Fitness Transformation: 29 Lessons from Losing 29 Pounds in 13 Weeks
Many times in life we hear that life is about "balance."
This is what I used to tell myself all the time in order to keep myself comfortable, and justify the reasons why I couldn't make progress in the gym.
Later on I realized that people who succeed in life, don't really live their lives in balance. Balance is for the average person, not for those who push themselves toward improvement.
The reason I now think this way is because of in order to get better, you need to spend time becoming better, learning your way, putting in the work, adapting, and working around obstacles that unexpectedly appear in the way.
We have to make decisions that align what the things we want to achieve. In order to get to where I am as of today, I had to get my diet in check; I stopped eating out as much, I started eating more vegetables, and I had to start preparing my foods and tracking what I put in my body in order to adjust and keep moving forward.
This is why I want to share with you 29 lessons I've learned from losing 29 pounds and reducing my body fat from 21% to 11.9% in 13 weeks.
- Know where you are, and what you are doing wrong. In order to go somewhere, you must know where you are today. Find out and go from there
- Have a vision, and set a realistic goal. You won't know where you are going if you don't set a goal and a timeline.
- Make a plan. This is the tool and path you will follow to reach your goal. If you don't have a plan, you will zig-zag endlessly and will struggle to have clarity in your journey..
- Get a coach: Save time and, in the long run, money (if you can afford it, don't spin your wheels trying things out for years when you can hire someone to show you the ropes)
- If you want to play hard, you need to work hardER
- Eat your vegetables; aim four servings, three minimum
- Take baby steps, slow implementation, or you'll get burned out
- Aim at tracking your food; everything. Even when it hurts to see how much you've eaten
- Accountability is powerful. The fact that you have to check in with someone and tell him straight up why you've been messing up helps you be more careful and stick to your plan. That's better than having a puppy face and explaining why you fail week after week.
- Get back on track regardless of how many times to slip off
- Adjust, and don't make excuses for why you can't do it. Instead, ask yourself how you can do it
- Stop eating out as much and make your food at home. Foods that you don't make yourself are difficult to track because you don't know what's in them. Besides, they may be high in sugar, sodium, and fat...which kind of sabotage your progress
- Take pride in your progress even if you lose one pound in a week.
- Find the foods you like, and stick to them. I love sweet potatoes, lentils, oats, eggs, egg whites, and cheese, and chicken. I eat all of these foods very often, and the strategy helped me stay on track.
- Meal prep ahead of time and always have food ready. If there is no food, you will feel tempted to go grab something quick. Always have a source of carbohydrates and protein readily available.
- Plan/think ahead. You know when you will be busy and won't have time to prepare your food. Or you know when you will have gatherings with friends or with family. Plan accordingly for those days and if you will eat lots of food, make sure you make those days your most intense ones in the gym as well!
- Save calories. I enjoyed doing this one very much. Whenever I knew I'd have dinner with my family, or friends, I would always save most of my calories for such meal. For example, if I have 1700 calories to eat for the day, I would probably save about 1100 calories.
- Weigh yourself everyday. This method may drive some people crazy, but it worked for me, as I was able to tell whether I was on track or not almost on a daily basis. However, I do understand this is not for everyone as it may fill you with anxiety and too much stress. Do what works for you
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. Yes, you've heard this before, and it's true. If you can't find them in person, find them on Instagram. The Instagram fitness community is honestly very uplifting and supportive. I've personally made some friends there! Just remember relationships are two-way streets
- Stop hanging out with people who don't align with your goals.
- Workout in the morning. I used to think I couldn't workout in the morning because, well, I sucked at getting up. This was the case until I realized I hated waiting for gym equipment every evening. I started exercising at 5AM on weekdays, and let me tell you, it is wonderful to go in and out without having to wait for equipment. Now I'm used to it even though it sucked in the beginning.
- There won't be daily visual progress. It doesn't matter how many times you look at yourself in the mirror during the day. Your progress will be visual every week, or every other week.
- Don't be too strict or you'll drive yourself crazy. Let's be honest, if you don't have many friends that are into fitness like you, it can be tough to hang out with them. Go spend time with them once in a while, and always remember to save your calories, so you can have a good time, and bring your brain back to sanity. Seeing and hanging out with people is something we need,
- Inspire and motivate others by sharing your journey/story. I always used to think I had to be huge with a six pack to motivate others. The truth is that I've been able to inspire and motivate others by sharing my story and dedication to reach my goals. Others will feed off of it. We are more powerful than we think.
- Take measurements: Not only of your weight, but your waist, your arms, height, shoe size, everything. You will get a better picture of how your body is doing and what areas have the most trouble losing fat. There is no such thing as just losing fat in your arm pits.
- Low in motivation? Look back and look at your goal again. Motivation will not always be there. In those instances, look back at your progress, and look forward to your goal. Take it one day at a time, and stick to the plan
- Habit and Discipline win over motivation. Motivation can only take you so far. Habit and discipline are the tools you need to carry yourself through the finish line. Develop them through consistency
- Record yourself at the gym to check your form
- Adopt in the gym. If one movement hurts your joints, or your form isn't too great, change it up to something that doesn't.
- BONUS: Don't neglect your core and stretching. As a person who's injured his back twice and knee once (that's yet TBD), I have to be very careful with both As such, I had to implement The McGill Big Three for core strengthening and lots of calf, and hamstring stretches to prevent injury.
There you have it, friends. I hope you find these lessons/advice useful. The key is to take that first step and remember that the most important part of this all is our mindset; we have to tell ourselves we can actually get there if we stick to the plan.
Look forward to the journey, and as Gregg Plitt used to say "fall in love with the pain." Don't defeat yourself before you start and think of the monumental task. Think of what you can do today to get there
As always, remain Defiant, Resilient, and Unbreakable.