Inconsistency is arguably the reason most people fail when it comes to getting fit and losing body fat. They’re highly motivated but they don’t develop habits that make success possible. Don't let this happen to you! Here are ten simple tips to tighten up your efforts so that you achieve a healthier, happier, fitter life.
#1: They Train With Heavy Weights
Lifting heavy weights isn’t just for strongmen. Training intensely has greater carryover to daily life activities and it protects your joints, bone, and muscles so that you avoid pain and dysfunction down the road. It also raises fat burning hormones, while giving you calorie-burning muscle for better insulin sensitivity and a higher metabolic rate.
#2: They Do HIT For Cardio
Instead of spending hours a week logging cardio miles, the extremely fit have adopted the “minimum effective dose” approach to conditioning. They do short (less than 25 minutes) but sweet (they give it their all for each work bout) interval-style workouts because this type of exercise (anaerobic) has been shown to trigger protein synthesis (so you build muscle), raise EPOC (post-workout energy expenditure), and allow you to optimize recovery.
#3: They Eat High-Quality Protein At Every Meal
Complete proteins such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy have many benefits for the extremely fit: They trigger the release of gut hormones that quench appetite and activate neural pathways linked to motivation and energy expenditure. They also keep blood sugar levels steady and preserve lean mass when you’re in an energy deficit so you sustain your metabolic rate when trying to drop body fat.
#4: They Optimize Carb Intake For Their Physical Activity & Genes
Low-carb, higher protein diets are effective for fat loss. But the diet that is right for an overweight, sedentary person who needs to reset their metabolism is different from what a fit, active person needs. Play around with different amounts of carbs, protein, and fat to see what makes you feel most energetic. If you do opt for lower carb intake (below 100 grams a day), try cycling some starchy carbs every 5 to 7 days to enhance sensitivity to the metabolic hormones, leptin and insulin.
#5: They Don’t Rely On The Scale
Researchers caution that leaner people should never rely on the scale because it can mask fat loss when you’re gaining muscle. It can also go the other way if you’re catabolic such that you lose muscle, but think your losing fat. Therefore, do a reliable skinfold test to avoid guessing and make sure your going in the right direction.
#6: They Plan Ahead, Making Time To Shop & Cook
We’ve all probably had the experience of being ravenously hungry with not a thing in the house. We end up ordering a pizza, which we end up overeating and feel guilty about. If you’re serious about being lean and fit, you’ve got to start by taking control of what you put in your mouth. This allows you to avoid letting your emotions drive your eating and instead make informed choices about what and how to eat.
#7: They Cope With Stress & Balance Cortisol
Probably the most noticeable difference between the highly fit and those who never quite make it happen is that fit people have developed habits that help them tamp down stress when things get a little crazy. They stay cool and collected when the going gets tough. Whether it’s meditation, deep breathing, music, extra sleep, or time with loved ones, you’ve got to have a method for countering your sympathetic fight or flight response for better cortisol balance and a saner life.
#8: They Eat Real Food Instead Of Processed Foods
Most processed foods are engineered to trigger food intake and make you eat more calories. Processed foods also have a lower thermic effect than whole foods, meaning that if you eat a processed meat sandwich with white bread, your body will burn fewer calories during digestion than if you ate the same amount of calories from chicken breast, rice, and sweet potatoes.
#9: They Save Higher Carb Foods For Dinner/Post-Workout
After working out, your muscles are starving for nutrition, they are extra sensitive to insulin so that any carbs you eat will be stored as glycogen instead of as fat. This makes post-workout the perfect time to enjoy higher carb foods. In addition, including complex carbs at dinner will help lower cortisol and raise serotonin for restful sleep.
#10: They Get Restful Sleep
Our ability to sleep is regulated by a circadian rhythm that relies on balance of a large number of hormones. Those same hormones regulate when you’re hungry, the foods you crave, and how active you’ll be. Over the long-term, lack of sleep leads to lower testosterone, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone, but elevated cortisol. This is a combination that makes it hard to maintain body composition. Make it a priority to solve any sleep problems you have once and for all.