By Michael Bernardi
In today’s world, there are infinite articles, videos and guides that exist to help you with your fitness journey. However, due to the vast amounts of data, it is common to feel that there is just too much going on or that it is all too complicated. As someone who has spent the last two to three years researching what the optimal practices to do are, in order to achieve meaningful results, here are 4 key tips that will guarantee your success.
- Nutrition Not Diet
The most important aspect of any fitness journey Is your nutrition, ie what are you eating on a day to day basis over a long period of time. Online there are many fad diets that have become popular for people to partake in such as the Keto diet, yet none of these “diets” can be applied consistently. Good luck eating no carbs for the rest of your life. In fact, I would recommend you avoid diets completely; oftentimes people say that ‘they are on a diet’, meaning that if you can be on a diet, then you will eventually get off the diet.
In fact, my first tip is to approach your food consumption to be a nutritional plan, a plan consisting of healthy, nutritionally dense foods that you actually like eating, as well as sprinkling a treat here or there to help you be consistent. This is vital because people normally try to scrap all of their favourite unhealthy foods altogether and then eventually, succumb to their natural cravings in which they binge the food completely. However, it is important to remember the concept of portion control, the concept of being aware how much you are actually having. Remember too much of anything, even water, can damage your body. So one slice of cheese cake a month or even a week won’t actually hurt or limit you.
- Weight Train, Build Muscle
Many people, especially women, avoid weight training for muscle growth and instead, prioritise forms of cardio instead in order to burn fat. Although it is possible to lose weight through cardio alone, your body will burn all your muscle away first before burning any fat.
This is why marathon runners tend to have extremely thin and non-muscular physiques. In fact, I recommend that you ought to incorporate weight training in your routine as the process of building muscle, through the break-down of protein (protein synthesis), actually burns calories and fat for up to 48 hours after you have even worked out!
- Appearance over Numbers (on the scale) When Tracking Progress
This is really important to understand, especially if you are focusing on how much you weigh a lot. Many people place too much importance on how much they weigh on the scales. However this, to a point, doesn’t actually matter. If you closed your eyes and imagined your perfect physique and perfect self: lean, toned, muscular, low body fat percentage etc, you would not care one bit how much you weighed on the scales.
What matters is how you look and appear, not to others but to yourself. Also, if you work out and build muscle, it is likely that you will put on weight as muscle weighs considerably more than fat. Thus, pay attention to the differences in your body that develop over your training, be it your physical appearance and physical performance rather than just the differences on the scale.
- You can’t target body fat loss!
The truth about burning body fat is that you cannot target a specific area to burn. For example, if you have stubborn fat hanging around your waist, you cannot train your waist specifically to burn the fat around it. Each person burns fat in different ways over different periods of time, which is why consistency is so paramount to a successful fitness journey.
So, the four things that I would recommend incorporating into your fitness plan would be to get rid of the “dieting mentality” and opt for a more sustainable nutritional plan approach; focus less on cardiovascular exercise and more on producing muscle; assess your progress on how you look over time in conjunction with how you perform, not just through the use of weighing scales and lastly, accept that body fat loss cannot be targeted on parts of your body. The only thing left for you to do is to put these into practice and surrender to the process!