Your new self just ahead
Shape up and Showoff
- How many times have you looked at a picture of someone and thought, I’d love to look like him/her?
- How many years have you booked a holiday and told yourself, ‘this is the year I’m going to look my best on the beach?
- How many times have you actually done it?
Before we get into how to actually do it, let’s get a few things out of the way. That picture that you have, it’s not you! It’s probably photoshopped, they probably don’t have a ‘real’ job. Are they assisting their fat loss with anything supplemental? What is their genetic makeup, their age….. Are they happy?
Why not for once, instead of wanting to look like someone else, be determined to improve you! Self-negativity is often the key to failure. I’m not telling you to be happy with what you have, we should all strive to improve and it’s what drives us as a race. But don’t beat yourself up when you can’t reach that unrealistic goal that you set yourself. Life is a journey, not a sprint and journeys often take different paths at different times
So, how do I go about improving me?
You’ve taken the 1st step, you’ve joined the gym. That’s the easy part. Anyone can have a gym membership. It’s what you do with it that counts. All too often we unwittingly do the wrong stuff in the gym. We’ve read up on what the ‘experts’ in the media tell us we should be eating or about the new easy alternative to actually working hard to get results! It’s not easy, if it was, everyone would be in great shape and I wouldn’t have a job! But it is doable, it’s not rocket science and if you follow the main points in this evening’s seminar you will have the tools needed to embark on that journey and succeed.
Workouts – decide what it is exactly what you want to do. Most people don’t actually have a clear goal of what they want to do. Is it weight loss or fat loss? Do you know the difference between both? Which of the two will give you that beach body?
Programmes that work best in achieving a lean, toned body consist of full body, compound exercises with high rep, low set range and small rest intervals. In this kind of programme, we raise the heart rate, mixing upper and lower body exercises, super-setting them for maximum efficiency and minimum time consumption. You cannot pinpoint areas that you want to change and ignore the rest. Your body doesn’t work this way. Also, and lads are guilty of this, pounding away at your arms day in day out will only give you slightly better definition in those areas but it doesn’t create enough growth hormone or lactic acid to drop any considerable body fat. You need to train all areas to achieve an all over healthy, toned look.
Steady state cardio won’t get you the body you want as much as lifting weights won’t make you bulky. Long bouts on the treadmill or bike will improve your cardiovascular fitness but if you’re looking to drop fat and tighten up then you’re completely wasting your time and effort. In the same breath, ladies, we don’t bulk up from lifting. We have neither the genetics nor male hormone levels to do this. What we will achieve from lifting is a tight, athletic body with improved bone density and hormonal balance.
So you’ve got your balanced programme. Now, what do you do? The common mistake people make is getting a programme and do it until the seasons come and go. Even the best programme out there is useless if you do it for too long and especially if you don’t increase the weights that your lifting. Progressive overload is the key, constantly making it more difficult on the body, keeping the intensity levels up. Your body will also get used to doing the same thing over and over again so we recommend changing your programme every 4-6 weeks to challenge it. As you get stronger, your rep range should drop and your set range increase. This builds some serious lean muscle and the more lean mass you have, the easier it is for your body to burn fat!
Your programme should be effective but it also should be safe and easy to perform. We all know that squats are a fantastic exercise for tightening and strengthening the leg and butt muscles but there is no point in doing them if you can’t perform them correctly. The majority of people in this room sit at a desk for hours on end and therefore probably have tight hip flexors, lower back and glutes.
Unless you solve these issues you will never be able to squat effectively. Pick exercises within your range of mobility, there are plenty out there and on your days off, stretch the problem areas that will hinder your long-term progress. Take your muscles in your chosen exercises through their full range of movement. Yes, boys, we know that you can lift heavier if you don’t, but shortened movement leads to muscular imbalances and injuries and that means you won’t be lifting anything!
Also, look at the time of the day when you are likely to be on the gym floor. Is it a peak time when certain machines/pieces of equipment are busy? Will it lengthen your rest time? No point in having 45 seconds rest between exercises if it’s going to take you 3 minutes to get to a particular machine. Train smart. For a lean, toned body there is no need to be on the gym floor for hours. 45-50 minutes is more than enough time to sculpt that beach body but you have to work hard in that time and having lots of rest between sets or exercises is going to stop you in your tracks. All machine based exercises can be mimicked with free weights and to be honest, free weights are better for you anyway.
Don’t obsess! If you miss a session for a particular reason don’t worry, just get back into the gym the following day and do what you should have done the day before. One of the worst things you can do is punishing yourself and work extra in the gym, this will not make up for the missed session and your body won’t thank you for it. Doing a session in the gym followed by a class or vice versa will have a negative impact on your body, you won’t burn any extra fat and your cortisol (stress hormone) levels will increase which causes an increase in body fat!
So, you’ve got your programme, you know how to overload, you’ve got the date in your diary to change it up a bit, you’ve got all the tools needed to be a success on the gym floor………….now let’s take a look at your food…………
Food – You’ve probably noticed that I didn’t type ‘diet’ here. Why? Because diets are evil!! Well maybe not evil for people who have stones to lose, but for the majority of people who need to drop a little bit of weight, and more fat than weight if were being precise, than yes, diets are evil. Your body slows down, it holds onto fat for energy and warmth, you drop a few pounds in water weight in the first couple of weeks but then you stop, get annoyed because you’re still working hard and can’t understand why the weight isn’t shifting. You’re moody, tired, and irritable, can’t train as hard as you’d like and so you throw your arms in the air, decide this way of life isn’t for you……and you pig out on anything and everything you can find!
Your diet should actually be all the things you need, not the shaved back, starve yourself version of the word. Remember what I said earlier, the more lean muscle you have, the more kcals you burn and in quicker time. Getting lean is more about what you eat and when, and less about how much you eat.
Take a look at the original food pyramid (which amazingly still stands with the W.H.O)
Anyone notice anything strange about it? If you eat this way, yes, you will be ‘healthy’ in general but if you’re looking to be lean then some of these shelves need to be re-arranged. Protein (eggs, meat, fish, etc.) is the building blocks of developing a healthy, strong, lean body so why are they putting it near the top of what should only be eaten occasionally. Cereals and grains are a hindrance when it comes to looking good and being lean and yet they place it at the bottom saying this is what we should be eating most often!
Every meal, especially when training, should consist of a good protein source as protein repairs and rebuilds muscle tissue. Fresh vegetables and fruit (preferably dark berries) are also vital in providing fibre and anti-oxidants that keep the body working smoothly. Believe it or not, fat is essential for fat loss. Unsaturated fat removes LDL cholesterol from arteries, is necessary for healthy bone and muscle development and maintenance and also as a form of fuel for your body to use when glycogen stores are depleted. Similar to good and bad fat, we also have good and bad carbs. White fluffy rice, potatoes, pasta and bread are no-no’s when it comes to shedding body fat but brown rice, sweet potato and oats are perfectly fine post training. They replace depleted glycogen stores and as your metabolism is high post-training, you will burn off the remainder that your body hasn’t used. This isn’t a free pass to eat whatever you want thou!!!! Stick to food that is served closest to its natural form. It shouldn’t have a long shelf life, if it does then it’s probably been altered in some way to allow for longevity. Pick seasonal foods, they are their most nutritious at this time of the year. Allow yourself a treat every week, a cheat meal, NOT A CHEAT DAY! One good training session doesn’t make you lean and in the same way, one bad food choice will not make you fat. When you’re eating clean and training well, there is room for small treats every now and then!
Stay away from magic pill and juices, if they actually worked then I wouldn’t be standing here doing this seminar as I wouldn’t have a job! Fat burners raise your core temperature and in theory give you the energy to push that little bit harder but you get jittery, less cohesive and dehydrated and can, let’s face it, make your organs fry for the inside out! Juices………………where do I start? Are they good for you? Depends on what is in them. The green ones, depending on the breakdown of ingredients have a good amount of fibre in them and are so good for gut health. Will they make you lose weight? Initially yes, because you’ve cut your kcal intake in half. Will you maintain the weight loss? NO. Will they make you lose fat? NO! Have one as an extra addition to your diet, the greener the better, especially if your veg intake isn’t what it should be.
So remember, yes, this is about getting you ready for summer, but realistically summer bodies are made in the winter. The earlier you start (and realistically you don’t start, you’re always doing it) the easier it is. Maintenance is the key to enjoying life and not having to worry at the last minute about getting into that favourite dress or bikini. Eat clean and train dirty and enjoy all the benefits!