Progress your own body transformation – Part 2 

1) Set realistic expectations

First things first, fat loss is not a linear process. Now I don’t know how long it’s taken you to gain the additional kilos you now wish to shed, but I can assure you it will take longer than 2-4 weeks.

Too many people expect miracles within the first month of applying a new diet and training plan when in reality sustainable fat loss will be a relatively slow and healthy process.

If you want to make positive changes that are maintainable then you have to be prepared for a long haul, there will be highs and almost certainly there will be lows.

2) Monitor your progress.

In order to evaluate your progress it’s vitally important to monitor it.

Once you have your calorific intake set along with your training program I recommend you use several key methods every 2 weeks to assess how your body is responding.

The key methods I use with all my clients are:

  • Taking photos – front, side and back pictures. It can be hard to see changes when you look in the mirror every day, so comparing your images side by side is a great way to see these subtle changes.
  • Measurements – chest / bust, umbilical / waist, hips, mid thigh and mid upper arm. Using a tape measure to assess changes in these areas of your body will help you see numerical changes that the weighting scales may not show.
  • Body fat and weight – Possibly the 2 most popular measuring variables people get hung up on when in reality, for me they are the least important. Yes, we can use them to help monitor changes, but we should never get too hung up on chasing figures.  How you look, function and feel should be of the up most importance.
  • Mood diary – recording your energy levels throughout the day, during training, how’s the quality and quantity of your sleep, how’s your digestion and bowel movement. Use all this information collectively to decide on how you’re progressing.   If things aren’t moving in the right direction, then maybe changes need to be made. Likewise, if changes are occurring but you feel like utter shit then something needs to be tweaked.

2) Making Changes

Based on the previous 5 steps in an earlier post and by using the steps above you should start to see changes to your physique, both visually and statically. If you aren’t then something maybe a miss and things may need to be adjusted.

If fat loss is your goal, one thing you can do is drop your calories a little more.

If you’re currently having a large amount of carbs then it may be wise for you to drop these down a little, as in my experience this can help elicit greater rates of fat loss due to better digestive assimilation and utilisation. I wouldn’t go lower than 50g per day and that includes carbs you get from your veg intake.

You can also increase your energy expenditure and typically speaking if you already have a training plan in place this could be the introduction of cardio. Whether it’s HIIT or LISS it doesn’t really matter, do what you prefer and have time to do, as again it’s calories in versus calories out.

Speaking of training, potentially you’re not training hard enough. I hate to say it, but I see this all the time. People not applying the basic principles of training to not stimulate and force adaptation of the body and the muscle being worked.

4) Control Your Training Variables

Now when it comes to training there is no such thing as an ultimate training plan.

Any training program if utilised effectively and consistently will have a benefit. Where most people go wrong is that:

  1. They don’t stick to something long enough.
  2. As mentioned above they just don’t work hard enough.

There are few basic principles you must apply to any program you use, which are;

Tension

Tension refers to the act of flexing or squeezing your muscles during the range of the movement in hand. Doing so recruits more motor units, contracting more muscle fibres, potentially leading to greater results.

Tempo

Tension is control via tempo and tempo is one of the most important factors when it comes to lifting / moving a weight effectively. It basically refers to the speed a weight is moved during different phases of the lift. A controlled tempo leads to better form, reduces the risk of injury by improving joint health and increases protein synthesis when combined with tension.

Progression Through Overload

In order for a muscle to adapt they must be subjected to a new stimulus or a new amount of stimulus. Without this they see no need to change, you need to continually increase / change the demands of the musculoskeletal system to continually make progress both in muscle size, strength and endurance.

This can be done by increasing resistance, sets, reps, frequency, exercises or intensity.

However, whatever variable you change you must not sacrifice form!

Sets, reps and rest periods.

As a general rule of thumb to save over-complication you can use the following rep ranges, sets and rest periods.

