The New Year is all about making resolutions and trying to become healthy. However, there is no point in making sweeping promises about giving up junk food completely or running 10K, 6 days a week! The secret to weight loss is consistency. Small changes lead to astounding transformations in the long-term.
That’s exactly why I’m sharing my top ten fitness tips with you. Implementing even one of these will bring you closer to your health and fitness goals.
1. Eat as low on the food chain as possible. 70% of your calories need to come from vegetables followed by protein. Stick to a 1:2 ratio of vegetable to protein in every meal. If you are a vegetarian, supplement with legumes, tofu and other vegetarian sources of protein. Vegetables are full of nutrition and fibre and protein aids in muscle repair and growth.
2. Emphasise protein. Often, people do deprivation diets and their hair falls out or their skin becomes terrible. That is because they probably cut out protein from their diet. Our bodies can make carbohydrate (from protein), and fats out of anything but protein must be eaten regularly for the body to thrive. Aim for 0.8grams of protein per kilo of body weight. So a 60kg woman would need 48 grams of protein a day. Do the math!
3. Don’t fear fat. Eat natural fats like olive oil, coconut oil, olives, avocados and nuts. Stay away from manmade fats like hydrogenated vegetable oils found in junk and processed foods.
4. Eat real food. Only eat food that grows out of the ground or food that once had a face. When you are looking at something on the shelf, ask yourself if it would have existed 5000 years ago. So processed foods like chips, cereals and biscuits are a definite no-no. Eat food, not products pretending to be food!
5. Do not count calories. Calories are not a good indication of what a food is like and the effect it is going to have on your metabolic rate. Would you say a couple of poached eggs are the same as a can of coke because they contain the same amount of calories? Count nutrients instead. Think quality, not quantity!
6. Look long term. You might be able to do the GM diet or the Atkins diet for 2 weeks but what happens after that? Don’t set yourself up for binge eating or failure by doing some silly deprivation diet.
7. When it comes to exercise, only do something you love. If you like dance, find a certified Zumba instructor or cultivate a hobby like learning Latin dance or Khattak. Exercise must feel like fun or you won’t stick to it. Women often ask me which workout is best to lose weight….and I always respond by saying, ‘the one that makes you feel good!’
8. Aim to workout at least three times a week. That is the minimum for weight loss. Each workout should push your mental and physical limits. Don’t get comfortable. Push it!
* But push in the right way by working out with an experienced and qualified trainer.
9. When it comes to weight loss, the best exercises are those that engage the most muscle groups. I always prefer multi-joint functional exercises like squats, deadlifts, planks and push-ups over isolation exercises like bicep curls, crunches, calf raises etc.
10. Last but not the least, set realistic goals. Weight loss is a double-edged sword: the more weight you lose, the harder it gets to lose weight. We’ve all heard of the infamous weight loss plateau. To prevent plateaus, lose weight slowly over a period of six to eight months. Drastic weight loss often leads to drastic weight gain. Take the pragmatic route of consistent exercise coupled with clean eating and you will achieve and maintain the body of your dreams!