Weight loss is not necessarily synonymous with a change in body composition. Getting your body composition to where you want it is the holy grail of trying to reshape for that special reunion, upcoming holiday or just to feel sexier.
Here are six, simple and small things that can go a long way to reshaping your body.
#1. Get your diet right
We have all heard it before: no matter how much exercise you do, you cannot out-train a bad diet. That means reshaping your body starts in the kitchen.
Perhaps a better term to use is “eating plan” and not a diet, as diet may have negative connotations. The idea is not to starve yourself but rather feed your body with the nutrition and energy it needs to transform.
In fact, when you follow a wholesome, clean diet and exercise regularly, you will likely find that you eat more than you thought you could (or should).
#2. Focus on whole foods
Stay away from processed foods – these foodstuffs are a major cause of the obesity problem in westernised societies.
Eat whole, natural foods as often as possible. Fresh meats (such as beef, chicken, fish), fresh vegetables and fruit, legumes and seeds, and carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and butternut are best.
#3. Train with weights
Lifting weights will not make you big and bulky. If it were that easy, every man who lifted weights would look like that, and men have far more testosterone. So don’t skip the weights section at gym – It is the key to crafting the body of your dreams!
Lifting weights has a few benefits for women:
- Lifting weights builds lean muscle. Lean muscle is your friend and not your enemy. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, which means it burns calories even at rest. This means that the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. In addition to the fat-burning effects of a raised metabolism, muscle is what shapes the body and makes the sought-after tight curves of the bum and thighs.
- Weight training is hard work and doing it burns a lot of calories. It also creates the ‘afterburn’ effect as your body expends energy (burns more calories) after a hard training session to support the numerous metabolic actions that happen to help you recover. This effect means you can burn calories for up to 48-72 hours after a session, depending on how intense it was.
#4. Boost your metabolism
If you have ever done bootcamp, some CrossFit classes or high-intensity classes in your gym, then chances are you have experienced metabolic conditioning training.
This type of training basically entails resistance exercise (using either weights or your bodyweight) for timed circuits in rapid succession with little rest.
The benefits of metabolic conditioning include the same benefits of weight training, plus the added benefit of the energy expenditure associated with cardiovascular exercise. These sessions are short and brutal for working up a sweat and adding some lean muscle tissue.
It’s the ideal way to boost that “afterburn” effect we mentioned in point 3…
#5. Set goals
How do you know which direction to walk in when you have no idea where you are going?
At achieve the vision you have for your life and body, It’s vital to set both short-term and long-term goals. This way you are able to have small milestones as well as big ones to aim for.
Most importantly, set SMART goals.
- Specific: Your goals must be specific to your needs and desires.
- Measurable: Set your goals so that you can measure them with health assessments, body composition measurements, scale-weight measurements, photographs, fitness levels and strength.
- Attainable (action-oriented): Make educated goals. Do your research and speak to a professional. Create a goal or goals that are attainable.
- Realistic: The goals you set for yourself should be realistically attainable in terms of magnitude, and your available time and resources.
- Time-bound: Set a deadline. There is no better way to defeat procrastination than by having a deadline that is set in stone.
#6. Get active outside the gym
Losing body fat means that you need to burn more calories, and specifically burning these calories at a very low intensity will mean that you tap into your fat stores. So, how do you do this? You can wake up very early every day and do an hour of low-intensity cardio like a fitness model. If you have the lifestyle and time to do this, then fantastic.
However, many of us don’t, but that’s no reason to despair. Take the steps at work, park at the end of the parking lot, walk the dogs, take the kids to the park and basically try and be as active as possible. Every extra calorie burnt counts!
Written by Devlin Brown
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.