate exercise reduced their risk of acute respiratory illness by 14% and their number of sick days by 23%, compared with people who did not receive the exercise training.
  • A study published in 2011 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found those who did aerobic exercise five or more days of the week lowered the number of upper respiratory tract infections (such as the common cold) over a 12-week period by more than 40%.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Fitness Routine

Now that you know how impactful exercise can be, here’s how to maximize the benefits:

Exercise regularly. Long runs on the weekends alone won’t cut it. The benefits of exercise on the immune system are temporary, so you need to do it often to see the gains.  You should emphasize frequency over intensity and duration, setting a goal of five or more times per week.

Moderate exercise is best.  Most studies looked at aerobic activity, such as walking, running or cycling. There is less research on HIIT or strength training, but most experts believe they provide similar benefits.

Whatever you do, the key is to get your heart rate going, but to keep activity to a moderate level of intensity. If you’re doing a walk, make sure it is a brisk pace — but don’t push it too hard. In fact, experts warn against extremely strenuous exercise, such as training for a marathon or doing power lifting. Very intense and prolonged exercise can actually put more stress on your body, competing for resources and potentially compromising your immune system. This shouldn’t be a concern for the majority of exercisers, but just be mindful that higher intensities won’t necessarily provide additional benefits.

The Bottom Line: Exercise Works

Exercise should not be considered a replacement for masks, good hygiene or social distancing — but when used in conjunction, exercise can be an additional layer of defense against pathogens and infection. In addition, exercise provides other benefits, such as improved mental health and decreased stress levels, that can help during this strenuous time.

If you are new to exercise, we suggest starting at a level you are comfortable with doing but frequently, even if it means short walks. You should then start gradually increasing the intensity and duration until you reach a moderate level of intensity. If you need help creating a workout program, setting fitness goals or just need some accountability, our team of certified personal trainers are here to help. We offer trial training packages, both in-person and virtual. Visit us at

CategoriesBlog Live Fit.

Why habits (not goals) are the key to success

“Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.” ―Stephen Covey

Habits account for roughly 45% of our daily activities — and success, or lack thereof, is a culmination of strong habits over time. There is no such thing as overnight success; professional athletes succeed not only because of superior athleticism and skill, but also from countless repetitions performed during practice. These repetitions become habit and allow them to perform at the highest level under immense pressure in a split second.

The good news is that you can start cultivating good habits now and succeed in creating better health, performance and happiness.

Why We Need Habits

Habits are essential to our survival and ability to function efficiently. Imagine if you had to stop and think about what you should do after you woke up every day or after you went to the bathroom; your brain would soon be overwhelmed. Habits emerge through “associative learning” — meaning they are triggered by anything in our internal or external environment that we associate with the habit. For example, the clock turning noon triggers many to be hungry for lunch.

Your brain is not capable of long-term behavioral change without creating habits; it would have to work too hard without them. That’s why you can force yourself to change behavior for a short period of time, but anything longer-term is much more challenging. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, you could come up with a new, custom meal plan every day — or you could create a habit of yogurt for breakfast, salads at lunch and a protein/vegetable combination at dinner. Which seems more sustainable?

Goals vs. Habits

Goals are aspirations you set for yourself, and can be small or big. Goals are a great way to prioritize behavior and measure success; however, they are not very effective at creating changes in behavior.

On the other hand, habits are the routines you develop through constant practice, and they happen subconsciously. Habits create the behaviors you need to achieve success.

Why Goals Aren’t Enough

While we initially set goals to achieve success, they don’t create the behaviors we need to get there. Here’s why goals will never be enough:

  • Goals are temporary. Setting goals can be helpful, but what happens next? As soon as you feel depleted or like you want to reward yourself, you may be tempted go back to your old ways.
  • Goals are all or nothing. If you fail to reach a goal, that can cause you to become demoralized and give up, reaping no benefits from your efforts.
  • Goals demand too much discipline. We are not robots; we get tired, we feel emotions and we become distracted. The primary reason most people fail to reach their goals is from a lack of self-discipline.
  • Goals limit you. Once you set a certain target, you focus on simply reaching it — without considering that you can surpass that target.
  • Goals can be unrealistic. People tend to aim so high that if they come up short, it could still be considered a success, but we seldom see it that way. Setting unrealistic expectations makes people feel like they are failing even when they’re getting ahead.

Why Habits Create Greater Success

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t set goals – this is to say that habits are far better investments to focus on when shooting for success. Habits are the incremental steps to reach your goals, so it’s essential to develop the right habits. Here are the reasons why habits bring greater success:

  • Habits are forever. The behaviors you develop will stay with you for life. Not only will they help you reach your goals, but you will also improve the chances of sustaining your success.
  • Habits are easier to accomplish. Goals are long-term achievements; habits are behaviors you can begin and realize success with immediately.
  • Habits often exceed goals. Habits become part of your lifestyle. Once ingrained, they will help you continue to succeed even after achieving your goal.
  • Habits are sustainable. Even if you are not successful in reaching your goals initially, you can still improve your life by creating healthy habits — then continue to build upon them to set yourself up for success down the road.

A Habit-Based Approach to Health

A common health goal is to lose weight. Many start with a goal of “I will lose X pounds by this date,” and a typical strategy to reach that goal may involve a plan such as:

  • Going to the gym three times a week.
  • Eating less carbs.
  • Drinking less liquor.

Sound familiar? Conversely, you can create a habit-based approach to weight loss and focus your efforts on creating healthy, sustainable behaviors, such as:

  • Going to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m.
  • Bringing a homemade lunch to work every day.

Once you’ve mastered those habits, you can build upon them by adding new habits, such as:

  • Going to your favorite fitness class every Saturday morning.
  • Switching from lattes to black coffee.

Which seems more achievable and sustainable in the long term: losing 10 pounds, or packing your lunch every day? A habit-based approach is not only more likely to help you achieve your goals, but to also sustain your success — because it becomes automatic and requires less mental effort.

Join Our Healthy Lifestyles Program

If you are tired of quick fixes and ready to create long-term success, Flow Fitness is now offering our Healthy Lifestyles Program. This program will teach and reinforce habits around nutrition and fitness that you will incorporate into your lifestyle over a 24-week period.

The Healthy Lifestyles Program uses simple, everyday concepts that increase the chance of success, and does not involve behaviors such as calorie counting, meal planning or specific fitness programs. This program is available on a one-on-one basis with a Flow coach or in a group setting. You can learn more here.