While we often are hard on ourselves when it comes to fitness, as comparisons to professional athletes can make us feel inferior or average in the health world, we should give ourselves way more credit, as deserved. By looking for signs that we are more fit than we think we are, we can instantly boost our confidence and fitness levels through shifting our perspectives, feeling proud and accomplished, and focusing on our own strengths, rather than comparing to others.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on finding forms of fitness that work for their preferences and schedules. Together, we commit to follow through on exercise sessions and goals, and we track progress as weeks progress with new exercise routines and eating plans. However, sometimes a client will have a weak day, where he or she gives in to a sugary craving and skips a workout. When these slip-ups happen, it's possible to let confidence plummet and to feel less toned, fit and strong as you had before. However, a few mishaps don't make that much of a difference (unless it turns into a long-term pattern), and we shouldn't let a negative perspective get in the way of our fitness improvements and strengths that are real and tangible. Look for these eleven signs to know that you are more fit than you think you are.
1. You Find Yourself Standing Throughout The Day
"It’s common that highly active people are just that: active. They stand more than they sit and are often even more fidgety as well," says Nutrition Coach Darin Hulslander, over email with Bustle. "If you stand just as much as you sit each day or even stand for a few minutes every hour — chances are you're fitter than you think," he adds. Pay attention to your tendencies and needs for sitting in order to judge your level of fitness.
2. You're Mentally Sharp At Work
If you notice you have great mental alertness and cognitive skills at work, since you've embarked on exercise plans, than you are fitter than you think. "You’re a great organizer and problem solver," says Hulslander. "Research proves that those who exercise have younger brains than those who don’t. This increases your ability to problem solve, organize and even manage stressful situations," he adds.
3. You Recover Quickly
If you test yourself with a few sprints or bouts of high-intensity body moves, and you're able to recover rather quickly, then you're fitter than you think you are and can endure much more. "How fast do you recover from an all out or an extended effort," asks running coach and personal trainer Susie Lemmer, over email with Bustle. "The true test of fitness is recovery time," she adds. Do short bursts to see how your body feels after.
4. You Crave Healthy Foods
If you find yourself craving whole foods, such as oatmeal, Greek yogurt, salmon, salads and fresh fruit, rather than processed goods, refined carbohydrates, high-sugar and fattening foods, then you're likely to be fitter than you think. People who are in better shape can manipulate and alter their hormones to reduce unhealthy cravings and increase the desire for healthy, nutritious foods.
5. Your Sex Life Is Active
If you find yourself having great energy and openness in bed, then you're likely to be fitter than you think. Sex can burn a number of calories and requires much effort, so if you are able to let loose, be frisky and hold your own under the sheets, then your body is in a better, more capable position of being active and maintaining stamina.
6. You're Able To Shop All Day
If you're able to run around all day doing errands from store to store (which can be a good four or five hours), without needing a break, then your body is in prime position of fitness and endurance levels. Plus, think of all the bags you'll be carrying! If you are able to withstand the weights on both arms and shoulders, then you're much more powerful than you think.
7. You Can Do The Most Basic Fitness Tests
There are certain fitness tests that can measure levels of fitness, and while these are not the best and only judge, as they leave room for inaccuracies, they provide a nice template for a base of testing and average comparisons to get a better perspective as to whether you truly are fit or not. Put yourself to the test, and do a few of the exercises on these assessments to see how you measure up.
8. Stairs Are No Problem For You
No matter how long you spend on the elliptical, walking or running up the stairs activates certain muscle groups that might not necessarily be turned on as much when we are working out in standard cardio classes and sessions. If you are able to walk (or even run) up and down the stairs without feeling lightheaded and gasping for air, then you are in better shape then you might think.
9. You Work Out Because You Love It
If your workouts are no longer planned based on weight loss or immediate goals, but rather for the purity of endorphin-boosting happiness and the love of getting sweaty and doing something beneficial for your body, then you are in a fitter mindset and body than you had imagined. People who are fit do fitness because it's a part of them and it brings them joy. The internal validation triumphs external goals.
10. You're Able To Do Various Types Of Workouts
If your body is able to excel at different types of moves, intensities, circuits and classes, then it's in a fitter state and has greater strength in a multitude of muscle groups. Plus, varying your workout is not only better for performance, but also mood, as it beats boredom. Try working with kettle bells, training machines, row machines, HIIT body-weight exercises, TRX bands, slam balls, and more and see how well your body can tackle all the new repertoire.
11. You Can Balance Well
Getting in a long run or spending an hour on an elliptical machine can inform you that you have great endurance levels; however, they don't require much balance, as is needed for more body-weight exercises, yoga and everyday movements in life. A great test of fitness is balance, as it is so related to our body's tendencies to stand up right, have its muscles and joints function optimally and symmetrically, and stay strong throughout the core.
No matter how many hours you can spend on a cardio machine or pounding the pavement on a long run, there are greater ways to test just how fit and active you really are. If you have a bad day or go on vacation, your fitness won't deteriorate and your body can probably handle the short-term rest. As long as it doesn't become a habit, be confident that you are way more fit and capable of sustaining fitness than you had imagined.
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