  • 8-12 reps for more compound-based movements such as a chest press / lat pull etc
  • 12-15 reps for more isolated exercises such a bicep curl or tricep ext.
  • 3-4 sets per exercises with no more than 3-4 exercises per muscle group for larger muscle groups such as the chest and back 2-3 sets per exercises with no more than 2-3 sets per muscle group for smaller muscles such as the biceps and triceps.
  • Rest periods can vary anywhere between 30-60 seconds.

If you don’t have a training plan and are confused by the above, click this link below to download an example of a full body workout as this maybe a perfect start point for you.

FULL BODY WORKOUT

5) Accept responsibility

Understand that unless you have a genuine medical condition (which is rare) you are responsible for where you are right now.

If you constantly blame external factors for your situation, you won’t be able make healthy sustainable changes.

Your attitude, consistency and willingness to make positive changes will determine your success no matter what training plan / diet you follow.

Olly

My 5 top tips to help you start your own body transformation – Part 1. 

1) Track your calorie intake

Use an app like My Fitness Pal to track 1 week of calorific intake. That’s right 1 week, not a day.

For this week don’t change what you would normally have and make sure you input everything!

At the end of the week calculate your total intake and divide this by 7 to get an average of what your daily calorie intake is. Note this figure.

2) Calculate your BMR and TDEE

Use a online calculator such as https://keto-calculator.ankerl.com/ to roughly calculate what your Basal Metabolic Rate is (how many calories a day you would need just to function doing fuck all) and your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (how many calories per day you would need to maintain your current weight including all your daily activities). This is always an estimate but will give you a good starting point. Note these figures.

3) Compare the figures

From the first 2 tips it’s time to compare your current daily intake to what your total daily intake should be.

What’s the difference?

Are you eating more than your should be? Chances are YES.

This tip is just to show where you are going wrong and give you a better understanding about your true daily calorific needs.

4) Create a deficit

Ok so now you’ve worked out how many calories you’re actually consuming to how many you should be consuming to maintain weight, it’s time to create a deficit.

When fat loss is the goal it’s a simple equation, calories in versus calories out. You need to consume less calories than you burn in order to tap into your excess fat stores.

In my opinion it’s best not to be too aggressive with your initial calorific deficit. So as an example only:

  • you are currently consuming 2750 calories a day
  • your TDEE is 2500
  • you’re only eating 10% a day more than needed but that’s enough to gain weight.
  • So let’s create a 10% deficit of your TDEE
  • this would give you a new set intake of 2250.

This amount is enough in theory to get the fat loss process started but more importantly the jump between what you are currently consuming to this new figure isn’t hugely aggressive.

Where most people go wrong is that they set an intake that is far too low and unsustainable which inevitably leads to failure.

Slow progress is healthy progress.

5) Build a plan and track it

Now you have your new daily set intake in terms of calories it’s time to build yourself a diet plan.

Now you have 2 options here:

First option is to simply just track what you eat throughout the day (using my fitness pal or a similar app) and manage your portion sizes and timings to make sure you don’t over consume on your set target.

This may take a couple of days of trial and error in terms of both hitting your intake and spreading your foods so you don’t get to 4pm for example and have no calories left. Not ideal.

The second option is to pre plan your day’s intake and timings to make sure you know exactly what you are having and roughly when.

To keep things simple let’s just focus on calories here so we don’t overcomplicate this process.

Choose foods you like and enjoy but try to make sure the majority of your diet is nutrient dense, avoiding heavily processed foods. It’s very easy to go over on your calories when you are consuming calorie dense options or blindly drinking them without realising.

Try to make sure you get a good amount of protein into your daily intake, in my opinion roughly 30% is ideal.

Bulk your diet up with lots of veg as this will help keep you fuller for longer as well as provide you with some key nutrients important to your health.

 

So this is a very basic plan to get you started. It’s very easy to overcomplicate things especially with the mass of information out there. Use these tips to get the ball rolling and stay tuned for my next top tips to help you monitor your progress and learn to make adaptations if and when needed.

Olly