5 Steps To Get That Healthy Dream Body

Yes you can take the steps to achieve your health goals by following steps. In fact the path to success usually has steps; it’s rare for goals to be “accidentally” achieved.

Success is rarely an accident, it leaves clues and hints.

– Unknown

Having goals is awesome and all, but without a plan and strategy, goals remain over there, in your dreams and to-do lists. There are a few steps needed to turn your wish into a reality, and it involves having basic components of belief, faith, discipline and consistency.

At the top of the list is BELIEF! Actually ask yourself, do you truly believe that you are worthy of having what you want? If deep deep down you don’t, you will find yourself subconsciously sabotaging your efforts – taking one step forward and two steps back. Work on your belief and view of yourself and see yourself being the type of person who does what you wish to achieve.

Once your mindset is in the right place, the following steps can be applied:

1. Define Your Main Goals Clearly And Write Them Down

You have to be very specific about what you want – want to lose a few inches from your waist? Or to lose 20kg? Or to be the strongest woman/man in your country? Or to reduce your body fat? Or maybe to become the most chiselled you have ever been. You need to have clarity of what exactly you are going for, and know where your ultimate destination is. Clarity on any goal in life helps you to be specific of what you are aiming for, and it applies also to your health goals.

2. Create Mini-Goals To Achieve Your Main Goal

You will need to make smaller short-term goals to aim for, such as monthly or weekly goals. The benefit of using smaller goals is that they help to create confidence, and as the confidence builds with momentum, you will inch and foot your way towards your ultimate goal with consistency. This is especially necessary if you have an ambitious ultimate goal (which is awesome BTW, the bigger the better) – smaller landmarks to aim for keep your focus active and consistent. This could look like losing 5kg a month, lifting 10kg more per month, running 10km a minute faster each month etc.

3. Create Strategies To Achieve The Mini-Goals

This is now where you create and plan the actionable steps, such as going to the gym 4 times a week, having a protein shake each breakfast instead of cereal, doing 300kcal of cardio a week, sleeping 30 minutes earlier every night, get a workout routine and commit 3 days a week etc.They are the actual processes that will lead you to your ultimate goals. The seemingly small and insignificant tasks that you take part in consistently and over a long period of time create the biggest impact.

That’s the power of creating the right habits; they truly make or break you, and it becomes clear in the long run. The difference between “just one donut” every night before bed and “just one donut” only once a week matters more that it seems. At least aim for 51% good decisions, to start with, then add a percent every week. Remember to keep the goals small.

4. Visualise Yourself At Your End-Goal

As you go through the whole process, every day, remember to take time to actually see yourself at the end goal. This helps to reinforce to your subconscious mind that you ARE that person because, when you actually believe and see yourself being able to achieve it, your subconscious mind will do everything in it’s power to help your physical reality match your mental reality; it works the same with health. If you can see yourself having more energy, looking leaner, or being stronger, or being a faster runner, it just seems so much easier to actually become it.

5. Reward Yourself For Your Achievements

Putting in the work consistently is work, it isn’t easy, and you need to reward yourself and recognise all you do towards reaching for more. Now this reward system does not automatically mean food ie cheat meals or worse yet, cheat DAYS (which I don’t agree with as they reinforce usually hyperpalatable foods as “valuable” and your daily work/commitments as “chores” instead of as respectable steps towards improvement).

It means learning to reward yourself mentally, bask in your accomplishments and develop your self-respect as you see yourself as someone who can aim for a goal and achieve it (it’s honestly the best feeling in the world), and no-one can take it from you.

This will also help to set your behaviours in and allow them to become habits, which are intrinsically rewarding (requiring no external reward, enjoying the action for its own sake). And THEN you have hit the sweet spot – you can reach that ultimate goal, and you’re now living the dream.

Do this long enough on just about any goal you want, and congratulations, you are a winner.

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The Right Way To Set Your Goals

Goals are wonderful, they allow us to strive and focus towards a better destination. To achieve Xkg weight loss or to lift Xkg in the gym or to do a photo shoot in X weeks/months. They give a sense of motivation. All too commonly though we end feeling like a goal is too big or too far, and 95% of the time, we give up before we reach that destination.

Have you ever had a goal so big it made you freak out? Ever felt so overwhelmed, it seems so daunting especially if you imagine the monumental work you would have to put in to achieve it?

So how do you set a goal the right way?

Create Systems Not Goals.

What I mean is let’s say you have a goal to lose 10kg in a month. At the start, when you’re high with motivation, it’s easy to decide to go for a run for 5km every single morning for 4 days straight. Or to cut out all starches, bread, baked goods and every fried food in sight.

It goes well for 5 days, a week maybe, then the following week Monday the idea of restriction feels so overwhelming. “Ah forget this, it’s too much” you think to yourself before diving into the donuts at the office lunch room.

