Shaun Blokker, better known as Shaun T, is a world-renowned health and fitness expert. Here are seven things he wants you to take to heart for a healthier heart all year-long.

1. Say yes to greens

Whether you serve them in a salad or slip them into a smoothie, leafy greens boast a wide array of health benefits. “I’m not saying you should become a vegetarian,” the fitness guru says. “There are so many things you can do with green foods that enhance your fitness and your heart.”

Greens are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber — a key nutrient for weight loss. Fiber can also lower cholesterol and blood pressure, helping to moderate blood-sugar swings by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after eating.

2. Exercise for more than endurance

Most athletes agree — you’re only as good as you recover. This is a mantra that Shaun T supports whole-heartedly.

“Everyone is always focused on how long they can run and the endurance they have, but my workouts are about how fast you can recover,” he says. “If your heart can recover quickly, your day is going to be full of energy. It’s about training your body, but more importantly it’s about training your heart.”

His workout recommendation? “Twenty-five to 40 minutes of focused activity every day.”

3. Just how sweet is a sweet potato?

Some studies suggest that sweet potatoes support the immune system and help ward off cancer, but that’s not all they’re good for.

“Before a workout, sweet potato gives you a natural energy boost that can help you sustain longer cardiovascular endurance during your workout,” Shaun T. outlines. Starchy vegetables are also a great post-workout option, as they are rich in antioxidants and are a nutritionally dense carbohydrate. 

4. Don’t obsess over the scale

All too often, the path to a healthier you becomes a numbers game. “Don’t look at the final number that you want, look at everyday success,” he suggests. “It’s what you did to be successful today that’s going to help you want to achieve that tomorrow.”

He continues, “No struggle is too hard to get through. Sometimes we have to face an obstacle to not just live, but to show your existence to the world and become the best person you can possibly be.”

5. Do expiration dates really matter?

There are a lot of misconceptions about expiration dates; the most common being that once the sell-by date on an item has passed, the food becomes inedible. While it varies by product, food packages are actually labeled with expiration dates to give consumers information about the food's freshness.

“If you’re going into the airport, you’re typically buying things that are in a bag, which usually means that they’ve been in that bag for over a year,” Shaun says. “If you can see the food inside the package, that means it’s been freshly made and will expire soon.” Produce actually loses its nutritional value over time, so the quicker it’s eaten, the more nutrients that can be gained from it.

6. Positivity is power

Shaun T recommends looking for the positive side of every situation, even when surrounded by pure negativity.

“Negativity is so easy to grasp onto,” he shares. “It’s so easy to shame yourself and to look in the mirror and focus directly on the things you don’t like. Even in your worst moments, you have to think positive. Positive thinking is going to help you achieve positive results.”

7. Be realistic

The man behind the “Insanity” program has launched a new online community that is helping users around the world dig deeper. “You can tell your story and interact with other people in the community,” he explains. The program lets users unlock workouts, weekly challenges, nutrition tips, and other exclusive content. He believes it will help people think about health in a healthier way.

“It’s a realistic way of eating and still being able to achieve your goals,” Shaun explains. “Technically, a box of cookies is not the thing that is going to get you a six pack, but you can have still have a cookie or two.”

He’s also working on a new book, “T IS FOR TRANSFORMATION,” which will be published in Fall 2017. The project outlines his seven-principle path to wellness that blends psychology with fitness.