When we talk about weight loss the common idea is reducing the number appearing on the scale. Excess of body fat is a problem, an inconvenience, a health issue that we want to fix. We always want a better life for ourselves, have more energy, live longer, spend quality time with our family and friends and simply live a lighter, happier life.
Live a Lighter, Happier Life
You know exactly what you want to do, you want to lose weight and stay fit, and the best way to stay on track is to focus on “why” you want to do it and “how” getting fit improves your life!
You haven’t just woken up and decided that you want to go to the gym, start running, etc. what happened was, you have something that you want to make better in life, there are things that you can’t do in your current state and you subconsciously and consciously understand that to improve your situation, you need to make improvements in your lifestyle!
You want more energy, to look better for your partner or potential partner, you want to improve your health, live longer, be able to hike in the most stunning areas or spend quality time with your children.
Whatever your reason, always remember it, keep it in your mind and heart, because then you will be training for something/someone that is important to you!
Before we get to the practical part, I want you to take a minute and think about the things you want to improve in your life and how getting fit is going to help you achieve that.
Hold that thought with you, this will give you the extra drive you need to push through your training and get you to the gym when you “don’t feel like doing anything”. Always remember why you do it and it will be so much easier to come to training every time.
Now that you know “why” you want to lose weight, let’s talk about “how” to do it.
There are 3 pillars that your fitness stands on:
Firstly, when we talk about lifestyle in relation to fitness we talk about work and how you spend your free time.
- What is you job? Do you do admin work and sit in front of a desk all day? Are you a bricklayer, who stays active the entire day and lifts heavy items? In your free time, are you doing sports or playing with your children, or do you prefer watching the telly or playing games? These are important factors when it comes to determining how much work you have to put into your training and how to structure your nutrition. The more active you are the more energy you burn and your metabolism is that much higher, so if your everyday life is pretty sedentary, you will have to start with lighter exercises and you will need a bit more time than an active person to get fit.
- Your current shape is the result of your lifestyle and to get the physique and fitness you want, you need to choose a lifestyle that will allow you to do that.
When it comes to training there is a lot of details involved, but there are basic rules that you have to follow to get the best possible results for yourself:
- Choose compound exercises – these are the exercises that use multiple muscle groups at the same time, like squats, dancing, deadlifts, kick-boxing, etc. Logically if you use multiple muscle groups at the same time, you will burn a lot more energy in a shorter period of time, which will also force your body to improve your metabolic rate.
- Choose different body section every day – if you want to lose your belly, you can’t just do sit ups 365 days a year, your muscles get tired and inflamed after exercises and need time to recover. If you focus on your core on Monday, do legs on Tuesday and upper body on Wednesday, you always work with the muscles and body parts that have the most energy, so you will be able to train harder and get what you want faster. You can repeat the same 3 section rotation over Thursday, Friday and Saturday for a smooth 6 day schedule.
- Push your limits – every time you train you should finish tired and most of the times slightly sore. If you do something that is too easy for you, your body is not getting enough stimulus and lacks any reason to adapt. If you lift a coffee mug a thousand times, you still won’t train your bicep much, it’s just way too easy. Challenge yourself , get the heavier weight, do a few more repetitions of the exercise, take a slightly shorter break, etc.
- If you are short on time do circuits – you have a diner in 45 minutes, so you have maybe 30 minutes to exercise. That’s where combining your exercises into circuits comes in handy. Let’s say you are doing your lower body today, you can grab a mat set it in front of the leg curls machine and set yourself a 5 exercise circuit for 5 rounds. You can start with 20 leg curls, followed by 20 squats, 20 standing lateral leg raises on each side, 20 calf raises and finishing on the mat with 20 kick backs for each side.
- Make it harder every month – your body adapts to training routines quite effectively and as you already know, you need to push yourself to see your body change. After 4 weeks of regular training your body is more or less used to the routine and you need to upgrade your training plan.
- Training is a lifestyle choice – to stay fit, you have to stay active. It doesn’t mean that you have to train 5-6 days a week for the rest of your life, it just means that you have to keep moving and the more you do it, the healthier and happier you will be. Do you want to live your life to the fullest? Healthy body will help you do that.
There are many speculations on nutrition and everyone needs a more individualized depending on multiple factors, like lifestyle and genetics, but there are a few basic rules that apply to almost everyone when it comes to weight loss:
- Always eat breakfast – Eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism for the day, it helps you get your body into a higher gear and burn more energy. For breakfast I always recommend porridge with some honey and cinnamon, it’s tasty, it’s high in fibre and has a low GI.
- Have enough protein in your diet – proteins are built of amino acids and are necessary for normal functioning of the body, they are what your muscle, organs, brain are made of, they are responsible for triggering and maintaining important physiological processes in the body including the fat burning. You need a decent amount of protein in your diet to maintain its function and start losing weight. Meat and fish are always great source of protein, alternatively we have, nuts, eggs, milk, tofu, etc.
- Avoid sugar – soft drinks, chocolates and lollies might be sweet, but they quite quickly make you gain some extra kilograms. Usually the body can spread the use of energy over the day, but with sugar you get a massive spike of glycogen in your blood, it won’t be able to manage it and burn it all off, so it will have to store it as fat for later. It’s the same as you managing your money, if you get more money than you need, or know how to spend, you will have to store it in your bank account.
- Eat whole foods – I know the processed foods are convenient and easy to manage, but let’s face it, they have been heavily transformed in most cases, which decreases their nutritional value. Eating quality fresh food allows your body to work the best it can. Fresh meat, fruits and veggies, will always beat a frozen box of kiev and a bag of veggies.
- Cook in advance – one of the biggest problems with food is that we usually don’t have enough time to cook every day and succumb to the easily accessible takeaways. If you cook for a few days in advance you are making sure you are covered with healthier choice for longer. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something different for every day of the week, you might just make enough of one meal for 3 days.
- Eat smaller portions – it’s always better to eat a small plate of food and eat slow. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full, so by eating a smaller portion slowly, you make sure you are not overeating and straining your stomach. If you are still hungry after 30 minutes from your meal, you can always have an extra portion.
- Avoid alcohol – to your body alcohol is literally a poison and it impairs its basic functions. You already know that alcohol is a bunch of empty calories, but there is another side of this coin – it makes your body go into recovery mode, it slows down your metabolism and it impairs your performance when exercising. You slow down your weight loss processes with every drink.
Now that you have a base to work with, think “when” you want to start working on your happiness and well being? When do you want to get closer to your desired shape?
I recommend starting now!