1. Get expert advice
If your car broke down you would go to a mechanic to get it fixed, and if you were ill you would go to see a doctor to get a diagnosis; so why do people insist on getting their health and fitness advice out of showbiz magazines or attempting it alone? I would recommend anyone attempting to make real changes in their lifestyle and to their body to go to see a Health & Fitness professional for at-least a consultation and a programme session. A good fitness professional will be able to plan an exercise programme that is suitable for your specific exercise goals and focus your training on the areas that need most work. Most importantly they will make the sessions interesting and reduce your chances of injury.
2. Failing to plan is planning to fail
Making major changes to your lifestyle and your body takes time and effort. Where many fall at the first hurdle is lack of planning; they don’t know what they want to eat or shop when they are hungry, and go to the gym without a plan and walk around aimlessly attempting to exercise. To greatly improve chances of success it is absolutely vital that a person; 1) Has a personalised exercise program to follow, 2) Keeps a food diary, 3) Plans their meals each week and shops appropriately.
3. Train smart
Exercising for hours on end is not necessary if your programme is efficient and targets the right areas. Smart, effective exercise plans should be based around compound primal pattern movements that combine multiple muscle groups simultaneously. These are; squats, lunges, dead-lifts, pushing, pulling and twisting. These movements not only strengthen the body and build muscle (essential for an athletic toned look), they also raise the heart rate sufficiently and can burn many more calories per session than an average cardiovascular session. A training programme that is efficient will fit into 40-60 minute gym sessions.
4. Eat well, move more
Nutrition is one of the major keys to success. An effective meal plan is not one that is just aimed at short term weight loss; it is also not just a diet based around protein shakes and supplements. It is a meal plan that caters for the body’s optimum nutritional needs by providing the correct balance of carbohydrate (40-50%), protein (30%), fats (20-30%), vitamins and minerals. Eating a balanced diet consisting of breakfast, lunch, dinner and a couple of nutritious snacks, alongside plenty of fluids and a generally active lifestyle will give you not just a healthy body but a healthy mind. I would recommend that an individual should be participating in structured exercise sessions 3-4 times per week and on top of that (especially those in desk jobs) getting out for a decent walk (40 minutes +) a couple of times per week.
5. Consistency is the key to success
If you want a great looking healthy body then you need to commit to a healthier lifestyle long term. Exercising 3 times a week and taking an 80:20 approach to your eating (be good 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time) long term will not only get you a great body but will also mean you will keep it. One of the major failings of many in their quest for the body beautiful is they only want it before they go on holiday or after Christmas, which usually means they only try to exercise hard and eat well for 2-3 months a year. In fact this will be detrimental to your health and most likely result in extra weight gain every time you stop.
6. Sleep isn’t for wimps
Sleep is vital for a healthy body and a healthy mind. A person who regularly gets their full quota of sleep (I will refrain from giving a number as we all know our own bodies) will start the day with more energy, therefore will not need caffeine and sugar to get through the day. A person who is well rested will more likely have the energy and motivation to exercise frequently and eat well and more importantly their bodies are able to recover properly from the resistance training they will be doing to build their perfect body.
7. Fit people eat fat
For 15 years the diet industry has plugged the message that people should avoid eating fat to keep healthy. The fact the UK is now officially the most obese nation in Europe shows how good this advice is. The truth is that Fat is an essential macro nutrient and is required for the body to function efficiently. Therefore my advice is forget what your generic slimming club tells you, and make sure you are adding essential sources of fat into your diet using olive oil, nuts, coconut oil, avocado, eggs, meats (not just lean cuts) and fish. In fact a diet needs 20-30% of its content to be made up of good fats so the body can have hormonal balance.
8. Men don’t forget remedial work
If you walk into most gyms you can guarantee that if you walk into the weights section you will see guys bench pressing, bicep curling, tricep extending and doing multiple sit-ups.... even the guys by the squat rack, who actually know their way around a gym will rarely be spotted doing flexibility work or actually doing effective core work. So my advice is to never forget remedial work; joining a Pilates or a Yoga class and spending a few hours a week will be an investment in your health. These classes will improve mobility, strengthen your core, improve your posture and reduce chances of injury.
9. Ladies you do need to lift weights
Resistance training is essential for gaining a fit, strong and lean body. This look will not be achieved by plodding on a treadmill for hours on end or doing hundreds of aerobic classes, NO it will be achieved by working the major muscle groups in the body to failure and building muscle mass (alongside some cardiovascular exercise). Don’t panic ladies, you WILL NOT end up looking like a body builder, if growing muscles was as easy as that then every man on the planet would be walking round like Arnold Schwarzenegger. But to get a butt like J-Lo and a body like Angelina then you need to add resistance exercises at least 3 times a week to your programme.
10. Don’t be scared to try something new
Boredom and routine are two major hurdles to overcome in this quest for a great body; our bodies can adapt to routine extremely quickly so it is essential to constantly change the order and intensity of exercises to prevent a plateau in your results. Boredom is also a factor that can stop someone from keeping to an exercise program, so my advice is make sure you have fun whilst exercising; if you are fed up of working out in the gym try something new like an outdoor Boot-camp or attempting a sport or activity you have never tried. Just doing this every few months can make the gym more enjoyable and more effective once you return.
Any questions about planning an effective fitness and (or) diet plan, contact James at the studio email@example.com.