Vancouver personal trainer and FTF coach Mike Howard is back with 50 more amazing fat loss and fitness tips. In case you missed it, here’s the first 50.
1. Know discomfort from pain: Every life-altering intervention runs on a risk/reward continuum. You need to kick yourself in the comfort zone, not beat yourself into the ground
2. Vary your fats. Eat fish, nuts, avocados, seeds, etc. Don’t get too caught up in good vs. bad fats – saturated fats aren’t damaging, omega-6’s may be – all are damaging if you eat too much of them.
3. Be an athlete again. Did you play a sport as a child? Find an adult league in your old sport!
4. Act like a kid. They run, play, climb and have fun with activity. They also only eat until they are full.
5. Ask what you want more. When faced with the dilemma of whether or not to indulge in snack/meal detrimental to your progress tell yourself “I want my health/ideal body more than I want that ______.”
6. Cut yourself some slack… BUT, learn from your slip-ups. You reached an undesirable state due to perpetual slip-ups. Apply what you’ve learned and create new habits.
7. Don’t confine yourself to dietary “rules”… instead, eat intuitively, moderately and joyously.
8. Your new lifestyle WILL require changes – some of them may be drastic. The journey, however should be customized to your circumstances, preferences and lifestyle. Instead of fitting a square peg in a round hole, mold both to achieve a smoother transition.
9. Seek to improve your health not through some “diet miracle” but rather through ceasing to search for said miracle. There is power in freeing yourself of nutrition and training constraints that are said to be the best or only way towards optimal health.
10. There is an inverse relationship between… diet book bestsellers and the actual science contained within.
11. The diet phenomena paradox: We oversimplify the complicated science of fat loss whilst over-complicating the practice of it.
12. Release yourself of the fear of judgement when following a healthy path: It’s ok to order a salad, skip desert and ask for substitutions when out on the town.
13. There’s a place for almost everything. Despite the fact that some trends are “passé” or categorically shunned, there is a place for static stretching, traditional cardio and carbohydrates.
14. 3 steps to tackle sugar cravings: 1. Distract 2. Distract more intensely 3. Give in (without fully giving in). Drink a chocolate protein smoothie, have berries with greek yogurt and a bit of maple syrup, a couple of pieces of dark chocolate drizzled on strawberries. DONE.
15. Be calorie aware but not obsessed. Counting calories is not neurotic when the end goal is creating awareness.
16. Change is challenging: Associate as much pain as possible with NOT changing and as much pleasure as possible with your desired picture of health.
17. Goal-setting: Be realistic, multi-layered (include health, body composition but also mindset and lifestyle related goals). Also be specific, flexible and forgiving.
18. Your self-talk can make or break your fat loss efforts. Be kind to yourself.
19. Genetics loads the gun but we pull the trigger with our lifestyle choices.
20. Try these 3 single leg variations: Pistols, Bulgarian Split Squat, Single leg Romanian Deadlift. Thank me (or more likely curse me) tomorrow.
21. “Revolutionary” is one of the most common words in diet and fitness book titles. Very VERY few are revolutionary. At best they are “evolutionary”. Most likely they are re-hashed ideas of other fads.
22. The answer to almost every fitness and nutrition question is… “It depends”.
23. Just because it’s “logical” doesn’t mean it’s “physiological”.
24. For every pushing exercise, perform at least 2 pulling exercises.
25. Basic breakfast rotation: Eggs, oatmeal, protein shake.
26. Buy a pair of jeans or dress you love – 2 sizes smaller than your current size (if that is your goal). Hang them up where you can see them often.
27. Work at a desk? Commit this to memory: 1. Tuck your chin back 2. Sit upright 3. Relax your shoulders.
28. Dairy controversy summary: Neither satan nor savior, if you react poorly to it, don’t consume it. If you drink milk, drink whole, skim – anything in between, dead, alive – what have you. Just don’t overdo it. It has no special weight loss properties and no special disease-promoting properties either.
29. If your diet system is “the answer” – you are asking the wrong questions. (Chris Highcock)
30. Soreness is a poor indicator of how effective your workout was.
31. When faced with unhealthy food, repeat this mantra: “It looks/smells great but it’s not in my plan”.
32. Top foods to eat to give you six-pack abs: *All of them (*provided you are eating them moderately – keeping in an adequate protein, caloric deficit and strength training).
33. The top foods to avoid if you want to lose fat: *None of them (*provided you eat them moderately and have an otherwise healthy diet).
34. Don’t underestimate the power of a day off. Your rest days are as important as your training days.
35. Look long-term for inspiration/motivation. Make it a goal to keep up with your GRANDchildren.
36. Just start! It doesn’t matter how or what kind of shape you’re in. Don’t be a “I’ll do it when” person… I get new shoes… when the weather improves… when things are less busy with work… when the kids go back to school. Etc. Those “when” days never seem to come.
37. Use technology in a positive way. Find some good apps for diet and exercise.
38. You can’t put something as complicated as food into something as complex as the human body and make easy predictions about the outcome.
39. When adding more exercise be sure not to overcompensate with more food. With more overall exercise you WILL often need more food but if you tend to get hungry post workout, be extra vigilant not to overeat.
40. Diet fad “wisdom”: It’s not your fault… unless it’s my diet you failed on – then you’re doing it wrong.
41. We would be much healthier as a society if we ceased to think of exercise as punishment and food as reward. Do your best to enjoy the experience of both.
42. “Convenient health foods” – oxymoron? Not always. Pre-washed/cut lettuce, veggies, nuts, hardboiled eggs, ready-to-eat cans of flavoured tuna/cottage cheese. If you hate to “shop and chop” there are options.
43. Juice fasts/cleanses are socially accepted eating disorders.
44. Have school-age children? When possible play with them at the park for 30 minutes after school as many days as you can. Sneak in a set of pullups, step-ups or push-ups.
45. Glove compartment check: 1. Non-perishable healthy snack, 2. Napkins 3. Plastic cutlery. Many of us spend a great deal of time commuting – these items will help “drive-thru-proof” you.
46. Quick Tabata workout (20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest): Jump squats, speed rows (exercise tubing), spidermans (hands on ground – quick switching knees towards elbows), jump lunges, plank crawls) x 2-5.
47. There is typically an inverse relationship between the loudest opinions on diets and training and the credibility of said voices.
48. Right questions to ask of a food/meal: Is it reasonably nutritious/wholesome? Is it tasty? (and in the case of fat loss goals) Does it fit my macros? Misguided questions to ask: is it part of the rules of diet XYZ?
49. When looking at goals, try not to think too much in terms of outcome… rather, focus on the critical path; make it your goal to build daily habits. When your mental energy is focused there, your physical goals will manifest themselves.
50. Even if your goal is fat LOSS – always remember you are in this to GAIN health.