This article was created in partnership with Stryve as part of Fuel Your Life.
We all know those people who are seemingly able to crush their fitness goals without even trying—all while maintaining a work schedule, solid sleep regimen, and social life. They may seem like superhumans, but they really are just like us. The difference? A few simple habits.
We’ve partnered with Stryve, the maker of high-protein snacks that help you achieve your fitness goals, to round up some expert tips you can implement in your own life. Here’s what helps some of our favorite pros stay on top of their game.
1. They plan ahead.
Fit people know scheduling a workout is just as important as planning a meeting or dinner date. “Decision fatigue is a real thing,” says Hollis Tuttle, former triathlete and current instructor at Mile High Run Club and CityRow in New York City. “So if you can reduce the number of decisions you have to make, you have more energy to put into the things you do.”
Tuttle writes out her weekly training plan in a calendar along with her work schedule, so she doesn’t have to think twice about a game plan when she wakes up in the morning.
2. They stock up on healthy snacks.
Ever heard the phrase abs are made in the kitchen? It’s true food plays a major role in weight loss, even more so than exercise.
“I’m a hungry girl by nature,” says Lauren Yovanno, an instructor at Barre3. “I do my best to pack my kitchen with healthy snacks, so the decision to eat something good is easy.”
On Sundays, prep a batch of energy-boosting snacks for the week—you’ll be much less likely to turn to the vending machine or drive-through. If you have a sweet tooth, keep a stash of homemade protein cookies in the freezer. Thaw one at a time for a small treat that won’t undo all your progress.
No time to cook? We’re fans of Stryve biltong, which is basically beef jerky’s healthier cousin. With 36 grams of protein per serving, biltong is perfect for athletes or anyone looking to up their protein intake while steering clear of packaged junk.
3. They’re picky.
You know how particular you are when hunting for an apartment, finding the right hairstylist, or even ordering your morning cup of coffee? Fit people approach their workout routine in the same way.
Melody Scharff, an instructor at Fhitting Room and 305 Fitness in NYC, says it’s super important to find a trainer, class, or workout you legit like.
“I used to go to this one instructor’s class over and over again just because I was obsessed with her playlist,” Scharff says. “Even if I wasn’t in the mood to work out, I knew I’d get psyched in class because of the music.”
Research estimates 50 percent of people who start a new fitness regimen will drop out in the first six months. Being selective about the types of exercises you do and the instructors you follow means you’ll actually look forward to your workout. So if you don’t like to run, skip the treadmill and try a HIIT class instead. Hate being indoors? Join a rec league, bike to work, or go hiking on the weekends. If you’re doing something that genuinely makes you happy, you’re way more likely to stick to it long-term.
4. They prioritize recovery.
As counterintuitive as it may sound, rest is just as important as physical activity. A solid recovery routine can actually make it easier to train harder and more efficiently. For Tuttle, this means foam rolling every single night before she gets ready for bed.
“If I foam roll for just five minutes, I’m better off,” she says. “Even if it’s not a full session, if I’ve hit my tightest spots, I feel like I’m that much more ahead.” She knows that small investments now will pay off in the long run. Other ways to fit in recovery: Get more sleep, take a cold bath or shower, or treat yourself to a massage.
5. They find their tribe.
Having a community is more than just fun—it’s legitimately proven to help you stick to your goals. “Those with a strong tribe are healthier,” Tuttle says. “You’re working on your goals, they’re working on their goals, and together it’s so much more enjoyable.” Whether you join a group fitness class or grab a workout buddy, seek out people who make you feel proud of what you’re working toward. It will naturally become easier to make your goals a priority.
6. They’re kind to themselves.
Stop putting yourself down when you slip up or start to doubt.
“I don’t beat myself up for indulging every once in a while,” Yovanno says. “An over-the-top guilt trip will do more harm than a cookie or a handful of chips.”
Scharff agrees and says she tries to talk to herself the way she would speak to a friend.
“If a friend told you they wanted to try a new class but didn’t think they were ready, what would you say?” she says. “You’d tell them, ‘Of course you can do it. Just try it and see what happens.’ A little kindness and encouragement can be the ultimate motivator.”
Amen, sister, amen.