When I started 15 years ago as a personal trainer I simply wanted to help people better understand their form and technique with exercise so they could feel more confident in the gym as well as ensure they were working the right muscle groups.
Fast forward to today, now as a Fitness Lifestyle (and transformation) Coach and the next thing I know I’m helping people create and sustain a healthier lifestyle through positive changes in habits and mindset.
It’s been one hell of a road and evolution, to say the least. I experienced a lot of failure and missteps along the way yet ultimately ended up as one of the most successful (by way of client results) trainers in the industry. It’s not a bragging point but I simply don’t have any current or past clients within the last 6 years that haven’t transformed their bodies or their lifestyles significantly.
What I want to share with you in this article are the simplest yet most effective strategies ALL of my clients and members use to see and keep unwanted inches off.
Instead of drastic diets, intense workouts or trying the latest “magic pill,” I want to show you 3 all-natural methods to ADD throughout your daily and weekly routine. By taking small measures to include each of these three things you will immediately begin to train your body to use stored fat as energy rather than preserve it. Without further ado…
There is so much controversy these days about how much water to drink. I’ll add that I’m a firm believer that too much of anything isn’t good. This is certainly true for water. Overconsumption or over-hydration can dilute certain substances in your blood. A recommended daily intake is 78-100 ounces per day. This varies from person to person based on personal parameters and activity level. Urine is a great indicator of hydration levels. Dark yellow means you should add more; lemonade shade and you’re adequate; pale yellow to clear urine means to slow down, you’re hydrated.
Most people aren’t drinking enough per day so it wouldn’t hurt to add more than you usually do right now. Make sure to get as best of a current estimate of how much you normally drink before trying to get to the recommended level (stated above). Once you find about where you’re at, add 10 ounces and do this for at least 3 days. This allows your body (and mind) to adjust. From there add 10 more ounces. Wait three days and repeat this process until you’ve reached somewhere in that recommended level.
Why drink more water?
First off, we are made up of roughly 60% water. It’s basically in every part of us. Regularly drinking clean, filtered water helps to ensure regulation of the bowels, improves the appearance of skin and hair, helps cells function more optimally and when used as a replacement for certain beverages can reduce hundreds of calories per day! That adds up over the course of a week and allows the body to start burning stored fat versus absorbing the sugars and calories from those tasty drinks. (there are plenty of companies and brands using flavored water, which is a great starting point).
I know what you’re thinking and no, I’m not talking about adding in high amounts of “bro-tein,” through chicken and eggs, lol. I’ve never tried or will try to convert my clients into bodybuilders. I went through the experience myself and know better.
Like water, most people are simply not getting enough protein. The daily recommended intake for an average healthy adult is .8 g per kg of body weight. To do the math (ex. 150 lb person: To find kg divide your weight by 2.2. So, 150 / 2.2 = 68.2 kg. Then multiply your kg’s by .8 g. 68.2 X .8 = 55 g of protein per day).
So first understand that that number is a base level recommendation. Great if you are someone who does not exercise or perform weight training regularly (2-4 times per week), namely a sedentary individual. Even for this type of person, adding more protein throughout the day will help your body store less fat from food.
Protein is made up primarily of amino acids (as well as some fat depending on the type of meats), and therefore used for muscle and tissue repair and is the building blocks for our cells. Since most people’s average daily diets are higher in carbs and fats this means the extra calories from those foods will be stored as fat by the body for later. Protein doesn’t easily store as fat, in fact very rarely. (Only in extreme cases where the diet is so rich in protein the body doesn’t have a choice. Even then it’s not as drastic as it would be if sugars or fatty foods entered the bloodstream).
So how much protein should you add and how?
For sedentary folks or beginner exercisers, if you’re currently at or below the daily recommended level above it would be safe to add 50% more. (ex. – So for the 150 lb person who consumes about 55 gr per day you can eat up to and around 83 gr). For those who are exercising AND lifting moderate weight regularly, you can aim for a minimum .82 g per lb of body weight. For heavy lifters who workout frequently about 1 g per lb of bodyweight or more depending on how long and hard you’ve been lifting as well as where your current protein intake is.
To add a little more protein each day start by thinking of the times you already are eating protein and simply add more ounces. Protein powder and certain protein bars are great ways. I also tell my clients to add in a can of tuna/salmon/chicken or a few hardboiled eggs as a snack. These are all pretty easy and relatively painless ways to add healthy proteins. Plus you will feel fuller longer as protein is a very satiating macronutrient.
I’ve saved the best for last. This is one I personally work on constantly. After having been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea I take this VERY seriously. Even if I didn’t, with all the research I’ve done over the last decade with conclusive evidence linking poor sleep with everything from depression to Alzheimer’s, this is not an area you or anyone should be taking lightly or taking for granted. Serious health implications ride on how well you sleep. Notice I said “how well” not “how much.” 7-9 hours is a great start and general guideline for the majority of the population.
When your sleep is optimal your body goes into repair and restore mode. From hormones to cellular reproduction it can even aid in the body’s ability to burn fat while awake EVEN if it’s a leisure day.
“Numerous studies have suggested that restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.” (Weight Loss and Sleep – sleepfoundation.org).
It’s easier for your inhibitions to lower when you’re tired. When we’re dragging through another work day we look for “pick-me-ups.” Foods that spike our energy only to crash us right back down to where we were. Sometimes this cycle repeats itself many times in a given day.
When you sleep well and you nourish your body with whole foods and things like complex carbohydrates versus pastries or treats, your body rewards you by burning calories rather than storing them.
When you sleep well your energy increases. And when your energy is up you make sound decisions. When you make sound decisions your body thanks you and runs more optimally.
Your 1-week challenge: Knowledge is great and it’s even more powerful when you apply it through action.
Try this every day for 1 week:
- Add more water than you normally drink. Try to increase your daily intake by at least 20 ounces. Replace your favorite beverages with flavored water to start. Or have a Nalgene handy where you are working.
- Increase your protein intake – add a can of tuna or salmon to your lunch or as a snack. Have a few more ounces of meat with your salad, sandwich or dinner. Enjoy a few hardboiled eggs mid-morning. Have a protein bar (one that isn’t too high in sugars or fats).
- Improve your sleep – Start tonight by getting to bed 15 minutes earlier than you usually do. Keep doing this every night until you’re in bed one hour earlier than normal. Having trouble sleeping?:
- Shut off all devices or electronic screens 45 minutes before bedtime.
- Read a book
- Journal or do a brain dump –write down worries, thoughts or tomorrow’s to-dos
- Sleep in as much darkness as you can – hang a dark blanket over your window
- Listen to a meditation app or practice deep breathing
- Take a small dose of melatonin (3 to 5 mg) and magnesium (200 mg for women / 400 mg for men).
You have the power to train your body to feel and look the way you want. If you don’t move much throughout the day, are constantly sleep deprived, dehydrated and are putting in it calories that are not optimal, you will feel and see it.
The opposite is true when you start to add in those three simple life-altering changes. Reversing your current state of health does not have to be extreme or scary. It starts with adding in a few simple things not taking away.
In Good Health,