Now before we get started, I assume there is a reason as to why you are reading this article. You
may have a special date coming up, maybe you just started your fitness journey or maybe you’re like me, its my job to stay in shape!
When it comes to staying in good shape, most of us don’t have the time of day to drastically change our entire life. However, I do believe that if there is a will, there’s a way.
Here are my habits that I stick to when it comes to staying lean throughout the entire year:
1. Consistency is key
No matter what season it is, do not give up just because summer is over! I am a big believer in understanding that the most maintainable results actually show over the long term — not in a 12 week body challenge. Doing this one day at a time will help you manage how your results will come.
Focus on small goals to begin with, at least exercising 1-3 times per week and once that becomes an automatic habit — start to grow on increasing the frequency, intensity or volume of your training.
At the beginning of each week, I plan out what days I will be training & what food I will be consuming. It is amazing how these little habits actually helped me keep on track.
2. Leave behind the excuses
Honestly, someone busier than you is working out right now. Do you know how many excuses I have heard as to why someone can’t go to the gym or why they have missed a personal training session? I hear it a lot, and I believe that if you are continuously making excuses then you aren’t going to be able to achieve what you really want to. If you find you are making excuses but you want to stick to your fitness goals & stay healthy — acknowledge as to why you don’t want to do the actions necessary that will help you. Are you sick? Are you being lazy? Are you having a bad day? Is it just not a priority right now? You will know if you’re making an excuse vs. when you genuinely have a barrier right in front of you.
3. Make your health a priority
If your health wasn’t a priority, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. So I am guessing it is or you are looking to make it a priority. Aim to create a new habit which is positive and isn’t just a result. When you actually implement a healthy lifestyle, you feel good. Small changes can make a big difference and understand that it is okay to slip up, just step right back on track as soon as you can.
4. Eat properly around your training schedule
What an individual eats before and after exercises can have a massive impact on how one feels throughout training, how their session goes and ultimately their results. Approximately 3 hours beforehand, you will want to eat something that will give you energy, increases performance and stimulates the release of insulin. Consuming a well balanced meal including carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of fat will allow you to reach your nutrition needs and will help your progress. After your workout, post-workout protein consumption is vital for muscle tissue growth and repair.
Many of us (including me for a very long time) understood how important having protein after exercise was, however I didn’t see having carbohydrates important. Replenishing glycogen is a priority for your body after training, therefore consuming carbohydrates after exercise will help increase the speed of recovery and will give you a top up of energy. Consuming a meal lower in fat’s will help with a faster digestion.
5. Lift some weights
Before you freak out and think I don’t want to get bulky or big, I just want to ‘tone’ — there is no such thing as toning. A muscle either gets bigger or smaller. Hypertrophy (grows) or atrophy (shrinks) is the best way of saying this. When it comes to reducing body fat, lifting weights can result in many changes with your body such as changes in your metabolic rate, your physical body shape and your mental health too.
6. Stay Accountable
Sticking to your fitness goals is much easier said than done. Having someone there to make sure you stay on track is something I definitely find helps so much. Maybe you and your best friend exercise together every Monday & Thursday afternoon, or you source a personal trainer that pushes you to where you need to be or you share your goals on social media. With a sense of accountability to make sure you don’t let yourself or others down, your fitness goals are more likely to be achieved.
7. Avoid alcohol consumption
Going out for drinks is something that is enjoyed by many individuals worldwide. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a couple of drinks here and there, but if your looking to stay lean there is some things you should know. Alcohol consumption can be a contributing factor to why you may not be seeing results, especially if it is not compensated for. Drinking alcohol interferes with how your body burns fat which is essential in order to stay in shape. Alcohol diverts dietary fat away from oxidation (utilising fat for energy use) and towards storage and inhibits lipolysis (breakdown of fats).
8. Eating more nutrient dense foods
Eating more whole foods is essential in order to maintain a healthy body. Ask any individual who has been successful with maintaining a good shape and they will always say nutrition is key. You want to maximise nutrient consumption while reasonably eating enough to ensure you aren’t in an energy surplus. By consuming nutrient dense foods, it will help you consume the vital vitamins and minerals for your body, promotes satiety and having balanced nutrient will maintain your
energy level for optimal performance when it comes to exercise.
9. Food swaps with healthy alternatives
Instead of turning your entire cupboard and fridge upside down and completely changing your eating habits, making small changes can help make a huge difference to your results. Choosing healthy alternatives is a lot easier than you may realise. Some food swap examples can include:
• Swapping whole milk for light milk
• Swapping white breads for wholegrain bread options
• Choosing oats or natural muesli instead of sugary cereals
• Choosing leaner cuts of meat
• Consuming tomato based sauces instead of cream/cheese sauces
10. Don’t eat just because you’re bored
We have all done this and we just keep going. Even I have done this, but too much eating without thinking about what you’re doing can seriously negatively impact your goals regarding your body shape. For some, eating is something you do when there is nothing better to utilise your time with.
If you find this is a problem for you, make a list of activities that you can turn to if you do find yourself In a situation like this. If you occupy your mind with something else, eating ridiculous amounts of food for no reason will be popped out of your mind in no time!
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By Guest Blogger Maddie Graham!