When trying to get in shape, many people often complicate what is necessary. It can be easy to go deep into training and nutritional issues and make drastic changes, yet often it can be simple lifestyle habits that are making the difference.
If you are out of shape, the likelihood is that you have certain lifestyle habits that are holding you back. However, until you do more research or reach out to someone, you may not realise that your lifestyle is your biggest problem when it comes to achieving your goals.
So, how do you know? Here are five lifestyle habits that could be affecting your progress.
This is an area that is crucial, not only to your fat loss progress, but also your overall health. A high-quality night’s sleep of 7-9 hours gives your body much-needed rest and recovery from your daily exercise and tasks, which is also crucial to progression. Furthermore, you produce a large portion of your growth hormone when you sleep, particularly in the first two hours. To build lean muscle tissue and burn fat efficiently, we need growth hormones, and as your growth hormone levels decrease gradually in your late 20’s, the importance of sleep then increases.
Sleep also produces Melatonin in the pineal gland and is involved in energy metabolism. It also balances your cortisol levels (the stress hormone that is part of our survival mechanism), and your levels of your insulin (the major hormone that controls your blood sugar levels), which is vital for your body to be able to rest and recover from your activity during the day. So, make sure that you are prioritising consistent, high-quality sleep – it is a gamechanger to your progression and health.
All or Nothing Mindset
One of the biggest mistakes people make is going from one extreme to the other, at a pace that is overwhelming and not sustainable. From a nutrition standpoint, this could be drastically reducing calories to an unnecessarily low level, with training it could be increasing the intensity or weight lifted too quickly, or from a lifestyle perspective it could be shutting down your social life and not enjoying meals out.
Many people want results as quickly as possible and often sacrifice the sustainability for a quick fix. The reality is that achieving a goal takes time and it requires sticking to a plan and building habits, not just for a long period, but for life. So, be patient, be in it for the long haul and celebrate small wins along the way. This will give you the best chance of developing a body that you can be proud of.
Although training and diet are both vital, they are not the only things that will help you create that crucial calorie deficit to help you lose fat and change your body shape. Adding in a sustainable form of cardio to your routine is going to help you burn those extra calories that will place you in a deficit of 400-500 calories.
This does not mean you have to jump on the treadmill every day. It means finding a form of cardio that is low intensity, enjoyable and easy on your body. The most popular form is walking a minimum of 9-10k steps per day, which can burn anywhere between 300-400 calories, depending on the individual. Aside from the fat loss benefits, going out for a walk is great for your mental health and allows you time to de-stress from certain situations. Make this part of your daily routine and it will hugely benefit your progress.
This is an area that many people struggle with. From Monday to Friday, with less temptation around you, it is usually much easier to stick to your plan, but when the weekend comes around, things can very easily go off the rails. This is mainly due to social events and a lack of a support network that will help you with your goals. As a result, alcohol and food binging occurs and your progress is affected.
Weekends are about being smart and in control. There is no reason why you can’t go for a restaurant meal or a couple of drinks with your friends and enjoy yourself but the moment it exceeds that is the moment when things can go off the rails. Many people use binging as an escape from their current plan or lifestyle, so focus on having an effective plan that you can enjoy and have balance on the weekends.
Processed, Intolerant Food Groups
One of the first things you need to address is your nutrition. You will have likely come from a diet that included foods that are highly processed, high in sugar, high in trans fats, and low in nutrition. Not only does this drastically increase your calorie intake, but causes inflammation in the body, leading to more water retention and therefore more body fat being stored.
By cleaning up your diet, you will be able to see noticeable progress in the first one to two weeks due to the lowering of inflammation levels in the body and therefore less water retention. It will also reduce cortisol and improve energy levels, which can lead to better performance. Make sure you are adding in high protein options, more green vegetables, and more slow-releasing carbohydrates into your meals. This is a great starting point to get you off on the right track.
Lifestyle habits are an essential part of getting in shape. However, it is often these poor habits that are holding someone back from achieving a result. So, look at areas such as poor sleep, all or nothing mindset, limited movement, weekend binging and intolerant food groups and see how you can improve them. This will make your journey far more manageable and give you a higher chance of being consistent.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements