Shape-Up Shortcuts: 7 Tricks To Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life

shape up

With the cold weather upon us, many of you will have made a resolution to drop body fat before summer arrives. When it comes to nutrition and fitness, knowing where to start can be confusing; with conflicting information everywhere you look. Rest assured that by following my expert advice, you will be on your way to achieving the lean body you desire.

First things first, the basics of fat loss

Before you embark on your physique transformation it is helpful to understand the basics of fat loss, which are really quite simple. The key to losing body fat and appearing leaner is reducing your caloric intake to ensure that you are burning more calories than you are consuming each day. If you consistently consume less calories than you are expending through normal metabolic processes and physical activity you will lose weight. It really is just that simple, there is no need to cut all the carbohydrates or fat from your diet. Yes, you read that correctly, contrary to what you may have heard, there is no need to cut all the carbohydrates and fat from your diet.

So how do I know how many calories I should be consuming each day?

Determining how many calories you need to eat each day is simple with a number of calculators and applications available online. However, many people find calorie counting to be a burden that can remove some of the enjoyment from eating. To control your calories without keeping a written log simply gradually reduce your portion sizes and discretionary treat foods until your weight begins to reduce. Aim to lose 0.25 to 1kg each week, but don’t be obsessive over the numbers as some weeks you will lose more weight than others. Keep tabs on your weight loss by weighing in no more than once a week or fortnight and look for an overall downward trend. As you start to lose weight, your body will take a more lean appearance, which is the product of reduced body fat levels.

To help you drop fat and show off your lean body faster, I have compiled my Top 7 Tricks To Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life.

  1. Stop dieting and be kinder to yourself

Research has consistently shown that diets simply don’t work. This winter rather than imposing a restrictive diet on yourself that is likely to leave you feeling hungry and deprived, try being kinder to yourself. Those who are less restrictive in their eating habits tend to do better at reaching their weight loss goals, and once the weight is lost it generally stays off. If you do feel that you need some structure to you weight loss journey try keeping a food diary until you have things under control. Rather than just writing down what you eat for each meal, keep a record of how hungry you were before and after eating each meal. If you start seeing a trend of non hungry eating, it may be time to find some activities to do in place of reaching for a meal or snack when your not really hungry.

  1. Hit the gym and start lifting weights

Too many people think burning fat and achieving the desirable lean look is all about doing hours of cardio, but this could not be further from the truth. Lifting weights or doing other types of weight baring exercise is a must if you want to melt the fat away and reveal a lean physique. The reason why lifting weights is important is because building muscle mass will increase your metabolism at rest, meaning you will literally be burning more calories while you go about your day and even whilst sleeping. In addition to burning more calories the extra muscle mass will give you an athletic looking physique which is far preferable for most people when compared to the marathon runner look that often results from excessive cardio and restrictive diets. Rest assured, cardio is still considered very good for your health and when completed 2-3 times per week in addition to your weight training can speed up the attainment of your fat loss goals. Just be sure not to over do it!

When hitting the weights for the first time it is best to have some professional guidance from a reputable personal trainer. Qualified experts are able to design a personalised training plan that will help you achieve your goals. They will also be able to demonstrate how to safely complete all exercises helping you stay injury free and closer to reaching your goals.

  1. Cut back on alcohol, it’s really not doing you any favours

With the cold weather now well and truly here in Perth, the endless supply of invitations to parties and celebrations should have started to slow down. This is a perfect time to cut back on alcohol consumption without feeling that you are missing out. Rather than go all out and cut your alcohol consumption to zero, next time you are drinking try to replace every second alcoholic drink with water. This way you can still enjoy a drink with your family or friends whilst significantly cutting your calorie intake. Alcohol provides a massive 7 calories per gram, so it’s not hard to see why a night out drinking could very quickly slow down the achievement of your fat loss goals.

When choosing your alcoholic drinks it is important to note that cocktails often contain a ton of calories, this is usually due to their high alcohol content and the types of beverages they a mixed with, often including high sugar juices, syrups, cream and full fat milk. So if you’re anything like me and want to enjoy a cocktail, feel free to, but keep it to just one or two rather than blowing your entire daily calorie budget on just a handful of drinks. Following this advice will help you drop body fat and restrict the damage to your liver and bank balance.

