I guarantee you know someone who’s done this. Something’s looming in the near future. It might be a wedding, it might be a holiday with a lot of beach time involved, and they’ve decided they’re going to “get in shape” for that one specific time. Sure enough, they hit the gym, they stick to their program, they follow the nutritional guidance, and at the end of it they look exactly how they wanted to look.
More power to them. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Except they go out, buy up a wardrobe of new clothes at the very same time that they’re dropping back into their old habits. Their trainer hasn’t seen them, but the guys at their local take-away welcomed them back with open arms. They’re the proud new owners of a bunch of designer swimwear, but already they’re working hard to ensure that they won’t fit into it much beyond their two weeks on the beach.
And sure, they had a specific date in mind, something they wanted to look or feel a certain way for, but wouldn’t it be nicer to continue to look and feel that way? Health, fitness, through-the-roof energy levels and a great physique are nice to have because you’re on holiday, or because your best friend from high-school is getting married, but they’re also nice to have on a rainy Thursday afternoon at your desk.
Why not keep them?
Some people see it as ironic. As a trainer I think it’s heartbreaking. The hard work is done. The getting there is the toughest part. If you can do that, you sure as hell can follow these few simple rules that’ll keep you there.
Keep your protein intake high
I know you’re not going to be eating like you did when you were training to get there. I understand that, but that doesn’t mean you have to revert all the way back to your old habits. Most meals aren’t special occasions, so they don’t have to involve any sort of celebratory foods. Keeping the protein levels in your meals and snacks high and accompanying this protein with plenty of vegetables means you’re going to be eating more good stuff and less crap, because protein is good for satiety. If you go out occasionally with friends you earn it by eating well the rest of the time. Not being as strict as you were during your transformation doesn’t mean you have to go off and explore the far-off other side of the spectrum all the time.
Don’t ever go hungry
You know who makes really stupid food decisions? Hungry people, that’s who. I know, because I’ve done it myself. Starve me, then put me outside a bakery and I’m going to kill, maim and fight to ensure I’m first in line, even though at any other time I wouldn’t touch most of what they sell.
But just making sure you eat whenever you’re hungry isn’t enough. This feeds into my next point…
Have the right food ready to eat when you’re hungry
Just like I said before, hungry people make stupid food decisions. If you’re going to avoid hunger, and still keep to your nutritional protocols, you’re going to need something ready to go. For those times when time or location restrictions mean you’re not going to be able to prepare yourself a nutritious meal or snack, you need to have already done some food prep. I do mine on Sundays. I prepare three or four different foods in large batches, then some go in the fridge, some go in the freezer, and whenever I don’t have time to prepare food I have something I can grab and eat or grab and take with me..
Yes, I know, you just did twelve weeks of training at the gym, but stay with me. I’m talking a maintenance program here. Hit the gym and lift two to three days per week, focus on your lifting and maybe build some strength. It’ll keep your metabolism high, keep your body burning fat, and possibly even hide the occasional lifestyle indiscretion (as long as it’s occasional).
Hit your TV with a sledgehammer
I’ll give you two great reasons to do this. Number one, the engagement of core muscles throughout this movement is fantastic. It’s an awesome bang-for-your-buck type move that helps to build muscle at the same time as elevating your heart rate and burning fat as well. All good stuff. Secondly, you don’t need your TV anyway. All it’s doing is promoting too much sitting-down time, whilst disrupting the kind of evening relaxation that helps with good quality sleep and recovery.
Physically active people don’t watch TV. Go into any commercial gym and look at the people staring at the TV while they walk on the treadmill or elliptical trainer. Now look at the people far too focused on their training to watch TV? Which one of those people’s health, fitness levels and physique do you want?
Physically active people don’t watch TV. Get rid of your TV.
Perform interval training
It doesn’t have to be a lot. Studies have shown that even once or twice a week, high intensity intervals do marvellous things for fat loss. Combined with your strength training you’re going to stay in awesome shape forever.
And that’s what we’ve been talking about, isn’t it?
Are you not achieving the results you want? Have always struggled with your nutrition? Training hard but still not losing that stubborn belly fat?
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