Fitness and nutrition rules can simplify healthy living



Some people swear by it and claim that structure is the reason they’re able to consistently exercise and eat well.

Others find that too much regimentation makes them crazy and increases the chance that they’ll fall off the wagon.

Personally, I’m a fan of structure, just not too much 😉

(I’m kind of like Goldilocks; not too much, not too little, it’s gotta be just the right amount).

I find that having a few, key ‘rules’ around fitness and nutrition helps me stay the course when I’m tired, feeling rushed or just plain low on willpower.

My rules are personal to me; there’s a reason for each of them. And when I recite them to myself, they instantly remind me of why I’ve chosen them and how I’ll feel when I honour them.

fitness and nutrition rules

I feel strong, confident and ready to take on the world!


Kind of like my reasons for exercising and eating well; linking the behaviour and the feeling that the behaviour gives me is a powerful tool for both creating new habits and sticking to old ones.

In my experience, the best types of fitness and nutrition rules are specific, concise and use positive language.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook or have participated in one of my online training groups will be able to recite these verbatim (perhaps you’ve even adopted one or more of them as your own?).


For the rest of you, here are the fitness and nutrition rules that help me re-commit daily to healthy living. There are three of each because, honestly? I couldn’t manage to consistently follow any more 🙂

Fitknitchick’s Fitness and Nutrition Rules to Live By

  • Never miss a Monday; I consider Monday to be the start of my exercise week. Getting a great workout in, first thing Monday morning, sets the tone for the next seven days. If Monday was great (and it almost always is, thanks to my dedicated and enthusiastic Monday morning Step class…), I’m more inclined to hit the gym Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Note that I don’t train the same way (or with the same intensity) each and every day; doing so would certainly result in injury or over-training for this almost 48-year old woman.
  • Never take more than two days off in a row; I find that two days of rest and recovery is adequate for my fitness goals. Unless I’m sick (or on vacation), missing a third day makes getting back to the gym a chore. And a fourth? I’m likely write off the rest of the week (I’m still working on my all-or-none mindset…). And I personally find that de-conditioning happens much more quickly now than when I was even five years younger.
  • Just commit to 15 minutes; On days where my motivation is lagging, but I know that a workout is truly what I need to feel better, I tell myself to commit to just 15 minutes. If I’m not feeling it by the end, I’m free to leave and try again tomorrow. Most of the time 15 minutes turns into 30 or 45. And I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve hung up my running shoes early and headed to the coffee shop, knowing that at least 15 minutes was better than nothing.
  • Always eat breakfast; Many years ago, way back when I was in grad school studying animal ecology, I’d head into the lab on an empty stomach. Working long hours with nothing but cafeteria coffee in your belly was a badge of industriousness and honour. Now that my work day is full of movement, fuelling first thing is mandatory. Not only am I not tempted by coffee shop pastries mid-day (okay, I am tempted by them, but I don’t CRAVE them, there’s a difference), my lunch and dinner choices are much healthier than they used to be; proof that positive habits beget more positive habits!
  • Eat protein with every meal; While gram for gram, carbohydrates have the same calorie content as protein, they aren’t nearly as satiating. In part because they are processed more quickly by the body, but also because they trigger an insulin response. Depending on your body’s sensitivity to sugar, that can result in a ‘sugar crash’ and a fairly rapid craving for sweet and starchy foods. And if you’re trying to build muscle (or preserve that which you already have), if you’re not eating protein with every meal, you’re probably not getting enough. Nutritionists recommend that we consume a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.36 grams per pound) per day, although there is much argument in the fitness community about whether this is actually enough. I personally, aim for about twice that; it seems to be the best approach to managing midlife weight gain and muscle loss for me. (And I’ve had clients who’ve been extremely successful with this approach as well…)
  • Fuel first, treats second. I love sweets as much as the next person. And if I let myself get too hungry, it’s all too easy to grab a cookie or muffin or protein bar (yes, I consider commercially-prepared protein bars a treat; or an emergency food for times when you’re caught without a healthy, home-prepared snack). I remind myself that sugary-foods rarely satiate and satisfy for long and that if I’m still hankering for one AFTER I’ve eaten my protein-filled meal or snack, I’m welcome to it. When it comes to eating, I don’t believe in deprivation. Making a food off limits only makes me want it more. Moderation is much easier to practice when I fuel first.

Do you follow any of my fitness and nutrition rules?

If so, does it help you maintaing consistency with exercise and healthy living?

Any other fitness and nutrition rules that you’ve adopted? I’d love to hear yours!

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  1. Oh, I think this is great insight. I will have to think about my rules and make sure I am enforcing them!
    Coco recently posted…Bike for BeerMy Profile

  2. Love this rules. I have adapted your “Never Miss A Monday” I also have a Workout First policy.
    Stephanie Robbins recently posted…Fashion Blogger Tool – SnapVisiMy Profile

  3. So what is it that I roll rulefree?
    Methinks Im just quintessential middle child?!
    That said I NEED RULES (and never miss a monday!) for my fictionwriting.
    CARLA recently posted…I love my MIRA Fitness Tracker.My Profile

    • Yes! Not everybody needs them, particularly if you’re already intuitive with eating and exercising. But rules are great for those just starting out (book writing included 😉 )

  4. I pretty much follow all your same rules. In fact, they become so much a part of our life, they become less like rules and more like habits, don’t they? And that’s always a good thing. 🙂

    Love the pic of you and the kettlebell!
    Carrie Rubin recently posted…Armed With Kirkus And 99Designs, It’s Off To Kindle ScoutMy Profile

    • Exactly! What starts out as a rule, when practiced repeatedly, becomes a habit over time. And taking the daily decision-making out of our behaviour makes it super easy to be consistent!

      Thanks for the kind words. I had new photos taken back in the spring and am having fun using them on my website!

  5. Your rules are my golden rules! I’m following them this June 😉
    Lily Lau recently posted…Top 3 Sun-Kissed Locations For Your Summer GetawayMy Profile

  6. I am so close to you on this Tamara! And I did this from my 20’s. The workouts were always scheduled just like work meetings., They were as important to me too & still are important. I also don’t like taking too many days off unless scheduled for me. People in general don’t come back – studies show it. 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 57 recently posted…Make Weight Training Fun! How to Get the Most Out of Your Workouts! Ask Me A Question!My Profile

  7. I have a lot of rituals that are automatic for years now. I think of these as rituals because well, I just don’t like “rules.” 😉
    Suzanne Digre (@WorkoutNirvana) recently posted…I’m Not So “Strong” – I Just Got F*cking Goals, See?My Profile

  8. I fall firmly into the ‘structure’ corner. My day is full of little rituals that started out as rules and became habits over time. Consciously creating new habits has helped me on so many levels throughout my life, including my health and fitness levels.
    Alice recently posted…Metabolic Cooking Review – Eating For Fat LossMy Profile

  9. thats a great way of simplifying our healthy living. For healthy living the basic necessity one has to do is just commit spending 15 minutes of your day.


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