The concern here is that the goal looks like this:

  • Lose 10kg

A system looks like:

  • Eat 3 servings of vegetables a day
  • Drink 6 glasses of water a day
  • Protein containing breakfasts
  • Make it to the gym 4 times this week
  • Walk 10000 steps a day

When creating a system like this, is that you can take your eye off the “lose 10kg” goal which can stress you if you eg don’t lose weight that week. These smaller goals are actionable activities and provide checks in your day and they are strategies which themselves have less pressure than the outcome.

The fact is you can’t control how much weight you lose or gain, but you CAN control what you eat, your portion sizes, your exercise regime, your sleep, and to make the better choice the majority of the time. If you have no plan for going into each day or even the week, it’s harder to make consistent measurable steps towards your goal.

The benefit of a system or smaller plans is that the big goal will find itself seemingly achieved “accidentally”. The truth is, there is no accidental success. Success leaves trails, and there are strong indicators well before the success is achieved.

If you manage to hit the gym 4 times a week consistently, drink enough water, and focus on 75% of your meals being whole food with adequate protein and nutrients, reaching your goal of losing Xkg or whichever your goal is has no choice but to happen.

Plus, when you focus on these systems and strategies, you commit to them for long enough, you will turn them into habits. And when you are able to sustain these practices as habits, on the outside, you’ll seem like a person who can easily achieve a goal, one of those “transformation photos”. Without surgery, photoshop, crazy shakes and diet strategies.

Control Your Activities And You Control Your Results.

Some days and weeks will be better than others. Sometimes you will make a lot of progress, and sometimes you won’t make any. Sometimes you will have dry periods and weight slumps. Other times you will lose two or three times as much as you projected. But the law of averages is at work. It is inexorable. If you just keep on making the necessary choices, you will eventually reach your target, on schedule.

Those who can achieve and sustain their goals can let you know how many times a week they will go to the gym, how many times they plan to eat out, their favourite homemade meals, and what makes things easier or harder (eg work or life stress) and what they do to not allow those external stresses to affect their goal.

So go out there and set a huge target or goal. Now spend time working out what you need to do to get there and forget about the goal. Im serious. It will happen.

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What’s The Deal With Protein?

Sometimes I feel like a protein connoisseur or something, the way I can go on and on about it. But it’s because I have not only seen the ways it has worked for myself, but in people around me who have picked up on it. There is also a science-based fitness revolution that’s been taking place ,where alot more evidence based recommendations are made and getting promoted in the media – protein is being encouraged more.

“Protein = muscle building.”

That’s how most of us understand it, and it is very true. Made from 20 amino acids, without getting too sciency here, 9 of those are essential amino acids. And of those 9, there are 3 responsible for muscle protein synthesis. Leucine, isoleucine and valine. These are the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) that are important (Seen BCAAs advertised in supplement shops? Yeah those), with leucine being the primary of the 3 BCAAs.

Yeah , okay, so what does this mean for me?

Simply put, eat enough of protein rich sources of food in a day. There’s animal and plant sources ,so no matter what diet you follow ie omnivore, vegan, keto etc,there’s a lot of options.

  • Poultry (lean cuts – chicken breast, turkey breast etc)
  • Seafood (shrimp, hake, tuna, tilapia etc)
  • Egg whites
  • Tofu
  • Game meat
  • Protein powders (whey, casein, rice protein, pea protein etc)
  • Beef*
  • Dairy*
  • Nuts and seeds*
  • Nut butters (almond butter, peanut butter etc)*
  • Whole grains – brown rice, barley, wholewheat**
  • Beans, lentils, peas, other legumes**
  • Quinoa**

The REAL deal with protein foods they don’t talk about :

Some foods listed above are almost entirely protein sources, such as the first six listed above. The rest of the foods on the list are foods that contain protein AND either carbohydrates and fat(macronutrients). Meaning eating a lot of these food will contribute to your intake of either carbohydrates or fat.

For example – the foods with a * contain fat as well, and the foods with a ** are carbohydrates that contain SOME protein, and are not protein foods on their own.

Macronutrients? What does that have to do with me liking peanut butter as my protein source?

Total calories are made up of 3 macronutrients – carbohydrates, fats and protein (well there’s a 4th – alcohol, but it has zero nutritional value and for simplicity let’s take it out of the equation).

Example of how macronutrients make up our total calores

So say you want to eat more fat and have the same calories – one of the other two would have to reduce, otherwise you will end up having excess calories – weight gain.

This means when you take in peanut butter for its protein, you are consuming not only some protein, but additional fat – peanut butter on average contains 20% protein, but 50% fat. So when you take a tablespoon of peanut butter (~20g) you take in 6g of protein but 10g of fat as well.

