1. Drink Water – Being adequately hydrated not only helps optimise your performance both physically and mentally, being hydrated also allows your metabolic rate to work at its optimum too! Aim for 1 litre of water per 25kg of body weight.
2. Take Fish Oils – Fish oils are high in the essential omega 3 fatty acids but unlike other omega 3 fatty acids, fish oils contain a higher levels of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (Yeah, that’s a mouthful and a half, let’s just call them EPA and DHA respectively now) Both have been clinically proven to help heart, brain and joint health but DHA is also great at helping lose fat! 2-3g of EPA and DHA is recommended.
3. Spice things up – Eating healthy does not have to be a bland experience. Spicing your food up with herbs and spices not only makes food taste better but certain spices have thermogenic properties meaning they raise the metabolic rate. Spices like Turmeric, Chilli, Horseradish, Fennel, Garlic and Ginger all are known to have thermogenic properties.
4. Drink Green Tea – Green tea is not only chock full of antioxidants but also contains something called Catechins. Studies have shown that Catechins have fat burning properties.
5. Eat Protein – Protein rich foods have become the new “low fat” – The new marketing hype but fitness pros have known for ages about the benefits of higher protein diets for body composition. Not only does protein stimulate muscle growth in the body and thus helping build lean muscle mass, it also helps to preserve existing muscle which means you’re less likely to lose muscle on a caloric deficit if your protein intake is high (and your caloric deficit isn’t too low) – Protein is also a thermogenic food meaning it raises the metabolic rate because it is harder to digest than fat and carbs. You actually burn more calories for eating protein than carbohydrates or fat! Aim to eat protein with each meal and aim for between 1.6-1.8g of protein per kg of body weight.
6. Eat your greens – Your mother was right, eating your greens is crucial in getting lean. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale and broccoli are not only full of nutrients, they also contain fiber that helps get rid of excess estrogen in the body through waste. Cruciferous veggies and dark leafy greens also contain Indole 3 cawrbinol which aids in excess estrogen issues.
7. Do food swaps – You don’t have to give up all of your favourite foods, some times it’s a case of swapping a bad food for a healthier option. Swapping things like French fries for home made sweet potato fries, Rice for cauliflower rice, spaghetti for Courgetti or Butternut squash spaghetti. Meats for leaner cuts of meat for instance and even swapping a coke for a diet coke (although water would be better)
8. Eat slowly – You’re hungry because chemical messengers called hormones tell you you’re hungry. This particular hormone is called Ghrelin. When you eat slowly, you give enough time to your body to down regulate ghrelin so that your body feels satisfied and you have a less chance of over eating. Try taking your time to eat, be more mindful of your food or just chew more.
9. Plan your food – You know the old saying, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Planning makes sticking to a healthy eating regime easier. Using apps like My Fitness Pal or just a pen and a paper, you can create a plan for your food so you know what you’re going to eat and when eliminating guess work and the temptation to reach for convenient food. Planning your food also includes prepping food. Have healthy snacks available at hand too.
10. Cut the crap – It’s pretty obvious but cutting out junk food, sugars, processed carbohydrates and bad fats like margarine will help you. Food is a very emotive thing and we need to focus on our relationship with food. Focus on what you want to look and feel like and eat foods that support the goals. Remember, eat for your goals, not for your taste buds!
11. Exercise – This goes without saying but if you want to live the lean life and create a physique and have optimum health, then exercise and activity will play a huge part. Aiming for 4 sessions per week where you workout for 30 minutes to 1 hour is optimum. This doesn’t all have to be gym work, it could also be any physical activity you enjoy such as playing football, dancing, crossfit, Muay Thai etc but having a structured training program that incorporates resistance training and high intensity interval training should be the foundation of your workout regiment.
12. Workout your calories – Ultimately, you’re going to want to eat the right amount of calories to get the physique you want. You can work out your calorie intake either by contacting us directly were we will arrange to assess your lean body mass and then calculating how many calories you need or you can use something like My Fitness Pal which can work out your calorie intake based on the measurements you provide it. If you want to lose weight, create a calorie deficit of about 500 calories per day with at least half of those calories coming from exercise. Once you know your calorie goal, you can then track your macronutrients based on that. You can use our FREE Macro guide to help you do that!
13. Get 6-8 hours of quality sleep – We live in a world now where hustle is king and we’re told by the hustlers that sleep is for when you’re dead but they’re dead wrong! Sleep is one of the most important things we can do to achieve our goals whether they’re physical, financial or whatever. But here’s the thing when it comes to health and fitness. Sleep is when your body recovers and repairs. It’s also the time where when you’re in deep sleep that your body elevates hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone and insulin like growth factors, all that are important for burning fat and building muscle!
14. Don’t Stress – When our bodies get stressed, we release a hormone called cortisol which is responsible for providing our bodies with energy. During our evolutionary process, this usually meant that we’d have the energy to escape a dangerous and stressful situation like a sabretooth tiger attack but now, our stresses are more linked to how we’re going to pay our bills or other issues. Cortisol is known to break down muscle tissue (which counter acts with point 15) and it’s also known to stimulate fat storage, particularly around the stomach area. It’s important to manage stress through working out, relaxation techniques and adequate rest, recovery and sleep.
15. Build Muscle – Resistance training and building lean muscle mass is the key to turning your body into a fat burning machine. Muscle mass not only gives your body tone but it also provides structural support and, unlike fat, it’s metabolically active. This means that muscle requires calories and the more muscle mass you have, the more your metabolism has to work at rest to sustain muscle mass. (Ladies, don’t worry, weight training won’t make you look manly either!)
16. Set Goals – Realistically, I should have placed this as number 1. It’s only down here because none of these tips are listed in any order of category. I was once told that the most important body part to train is from above the eye browse. In other words, it’s the mental game of fitness. Setting goals is a very powerful way to get your mindset in the right zone. Goals not only help you plan and commit to a training program but also give you a road map and measure to make sure you’re on track. Setting goals doesn’t have to be a long winded process. You can use the SMART goal method which stands for Specific, Measurable, Agreeable, Realistic and Time Bound. These will help you keep track and remember, if you can track something, you can improve it!
17. Be Realistic and patient – We’ve all seen the 12 week body transformations on Instagram, the trouble is, we don’t see the reality of these transformations. The history of the client, what the client had to go through and what their underlying genetics are like and we just assume we’ll hit our goals in 12 weeks too. This is when a touch of reality and patience comes into play. Remember, providing you keep taking positive steps forward, you’ll achieve your goals and it doesn’t matter how slow you go, you’ll still lap the person sitting on the couh!
18. Work hard but work smart – A good strong work ethic is important to achieving your goals and I have never met a lazy person that’s got incredible results by taking short cuts. But most people don’t have the time to dedicate their lives to the gym or healthy eating. That’s why it’s important to maximise the time you do have to utilise it to your best advantage. By working out smarter, and eating smarter as part of a structured program, you’ll get the results you want. That’s why it’s imperative to work with someone who knows how to help you achieve your goals quicker.
19. Limit or avoid Alcohol – If you’re going to drink, drink in moderation but ultimately, alcohol is not going to do you any favours in the quest for optimum health, fitness and physique. It inhibits the bodies ability to detoxify and metabolise food properly. That being said, I am not advocating a life of tee totalness by any means. You can enjoy your favourite drinks in moderation. One or two on a special night out won’t hurt you but the key is just that, moderation. When you’re out, try to opt for non alcoholic beverages that aren’t sugar laden.
20. Have a night off – Let’s be honest, you’ve probably got a favourite food that’s not exactly good for you. It might be a nice juicy burger with chips, pizza or a good old curry! (Is your mouth watering too?) – Cutting out foods you enjoy all together is a recipe for failure because you’ll give up if you’re not having some fun. A better strategy is to designate one night a week where you can satisfy your cravings for the foods you love and enjoy the company of family and friends by having what’s known as a cheat meal. The rules of the cheat meal are just not to go crazy and stuff yourself. If you eat till satisfaction, you can still enjoy the foods you love and you’ll get some psychological relief which will keep you on the straight and narrow.