(11 min read)
Here we go! 2020! The year we get our health in check, achieve the body transformation we've desired for year and really smash our goals. We join the gym, try a few classes and are loving it… We’re going 3,4 sometimes even 5 times a week over the course of the month and it’s BRILLIANT… #FITNESS #FITFAM. It gets to the end of January and we jump back on the scales all excited to find out how much weight we’ve lost and OH… NOTHING. The scale hasn’t moved, body transformation OVER 😫
Have you been here before? Or possibly experienced something similar? Soul destroying isn’t it?
And that is unfortunately going to be happening all over the world over these next couple of weeks/months. Here’s how to ensure you AREN’T one of those that suffer.
1 - Nutrition
Or more specifically, energy in vs out is the fundamental reason why people achieve changes in body composition and why they don’t.
Fat loss occurs when we remain in a caloric deficit for a prolonged period of time.
Calories are energy that fuel our body.
They fuel us to stay alive and move.
If you consume less than what your body requires on a daily basis… well our body doesn’t just stop, collapse in a heap on the floor and wait until we eat again does it??? NOPE, this is when it turns to an alternative fuel source to keep us ticking over… our STORED BODY FAT!
So it doesn’t matter which miraculous diet you go on… keto, juicing, Intermittent fasting… whatever… you can eat grass all day if you want… the ONLY reason you will ever lose body fat and achieve that jaw dropping body transformation is because they all create/you are in a calorie deficit. So, save your penny’s, don’t starve yourself, work out your calorie requirement, track your food… and then importantly… alter your intake as your body changes! A 65kg you doesn’t require the same amount of energy to stay alive each day as the 75kg you did!.. because there’s just not as much of you to energise! Your intake MUST change in a linear fashion with your body mass! I recommend that for every 3kg dropped, drop 100-150kcal.
Now if you are after gradual development of body composition and performance (gradually reduce body fat, improve muscle mass, develop strength). You are going to want to find out your body’s target calorie intake, then hit it consistently. If your weight greatly increases or decreases, you WEREN’T consuming at maintenance! So again you need to adjust accordingly. If the weight increase or decrease is minor, this is absolutely fine! Weight fluctuations happen day in day out and aren’t always accurate barometer of progress/regression.
And if you are after a gradual increase in muscle tissue (you will unfortunately also put on a little fat), then you need to be in a consistent caloric surplus. I recommend 150-300kcal per day. This figure is a little more conservative than the fat loss target as it is very easy to spill over when in a surplus! The target is to put on muscle tissue… NOT excessive amounts of fat!
Ultimately, remember that weight is NOT necessarily a barometer of progress! Fluctuations in weight happen on a daily basis and are affected by MANY different environmental factors which we may not necessarily be able to control. Using our weight as a marker on when to adjust our nutrition is just the simplest and most straightforward measure that the general population all has access to.
Wrapping nutrition up… tracking is key… you aren’t going to know your total calorie intake if you haven’t tracked each meal are you? Myfitnesspal is an excellent tool, just beware of their calorie requirement calculation tool… it is often WAYYYYYYYY off of what you need!
And remember, a mistake that the average January gym joiner makes which will leave you at square one just like in the story at the top of this email… as your movement increases, your appetite will also! So this where it’s important to fill your days food intake up with foods that are going to fill you up (plenty of protein and veggies)… and again TRACK! Once you hit that target each day, you MUST cut off! It all comes down to how bad do you want it?
2 - Movement/Training
Move EVERY single day!
I don’t mean every day go and hammer a gym session, but go above what you were doing before! Even if it’s for 15 minutes! I mean walk x amount of steps, stretch, yoga, swim, cycle, walk the dog, take the kids out to the park, you get the picture… and here’s why.
Immediately look to Increase your NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). This is the energy (calories) we expend going about our day to day movement/tasks that wouldn’t be considered structured “exercise”. So going and doing a class at the gym would be categorised as energy (calories) expended through EAT (Exercise Activity Thermogenesis).
For the average PT training session which I would put my clients through, I guesstimate that they expend 3-500 kcal per session. Now this is purely about energy expended DURING this one hour and NOT energy burned through EPOC (another topic, for another day).
Body composition changes are all about energy in vs out.
I NEVER recommend anyone to put themselves through resistance training sessions more than 5 x per week (1500-2500kcal per week of energy expended).
Okay, so as a rough figure, the average person will expend 500kcal for every 10000 steps walked. THIS would be considered NEAT.
Hit 10000 steps per day for every day of the week and you get 3500kcal!
And this is just steps alone, before you begin to focus on generally moving more… i.e. standing at the desk at work instead of sitting, walking the stairs instead of taking the escalator.
Notice how this number is actually greater than the training number???? 🤯
So arguably, increasing your NEAT should be your very first priority before you focus on strength training when on your body transformation journey. Increasing your daily average by 2000 steps is very easily achieved and will contribute to helping you expend more calories!
