Now that we have discussed the majority of the factors you need to address in order to transform your lifestyle, lets discuss putting together the pieces now. We have habits, strength training, cardiovascular work, nutrition, support networks, and mindset amongst other things discussed but now we need to mould it in unity as one. Lets put it together:
Why I have placed this first, is because I feel this is where most people should start. You cant out train a poor diet, a poor diet effects your health, it effects your metabolic and hormonal status, it effects your mood and motivation levels and it can control your emotions. Most people would agree – starting here sounds like your best bet. Lets go through it step by step – you need to first address your barriers and current habits and work from there. You need to make the initial changes that will give you the biggest result first so that you will build confidence and momentum from the get go. You need to then build new habits based on education. This education should be built on the fundamentals of nutrition and not all the nonsense within and around social media – be very selective where you get your information from. To make it simple, treat nutrition as levels. Without completing the first one, the next is irrelevant to you. Our general levels guide looks like the following:
Level 1- Calorie intake
Level 2 – Adequate protein, fruit and veg
Level 3 – Food quality (possibly should be tied with level 2 as it has a lot of importance in my opinion)
Then everything else comes after (most people don’t even need to go this far and worrying about the above levels in more then enough).
You can see I haven’t mentioned white or brown carbs, or when’s the best time to eat, or what foods speed up your metabolism or anything on post workout meals – THERE IS A REASON IT’S NOT MENTIONED. Nutrition also needs to be planned and programmed for, you cant be in a calorie deficit for too long or in a surplus for too long – it needs to be phased. Maintaining a healthy food relationship is vital and should be a main focus for everyone. Planning always works best, not just here but for everything.
Your training just like your nutrition, also needs to be phased. There is a difference between “training” and “working out or exercising”. Working out and going to sweat classes can be great and are good fun, but the majority of clientele I talk to don’t achieve results from these or see the progress that they want. Training needs to be structured. You need a goal to work back from that will guide your planning in a step by step manner. Your individual requirements need to be addressed and you need to progress over time. If you aren’t tracking your performance, you wont know if you are improving. Things like running a faster 3km or 5km, beating your reps and adding weight in the gym or rowing 2000km for a new best time – these are all metrics and goals for progress. However I do state if your goal is very much body composition related and based around how you want to look – you NEED to get stronger in the gym. With saying that you also need to constantly work on your technique and execution, because without this you wont get the most from your work on the gym floor.
3. Cardiovascular Work
This is very much a “more is not always better” scenario. Unfortunately nowadays cardio is only associated with being a means to burn calories. When in fact it is a vital training method. You have high intensity (anaerobic) work and lower intensity (aerobic) work, both each providing a different response and causing different adaptations within your body. Endless amounts of cardio especially the higher intensity kind, can sometimes cause more harm then good. Training is a stressor and anaerobic training is very stressful on your bodies recovery capacity. If you are already stressed from work, family life, weight training and you are in a calorie deficit (yes these are stressors too) to lose fat then adding even more stress through massive amounts of cardio may tip your bodies ability to cope with stress over the edge and can cause negative mental, metabolic and hormonal effects. The choice and the dosage of the amount when it comes to cardio is crucial.
Take home point – your training, nutrition and cardiovascular work should all be working in synergy together. You need to know the effect you are striving for, or else how do you know its working?
To conclude, your goal must always be in long term to be able to sustain and keep the results you achieve. The choices you make need to be managed and the safety of your mental and physical well being must always be at the forefront of your decision making. Your programming must have a pathway for progression, and you must have the knowledge base to understand what it is you are doing. The road to success, will then be much smoother.