LINKS TO OUR FAVORITE TOOLS AT THE END
Let’s face it, we all get amped up by new research promising to deliver faster, more desired results, in the gym.
The problem is there is so much information and it often contradicts itself.
What diet is best? Which fitness modality works to optimize weight loss? How much time should be spent working out? How much time should you rest? Does strength training make you bulky? Do I need to track my macros? What the hell is a macro!?
It’s no wonder many of us quit on our health, mash the big red button, and give up on our once-inspired gym goals.
The good news is there is a formula for success and it’s not that difficult. Yes, it takes a little time and effort, but there are proven tactics for achieving results regardless of your genetic makeup.
So, let’s clarify and simplify, shall we?
Here are 9 tips that have stood the test of time and are proven to help you achieve your desired goals!
TIP 1: THE FORMULA FOR FAT LOSS: CAL CONSUMED - CAL BURNED = -3500
To better understand this, it’s helpful to explain first what exactly a calorie is. A calorie is a unit of measurement for energy consumption and burn. Burn more calories than you consume, and you will lose. Applying the formula above, a good goal for weight loss is to have a deficit of roughly 500 calories a day. Over a weeks time that adds up to -3500 the magic number for losing roughly 1lb of fat. This can be achieved either thru eating less, exercising, or using a combination of both. While this might not seem like alot compared to what you see and hear on tv, think about stretching just 12 weeks of this together. Losing 12lbs of actual fat(not just water) will dramatically change your health and appearance.
To be fair the formula doesn’t consider gender, current body fat percentage, metabolism, etc. However, this age-old formula still works out about right for the majority of people. Some may experience a little more fat loss and others a little less, but for the first 6 months, you can expect it to hold pretty true. After six months our bodies start to adapt. Muscle increases and exerts more calorie burn and fat loss may slow down. The good news is at this point the results tend to stick and be much more sustainable due to a shift in metabolism. But, with some tweaks to diet and fitness modality, the transformation will continue!
TIP 2: THE GOLDEN RULE – 80% OF RESULTS FROM 20% CHANGE
Pareto’s law states that 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes. It’s amazing how many times in life this applies!
Now, some may say that 80% of your results come from diet and 20% from the gym work. There is a flaw in this though. Who is going to change their diet by 80%? Not many! What’s more helpful is to break apart diet and exercise and THEN apply the 80/20 rule.
Ask yourself these two questions and watch things get easier!
Question 1: What are the 20% of food, snack, or beverage items that add the most to my calorie intake and that I’m confident I can replace with a healthier option?
Question 2: What are the 20% of physical activities I do that make me the most sore, that challenge me the most, and that I can commit to doing with regularity?
TIP 3: DEFINE YOUR WHY – WHY DO YOU WANT TO SET A NEW FITNESS GOAL?
This one sounds silly, but without a good reason, we are all likely to fail. Additionally, it's common to have our initial goals or motivations change.
If you’re feeling less motivated lately go back to your “why” and then create a new goal!
Maybe your initial “why” was as simple as getting back in that summer dress or looking better on the beach. But, now that summer is over, you feel less motivated and you’ve forgotten to reassess your motive.
Time for a new "why"!!!
At times when motivation dwindles, define your why or create a new one. Set new goals. Find new more exciting reasons to get in shape. Sign up for a fitness challenge or something that you would need to train for. Whatever it is, make sure you are always excited to reach for a new height!
TIP 4: S.M.A.R.T FITNESS GOALS
Once you’ve defined your "why" it’s time to set a few S.M.A.R.T. goals. Aim for 2 but no more than three goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. A good example would be to lose 8 lbs and 2% body fat in 8 weeks’ time.
TIP 5: ACCOUNTABILITY - DON'T TRUST YOURSELF!
We all need some accountability, and usually, it’s the time we spend AWAY from our gym community where our plans derail.
Two ways to avoid derailment?
First, when you set your goal, announce it publicly to a few trusted friends, colleges, or family members that you wouldn’t want to let down. Study after study has shown when we make our goals public we go after them harder and with more focus.
Second, pick up an accountability partner. Ask someone to hold you accountable. Luckily the timing on this in impeccable because we have created a new mentor match program where we will assign you a partner! We have twelve mentors in this pilot program and are tracking changes alongside a mentor that has been finding success on their fitness journey. To sign up for the mentor match program go to mentor match.
TIP 6: MAXIMIZE YOUR WORKOUT - STOP TRYING TO GO IT ALONE
We have all experienced the workouts where we are just going thru the motions.
As creatures of habit, we often use structure and routine to keep the course. This is great, but challenge yourself to change up your workouts and try some new things. If you normally do cardio or HIIT try to mix in some strength training. If strength and heavy weights are normally your jam, maybe mix in some HIIT, TRX, or functional fitness. Our bodies tend to adapt quickly causing plateaus. By mixing up your workouts every 3 to 4 months you can avoid these plateaus and keep yourself more interested in the process.
To really amp it up, try to take group classes with other people that are above your fitness level. We always rise to new heights when pushed by our peers!
TIP 7: KILL YOUR CRAVINGS - DON'T LET THAT 20% DIET CHANGE DO YOU IN
This tip comes from "my brotha from down under", fitness trainer and coach, Adrian Lea. He had some great tips in a recent blog on how to “kill your cravings.”
The shift here is one part diversion/substitution and one part planning. Most habits and cravings begin to subside after a few days or a couple weeks. If you can plan ahead for the short term it gets much much easier in the long term! Try paying attention to patterns and planning diversions ahead of time. If you know you crave snacks at night while watching tv on the couch, then do something different before bed for a week or so. Likewise, if lunch at work or dinner with friends is an issue, come prepared with a meal that you know you’ll enjoy as a replacement.
TIP 8: REST IS REQUIRED FOR RESULTS
Rest days and getting a good night’s sleep are vitally important to fitness success. Our bodies need time to recover and heal and it’s not just about avoiding injury.
Lack of proper rest can actually cause a depreciation of return on your hard work. Plan 24-48 hours rest between heavy workloads on the large muscle groups in addition to a day off once every 7-10 days minimum. If the routine is important to you then work in some yoga on these days to help heal, stretch, burn, and protect yourself from injury.
TIP 9: USE TOOLS - LINKS TO OUR FAVORITES BELOW
The right tool always makes everything easier!
As you might expect this holds true in fitness as well. Not all tools are needed, helpful, or worth the value though. Here are our favorite tools with links to try for yourself. The best part is most of them are FREE!
Macro Calculator: Macro is short for macronutrients – the fat, carbs, and protein that make up our food consumption. Understanding the mix of macros you should target for the desired goal is very helpful in adjusting diet to maximize results. Two of our favorite (AND FREE) macro calculators are the MAPS calculator and the Precision Nutrition Ultimate Macro Calculator. Plugin your unique body comp metrics, your desired goal, and sit back as the tools kick out target numbers and food suggestions.
For more specific meal plans to go along with the macro numbers, try the precision nutrition tool. Any questions on this or to get a sit-down meeting with an expert, visit the app or site at www.myfitnesssuites.com and book an appointment with our dietitian Claire.
Body Comp Tools – Tracking just our weight is a frustrating and misleading process. The body is made up of roughly 50% water that can fluctuate wildly. What might seem like a weight loss or gain could just be water. In addition, muscle burns more calories and weighs more per volume. One can dramatically slim down, lose inches, and still weigh roughly the same. Utilizing a tool for body composition that gives you insight into muscle gain, fat loss, water weight, metabolism, etc gives you insight.
This can get complicated so always feel free to get with a trainer or stop at the desk for help. Two relatively inexpensive and effective tools for body comp are the Renpho smart scale and the Withings body comp device.
Side Note: All body comp devices in our experience lack accuracy with the initial body fat percentage. Studies show these bioimpedance technologies tend to calculate higher body fat percentage than what’s real. However, they are shown to be consistent and trend with extremely good accuracy. In other words, don’t fret on the initial body fat percent number and just aim to lower it! To get a good body fat percentage you need an underwater scan or DEXA scan which are far too pricy for consumer use. (Though we are looking to rent or buy a used one!)
Fitness Trackers and Logs: Fitbit (word of caution here on the calorie burn readouts. It’s very misleading on the daily burn because it includes initial BMR. Look at individual exercise burn estimates and not the daily or weekly burn totals. Apple Watch is great for getting an idea of heart rate and calorie burn. MyFitness Pal is great for tracking food and is free for everything you need to start integrating your macro plan into your diet. Stacked is an app that seems fairly easy to use and a quick tool for journaling your workouts, lifts, and personal records.
Muscle Growth Capabilities: Want to see your optimal muscle output based on your unique body comps, age, and frame size? Try legion athletics free online tools that will give you ideal body sizes for each main body part and muscle group! It’s pretty well researched and seems to give reasonable ideal body capabilities. For men click here and women click here.
IN CONCLUSION: KNOWLEDGE + GOALS + ACCOUNTABILITY + TOOLS = SUCCESS
Whew! That was still a lot.
However trust us when we tell you if you read and reread this blog, follow the tips above, and use the tools, you will get results! In addition this will save you lots of time and years of trial and error.
Any other questions always feel free to reach out to the MFS team directly! Or if you want to set up a time for an individualized consult (current member or not) shoot us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will coordinate this.
Remember it's "MY BODY, MY MIND, MY LIFE" Now go OWN IT!!!!
See ya at the gym!