The human body is a remarkably adaptable machine. Even after a hard binge and some over indulging during the holiday season, your body can quickly subtract the excess so that you’re back to your best shape in no time! Take these ten easy-to-implement tips to heart, and progress will come in a hurry!
1. MAKE A CONCRETE PLAN
Benjamin Franklin said it best… “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail!”
• Make realistic goals and WRITE THEM DOWN. Writing your ideas down increases the neural connections in your brain and kicks your mind, body and motivation into overdrive.
• Create an action plan – a 4-6 week map of your training and nutrition works well. And remember to be very specific!
• JUST DO IT!
2. STAY OFF THE SCALE
The scales can be an ambiguous measure and can cause unnecessary negative emotions, even if you have made some significant progress. You can use the scale as a guide, but how you look in the mirror, how you feel, and how your clothes fit are much better indicators of your progress.
And if, for example, your goal is to drop the excess body fat gained at Christmas whilst increasing lean muscle, a body composition test would be more practical and give you a better overall picture of your progress.
3. REDUCE YOUR CALORIES GRADUALLY
If you’re looking to lose fat, don’t make huge calorie cuts. This will kick your body into starvation mode, reducing your metabolism and making it more difficult to burn off the fat.
To prevent this metabolic adaptation and to allow your body to perform at an optimal rate, make smaller calorie reductions every couple of weeks.
4. TRACK YOUR CALORIES
While calorie tracking is not an exact science (as there is a margin of error on food labels of up to 25%), it can be a using method of monitoring your daily energy income.
How do I count calories? Where do I even start? If you have access to a qualified health and fitness professional that specialises in nutrition then they should be able to work in-conjunction with you to create an effective eating plan.
Alternatively using the myfitnesspal app might be a good starting point. This app will also be able to differentiate your daily macro nutrient totals.
5. TRAIN WITH WEIGHTS
Resistance training helps with fat loss in a number of ways. Weight training itself burns calories. Studies also show that, unlike aerobic exercise, weight training increases the calories you burn at rest for up to 39 hours after your workout.
The primary benefit with resistance training though is increased lean muscle mass (or at least the preservation of lean mass). The more lean mass your body has, the more calories you burn each day.
And if you lose lean mass you risk your metabolism slowing which can result in stalling your fat-loss efforts. So even if your goal is solely to lose body fat, you need to also train with weights.
6. DO HIGH INTENSITY INTERVALS (HIIT)
High intensity interval training is a requires brief intense cardiovascular activity followed by an immediate rest period, repeated. Many scientific studies show that HIIT training protocols are some of the most effective for fat loss. That’s because this particular type of training helps to increase your VO2 max…The greater your VO2 max, the better your fitness and the more effective you will be at utilising fat as an energy source at rest.
HIIT training is also performed over a short duration making it great for individuals who have limited time. So if you’re after a workout that is quick, intense and will still have you burning calories long after your workout ends, give HIIT a go!
7. EAT MORE FAT
Consuming enough good fats will actually help you lose fat, build muscle, and recover faster from your workouts. Healthy (or essential) fats also have myriad of health benefits, including being good for your heart.
So which fats are “good” fats? The polyunsaturated ones (especially omegas), such as those from fish and nuts, and the monounsaturated kind, such as those from peanut butter, olive oil, egg yolks, and fish oil.
Some saturated fats (including MCT oil), which are primarily derived from animal fats, are also beneficial. Saturated fats help with insulation, help to provide energy and also support healthy hormonal processes in the body.
8. EAT A COLOURFUL DIET
Mother nature’s gift to mankind is nutrition. Almost every food source that is grown on or under the land has benefits to our bodies. From animals we source protein and healthy fats to build and repair lean mass. Fruit and vegetables provide complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that supports good health and function across every single cell in our bodies!
For optimal health, recovery from physical activity and for energy the majority of your nutrition should come from natural sources.
9. INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN
Increasing the protein in your diet is critical while in a calorie deficit. If you take less than an optimal amount of protein while in a calorie deficit, you run the risk of damaging your metabolism.
Even though the loss of some lean mass is inevitable while aiming to drop body fat, we can manipulate our nutrition to minimise this loss by making sure we have enough protein each day. For optimal health, recovery from exercise and the maintenance of lean mass, you should be aiming to hit 1g of protein per 1lb of mass, per day (the ‘myfitnesspal’ app is an easy way to monitor this).
Supplement forms of protein are a quick and easy way to help you reach your daily protein target. Scorpion 100% Whey is a high-quality source of protein that is very low in fat and carbohydrate. Each serve provides 25g of protein rich in BCAAs and glutamine that supports your body’s health. It’s fast and easy to mix and tastes delicious both on its own or added to a smoothie or other foods!
10. NEVER GIVE UP!
The only time you will ever fail is when you give up. Remember small progress is better than no progress, so ask for help when needed but keep going and don’t give up!