Centr trainer Bobby Holland Hanton performs a push-up with hand clap, in a workout studio.
Centr Team

8 underrated healthy habits to level up fitness

Centr Team

When your fitness goals remain just out of reach, the best solution is to simply train harder, right?

Sometimes, but not always. In fact, you could be neglecting some of the most powerful tools in your well-being arsenal.

Give your routine a wake-up call with eight underrated ways to unlock higher performance.

1. Take action against stress

Did you know that stress can stall muscle growth, play havoc with your appetite, cause your body to store fat and mess with sleep? Even in the short term, stress can mess with your recovery and training, so it’s important to get on top of it.

Start by taking it seriously and taking action – whether that’s short daily meditation, taking a yoga class, or turning off your email outside of work hours.

Centr trainers Luke Zocchi and Tahl Rinsky perform a forward lunge with arm reach during a yoga workout.

Yoga is an evidence-based way to regulate stress – get started with this session with Tahl and Luke.

2. Put the booze to bed

“If your goal is to reduce body fat or increase muscle, cutting alcohol is a no-brainer,” says Centr nutrition expert Angie Asche.

Alcohol makes your liver work when it should be resting, upsets your cardiovascular system and suppresses REM sleep cycles. And while you may consider a glass of alcohol relaxing, it can actually contribute to anxiety and stress, which is bad news for your recovery.

If you don’t want to go entirely dry, Angie suggests avoiding alcohol for at least a few hours after training and consuming no more than 1 drink or less per day for women, and 2 drinks or less for men.

3. Mind your micros

You know the right combination of carbs, fats and protein is essential, but don’t sleep on other nutrients like magnesium, omega-3s and collagen.

To ensure you’re getting what you need – and reaping benefits like reduced risk of injury and faster muscle recovery – you should be eating a variety of foods with plenty of plants. If that sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry: we have some dietitian-approved meals to get you started.

4 images of chicken & corn soup, plant-based butter tofu, grilled fish protein bowl and tuna puttane.

Go beyond macros with these nutrient-dense recovery meals to lock in your training.

4. Water yourself regularly

Dehydration puts extra pressure on your joints and increases injury risk. So if you’ve earned a sweat, your body has earned a drink. This is doubly important if you’re exercising in hot or humid conditions.

Angie recommends a minimum ½ cup of water for every 15 minutes of training – that’s on top of your normal water intake.

5. Think like an athlete

Energy and motivation levels flagging before a workout or toward the end of a big week? Some of the world’s top athletes turn to performance meditations and visualization exercises to get into the zone – and you can find those same techniques to fire up on Centr.

Centr trainer Alexz Parvi, wearing gym clothes, sits on a yoga mat in a park, wearing headphones and looking at her mobile device.

Sharpen your mind and prepare your body with these effective meditations.

6. Get a buddy boost

Nothing gives you that competitive edge like trying to out-perform a buddy. But research also tells us working out with a friend (or a group) can boost endurance, reduce stress, help you stick to a routine and possibly even increase your pain threshold.

7. Make sleep a priority

We’ll stop telling you to get some sleep when you start making it a priority! A good night’s sleep is essential to maintain optimal levels of the hormones that control hunger, fat loss and muscle gain. Plus injury risk skyrockets when you’re underslept.

If you’re not sure where to start with your sleep routine, try our most popular sleep visualization with Chris Hemsworth. We’re pretty sure you can guess why it’s a hit.

8. Don’t be rigid

Routine is good, but you also need the ability to adapt when your routine is disrupted. For instance, athletes who frequently travel for matches and tournaments don’t always have access to familiar equipment. Get creative and keep some of our favorite small-space and no-equipment workouts in your back pocket:

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