Knowing where to start when embarking on a body transformation does not come easy for everyone. I get it! For those who feel they are extremely busy and have a life outside of the gym, you may think it is near impossible to have that chiseled and toned body you dream of.
Let me assure you that this is not the case. This handy guide outlines 6 simple steps that can help you start your journey to achieving your ideal body.
We understand that everyone has different struggles and everyone’s body develops differently, so each step will highlight some of the general key points to getting you on the right track and ways to help you through those tough times.
Wern Fitness not only wants to help you with your body transformation, but also to help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
So let’s start with the most difficult step first, changing your habits.
Changing your habits can be one of the toughest things to do. This is because you have conditioned yourself to carry out certain behaviours which have almost become automatic responses.
In order to successfully ‘break’ these habits, it is important to understand the motivating factors so the appropriate planning can take place.
Livestrong.com states that there are generally 4 primary motivating factors related to engaging in exercise which includes feeling physically strong and fit, improving or maintaining health, feeling a source of personal achievement, and being outdoors.
Many psychologists say it takes around 21 to 30 days to transform a bad habit into one that can be beneficial towards your health and fitness goals. There are three areas that can be used to help start the process.
Being educated about making healthy lifestyle changes has been proven to be very helpful to stay motivated to work towards ones’ goals.
In addition to knowing your motivating factor to engage in exercise, having a complete understanding of all the factors that are included in a successful body transformation is crucial to make sure you start on the right track.
Immersing yourself in an environment that motivates and encourages you to engage in healthy behaviours will allow you to stay on track with your goals.
For instance, joining a gym, hiring a personal trainer or surrounding yourself with friends also interested in fitness can help reinforce the change you are trying to make and can check in with you to remind you of your goals. It is also important that you feel comfortable in this environment, so it may vary from person to person.
Where to start? It can be as simple as joining a class with a friend. Having a buddy along the way also makes it a lot more fun!
Having a role model, whether it be a friend, family member, your fitness coach, or sports celebrity, can help you stay motivated as well. Following them on social media can be a method of sending you daily reminders to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviours.
Although you may understand that a proper diet in addition to exercise is what will help you achieve your ideal body, it is also important that you follow a diet that is suitable for you.
Not every diet will work for everyone and there are some out there that can be misleading.
The best answer to what will help you lead a healthy diet is balance and ensuring you include the right carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
High-carb diets are often used by athletes who are preparing for an event as it produces quick energy for a short period of time. It goes back to having a balance and tailoring a diet that best suits your lifestyle which will encourage you to make healthy changes.
Starting with small changes like cutting out refined sugars and reducing simple carbohydrates will allow you to improve your diet.
Hydration is another a key factor to weight loss as it regulates your body temperature, flushes out toxins, acts as a natural appetite suppressant and helps with your metabolism.
Hydration is also important for proper daily function of the body. Since water readily leaves our body when we sweat and urinate, it is important to replenish our hydration levels so it does not mess up our metabolism rate, especially during exercise.
The amount you should drink depends on your weight, gender, diet and how active you are as well. As you start your body transformation, begin to get into the habit of getting enough water. In general, 1 L of water should be consumed for every 23 kg of body weight, but again it would be adjusted based on your lifestyle.
It may seem like a lot of water to drink when you think of it in one whole unit. But realistically, we wouldn’t have it all in one sitting. In fact, you should have it spread out throughout the day.
Now we revisit what your motivating factor is for exercise. This is important to note so a proper fitness plan can be created to guide you through the right exercises which will help you achieve your goal.
Below are different types of exercises and how they can help you get started with your body transformation.
A common category of exercise many associate with weight loss is aerobic exercise. This helps improve your cardiovascular fitness which includes exercises like walking, jogging, running and any cardio machines. This increases the amount of oxygen into your blood which is then pumped to your heart; however, it is anaerobic exercises that is more effective in helping you lose weight. This type of training includes short bursts of exercises done at a high-intensity, which can help you reach your fitness goals quicker. An example of this would be intermittent sprints
Strength training is crucial to everyone’s program as it increases muscle mass, strength and endurance. When you do cardio, you are losing muscle mass, but with weight training you are maintaining your muscle mass while losing fat. Weight training does not always have to be done with extremely heavy weights. The idea is to overload the muscle groups by increasing the amount of time to lift and return the weight.
Strengthening your core is important as it protects your lower back and helps with balance and stability which most exercises require. Pilates and yoga are good for targeting your core muscles and also helps improve your flexibility which is important for your overall health.
HIIT workouts have become very popular because you spend less time exercising and get greater results. It switches back and forth between your aerobic and anaerobic systems which eventually burns your carbohydrates for energy. When you increase the intensity, you burn more calories because you use more energy.
It is recommended to exercise 60 to 90 minutes most days of the week according to the American College of Sport Medicine. For those who say they do not have enough time, there are ways around that. Starting off by doing simple HIIT circuits at home can be effective, especially if you increase the intensity of your workouts.
If you are incorporating strength training into your program, it is important that you also include a recovery period as well to allow your muscles to repair. When starting out, it may be useful to talk to a personal trainer to get the best plan for you.
Sleep allows your body to balance your hormone levels which affects body weight and body fat. A lack of sleep (less than 7 hours a night) can increase ghrelin which increases your appetite, and decreases leptin which suppresses hunger. Although you may not think it, sleep is a catalyst that aids other steps in your body transformation.
Having trouble sleeping?
One of the common bedtime routines nowadays is to either watch TV or go on our phones right before we sleep. The exposure to the bright light from electronics has shown to reduce melatonin levels which disturbs sleep.
The other common one is having caffeinated drinks late in the day. Reducing your intake of caffeine, can significantly improve your sleep, especially not having it 6 hours before your bedtime.
Scientists have found that heightened brain activity increases the brain’s temperature. Being in a cool environment helps induce sleep, as well as mimicking your body’s natural temperature drop such as getting out of a hot shower. It is recommended to have your bedroom below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
To keep it simple, sleep as naturally as possible. Imagine this is 1000 years ago. Your body is built for sleeping in a cool, silent (or natural sounding), no-light environment.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that can affect your muscle mass and increase belly fat when levels are elevated. Chronic stress affects your stomach by decreasing nutrient absorption, oxygen levels, and metabolism rate. It also produces belatrophin, a protein that blocks an enzyme that breaks down fat. In the long term, it can contribute to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
Everyone experiences some form of stress and has different ways of dealing with it. It is important to relieve this stress in ways that work for you.
One way to prevent stress is to meditate when you first wake up. This can allow your body to come to a calm state. Having a proper diet, getting the right amount of sleep and exercising regularly are still the most effective ways to combat stress.
Not only will it improve your overall health, but also help you towards your body transformation goals.
This handy guide just covers the basic steps needed to start your body transformation. Finding out what fits with your lifestyle and what motivates you will be key for your progression. It may be beneficial having a personal trainer at the beginning to help you properly plan your journey.