Getting a nice lean physique is no easy trick nowadays, everything in life seems to be working against you. We have busy schedules, distractions and stressors around every corner, and are surrounded by an abundance of food, most of it of poor quality. Changing your body composition means you will need to make changes, here are a few of my top tips to will help you succeed.
1. Start resistance training. You should always prioritize resistance training over cardio for body composition goals. Resistance training will have a much greater impact on your overall metabolism and the hormones that promote fat loss and with less time invested. It also helps to improve mobility and increase strength, making everything else in life easier and more enjoyable.
Takeaway: Start resistance training at least 2-3 days per week.
2. Be consistent. Body composition is a long game. Everyone seems to be looking for that quick fix that will get them immediate long lasting results, unfortunately, it doesn't exist. Be consistent, get your workouts in, stick to the plan, and only make small changes when necessary. If you are constantly making drastic changes to your program, you won't know what is or isn't getting you results.
Takeaway: Create the plan, follow the plan.
3. Drink more water. Something so simple that can have such a large impact. Dehydration can leave you feeling sluggish and weak, mentally fatigued, and can affect every system in the body slowing fat loss. This is probably the first thing I would start with regarding anything diet related. Fill a jug with a day's worth of water and try to finish it by the end of the day, or put some rubber bands around your wrist and slide it from your wrist to your water bottle every time you finish it until you've hit your daily goal.
Takeaway: Drink 60-70% of your body weight in ounces daily. Ex. 200 lbs x .6 = 120 oz.
4. Eat a whole foods diet. This one is pretty simple, don't eat processed foods. Not only is the nutritional value poor, but they are often loaded with toxins that make it very difficult to lose body fat. The next time you go to the grocery store, shop along the outside (produce, meat, dairy, etc.) and stay away from the aisles. Stick with foods that don't come with nutrition labels and an ingredients list a mile long.
Takeaway: Limit processed foods.
5. Learn to manage stress. Stress can completely halt your fat loss efforts, and nowadays we are constantly bombarded by various stressors. Doing simple things such as eating healthier, taking fewer stimulants (coffee and energy drinks), and turning electronics off at night can all help to decrease your stress load. If you can't lower your level of stress, you need to find ways to manage it. This may be include massage, relaxing music, yoga, meditation, a warm bath, walking, and supplements that help to dampen the stress response.
Takeaway: Be more aware of your stress levels, and set time aside for relaxation.
6. Fill in nutritional deficiencies. Our quality of food nowadays is pathetic, even the healthiest of diets will leave you deficient in vitamins and minerals that your body needs to run optimally. The key word here is optimal, getting the RDA means that you're getting enough to prevent basic diseases and just simply survive. Being deficient in certain vitamins or minerals may also decrease insulin sensitivity, increase stress on the body, slow down detoxification processes, and lead to hormone imbalances, all affecting your fat loss efforts.
Takeaway: Start a quality multivitamin and fish oil.
7. Get more sleep. You only make progress when you recover, and if you don't sleep, you don't recover. I like my clients to track their sleep with some sort of phone app or device such as a Fitbit. To improve sleep quality turn your bedroom into what Charles Poliquin refers to as "the Batcave", absolutely no light, you shouldn't be able to see your hand in front of your face. Be sure to get at least 7-9 hours of restful uninterrupted sleep each night.
Takeaway: Sleep 7-9 hours a night in the Batcave.
8. Take progress photos. Accountability and motivation are always an issue in any fitness program, you can help fix these with progress photos. Results happen slowly and you won't notice them looking in the mirror every day, use photos to track your progress. I often see visual changes in my clients in as little as 2 weeks, and when they see the pictures, it always motivates them to work even harder..
Takeaway: Take photos every Monday.
9. Hire a coach. I'm sure you saw this coming, but if you truly want to be in-shape and lean, hire someone who know what they're doing. I don't know a single wealthy person who doesn't have a financial manager or a pro athlete without a coach, even the president has advisers. Get someone to help motivate you and take the stress of writing and sticking to a plan away, this way all you have to do is execute.
Takeaway: Find an experienced coach.
Remember, changing you body composition takes time and that you're adopting a new lifestyle if you want these changes to last. It won't be easy and your going to hit a few speed bumps, but if you apply the tips above, success will come to you. Now start implementing these tactics into your fat loss program today for long lasting results!