With fitness, there are no shortcuts – but there are an absolute right and wrong way to achieve the goals you seek for Summer.
With summer just around the corner, this time of year is famous for people wanting to set goals for a new fitness or diet regime.
Working one-on-one with people doing nutrition and exercise coaching for the last ten years has taught me a lot about people’s behaviour around their health, and I believe I have made some key observations as to where people seem to go wrong.
Paramount to a successful program is a strong mindset and being mentally tough. This starts with being ruthlessly honest with yourself. Most people seem to get caught up in the specifics of exactly how they intend to lose weight or get healthy, without spending time on what is really important.
Paleo, cleanses, 5:2 diet, fasting, juice detoxes – you have likely heard of them all, right? The list goes on, and the same with exercise programming. Whilst some of these methods have very bold claims about how fast or effective their results will be, truth is, the best plan is the one that works for you as an individual.
Your own success formula.
So before choosing a strategy for your journey let’s begin by discussing the most important element to success: your mindset. This simply refers to who you have to be. The people that get results have common traits, a positive mindset and are always mentally tough.
Whenever I consult with a prospective client looking to transform their body and health I go into great detail about the changes that will be required. It’s important that people understand what is expected of them. Does the feeling of change excite or put fear into you?
Whether the goal is a scary weight loss or setting a huge fitness challenge, the psychological approach requires the same commitment to change.
Change is very often the one thing that people fear so much. It’s also a massive reason why so many people fail to get a result. You have to understand that the person who you are today is not the same person you will be at the end of your transformation journey. You will change as a person, you will have more knowledge and awareness of your health, you will develop confidence and you will likely develop a new set of values and beliefs.
By the end of the transformation process, you will likely have a new circle of influence by consciously surrounding yourself with a new set of friends, those who share your passion for healthy living. Only when you accept that change is a part of the process will you be in a position to achieve your health and fitness goals.
Average results come from having an average mindset, excellence only comes from applying yourself in a way most people won’t. Develop this special mindset, find someone who has it and learn from them – success leaves clues.
So many are held back because they are afraid of breaking away from the norm. They continue to sit in their little bubbles and pretend things will be okay whilst attempting crazy diet plans and the latest fad workout routines without an actual commitment to change.
Do you want to stay the same? Or are you ready to take your life to the next level and feel good about yourself?
There isn’t one single nutrition or training program that can help install the passion required to achieve the results you’re after. That has to come from you. There are plenty of examples of average transformations and there are exceptional transformations. The mindset you start out with will determine which result you end up with. You have to ask yourself: “How bad do I want this?”.
From experience, the clients who completely submerge themselves in the journey are the ones who get the best results. They decide to block out everything else around them and set their health and fitness as the number one priority in their lives.
For anyone thinking of starting a body transformation, make sure you’re ready from day one. Give everything of yourself and apply all the tools you receive by being a client with vision. Your results will soon come to you.
Being in the right mindset is absolutely critical before you can begin making nutritional changes in your transformation process. The process is never just a few meal plans and a quick mark up of a training program and seeing how you go. Everything in your daily living habits has to be factored in if you want to achieve the highest quality results.
When it comes to nutrition it’s always very confusing with all the media attention about which diet strategy is the best approach for fat loss or muscle gain. How do you know which one will work best for you?
One of the best questions you must ask yourself is, has this program you are considering produced results time and time again with various people of different ages and body types? Always seek social proof that it actually works; evidence of results; pictures and testimonials.
To achieve outstanding results your nutrition program needs to be very specific to you personally. General guidelines will only ever produce general results. My advice here is to definitely hire a coach, a proven professional that has been able to replicate results with a wide range of people. This will involve a specific set of macro nutrient targets which are set for you to achieve your specific result desired.
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I always coach clients at the start of their programs to get into the habit of weighing their foods to help understand exactly what they are eating, and how much of it. Many people have a very poor understanding about food and quantities, so it is important to give very clear instructions all the way throughout a body transformation. Your result is typically 70% nutrition.
It’s not possible to give all the nutrition information required for a full transformation program in one article, so I have put together my best transformation tips to share with you:
- Lower carb intake on non-training days
Simply put, if you are not planning on exercising on any particular day, ensure your nutrition program reflects that by choosing a lower carb intake (carbs less than 20g for the day). On this day your only intake of carbs should come from vegetables. You are replacing lost calories from carbohydrates with extra energy from healthy fats (avocado, nuts, fish oils, coconut oil, eggs etc). Protein intake remains the same as a training day. This heavily promotes the body’s ability to utilise fat stores for energy (ketosis).
- Eat big servings of vegetables daily
Spinach, capsicum, zucchini, asparagus, broccolini, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, eggplant, rocket, kale, the list goes on. Always observe your chosen meal and note: “do I have two to three serves of vegetables on my plate?” Green vegetables have low carb content and are packed with anti-oxidant nutrients so they are a great way to satisfy hunger. By having a high vegetable intake, you are far less likely to want to binge on processed high calorie low nutrient dense foods.
- Always ensure protein intake is optimal
Some days you have low carb days and higher fat days (ketogenic). You may also have days with slightly higher carbs to recover from big workouts, but it is really important that you remain constant with your protein intake. Do not allow yourself to under-eat protein as you massively reduce the effectiveness of your metabolism and are more likely to over eat carbs if protein intake is low.
- Drink fluids frequently for good hydration
Optimal fluid intake is so important for fat loss, yet it is the one thing most people I work with do not do well enough. The vast majority of the population require between two to three litres of water daily. Good hydration is required to help the body burn fat for energy and also help detoxify the body by flushing out the toxins found in the stored fat cells. Try setting yourself a reminder every two hours for a few days to drink a glass of water, or as long as it takes to create the habit of drinking fluids consistently throughout the day.
When it comes to the training part of achieving your own transformation, this is the area that so many people underestimate. Too many people are of the mindset that simply lifting weights with your trainer or turning up once a week for your cardio session will get you a great result. Unfortunately, they’re very much mistaken if they think that is all there is to it.
You have to be willing to make training a priority in your life. Last week or last month, Saturday or Sunday mornings may have been the time to catch up with friends over a coffee. On your body transformation journey you have to plan your week so that you are meeting your exercise targets. This may result in either a Saturday or Sunday morning being a weights session or a run depending on which stage of your transformation you are at.
This will only happen when you commit to exercise being a priority in your life – which comes back to your mindset.
Many people want the result but not enough people embrace hard work, and serious effort. The second point is that it’s simply not enough to just turn up to your sessions without the mentality that you are going to apply yourself 100% to the program – giving it your best effort in every session you do. The intensity of the sessions will vary depending on your fitness levels and how far along your journey you are, but the effort should always be your best.
Hiring a coach can help design the plan for you and can inspire you, but the motivation must come from within. Ask yourself, “Why I am doing this? How important is it to me that I reach my body transformation goal?”. If you depend 100% on your trainer for motivation you automatically have a reduced chance of getting a great result.
Is this something you can learn? Yes, it is, and I think that the only way you’ll ever learn it is if you’re in the environment of people who really do set exercise as a priority in their life. You will achieve a lot from having someone else take interest in your transformation and share your challenges with. Who is your workout buddy?
In my opinion, average results come from having an average mindset, excellence only comes from applying yourself in a way that most people won’t. So in order to develop this special mindset, find someone who has it and learn from them. Who in your circle of friends inspires you? Which of the people you know have achieved outstanding results? Find these people and ask them how they did it – success leaves clues. Take yourself away from the average surroundings that you find yourself in right now. Take yourself out of your comfort zone, because this is the only place where you will learn.
You have to ask yourself: “How bad do I want this?”. Clients who completely submerge themselves in the journey are the ones who get the best results. They block out everything else and set health and fitness as the number one priority in their lives.
The third part in the training process is to analyse how your body changes along the way. Take regular photos of yourself from the front, side and back, and analyse the progress you are making. This is a great way to encourage positive reenforcement when you feel like it’s too hard.
The numbers on the scales are not always the best indication of how your body is changing. As you get closer to your ideal weight, girth measurements (chest waist and hips) are perhaps a better way to observe your progress as well as the photos being taken along the way.
Set weekly goals that are achievable and make little steps week to week that take you closer to your desired outcome. Over time as your fitness improves you can incrementally increase the frequency and intensity of the training.
Always keep the end in mind and use this as your motivation to keep training – especially during the mornings when you’re feeling flat.
Need more help with goal setting?
Our partners at Lifebroker looked at goal setting and provided some tips and tricks to help you set and meet your goals successfully in 2016 and beyond. Whether you want to save more money, become a little healthier or maybe even learn a new language, Lifebroker’s tips will help you keep on the right track all year long.
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions people make is to quit smoking cigarettes. This is a fantastic resolution to make that will greatly benefit your health and well-being if you can keep your efforts on track.
QUIT is the national resource that helps people on their journey towards living a cigarette smoke-free life.
In addition to QUIT, there are a number of other resources out there to help you beat cigarettes. Head to I Can Quit and QuitNow for more support, resources and tips to help you overcome tobacco once and for all.
If you’re on a health kick in 2016, there are a number of free resources out there to help you stay on track.
Shape Up Australia is one such resource. An initiative of the Australian Government, Shape Up is an online resource providing you with a one-stop hub for all things health and exercise.
There’s a plethora of information available on the Shape Up website, including plenty of tips, recipes and exercise ideas available to help you keep your health goals on track throughout 2015.
If you like to keep your motivation hi-tech, there’s no shortage of apps that can help keep you on top of your fitness goals. Check out FitBit (you don’t need a physical tracker to use their free app) and Fitnet.
Developed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), MoneySmart is a resource to help Australians keep better track of their spending habits and also get a better understanding of their finances.
TrackMySpend is a helpful app developed as part of the MoneySmart campaign that will help you track your expenses and budget more effectively for those financial goals you are trying to meet.
Another popular money saving app is Pocketbook, which is free on Android and Apple. It syncs up with your bank accounts allowing you to set yourself budget goals. You will receive a notification when you’ve overspent, and even if you have missed a bill.
Apps to help track your goals
There are apps that can help you with nearly anything these days, including goal tracking. Coach.me (formerly known as Lift) is an app that helps you enter and track goals all in one easy place. Available free on the iTunes app store, Coach.me will help you set fitness, financial and personal development goals and allow you to monitor your progress all in one easy place.
Developing habits is an important part of achieving goals, and the Way of Life app is a fun and simple way to help you make good choices, which will help you establish habits.
With fitness, there are no shortcuts, but there is an absolute right and wrong way to achieve the goals you seek for summer.
Other great goal tracking apps include Asana and Nozbe, both of which have powerful desktop software to support the phone apps.
If you’re looking for more inspiration on how to keep your goals on track in 2016, why not take a look at “Setting yourself up for success in 2016 and beyond”.
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