Today, I'm going to share with you a 12 point checklist that you can all implement in order to get the body you want in time for the summer.
Without sounding 'samey samey' all the time, we can't get away from the fact that the weather's getting better, and summer is nearly upon us.
Now, I just want to warn you, there's no part of this 12 point checklist, apart from maybe the last little bit, the last point, that's going to be saying work out your body weight, and then, you're going to have to be eating “X” amount of calories. Although that's really, really important, super, super important, in fact, if you don't have these other things in place, it's going to be all for nothing. You're going to fail. So, it's going to be a little bit different, but it's something that everybody can take on board, something that everybody can implement and learn from, and you can use it in other areas of your life, I suppose, as well.
Anyhow, without further ado, let's get on to the checklist.
Now, this is going to be in no order of importance, apart from the first one….
1 – Start NOW!!
We are now in May, so don't be that person that actually starts panicking like two weeks before you go on holiday, or four weeks before you go on holiday, because you ain't going to have enough time to get what you want done.
Now, I'm not saying you can't get good results in four weeks.
I mean, I have a program called Lean System 4, but that's like a stepping stone program. It's a kickstart program. The fact is, the majority of people need 12 to 16 weeks minimum to get really, really good results, so if you want to get that body ready for the summer, you need to start right now, today, I repeat… today. So, that's step number one.
2 – Life Audit
Maybe you've never heard of anybody doing this if they want to get into great shape but what you need to do is set up a calendar of your week and block out all the hours that you work, all the hours of your family commitments, all the hours of your social commitments, or your time with your partner, or whatever a normal week looks like for you.
Then, you've got to look at what free time you have left. You can then input the times you're going to work out, the times you're going to, maybe, meal prep, or whatever that looks like. Usually, it's time to work out, because that's the thing that will take most of your time up doing this, and that's travelling to the gym, maybe, travelling home, time actually spent there etc etc
I'm going to be honest with you. When you're starting something, just saying, "I'm going to go to the gym five times a week," isn't going to cut it. It's not going to cut it, because life will get in the way, 100%.
If on any particular week, you can't get there five times, or you can only get there maybe once or twice, you're going to feel a bit like you've cheated yourself,
like you've let yourself down, and you'll beat yourself up.
Then, you could spiral out of control and end up giving up. I see it all the time. So, set up a life audit, block out all your current commitments that your life looks like now, whatever is in your schedule, and then, the time that you have free, you can pencil in the times you're going to exercise, or go to the gym, or whatever it is that you're going to be doing.
3 – Notify Friends & Family
Make sure that your family, your friends, your partners, your loved ones, the people that are in your immediate environment, make sure that they know what you're doing, and more importantly, let them know why.
The reason I'm saying this is, the majority of you, I'm guessing, may have tried a number of things before, and let's say, for example, you've told your partner you're doing “XYZ” diet, and you're doing “XYZ” program, and you've said this many times in the past, and you give it a couple of weeks and then give up. The likelihood your partner is going to think it's just another “thing” that you're doing, and in a couple of weeks, you will give up, and then, during that time, because they think you're going to give up, they might be, not in a nasty way, might be trying to lead you astray into doing things that aren't congruent with what you want to achieve.
So, tell them why. Be honest. If the way you look and the way you feel is really, really getting you down, and you feel miserable and unhappy, and all of these type things, just be honest and say it to them. I would guess the majority of them, if not all, will have your back 100%, and if they don't, they're ... I hate to say this, but they're a bit of a …….
Anyway, that's number three. Make sure that your family, your loved ones, your partners, know what you're doing, and they know why you want to do what you're doing, because you want to achieve X, Y, Z, and give them a good reason why.
4 – Don’t Chop & Change
As you go through your plan, whether you're making a plan up yourself, or whether you're going to work with somebody, like a coach, or a trainer, or a PT, or whatever, there's going to be a point along the journey where your progress is going to slow down.
It may be a point where you get no progress in a week, and after getting a couple of weeks of progress, getting no progress is going to hit you like a train, and you're going to get down.
You're going to think you've done something wrong, or you're going to think your coach has done something wrong.
You're going to panic and think it's not working anymore.
I'm going to be honest with you again.
It doesn't matter who you are on this planet Earth, you do anything like this, you're going to have weeks when you do not progress, or it's going to slow right down.
Usually, what happens on these weeks, people will think that what they're doing is not working, and they will chop and change. They will stop doing what they're doing because they think it's not working anymore. This will be regardless of the results they've got in the past couple of weeks, maybe, and they will look for the next “thing” or “diet” to start, and they'll keep doing this all the time. I'm not sure if any of you resonate with this whilst I'm saying it, but it's something I see a hell of a lot, so don't chop and change.
The results slowing down and stagnating is part of the process. That's where my job as a coach, or your coach's job, will come in, to get you over that little speed bump, because your starting point is point A. Your destination is point B, or that's your ideal body that you want. It's not just a straight line, there is a journey to get there. It's going to be progress, progress, speed bump. Progress, progress, speed bump. You need to get yourself over these speed bumps, because progress will slow down.
5 – Use Different Methods of Assessment
We don't want to just use scale weight as the only method of assessment. We want to use body measurements. Let me give you some examples. Waist, chest, upper arm, upper thigh, and calf will give you a good indicator of how you're getting on.
If you do these once a week, same day, same time, that will be perfect. If you're going to be weighing yourself, you want to be weighing yourself every day, so that's upon waking, before you've eaten or drunk anything, in the nude, and after using the toilet.
Take weekly photos, ideally in the same background, against a white wall would be perfect, with the same bottoms, undies, pants, whatever you're going to wear, but make sure you look the same in all the photos, because you'll be able to get a better comparison.
Do that on the same day each week. In an ideal world, you'd be taking your measurements and doing your photos on the same day every week, and you'd be doing your weight, your daily weigh-ins every day, and then taking an average for the week. So you add up all your daily weights and then divide by seven. That will give you a weekly average.
Just another little tip while we're on the subject, you compare your weekly average every week, not your actual daily weights. For females, on your special time of the month, you don't want to compare that week with the previous week. You want to compare your special week with the previous special week from the month before.
6 – Carbs are NOT The Devil
Don't go carb-free the whole duration of your journey.
So, if you're going to start today, or this week, for example and you're going to be doing 12 weeks, 16 weeks, you don't want to be going carb-free the whole time. Let me tell you why. Going carb-free at the start is a great way to kick things off, and it's how I start with all my programs and with my private clients. The main reason, it's because it's going to get you some instant gratification. You're going to drop some weight. You're going to lose that bloated, lethargic feeling. Your energy levels will raise, and it will get you some tangible results that you can see with your eyes, on the scales, with the measurements, and in the mirror.
What happens when you get that instant gratification, your motivation to move on with this will be even stronger. What most people don't tell you is, the mental aspect of getting into great shape, getting healthier, for me, in my opinion, outweighs the physical things that you've got to do. If you get this right, everything else becomes much easier. So, that instant gratification is really important, but we don't want to go ultra low-carb for extended periods of time.
First and foremost, it's the summer. The likelihood is, you're going to be out socializing a lot more with family, friends, loved ones, and you're likely going to want to be eating the foods that you like a little bit more. The likelihood is, you're going to want to be having a bevy, a nice, cold beer, a few glasses of wine, gin and tonic, whatever that looks like for you. If you're ultra low-carb all the time, and you bang carbs back in, you're going to bang weight back on. Although that is going to be mostly water and glycogen, it will mess with your head, and you might start to get the bloated-type feeling again because you're not used to eating those carbs.
So, go low-carb anything from seven to 28 days at the start, and then, introduce carbs back into your diet.
As a side note, going low carb at the start, forces you to eat more “nutrient dense” food such as veggies, to make you feel better, which again is very important, especially at the start.
7 – Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon
Another thing that I see all the time is people will start a plan, and they'll want to do everything all at once.
They'll want to be doing fasted cardio.
They'll want to be lifting weights. They'll want to be doing HIIT classes.
They'll want to be doing ultra low-carb, and literally everything all at once.
Now, whilst I applaud that eagerness at the start, what you want to think of is as these things as tools or weapons, okay?
If you use all the weapons that you have in your arsenal, such as your cardio, your HIIT, your sprints, your weight sessions every day, doing X, Y, Z with a diet, you're giving yourself no room to play with.
If you're doing everything all at once, you will adapt, and your body will adapt to what you're doing, and the results will start to slow down.
When the results start to slow down, this is usually when we make changes, or when we add something in. If you're using everything, you've got nothing to add in, so you're giving yourself no room to manoeuvre, nothing to play with.
You've got nothing else that you can use. Although, when your motivation is at its highest, at the start, and you want to do everything, you just need to hold back.
You just need to do what you need to do to get results at the start, and then, you can add things in. You can add cardio sessions in, if you want.
You can add sprint sessions in. If you can't, you can add an extra weight session in, if you want.
You can start looking at nutrient timings if you want and all these ways of optimizing things.
If you do everything at the start, it's really going to be difficult for you down the line. If you're in the gym six times a week, you're doing cardio six times a week, and you're doing sprint sessions after your weight sessions six times a week, and you're doing whatever with your diet, how do you add stuff in?
So, just think about that.
8 – DON’T Eat Foods That You Don’t Like
This may seem silly but another thing that I see, is people doing this, and eating foods that they don't like or that they're not keen on, because they think they've got to eat this food in order to lose fat.
It's not true.
What it boils down to, dropping fat, is taking in less calories than you are burning off. More importantly, for fat loss as opposed to weight loss, is what those calories are comprised of, in terms of carbs, fats, and proteins, not eating avocado, not eating almonds, not eating broccoli.
If you don't like any particular type of food, don't eat it, ever, because if you think you've got to eat that food, and you start eating it, after a while, it's going to start to make you feel sick. You're going to resent doing what you're doing, and you're going to think that there's no other way of doing things.
So, eat foods that you like. Don't eat foods that you don't like. A little bit of a simplistic point, but something most people get wrong.
9 – Have a Life
You need to relax and have a life. You need to relax, and you need to have a life. Don't become neurotic about doing this, because you become neurotic, you're going to drive yourself insane, and more than likely, you're going to be driving your significant other, or your children, or your immediate family insane with how you're acting. Relax!
There are more important things in the world than getting into fantastic shape. You are going to get in good shape if you follow a plan and you make changes along the way that are congruent with you progressing forwards. So, just relax.
It is important that you have a life at the same time. Unless you're stepping on a bodybuilding stage, or a physique contest, or a bikini contest, and you can still have a life, if you do those things, by the way.
Just so you know, going out for a curry with your friends, going for a few beers is not going to hurt you, at all. Make sure you have a life, and it's a good way to balance things out, because if you're being super, super strict on going to the gym and your nutrition 80% of the time, it's good to balance things out by going and doing things, and having a life with your friends and family, and doing things that you enjoy doing.
I personally love having a beer, having a gin and tonic, going out for food and eating all the foods that I love, but I make sure I balance it out with everything else. It's not like “all or nothing” with one or the other. So, it's really important to have a life at the same time as doing this.
10 – Trust The Process
You've got to trust the process. A lot of people get too hung up on the desired outcome. From day one, from the first second, all they're thinking about is the end result, and they are not acknowledging all the small wins on a daily basis.
If you've had a good training session, if you've eaten all the foods that you wanted to eat on that particular day, if you've hit your goals that you've set yourself on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, a lot of people fail to acknowledge those. They forget to be happy about it, and celebrate those wins, because they're too hung up on the outcome, and they get too stressed out by it.
If you don't enjoy the process, it makes getting to that end result much, much harder. Please believe me on that. You need to trust the process, and you also need to enjoy it. What's the point in doing it day in, day out every hour of the day, doing things that are in line with this desired outcome, if you're not enjoying it? It's no way to live.
11 – Make a Commitment to Completion
A good way to do this is to write a statement on a piece of paper and pin it somewhere where you're going to see it all the time.
More than likely, your fridge is a good place, because you're going into the kitchen multiple times per day, and it's something that you can see.
Make a commitment to yourself. Make a statement. Write it down on paper, stick it to the fridge, and every time you see it, something will start going on in there. Something will start to get locked in, subconsciously, into your head, and you'll be reinforcing your goals, your desired outcomes every time you see that statement on the fridge. That's a good little tip for you all and very effective.
12 – A Few Standard Things
There's a couple of things in this, because it's the last point.
These are just standard things that will help you on your way. You've got to stay hydrated. 3-4L of water a day is a good figure to aim for. You can include fruit and herbal teas in that. Diet soft drinks, don't include in those, but you can obviously drink them if you like, they are actually a good way to take the edge off if going super low carb at the start of your plan.
Make sure you have a good source of protein with each meal.
Make sure you have a good amount of veggies, green ones, if possible, but don't worry too much about it. Just have a good amount of veggies with each meal.
Include carbs where and when you see fit, usually on the days where you're going to be more active.
Prioritize sleep, dependent on the person, six to eight hours a night, and it's not just necessarily the number of hours you have asleep. It's the actual quality of sleep. So, if you have an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, you can track your sleep pretty well by using those.
Limit alcohol. That's not to say don't drink alcohol, because it's the summer, and everybody loves a drink, or most people do, anyway. But if you're going out Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon, for example, and you're drinking a lot of alcohol, it's not only going to make you feel like a load of undies, it's going to massively impede and hold you back from what you want to achieve. Be sensible with that, but just don't worry too much. If you want to have a drink, have a drink.
If you want the best results, in terms of changing the way you look, lifting weights is probably the best way to go.
There are other ways, so I'm not going to say you can only lift weights. Do what you like. It's really important. If you don't enjoy lifting weights, then don't lift them, because it's not something you're going to stick to. If you enjoy going for runs every day, go for a run every day. You know, it's important that you enjoy what you're doing.
That's basically it. I hope all those 12 points make sense. If any of you resonate with any of them, at all, please, I would love to hear your views, and your opinions, and your experiences. As always, feel free to reach out to me if you want any more advice or you want me to elaborate on any particular point a little bit more.
Ciao for now,