  1. Choose smaller portions, you’re probably eating more than you think

Rather than cutting out all the foods you love and ending up feeling deprived, just reduce your portion sizes. Obviously try to choose healthy food options when possible, but don’t stress if you eat some less than desirable foods every now and then. For example when eating out in a Perth or Fremantle restaurant with friends you can still order the meal you desire, but just switch the large main portion for an entrée sized meal. Also, when at home it may be beneficial to start using smaller plates. Research has shown that those who use smaller plates for their meals tend to eat less overall than those who use larger dishes. If you still feel hungry at the end of your meal, wait 10 minutes or so before considering a second helping. It takes your stomach a little while to realise it is full and a short break from eating before taking another serve could help prevent you from feeling overly full and eating more than you planned.

  1. Give the supplements a miss, most of them simply don’t work

When many people embark on losing body fat and increasing muscle tone, it’s not long before they are down at the supplement shop looking for a quick fix. This winter be smart and give the supplements a miss, as research continues to show that most fat loss supplements will do little but decrease your bank balance. Also, in some cases they can be downright dangerous as they are seldom subjected to the same scrutiny as pharmaceutical drugs. Likewise, be very wary of meal replacement shakes and powders such as Herbalife and Isagenix. These products are vastly inferior to eating real food and not backed by credible scientific research. They can also be extremely expensive and often promote unsafe eating behaviours. Save your money and invest in eating real food, your body and bank balance will thank you later.

  1. Drink more water, its practically free and really good for your health

Whether you are at home or out on the town water is the drink of choice for those wanting to drop serious body fat. Water contains no calories, helps keep you hydrated and can be easily carried with you in a refillable bottle throughout the day. Next time you feel like a snack, take a drink from your water bottle, you may just find you were not really hungry in the first place. Also if you find yourself overeating at meal times, be sure to keep a glass or two of water close by, as drinking water with your meals will help keep your stomach feeling full preventing overeating.

  1. Fill up on fruit and vegetables, they are low in calories and full of essential nutrients

When planning your daily meals and snacks feel free to really fill up on fruit and vegetables. Experts recommend that each day you should be aiming for 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit. Try to ensure that half of your meal at lunch and dinner is made of vegetables, with a quarter of your plate lean protein such as beef, chicken or fish and the remaining portion complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread or pasta. Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that your body needs and they contain very few calories when compared to many processed foods. They also contain dietary fibre, which can help prevent bowel cancer, and will keep you fuller for longer helping prevent over eating.

Fruit is also great for your health and makes a very convenient snack throughout the day. When possible try to chose whole fruit rather than fruit juice, as most of the benefits of fruit are related to its dietary fibre content. The process of juicing removes the beneficial fibre from the fruit and can often require 5-7 medium pieces of fruit just to make a small glass of juice. This is obviously far more than you could possibly eat if the fruit were still intact. Drinking excessive quantities of fruit juice will greatly increase your sugar and calorie intake slowing down the achievement of your fat loss goals. If you do enjoy fruit juice try to limit yourself to a small glass. You may also find watering down your favourite juice to be a useful strategy to reduce your intake of sugar and calories.

Take home message

As you can see, there are no miracle cures or products that can you drop fat and reveal a lean physique. However, by following my 7 Tricks To Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life you can help boost your fat loss results and build the toned physique of your dreams. Best of all, by following this advice you are setting yourself up for results that last a lifetime and don’t lead to rebound weight gain as restrictive diets can. My tips simply recommend small changes that you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle regardless of your eating preferences.

When embarking on your body transformation journey its important to be kind to yourself and accept that results will take patience and hard work. If your motivation begins to wane and you find yourself once again searching for a miracle cure, be sure to remind yourself that those who lose weight more slowly are far more likely to have kept it off a few years down the road. Also, be sure to surround yourself with a good support network of friends or family that will help encourage you along the way. And for those who are new to exercise or have not been active in a while, I highly recommend having a medical check up from your doctor before hitting the gym.

I wish you the best of luck in achieving your physique goals this winter! Be sure to let me know how you are getting along in the comments below.

1 Response to “Shape-Up Shortcuts: 7 Tricks To Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life”

  1. 1 A Flash Packers Guide June 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Great practical advice and common sense no need for these expensive products that seem to be currently so popular.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: