Make the fruits of your labour last for the long run…
It’s the question many people are asking after the new year – how do I reach my fat loss goals without putting it all back on (and then some) in a couple of months’ time? With last year's indulgences spurring you on, the first couple weeks of a lifestyle change can feel easy but sustaining your progress long-term is tricky and tiresome. It’s said that as many as 95% of all diets fail, which doesn’t exactly put the odds in your favour! But don’t put down that healthy smoothie just yet. Instead, make sure you’re not making any of the mistakes below so that you can get lean and stay lean, for good. Spoiler; there’s no magic pill… sorry!
Being Too Restrictive
Cutting out all ‘joy’ is only going to end one way: with a “F’ it” moment before devouring the entire contents of your kitchen (and likely your local corner shop too). By keeping the majority of your diet nutritionally dense, and allowing for 10, 20, 25% to be less so, you’re far more likely to succeed. Your results might be a little slower than your crash-dieting pals, but it’ll be easier to maintain both a healthier relationship with food and long-term changes.
But don’t subscribe to the common misconception that eating nutritionally dense food has to involve bland, low-calorie meals. Eating plenty of greens is great, but you don’t need to chow down plate after plate of soggy, steamed greens or limp lettuce leaves. By making smart choices, the food you consume can be delicious whilst still fuelling your results! Check out these recipes here to help you get lean without living of lettuce!
And likewise, be realistic with your training schedule. How many and what kind of workouts can you feasibly manage before you’re pushing too hard or they start taking up too much of your precious time? Otherwise you’re on a fast track journey to serious burn out or a nasty injury.
Not Being Consistent
It might not be what you want to hear, but if you want to see real changes, you can’t just commit until mid-week when your social calendar gets busy. That doesn’t mean you have to aim for daily ‘perfection’ but try to have some consistency with your diet and exercise regime throughout the whole week. Cook up a healthier version of your favourite weekend brunch or go for a jog with your partner during a slow Sunday morning. Add things to your life that make this easier – like having you Neat plan delivered through your door every other week to make sure you’re refuelling right.
Being A Cardio Bunny Only
You know by now that for fat loss, you need to be in a calorie deficit. So sure, you can lose weight in a whole host of different ways – bizarre soup diets, hours of cardio included. But that doesn’t mean these are healthy, sustainable or efficient. The answer to building lean muscle efficiently in the gym is by incorporating compound lifts - exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. By working more muscles you’ll build more strength, burn more calories and gain more overall muscle mass. So essentially, it’ll spike those fat-burning, muscle-building hormones and paired with a good diet will help give you the body you want. Click here to read our five favourite exercises for building lean muscle and incorporate them into your workouts…
Not Enjoying the Process
If you really hate your training plan or dread the idea of having another one of your dull, meal-prepped lunches, it’s only a matter of time before you throw in the towel with your new year goals. Focus on the things you enjoy, rather than what you think you should be doing. It might not always be the quickest route to fat loss, but it is often the most successful because you can actually maintain it! Ask yourself: how can you move in a way that you love? Is it a dance class or running, CrossFit or yoga? What nutritious foods do you really enjoy and how can you incorporate these into nourishing but incredibly tasty recipes? For those in need of inspiration, head over to our recipe index for over 200 protein-packed recipes.
Similarly, listen to your gut. If something doesn’t work for you, don’t do it, no matter who has told you to! If a whey protein powder doesn’t make you feel great, try a vegan blend, or if you’re getting results and enjoying your current training plan, you don’t need to stop and go to F45 or a group class instead just because a trainer told you to.
Not Refuelling Properly
There’s a reason that we’re forever harping on about the important of refuelling! And this is especially important if you prefer to train later at night. We know that after a hectic day, just getting yourself to the gym can feel like a miracle achievement, let alone whipping up a post-workout meal when you get home. Some don’t even feel hungry that late at night. But don’t go to bed without giving your body everything it needs to repair and recover overnight.
Our criteria? Anything that’s fast, easy, filling and full of protein and carbs but easy to digest before hitting the hay. So, here’s some of our favourite foods paired with tasty protein-packed recipes to maximise your results after a late-night workout - so no ready meal is needed! It also might be worth checking out our blogpost on the most Common Protein Shake Mistakes!
Forgetting Your Reason
What is the reason behind wanting to make a change in the first place? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look a bit ‘trimmer’ but having something a bit deeper in mind to spur you on can make all the difference to your motivation. Do you want to have the energy to get through your hectic workday or to have fun with your family? Or do you also want to improve your mental health or have more self-confidence? There’re so many amazing benefits to living an active and healthy lifestyle, and as soon as you discover them, you’ll never want to quit!