This scenario isn’t all that peculiar. You’ve hustled, bustled, sweated and slogged your way through weeks of hard yakka, you gave up the booze and chocolates, and hoorah! You are now in the best shape of your life…
Problem is your social life has taken a hit, you’ve blown a good chunk of salary on extra training sessions and you’re feeling a bit worn out with motivation levels at an all time low.
So, as you do, you celebrate by treating yourself to a few weeks of splurging on treats your willpower had managed to fend off. UH-OH…. you’ve noticed some fat creeping back on a few areas. Time to act!
Here’s a few ways you can maintain your body composition without compromising everything you enjoy and stay slim!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
1. Mindful Eating
This is my number one. The old saying “abs are made in the kitchen” is not far from the truth. You can try your best to out-train a bad diet but unless you’re a genetic freak, having dodgy nutrition will always hold you back from looking and more importantly feeling your best.
If you have just come out of an intensive transformation and had cut your calorie intake dramatically to an unsustainable level you should consider maintaining meal preparation. But you should add a few extra calories by means of healthy snacks and meals containing high quality protein sources, colourful vegetables, berries and nuts.
You may put on some healthy weight and muscle but you won’t let yourself go. Be aware of your macronutrient balance and what works for you in terms of calorie intake. If you track your body fat and see you’re still gaining unwanted fat you can use the data of calorie intake and also try swapping some foods for less calorific but healthier options.
It’s not all doom and gloom! Have the odd cheat meal, in fact think of it as fuel for your next workout for example if you have your cheat meal on Friday evening book HIIT class on Saturday morning and tame the guilty conscience.
Use it as a well deserved reward for all the hard work you’ve been putting in but remember the more disciplined the better the results. Keep it to only once or twice a week and make it part of the plan. It’s important to feel good about yourself and the food consumption.
2. Sleep well
Not just important to reduce the dark rings around your puffy eyes. Sleep is imperative for healthy balance which in turn helps shift the unwanted weight. If your circadian rhythm is in tune you will less likely over indulge in sugary/high energy food or drink sources. Additionally stress hormone cortisol (which is linked to belly fat) is spiked during sleep deprivation. You also release Human Growth Hormone (HGH) during deep sleep which is key for weight loss and recovery.
I would go as far as saying sleep is the cheapest remedy for overall health, to combat stress, retain youthful appearance and healthy weight loss. So before spending up large on pharmaceuticals and beauty products check yourself into “club duvet” an hour or two earlier.
Once you’ve achieved your dream physique it can be difficult to remain motivated. You don’t have to go through the exact same routine over again so why not set something new to achieve?!
Think of charity events such running, entering an obstacle race, a triathlon sprint… You could also pick up a new sport or hobby which requires strength and conditioning plans: rock-climbing, paddle-boarding, social team sports?
Perhaps you loved your weights/strength routine and the thought of cardio or sport gives you the heebie jeebies, so why not set a goal targeted towards a life event to keep your motivation up? A friends wedding, summer beach holidays, your next birthday?
4. Train Smart
Even if you’re the Incredible Hulk (well maybe) it’s not sustainable to keep out-lifting your last performance every time. You will reach plateaus and therefore you need to create training blocks of 4-6weeks with specific goals in mind.
If you’ve just built up to punching out all your PB’s, your 1RMs, you’ve executed some Olympic lifts or other complex high performance movements, it can lead to over-training and fatigue. It’s maybe time to articulate a plan targeted towards some extensive training.
Think about some weak links in your body, improve mobility, work on lifting techniques (we can all sharpen the axe a bit when is comes to technique). Then you can build a strong foundation prior to your next intensive block and enhance lifting performance down the track.
This will freshen you up, repair muscle tissue and you can start to build again with less risk of injury or fatigue. You won’t lose everything you gained as your nervous system will be stimulated during this process. Make the plan, follow it and trust it. Aesthetic and performance goals are all set from a well structured plan and solid foundation.
In second part the article concludes with further great tips to ensure that motivation stays high, fat is shed and kept away and we can stay slim!
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Luke Marshall