At this time of year we are coming towards the period when New Year Resolutions may well be on the wane and this probably applies to the fitness industry more than any other.
So, how is your new year fitness resolution going? If it was to lose some weight, how have you got on so far? If you have managed to lose some weight then congratulations, but if you haven't found it easy then I have some "good news" for you.
Don't worry about losing weight, concentrate on losing fat and gaining muscle.
By focusing on reducing your body fat and increasing your muscle mass you are making great improvements to your health, body shape, strength and fitness, whatever your scales tell you when you stand on them.
To give you an example, let's take two people who both weigh 15 stone; one person has a body fat of 17% and one has a body fat of 30%. Both people clearly weigh the same but who is going to be the fitter, stronger and healthier? Clearly the person with the body fat of 17%.
The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn and the slimmer you look!
Average Body Fat Percentages for Men
Age : 18-21 14-20%
Age : 21-30 15-22%
Age : 30-35 18-24%
Age : 35-40 19-25%
Age : 40-45 20-27%
Age : 45-50 22-28%
The above numbers represent an average percentage for a particular age range and act as guidelines for your fat-loss
So, how do you go about losing fat? You must use a two-pronged attack: Your food/drink and your exercise levels
Regarding the food, aim to reduce the following:
● Foods that come in a tin or packet
● Food that says it has a fat content above 10% on the label
● Food that says it is fat-free, because it will probably be loaded with sugar!
● Pasta (especially if it’s white!)
Then you want to increase the following:
● Vegetables, up to 7 portions per day
● Fruit, but no more than 3-4 portions per day
● Water, 2-3 litres over and above any drinks like tea/coffee etc
● Foods that are grown in the ground
● Foods that are grown on trees
● Foods high in protein and lower in carbs
These two lists could go on, but you get the general idea hopefully. Make these changes gradually and you will stick to them and you will get results!
Aim to train 3 times per week
In the gym, focus on working the big muscle groups at least 2 x week. The big muscle groups are Chest, Back, Legs.
Focus on exercises such as Press Ups, Pull Ups, Squats, Deadlifts and Lunges
Aim for 45 min, focused intense sessions; don't go for an hour and just wander around the gym aimlessly
Go for HIIT on your cardio, not steady state: e.g if you use the bike then perform 20secs on/20secs off for 10 mins rather than just 10-15 mins at a slower pace. This applies to any piece of cardio in the gym
Vary your exercise on a regular basis so you are challenging your body: change your gym programme every 4 weeks, change your running route, speeds/distances etc.
Keep records of your progression as you go along, by writing down your exercise for the week and meal plans/food ideas.
Allow yourself a "cheat day" every 10 days or so; this gives you a little something to look forward to and helps to keep you from going mad!
Take your time and give yourself realistic targets of approx 1-2% per month
Make small, regular changes to your lifestyle that you can maintain; as long as you are making progress it doesn't matter how long it takes
The longer it takes the longer the changes will stay with you