Over the last 2 months, I have seen more progress in my fitness journey than I have ever seen before. Expand that over the last year, and the change has been remarkable. See my progression photo below.
For me, it has been a lot of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t. One of the most frustrating things about health and fitness is that we are all different, so you need to find what works best for you. Over the last 2 months I have dropped 7 pounds and now weigh less than I did in high school.
Of course, there have been ups and downs, but this is the best I have ever felt and looked. Here are my 3 tips to reach your fitness goals:
Tip # 1 to reach your fitness goals – Change Your Mindset About how to Lift
Recently I was listening to a podcast by Pete McCall (All About Fitness) and he mentioned that as we get older, you should start to minimize the amount of heavy lifting you do. He says that ideally, you should go heavy 2-3 times a week. He also said that you should cut out so much isolation exercises and focus on compound lifts.
Without really realizing it, I have adapted to this style of training. I switched over because I was getting bored with the traditional muscle isolation lifts. I still like to do them, but I have toned back how much I work them each week.
I have really been focusing on workouts that challenge my overall fitness ability. And honestly, I feel great and don’t regret the change one bit.
I have been incorporating different fitness classes into my normal routine as well. If I workout twice a day, it is usually when I pair it with a fitness class. I have been doing cycling, HIIT interval training, and yoga classes.
Although my major lifts haven’t progressed much, I have still been able to maintain my strength since switching to a more dynamic workout style and have also dropped over 10 pounds in the process.
Changing my mindset had to be one of the hardest things for me to do. I love being able to go to the gym and lift a ton of weight. There is no better feeling than racking 315 on bench after about 4 – 5 reps.
But I wasn’t always happy with the way I looked or felt. Consistently lifting heavy can have some major side effects on your body, especially your joints. I was also in a terrible stretching routine, so a lot of times it would result in me being achy and tight the next day, and eventually, I felt like this all the time.
In order to look and feel the way I want I knew something has going to have to give, and for me, that was giving up continuously heaving lifting.
What do these new workouts look like? Check out our workouts of the day page to see the type of workout I am talking about.
Tip # 2 to reach your fitness goals – The Nutrition Discipline Need to Get Real
When setting goals and aspirations, they usually sound a lot better than when you actually start working towards them right? Say for instance I want to be an astronaut, pretty cool aspiration. Then once you find out you have take Applications of Quantum Mechanics in college, your outlook on that aspiration probably changes a little bit.
In order to reach your goals, you need to put in the work, regardless of what it is, and fitness is absolutely no exception. You need to put work in at the gym and also refuel your body appropriately.
For me, working out was the easy part. If I could workout all day, believe me, I would. I pretty much did for 4 years in college. But there is another part of the equation that I wasn’t very good at.
That was managing the number of calories I was consuming vs the number of calories I was burning. I thought that as long as you are burning calories, you can pretty much eat anything. WRONG!
In order to see real weight loss, you need to understand the number of calories you are consuming on a daily basis. Once you factor in exercise, you should still be under if you are trying to lose weight, or even if you want to build lean muscle.
Once I was able to figure this out, I built out a daily meal plan, and knew if I stuck to it, I would be under every single day. I used the My Fitness Pal app to help track my meals and understand the total number of calories I was consuming.
Staying disciplined to the meal plan I build out is what helped me see the progress I have been waiting for a while to see. Here is what a normal day might look like for me:
- 3 eggs
- 4 pieces of turkey bacon
Mid Morning Snack:
- ½ cup of quick oats
- ¼ cup of almond milk
- Tsp of cinnamon
- Tsp of light brown sugar
- ¼ cup of rice
- ¼ cup of black beans
- ½ of turkey meat
- ½ cup of raw spinach
- Tbs of Greek yogurt with buffalo sauce mixed in
Mid day snack:
- 6 oz of chicken
- ½ cup of pasta
- 1 cup of broccoli
- 2 salmon filets
- ¼ of oats
- 1 tbs of peanut butter
- Drizzle of honey
- Dash of pure cocoa powder
If I stick to this plan, my nutritional intake for the day would be:
Carbs: 193 g
This is a pretty solid day for those that are trying to cut. I also don’t factor in the calories or nutrients from cooking, such as olive oil, butter, spices, etc. Those things can be too much to keep track of for an average Joe like me, so that is usually why I try to give myself a buffer from my actual calorie intake goal.
Even after figuring out a meal plan, I still like to use My Fitness Pal. I don’t use it to track every little thing I eat, but I think it’s good tool to give you an understanding of what you are putting in your body on a daily basis.
The reason I like it so much is it keeps me honest and true to myself. Occasionally I will have a cheat meal, but those are really limited now. I went from having pizza every Friday night to having it maybe once a month. Truly heartbreaking, but it needed to be done.
Tip # 3 to reach your fitness goals – Build Realistic Goals Based on Your Fitness Profile
When scrolling on Instagram, many of us are wowed and amazed at how in shape some people are. Then we tell ourselves we are going to look exactly like that…starting tomorrow.
The catch is that most of those individuals you are wowed by do this for a living. Yes, as their 9 to 5 job, they are to stay in shape and look good. Their whole day revolves around eating clean and working out multiple times a day.
I can guarantee you that you aren’t in the same boat, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading an article on how to look get in shape for the average Joe!
You need to be realistic with you goals by evaluating your current lifestyle, habits, and constraints. Create a lifestyle profile for yourself and build your fitness goals to fit it. Here are some questions to consider:
What type of job do you have? Are you sitting down for majority of it in front of a computer screen, or is it labor intensive? Do you travel a lot? How much time do you have to workout everyday? Can you only workout for an hour a day? Or can you squeeze in 2 workouts a day? What type of workouts do you like? Do you eat out or eat in? How often do you drink? Do you smoke?
Here is an example of my profile:
- Sedentary job – in front of a computer screen a lot of the day
- Time to workout – about an hour
- 2 workouts a day? – Sometimes
- Eat out or in? – Eat in almost every meal
- Workout style – HIIT interval training (for the time being)
Based off my profile, do you think I can look like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Unless I quit my job or invest in some steroids, I think that dream is far off!
Since I know that goal isn’t realistic for me, I have set ones that fit my lifestyle profile. Getting my weight down to 190 and body fat under 10% is a realistic goal for me, which I have been working towards.
When we set our goals to look like those fitness models on Instagram, we are setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves. And once we don’t see the progression we’ve been wanting to see, we give up. If you were to set more realistic goals, you won’t give up as fast, and you are more likely to see results.
I hope after reading my 3 tips to reach your fitness goals, you are inspired and understand that you are not alone in this journey. As long as you are willing to put in the work, you will achieve your goals.
Be patient. Be persistent. Be present