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Creating healthy change starts with the integration of new habits — and that can feel like standing at the base of a towering mountain. The desire to cut straight to the top is strong, but a switchback-filled journey is usually unavoidable.

And with the plethora of health and wellness information that’s out there, as well as the pressure to transform as quickly as possible, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and then frustrated when results aren’t immediate.

But small, consistent steps pave the way for lasting improvements, and according to experts, it’s perfectly OK to embrace one healthy change at a time. “Adopting healthier habits starts with being aware of who you currently are, or your starting point, and who you want to be, or your desired goals,” explains Lindsay Ogden, Dynamic Personal Trainer and fitness and nutrition coach at Life Time in Eden Prairie, Minn. “You can then identify the things that the ideal version of you does and better understand the steps you need to take to get to the point of that being your routine. Habits require thought, but ultimately are about taking action and forward movement.”

If you’re ready to make change, but unsure where to start, take inspiration from eight healthy-living experts from Life Time, including Ogden. These are the simple, yet essential, daily habits they swear by to support their health.

1. Master your morning and evening rituals.

Lindsay Ogden

How I start my morning sets the tone for my entire day. I truly believe movement creates positive momentum in other aspects of my life, so I begin each day with a workout. During exercise, I like to drink water mixed with essential amino acids, creatine, and electrolytes to maximize the benefits I get from my efforts.

Once I finish my workout, I always refuel with a higher-protein meal. Protein is so important for recovery, satiety, consistent energy, and more. Starting my day off with at least 30 grams of protein sets me up to achieve my overall protein intake goals for the day.

Jarod Cogswell, lead general at Life Time in Beaverton, Ore.

My No. 1 health habit is being intentional with my morning ritual — it helps me properly prepare to have what I consider a winning day and feel like I’m in control of my day versus the day controlling me.

I always wake up one hour earlier than necessary for other obligations to ensure I get quality time to prepare myself physically, mentally, and spiritually for the day. My hour-long preparation includes the following steps, in this order:

  • Five to seven minutes of prayer or meditation to focus on gratitude and to ensure I’m in the right frame of mind to start the day.
  • A three-minute ice bath, which helps my energy levels, stress levels, anxiety, and confidence.
  • A 45-minute physical training session.

Jill Shusterman, senior lead general at Life Time in Denver, Colo.

Ensuring I get a full eight hours of restful sleep each night is nonnegotiable for me. Good sleep improves cognitive function, emotional well-being, and physical health. It also helps regulate hormones and reduce stress. I find it enhances my overall productivity and mood.

To get my best sleep, I go to bed and wake up at the same time every day — even on the weekends. This is important for my circadian rhythms, which are intimately tied to sleep.

I create a restful environment by keeping my bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. I practice a bedtime routine that includes sleep-supportive supplements and wind-down activities like reading or meditation to signal to my body that it’s time to rest.

2. Support your nutrient needs with supplementation.

Nick Sandoval, CPT, specialist in lifestyle weight management and childhood nutrition, and Dynamic Personal Trainer at Life Time in Gilbert, Ariz.

I prep all my supplements for the week in an organized daily dosage container that I bring with me wherever I go. I take a fairly large number of different supplements, but some of the more foundational ones include a men’s multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D3 + K2, probiotic, calcium magnesium, magnesium, Life Greens, and creatine. I also keep backups at work and in my car, so I never miss a dose.

For me, this is the easiest health habit to complete every day. Even if I can’t get a workout in or my nutrition isn’t on point, I’m at least getting the right amount of minerals and nutrient support, which aid my body in energy, recovery, digestion, healthy aging, and more. (Learn more: “The Foundational Five: 5 Supplements for Every Body”)

3. Get on your feet and move.

Roz Frydberg, group fitness coach and ARORA ambassador at Life Time in Ontario, Canada

I try to sit for as little time as I can throughout my day and consistently keep moving in some way. My personal goal is, if possible, to never sit for more than 15 minutes at a time. This may not be realistic for all situations and occupations, but pick the time allotment that works for you and look for sneaky ways to move — or simply stand — more. Standing not only helps with circulation but can also boost energy levels, productivity, and focus, and lower stress.

And know that movement doesn’t have to be a traditional workout. For example, taking out the recycling, cleaning the kitchen, walking to fill up your water bottle, or throwing in a load of laundry all counts as moving your body.

Also, when I’m on my feet, I aim to stand with purpose and am always trying to work on my posture and body symmetry.

Lindsay Ogden

I shared that I exercise first thing in the mornings because that’s how critical it is for me to make sure movement is included in my day, every day. I suggest figuring out what you can do even on your busiest days.

For me, movement may be anything from a strength-training session to walking outside to light stretching — whatever my schedule and circumstances allow. Don’t put pressure on yourself around what type of movement you need to do or how long you need to do it. Just show up!

4. Keep your body hydrated.

Brie Vortherms, MA, LMFT, and director of Life Time Mind

In addition to making sure I drink adequate amounts of water, I support my body in being truly hydrated by adding trace minerals or electrolytes, such as Celtic sea salt, to my water bottle. I also prioritize drinking one packet of electrolytes per day.

Not only do we just feel better when we’re hydrated, but hydration also helps with our neurochemistry by providing the building blocks for neurotransmitters to be made in our brains. In other words, your brain fires better when you’re hydrated.

Kemma Cunningham, 5-star elite performer and Dynamic Personal Trainer at Life Time in Bridgewater, N.J.

I start my day with 16 ounces of water. I keep a water bottle on my nightstand, and I drink it as soon as I get out of bed. I find that beginning my day this way sets me up for success with all my other goals — it’s an easy win, and one small win leads you to bigger wins.

I started doing this at the beginning of my health and fitness journey, as one of my first-ever health goals was getting adequate hydration. Ten years later, I still do it not only as a healthy habit, but also as a daily reminder of how far I’ve come.

Makoto Matsuo, Dynamic Personal Trainer and lead general at Life Time Sky in New York City, N.Y.

It’s such a simple one, but drinking enough water sets my whole day up for success, both physically and mentally. It helps flush out toxins, support performance, and relieve headaches and soreness. It also helps me feel more alert and energized.

If you have trouble maintaining your daily water intake (about half of your body weight in ounces, plus more if you sweat), start small. For example, begin with one bottle a day, then increase to two bottles per day the following week, and so on. Soon, you’ll get to a point where your body starts craving water and the habit becomes easy.

When you hear the word “habit,” it often sounds like a chore. I try to reframe my mindset to focus on just one thing I want to improve or tackle at a time. Once you feel comfortable with that one thing and it becomes routine, it’s time to add on another. You’ll start to build from there and suddenly, your healthy-living habits compile and become routine.

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Elise Wiegele

Elise Wiegele is an editorial content strategy intern at Life Time.

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