By Danielle Holland-Ingram
Many of us struggle to have an amazing body. We spend countless hours in the gym, try new diets and crazy fads, and sometimes, even resort to medical methods that promise to “burn the fat.” We’ve dealt with tofu tasting, green detoxing, headaches from fasting, corsets for shaping, doctor’s visits for sculpting and we’ve sweated our way through countless marathons to achieve our ideal version of ourselves.
Having a great body is probably the one goal that most people have in common. Everyone wants to be healthy and everyone wants to look and feel their best. The problem arises in applying the techniques, strategies and methodologies consistently and over a long period of time in the face of our ever increasingly busy lives and daily routines.
However, if we keep in mind that all we need is a little elbow grease and strategy – we find that it is actually pretty simple to achieve our best body goals as long as we remain consistent in our efforts to do just as well or better than we did the day before. Taking it one day, one step, one meal at a time is the key to success. So to help you out on your health journey, we’ve compiled a list out our top tips to help you have the best body for life.
Tip 1: Set Concrete Goals
Concrete goals help clarify what we want to achieve. Choosing what, when, and how long to workout can give us clarity and motivation. For example, I would like to work out my upper body, three times a week for one hour. This goal could be further improved by picking out the days as well, and even exact exercises to do on specific days. The more precise the plan is, the greater likelihood you will stick with it and find success. They say the difference between dreams and goals is nothing more than a detailed step-by-step plan.
Tip 2: Brush up on your exercise education
Another great idea is to learn which exercises do what for your body. What are your body goals? Are you looking to shed weight for that summer wedding or are you looking to get cut and toned for your next beach outing? Having concrete goals is the first step. The second is formatting a strategy to reach them and the best way to do this is by learning the best exercise techniques to achieve your results.
Do they build mass or do they help you become lean? Are you focusing on cardio or weight lifting? Perhaps a little bit of both. What are the recommended reps, down times and rest cycles for best optimizing your time based on your specific body? Knowing what exercises to do and HOW to best do them will help you to achieve the goals you set up for yourself in the most expeditious manner and without setback
Tip 3: Brush up on your nutrition education
Many foods claim to be “healthy”. To lose weight or build muscle, everyone knows the basics – Stock up on your green leafy vegetables, complex carbs, proteins and healthy fats. However, when you take it a step further, you are able to optimize your efforts even more. It’s not always enough to know that you need a good amount of protein. Knowing specifics such as when the best time to consume specific staples during your workout and daily routine in order to optimize results and see the best return on your efforts is a key step that many forget.
Tip 4: Plan to eat healthy
Plan. Plan. Plan. We cannot emphasize this enough. Many fit models and enthusiasts have one thing in common other than their daily workout routines that the rest of us don’t: meal planning. Plan your meals ahead of time. There is often so much that goes on during the week that it becomes hard to stick with a healthy eating schedule. Planning and prepping meals ahead of time, or on the weekend, leaves us with no excuse but to eat healthy.
Tip 5: Stay consistent
Remaining consistent may seem difficult in today’s high stress world, however it one of the best strategies that you can practice! This will enable you to see real progress and results and even measure how effective your workout is. If you miss a workout or even cheat (gasp!) at a meal, try to get back on track as soon as possible to continue making improvements. One of my absolute all time favorite sayings is “This month’s diet is next month’s body”. Make it your mantra.
Tip 6: It’s more than weight – it’s science baby!
Knowing your body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage are also essential to get the best out of your workout. Your BMI informs you of the healthy amount of fat your body contains in relation to your height and weight and as compared to the averages associated with your specific category. Your body fat percentage can tell you how much you need to lose or how much is healthy to lose for your body type and it is different for men and women and varies based on various lifestyle factors and age ranges. This can be even better than using weight based on what you see on a scale.
Tip 7: Don’t forget your vitamins and supplements!
When exercising (and even when you are not) vitamins and various health supplements are always beneficial. Vitamins and supplements can help the body heal, optimize processes and functions to better achieve results and provide us with many nutrients that may be lacking in any diet – even a healthy one. Without these, you are very likely not operating at your optimal potential. So do your research! Figure out which supplements can help you along the road to achieving your specific results. Need help? Head to your local health foods store such as GNC or the Vitamin Shop and ask a specialist. You can also check out the vitamin charts and conversions to get more information to help you on your journey.
Tip 8: It’s all about the journey
Transforming your body is about so much more than aesthetics. It is about the journey. The process. It is about learning techniques and tools such as self-discipline, planning and setting and being consistent and driven enough to be able to set and achieving the things you are striving for in life. It’s not about beauty and shallow pursuits.
It’s about becoming the best you that you can be. It is about treating your body like a temple and setting yourself up for long-term health and a brighter future. The process is one that will have affected not just your body, but your mind and soul as well, causing you to grow and develop in ways that you never knew before. The things you learn about yourself can surprising and serve to create life-altering levels of self-awareness and security. So what are you waiting for?