In a study carried out by the organization Do Something, approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies. That means the majority of your girlfriends do not like the way they look. Yes, even that one who eats whatever the hell she wants and maintains a size zero with a perfect booty and tatas. I don’t know about you, but to me, that number is both shocking and sad.
Many of us get caught up in the cycle of yo-yo dieting and exercising, in the hopes of finally being happy with our appearance. Unfortunately, this way lies madness. You’ll restrict your calories for several weeks, exercise hard every day, and then completely burn yourself and binge like The Rock on his cheat day.
Eventually, you will have a “this has to stop” moment. That moment when you realize that restricting yourself to chicken and broccoli is absolute bullshit and 30-minutes of Zumba is doing nothing for your waistline. It is at that moment you’ll decide to make a change to your lifestyle—for good.
Despite what the glossy advertisements for the Ab Toner Mega Deluxe Ultra Body Slimmer might tell you, transforming your body isn’t easy. When we see before and after shots of people who have lost weight and gained muscle, we often assume that they have achieved their aesthetics in a short time with little-to-no effort. Sadly, the road to total body transformation isn’t that simple, but we’re here to help you get started by letting you know what we learned along the way…
10. There is no magic pill or shake
Many of my friends have tried using various diet pills and shakes to help them lose weight. Clean 9, XLS Medical, Teatox—you name it; they’ve tried it. Many of them saw some weight loss as a result of using these pills and potions. However, they also saw their energy levels drop, their mood change, sleepless nights, and their junk food cravings increase exponentially!
Fat burning pills and shakes are not a long-term solution to your body woes, and often the weight loss is not because they burn calories. Instead, they dehydrate the fuck out of you or make you shit yourself! The side effects of these “diet solutions” definitely do not outweigh the benefits…
9. You must take dramatic action
Too often we enter into a diet or fitness regime when our heart isn’t really in it. As a result, in a few short weeks you’ll find yourself sacking off spin class for a pizza and a Game of Thrones marathon.
If you really want to transform your body, you have to commit to making some big changes. You’re not just going to have to overhaul your diet and workout routine; you’re going to have to change your entire lifestyle. Your brain is designed to go for the easy option in all things, but you can override it.
8. Consistency is key
You can’t just “kind of watch your diet” or “only go to the gym when you feel like it.” You have to be consistent with your nutrition and training, day in and day out. This is an especially tricky when you’ve had a bad day at work, or something pops up to screw your regular routine, but powering through it and staying consistent does pay off.
7. It takes at least 10 days to start seeing results
In my first week of changing my diet, I thought it was absolute horse shit. I didn’t look any better, I didn’t feel any better, and I was bored of broccoli and chicken However, something magical happened in the second week—I lost 1.2lbs and found myself feeling much stronger in the gym! I take it all back, broccoli. We cool.
The science behind this is that our bodies are resilient to change. Just one day on a new plan isn’t enough to stoke our metabolic furnace and get things moving. However, if we repeatedly give our bodies this new stimulus—a calorie deficit and/or heavy lifting—it will eventually cooperate and adapt, transforming your body in the process.
6. You can’t out-train a bad diet
I genuinely think there is something hard-wired in our brains that tells us “It’s fine to eat that muffin because you’ll work it off on your walk to the office tomorrow!” Unfortunately, our bodies don’t actually work like that. A true transformation is down to 80% diet and 20% exercise.
Although counting macros seems like hard work but once you’ve done it a for some time, it becomes second nature. When you see the results of eating to a specific macronutrient amount, in the form of newly found abs and glorious glutes, all that meal prep will feel worthwhile too.
5. Cutting out whole food groups will just make you hangry
In the past week alone, I have received unsolicited advice to cut out all carbohydrates, not to eat fats post-workout, and to avoid red meat like the plague. If we followed the advice of every “nutrition expert” in the media, we’d end up consuming nothing but air, water, and kale!
The truth is that no one food group is inherently bad. The amount of each food group you eat can have differing effects on your body, but restricting carbs, fats, or protein will not give you the perfect physique— it’ll just give you cravings. All of the cravings.
4. Protein shakes and supplements boost performance and improve recovery
Many women are under the impression that drinking protein shakes will result in getting Phil Heath-levels of massive. Even more women believe that sports supplements = steroids. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
When I started my health and fitness journey, I regularly found myself struggling with my energy levels and experiencing poor strength. Once I did a little research on supplements that complement weight training, it was no longer an issue! Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) during my workout made me feel stronger, and a little whey protein and creatine post-workout stopped me feeling tired and hungry.
3. There is a difference between good pain and bad pain
For many of us, we believe that transforming our body requires us to be uncomfortable and in pain at all times. If we’re not aching and struggling to walk, our training must not be working. No pain, no gain, right?
Although you will experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after a particularly hard session of lifting weights, you need to watch out for those times where you experience the bad kind of pain. If your chest is hurting to the point that you’re struggling to breathe, or you feel like your joints are “grinding,” or muscles are tearing, you should stop training immediately. Powering through this kind of pain will lead to you being out of the gym for a long time, setting you back significantly on your fitness journey. Listen to your body—it’s okay to stop sometimes!
2. Sugar and alcohol will seriously slow your progress
We’re not saying you should never touch vodka or gummy bears ever again—after all, they are delicious and in moderation, sugar and alcohol are just fine. However, regularly consuming alcohol or sugar may slow your progress and cause a calorie surplus. Simply, they’re a bunch of empty calories.
These calories aren’t going to fuel your workout or provide the nutrients you need. Remember that the next time you go overboard on the Swedish Fish or margaritas.
1. Age is but a number
Believe it or not, I’m in better shape now at nearly 30 than in my teens. I’m stronger, leaner, and I’ve earned myself a cracking pair of quads! Many people use age as an excuse for not going to the gym or why they struggle to improve their bodies. The truth is, you can build muscle and lose fat at any age.
It is a disservice to yourself to believe that age influences your ability to get fit or change your body. It does not. Commit to transformation now and by your next birthday, you’ll be glad you started when you did.