Train with some resistance AT LEAST 3 days per week! It doesn’t matter if you are 16 or 76… we can ALL benefit from structured resistance training!
It seems simple and very profound, but I hear a well known coach say this regularly and it struck a chord with me the first time I heard him say it…
“Strength is NEVER a weakness”
Think about it, when have you ever heard any one say “I’m too strong”. NEVER!
From a young aspiring athlete looking to increase their athletic ability, to the retired pensioner who struggles to get out of a chair at the first attempt… both demographics, along with EVERY single person in-between can benefit from strength training!
And no I don’t mean jumping in to a HIIT class. That’s not strength training!
Learn how to use the Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Barbells and all of the other epic pieces of kit we have at our disposal in gyms. Learn how to contract muscles. Really learn how to move and function optimally. Your future self along with your current body will bloody well thank you for it! 💪🏻
Strength training should be used as a tool to improve the way our body looks from the standpoint of the structure of our muscles, whilst improving the quality of our life from our ability to move more efficiently! A stronger body is a better functioning body!
3 - Sleep and Stress Reduction
It’s a fairly well known fact that we can all benefit from a better quality of sleep! It’s not always about the amount of time that we sleep for! That’s the mistake people often make! I’d much rather have a high quality 7 hours in which I smoothly run through all 5 phases of a sleep cycle than get in a shoddy 8.5 hours! And there are a few ways to which you can impact and improve on this right from the get go:
- Set an alarm for you to wake to each day at the same time every day! And SWITCH OFF THE SNOOZE BUTTON! This is huge! Start the day off with a massive win by getting out of bed first time every time! This leads in to point number two…
- Switch Airplane mode ON so that you will not be disturbed at all when sleeping! Something as simple as your phone lighting up to a new message will disturb your sleep, even if it is on silent!
- Get that phone on the other side of the room! If you are used to rolling over and flicking the “snooze” button, well there’s one way to ensure this doesn’t happen, over the other side of the room it goes!
- Set yourself a “get to bed alarm”. How are you going to ensure a good nights sleep if your getting to bed time each week looks like this: 00:15, 10:30, 11:45, 10, 10:45, 00:30, 01:30. Where’s the consistency? You can’t expect to improve your quality of sleep and therefore reduce stress levels if you’re going to bed at scattered times each night.
- No caffeine up to 8 hours before bed! You are NOT a superhero! Just because you can drink a coffee and fall asleep right away doesn’t mean that the caffeine isn’t seriously messing with your sleep cycles!
- Same goes with alcohol - you may be out cold quickly, but your sleep cycles are all over the place.
- Consistent room temperature - no sweating, no shivering!
- Remove all close up screens from your life for up to an hour before bed. Let your brain wind down! Scrolling through facebook for the 18th time today isn’t going to change your life all that much.
When looking to reduce stress, these are a few things I work with clients right away on.
Number 1, Develop a routine. Not just daily, but weekly as well. Our body’s and minds love routine and really thrive on consistency of this routine, so be disciplined with this. Exercise a certain amount of times each week, read a certain amount of pages which provide you with fulfilment, spend x amount of quality time completely uninterrupted with family, get to bed at a certain time, wake at a certain time, once per week go and do something sets your soul on fire (golf 😉), eat the same amount of food each day. All can contribute to reducing stress!
Number 2, utilise the airplane mode on your phone! Most of the things that cause us high levels of stress in the 21st century come via our mobiles. And most of it is trivial stuff that isn’t urgent to address immediately! So, get that airplane mode switched on at night and don’t switch it back on until you are ready to deal with the stresses of d ay to day life. This is often once you are sat at your desk in the morning… or if you are a londoner, it’s generally on the platform at your local tube station each morning ready to hurl yourself in to the smallest space in the corner of your tube carriage that any other sane person wouldn’t contemplate attempting! You’ll very soon realise that the world hasn’t set on fire, the boss actually isn’t chasing you down as the deadline wasn’t until midday anyway and no one actually noticed you were offline… No one but you! You, who will feel immediately more relaxed, satisfied and at peace!
Number 3, this is huge and I really noticed the difference to my stress levels, my mental focus and my overall happiness once I started consistently meditating every day. Even as little as 10 uninterrupted focused minutes immediately after waking I found changed my life DRAMATICALLY! and I mean it! It really did change my life! As crazy as it sounds, ten minutes can make a huge difference!
Well there it is, there’s just a few things to get you started 💪🏻 I know it may seem daunting, but if you start implementing these and make a promise to yourself to gradually get better and better at each of these; making a conscious effort day in-day out, I can guarantee you that you will be living a MUCH healthier, stronger, happier, more stress free, loving, content and impactful life than where you are right now 💥
And if you want a FULL coaching manual which will detail exactly how you can achieve ALL of these, and I mean absolutely nail ALL of them, without ANY of the guesswork then don’t waste any time and pick up one of our eBooks… right now... 👉 CLICK HERE 👈