Tips for a Successful body Transformation
It is that time of year again where we look in the mirror and think, “I am going to fit into those board shorts,” or “I’d really like to see those abs again,” along with a bevy of other self improvement thoughts. Though it may not look like it outside, summer is fast approaching and now is the time to actually put those thoughts into action. But how do I actually do it and see results, not just burn out or get frustrated? I am glad you asked good citizen.
Often when we begin something with intentions of getting super lean, revealing those killer abs or dropping some weight we do it with a vigor that rivals the gods! We throw on the afterburner, diet like a mad person (read cut too many calories) and after one to two weeks of this with no results we lose motivation, burn out and start looking at those Oreos or Hint of Lime Tostitos and Salsa con Queso with thoughts of the Hallelujah Chorus playing in our heads. Well I am here to give you a few words of wisdom to help you be more successful in your endeavor.
Tip #1: Set a timeline
When we start something without an idea of when we are going to stop it is easy to lose perspective or even worse, forget why we are doing it. Setting a time constraint also gives us a way to measure progress as opposed to just saying, “What?! I only lost 4 pounds?!” Well, did your workout phase only last four weeks? If so, you may have expected too much in too little time. Usually, it takes at least 8 weeks to see how favorably your body responds to consistent stimulus. Which brings me to…
Tip #2: Set Realistic Expectations
I often here these words uttered after someone close to me or a client has just completed a workout cycle, “I was kinda expecting to see more results.” My response to that comment is usually, “Okay, well do you remember where you started?” As I mentioned before perspective is important, if someone came to me having never worked out (or very little) I’d tell them they can expect to have put on muscle as opposed to just losing fat. Muscle is more dense than fat, think of the proverbial “what’s heavier” question. One pound is one pound; however, all pounds are not created equal. Just as a pound of feathers takes up more space than a pound of rocks the same is true for fat vs. muscle. My point? It is completely possible for an individual to start a program, eat carefully and weight train quite intensively and at the end of it have only lost four pounds according to the scale. Upon closer inspection however, you could see an eight pound fat loss and four pound muscle gain. Is that really just only 4 lbs?
Note: Starting a program measuring in at anything above 22% body fat and expecting your abs to be popping out in high definition in 8 weeks might not be a very realistic expectation. The best professional bodybuilders start a program between 9-12% where the abs are just visible and get down to between 4-6% body fat. If you do the math that is just about 5% body fat loss…the difference is they are usually on a 12 week fat loss program, not 8. Again, perspective is important. Also, as body fat percentage gets lower the results become harder to attain, realistically speaking your body does not want to have a low enough body fat percentage for those puppies to pop out.
Tip #3 Dieting is sooooo last decade…
Dieting is out and following thoughtful, well-planned (for you) meal plans are in and those of us in the health and fitness world are so happy that is the case. Gone are the days of simply eating less and here (to stay hopefully) are well thought out meal plans that evolve and change as you see results. So instead of thinking, “I am going to east less and look fabulous,” I am going to give you three very important pieces of information that will become a mantra.
- I will consume at least 1.2-1.5 grams of lean protein per pound of bodyweight every day! To give you an idea, a 150 pound individual would be consuming between 180-225 grams of protein daily! You should try to split this protein up equally in several meals throughout the day. Every 5lbs you lose
- I mentioned the importance of an appropriate protein intake in a previous blog about nutrition and here is one of the links I used as a guide.
- Why is increasing protein intake so important? There are many reasons but I will try to break it down. As you might have read or learned by now protein is the building block of your muscles, it breaks down into amino acids which also power very important functions in the body. It aids in recovery from intensive workouts (which you will be doing right?) on the whole protein does lotsa stuff.
- Protein intake is going to go up because you are also going to decrease your carbohydrate intake, meaning protein is also going to become your main source of energy.
- Protein also requires more energy to digest than any of the other macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates and protein); all food has a thermic effect. In layman’s terms this means your body has to burn energy in order to get energy out of the food you ingest, think of it as your digestive system having to do a workout. You can read more in-depth about this here.
- I will consume 1 gram of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight on workout days and reduce my carbohydrate intake to .8 grams per pound of bodyweight on non-workout days. On the days I am planning on working out I will plan my carbohydrate intake around my workouts, taking in 25-30% of my daily carbohydrate intake one hour before workouts and close to immediately after workouts.
- The excuse of I do not have time to cook lots of meals, need to have potato chips and Oreos around for the kids (if you know you shouldn’t be eating it should they?) and I end up eating them too and the other excuses we tell ourselves and our trainers need to become taboo in your mind. One of the keys to a successful body transformation is preparing your own food, this way you will know exactly what is going into your body and the amounts.
- Get a food scale
- Weigh your food
- Prepare your proteins (meat, fish, etc.) for the week ahead on Sundays, make it something you and your partner can do together, heck get them involved in the body transformation process.
- Track what you eat! No seriously…do it, that is the only true way to know how much you truly are eating. If that means you need to look up nutritional information then you do it.
- Lastly, do not freak out about how much you are eating. You may be surprised about how much you will end up eating to get your macronutrients in and it might feel completely wrong to you. However, stick with it for at least a month; you will be pleasantly surprised at your outcome. If you don’t believe me then read up on the struggles a pro in the fitness field had with her nutrition before she pieced it all together here.
As always, if you have questions about what I wrote about or want to get more in depth with calculations or need advice leave a comment, ask in the studio or write us an email.