You have to feel sexy before you look sexy. And to get that feeling you have to be happy with your body and confident in yourself, which takes true commitment to a healthy, active lifestyle. I’ve seen my clients make major transformations in as short as 10 weeks by following the four tips below, and now I’m sharing them with you. If you start following these now, you’ll never have to worry about bathing suit season again.
Focus On an Inspiring Challenge
If you are not in the habit of exercising and eating well, then you will not likely feel motivated to pick up and commit to a regular workout schedule and eat well consistently for the period of time to make a difference, which is about two to three months. What you need is inspiration that you can turn into a measurable goal that challenges and excites you. It has to touch an emotional cord with you, so you have to look at your fears and turn them into aspirations.
Here are some thoughts to try to inspire and challenge you to commit to the program:
• See your abs again! (How long has it been?) Or even go for Chris Evan’s abs.
• Sculpt some Michelle Obama Arms.
• Be the confidant person everyone compliments.
• Single: Get in sick shape to attract a healthy mate.
• Engaged: Not much I need to say to motivate women, but guys: You still look fat in tuxes. Seriously you do, so get it together men.
• New moms: Return your body to pre-kid form—which applies to dads, too.
• Erase medical issues/medication with exercise and diet.
Whatever you come up with, repeat it again and again, tell everyone, write it on your Facebook, work space, cut out pictures, etc. so that when willpower gets weak, your inspiration is strong enough to overcome it.
Invest In Fitness, Not Fat
Nothing in this world is free and it you want something you have to invest your time and money. Yes, training programs cost more than a simple gym membership, but everything that has value has a cost. Whether it is personal training, a retreat, or healthier fresh food choices, you should be ready to put some money behind your fitness and wellness priorities. Don’t be stingy with preventive measures as it is much cheaper than paying hospital or doctor bills should you become sick. Plus, just think about how much money you have put into getting fat and out of shape between the alcohol, the fancy restaurants, memberships that went unused, cable bills, etc. My guess is things are out of balance. Add up just a weeks worth of all those “fattening” luxuries and tell me that an investment in your fitness and wellness is not worth a fraction of that money. It is not extra money, it is just a reallocation based on healthier priorities.
Eating Without the Extras 6.6 Days a Week: “The 90/10 Rule”
No matter what your fitness and body goals are, there is no way to achieve them without eating clean and within your caloric target range. This is the most common area for people to fall short, which negates their results, upsets them, and kills their motivation to continue working out. It is a viscous cycle and I see it all the time. Eat well 90% of the time but allow yourself 10% non-compliance. Now 10% is only two meals per week, or 6.6 days per week and 1-2 missed workouts per month.
• Throw out the crappy food in your house and office today. If it is within reach you will eat it, and don’t think your will power is strong.
• Go grocery shopping each week and fill up with veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins, include healthier quick snacks to satisfy you throughout the day. It is about satisfying your hunger, not controlling it.
• Food journal everything you eat and drink for a week, especially weekends, and use an online application to determine daily calories.
• Prepare (I didn’t say cook) meals for yourself, starting with breakfast—see other Be Well Philly bloggers for more inspiration.
• Avoid eating out as much as possible and don’t give yourself a free pass on weekends. This might be people’s biggest failure so be tough with decisions.
• When you eat out, no appetizers, pick entrees with lots of veggies, avoid butter and split deserts if at all.
Consistency Without the Excuses
The main factor in anyone’s success is the consistency with which they apply themselves toward their program and goal. It requires a deep-down belief that almost nothing is more important than your fitness and wellness. Do you believe this? I really care deeply about my fitness and wellness, and with this perspective it makes maintaining my fitness easy. Now in the stressful moments of our busy lives, we sometimes forget our priorities until it reaches a breaking point. We all have to learn lessons the hard way sometimes, however if you can truly set the belief in place, than the choices make themselves and the actions flow more naturally.
Another issue is the all-or-nothing attitude— i.e. if I break from clean eating and my workout routine I just let it all go. I like to say, “If you mess up, fess up and make it up before you _uck it up.” You’ve got to get back on the horse immediately and allow yourself some mental slack without all the guilt. Nobody will be perfect, hence the 90/10 rule, but get right back on track before you are derailed.
Lastly, I am going to tell you flat out what excuses are allowed and what excuses just show a lack of belief and creativity. I mean do you really want to be that person with all the excuses? The next time you mess up with your program, simply fess up, and make it up by cutting calories way back for a day, rescheduling workouts, etc. Don’t be reasonable as that leads to justification, be mathematical and go to great lengths to meet the program requirements!
• Sick – don’t workout through a fever, but a sniffle shouldn’t keep you down, just lower the intensity. The blood flow might help your system.
• Serious Injury – injuries are usually isolated and can be avoided with modifications, i.e. shin splints, elbow tendonitis, and such shouldn’t keep you from exercising completely, just work around them.
• Family Emergencies
• Work Meetings – this is simply rescheduling not bailing altogether
• Work Events – these do make eating clean more challenging, but most places have at least one healthier option, salads, etc., and people will be impressed by your resolve. If you get pressure to eat/drink crap, assess its source.
• Travel – being an intrepid traveler myself, I don’t accept this excuse. Pick hotels with gyms or areas to go running, order food smartly, and get up early if you have to. On vacation you are in total control with no daily pressures so any excuse here is pathetic. There is always a way, you just have to care enough to look.
• Being Tired – sometimes we are tired because we haven’t slept, so sleep. But many times we are tired because we never really woke up. Exercise unleashes energy and sparks your metabolism while cheap fast food choices make us feel lethargic.
In the end, consistency comes down to daily choices when confronted with the stresses of life, so be careful as these choices add up quickly. And they can either take you in a healthy direction or in an unhealthy direction. It’s your choice.
Gavin McKay is the owner and creator of Fusion Cross-training with locations in Center City, Philadelphia and Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. He’ll be sharing his fitness tips and advice weekly on Be Well Philly. Read more about Gavin and his role at Be Well Philly here.