HOW TO GET YOUR DREAM BODY
Think those Victoria Secret girls are just born with great abs? Well it’s time to reconsider your point of view. We both know that you don’t need a magic pill, you just need to stick with the stuff that works, with consistency. That’s it. No fancy-pants needed. The real magic to ensuring you actually end up getting the body you’ve always wanted doesn’t require anything more than following some of these (surprisingly simple) tips:
BE IN CALORIE DEFICIT
Calories are the most important thing when it comes to weight loss and weight gain, as to lose fat and get leaner, you must consume fewer calories than you burn. It’s a scientific fact. There’s no way around this. It doesn’t matter how clean you eat, how much training you do, or what foods you cut out – a calorie deficit is essential for getting a leaner body. Now, this is not to say that healthy eating isn’t important, how you feel and function will be determined by the quality of your foods, but I’m sorry to burst your gluten-free bubble, if you overdo it on the avo, there’s a good chance you’ll start to resemble one.
DON'T CUT CALORIES TOO FAR
People hear “cut calories” and think that this means slashing them right back and eating nothing but grilled chicken breast and lettuce every single day. Nope. There’s a huge difference between cutting calories sensibly (i.e. by 10-20%) and seeing how much suffering your mind and body can take by slashing them to near nothing. All you need to know when it comes to cutting calories is that just because cutting “some” is good, doesn’t mean “more” must be better! Your body is so much smarter than you and so if it senses you’re being an idiot, it will simply decrease your energy levels, increase your appetite and make you feel like you’re dying. Don’t be silly, slow and steady wins.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Water is awesome for keeping you feeling full and killing cravings. It’s not just essential for life – it’s essential for fat loss too. Try for a minimum of 3% of your bodyweight in kilos of water per day. (eg. 50 kg person x 0.03 = 1.5 litres)
GET ADEQUATE SLEEP
If you’re tired, there’s no way in hell you’ll be able to train properly and burn maximum calories every session. Not only that but when you’re fatigued you’re more prone to hunger and cravings. Don’t underestimate sleep. Hitting the sheets 30 minutes earlier at night could just save you from hitting the cookie jar the next day.
People’s first port of call when it comes to training for fat loss tends to be cardio, but weights are where it’s at. If you’re thinking – “but I’ll get big and bulky” – fear not. You can only really build muscle in a calorie surplus (eating more calories than you’re burning) so if you’re sticking with point number 1, there’s no way this will happen. What lifting weights will do however, is help shape your physique, so you don’t end up dropping important muscle and looking washed out.
SHORTEN YOUR REST PERIODS
You don’t burn calories while you rest, well, actually you do – but not as nearly as many so try to cut your downtime between sets, bro. Okay, you do need some rest to recoup your strength and energy, but too much is counterproductive. Even if you’re lifting heavy and absolutely gassed, there’s no reason why you can’t do something light between sets to keep you moving, keep your heart rate up = keeps the calorie burn high. This means chilling out with the social media at the gym! Guess what, you can still get results without checking-in and checking yourself out.
WATCH THE SNACKS
Snacks are no bad thing, but they do add up quickly. In fact, I’d say most guys and girls could do with dropping the snacks as the calories from things like nuts and seeds, protein bars, fruit, and crackers can make a big dent in your daily calorie quota, and can often take you from a deficit into a surplus. So if you’re someone who feels the need to eat 3 cups of nuts at 2 pm every day, maybe it’s time you just leave them at home and eat a more filling lunch.
HIIT IT PROPERLY
90% of people who say they do HIIT are kidding themselves. HIIT is “High-Intensity Interval Training” and the key to it is in the “High Intensity”. A proper HIIT session should leave you gasping for air, with shaking legs, and your heart feeling like it’s about to smash through your chest and crawl to safety. A simple rule is that if you can do an hour straight of HIIT, talk to your friends, or focus on curating a inspirations quote to match your bathroom selfie, you’re ain’t doing HIIT right. Cut the time down, up the intensity and reap the rewards.
DON'T CUT CURBS, EARN THEM
Low-carb diets kind of work, but they’re not necessary and they’re not sustainable for the average Joe or Jane. “Carb” isn’t a dirty word and eating them won’t stop your fat loss, but your carb intake should be relative to your activity level. The more you train, the more carbs you can eat and lose fat. Bottom line: You can be a couch potato, or you can eat potatoes – it’s your call.
None of this stuff matters if you’re not consistent. You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but you do need to be consistent enough to make a change. After all, one naughty meal or missed training session won’t make you a failure, but 6 months of this may make you a fatty.
FOLLOW THE 80/20 RULE
Bodyweight is one way you can measure your progress, but measurements are even better. Scale weight can change depending on your food intake the day before, how much water and salt you’ve consumed, when you last trained and (for women) time of the month. Measurements are much more accurate.
THROW OUT THE SCALES
Do you want to be lighter or do you want to look better? If you currently hate the way you look, will losing 15 kilos make you happier if you look the same? I’d say probably not. As your body changes and you lose fat, your weight probably will come down, but judging yourself by a number on a scale is stupid and you don’t want your happiness to be defined by your weight.
Stress is a major saboteur in body transformations. If your stress hormones are jacked up, your body will be all out of whack, you’ll be hungrier, won’t train as hard, won’t recover as well and your progress will drastically slow until it comes to a sickening stop. Take some downtime by making sure you do things you enjoy every single day and don’t spend all your time thinking about diet and exercise. Life is so much more than that stuff.
DEVELOP HEALTHY HABITS
Healthy habits are boring, right? Maybe, but boring works. Just like point 10, you’ll never get the body you crave if training and diet don’t become habitual, so work towards making this into a lifestyle rather than yet another “diet” that you do for 8 weeks.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Your body is a pretty good indicator of how you’re doing. Feeling tired? Go to bed earlier. Stressed? Get some chill out time. Sore joints? Take a rest day. Sometimes your body will try and trick you, and that’s when you need to tell it to shut up. You might think you’re hungry when you’re actually just craving sweets and sugars, and you might believe you’re in pain from yesterday’s workout when in actual fact it’s just a bit of muscle soreness you need to work through. So do listen to your body, but don’t use every single warning sign as an excuse to pussy out of your plan.
LOVE FATS BUT BE CAREFUL
Fat doesn’t make you fat, but it is calorie-dense (at 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram in protein and carbs.) Healthy fats like peanut butter, nuts, salmon, whole eggs and olive oil are an essential part of your diet, but you should be weighing out serving sizes or measuring oils with a tablespoon to make 100% certain you don’t overshoot and accidentally eat 600 calories worth of almonds in one go.
FIND YOUR SOLUTION
THIS is what it all comes down to. You need to discover what you can stick with best, and what tips and tactics get you results in a way that you’re happy with. It’s no good picking that fancy, intricate training program, or the most rigid diet, only to find that you simply can’t stick to them. 20 tips may seem like a lot, but set yourself the goal of adding just 5 of them to your daily routine starting now, you’ll be amazed how quickly you start seeing results and how easy (and even fun) getting your dream body can be. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will your dream body – it all just takes time and consistency.