Just as with nut butters, quinoa is often touted as a “great protein source”. In reality, quinoa is only 20% protein and 70% carbohydrate. So a 100g portion of quinoa will give you ~5g of protein, yet also 20g of carbohydrates.

Of course carbohydrates and fats are important, but when trying to increase protein intake, its more favoured to use mostly lean protein sources rather than these other foods that are often a combination of other macronutrients.

This is because to reach your recommended intake of protein WITHOUT exceeding other macronutrients, it’s easier to consume these protein sources. To use nuts, bacon and full fat dairy for your primary protein sources will almost definitely cause you to exceed your recommended daily fat intake. So focus on mostly lean protein, in the context of your calorie needs as well as accounting for the other macronutrients.

So does that mean protein shakes and BCAA supplements are the key?

No, they are not. The only “magical” thing they do is help you reach your protein target.If you can eat enough protein containing foods, you don’t need them! Also, BCAAs contain a very very small amount of protein,not enough to stimulate MPS (muscle protein systhesis), are expensive, and cannot replace consumption of whole protein sources – BCAAs are basically a waste of money with little value; however whey and casein protein provide good value.

So how much do I need if i do resistance training regularly?

1.2-1.7g/kg of protein per day is the newer recommended amount.

(Small caveat – if you have known kidney disease or are at risk, stick to the recommended amount medically advised as excess protein impairs renal function. If you are healthy though, it is absolutely okay to ingest higher amounts of protein.)

This number is lower than most bodybuilders recommend or “the fitness industry”so to speak. The average healthy person can tolerate the commonly recommended 2.2g/kg/day or 1g/lb/day average. It’s really a range, and with this, more is not necessarily better. There’s the issue of if you have a given amount of calories a day, more protein means less room for carbohydrates and fats. So a range of 1.4 – 1.8g/kg/day will cover your bases. I opt for the least amount of protein that will actively help to retain and build muscle, just because it allows for more carbohydrates and some more fat.

As a base, stay on the higher end when losing weight to help retain muscle mass, and you can stick to the middle -lower end on maintenance and while gaining weight/bulking.

For example, I weigh 57kg, currently maintaining, and I aim for around 1.5g/kg/day

57 x 1.5 = 85.5

Therefore I usually aim for around 80-90g of protein per day.

Some days I go over, some days its a bit of work to reach the minimum, but consistency in hitting those values has had the second most important impact I have seen in terms of my body composition – with the first being resistance training – and that’s another story….

And that’s the gist of protein.

That’s all for now folks! Stay tuned, subscribe for new posts 🙂

The “Secret” To Getting Toned

I put “secret” in quotation marks because it’s not really a secret, it is more commonly portrayed as something that its not. So let’s simplify it into what it is and what not.

What it’s NOT – using light weights only and doing only specific kinds of exercises – not THOSE bulky making exercises/too heavy weights.

What it IS – Low amount of body fat + Decent amount of muscle.

So there’s two parts to this equation. Let’s dive right into it. 

1. Low amount of body fat

So how do we achieve this? What most of us do is actually correct; eating less food or doing cardio exercises or a combination of both. The treadmill will help here, or the elliptical, or swimming, or going for jogs, or those classes at the gym. Do keep in mind that nutrition is the most important thing.

Total calories at the end of the day, with the balance of how much you eat vs how much you spend, will dictate whether you lose or gain weight. You need to have a negative balance, so you need to take in less food than you expend. This also requires consistency and patience; usually it will take more time than you think. More likely more time than you think

2. Decent amount of muscle

This is the most underrated part of this equation, but theres only one thing you need to do in order to get this part right. Okay, well two things.

Train with resistance + Adequate protein intake.

If there’s one thing to take away from this whole post, is that one sentence above. Training with resistance will not only enhance your physical strength, strengthen your bones (increases bone density), and make you look and feel like a badass, but you will finally get that “toned” result.

Training with weights doing compound movements 3-4x a week, with moderately heavy weight (NOT 2kg pink dumbbells), with good form, progressively overloading (increasing weights and/or reps) over time is the key. Other resistance exercises could also include bodyweight training (calisthenics), use of resistance bands and to a certain extent yoga. You do not need a gym to perform these, even with weights and bands at home, you can achieve quite a remarkable physique.

Protein intake – it is useful for increasing satiety, and feeding those muscles you’re working out so hard. How much? Common guidelines according to WHO for general health are 0.8g/kg BUT once you start regularly training your muscles, a higher intake is recommended. Check here for the article I wrote on what the deal is with protein.

That’s it. That’s the secret. Do these two things, be patient, and do them regularly. And for months Doing some things some times will give some result. Doing them consistently, will lead you to your own body transformation.

See ya next time 🙂

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