2016 is upon us! A new year and a new start. Who’s with me in saying that 2016 is going to be your most successful year yet for your health and fitness goals? Yes? Good! Read on to find out some practical tips you can implement which will make this year your leaner, stronger, healthier one yet.
Set and score – What’s your training goal? You’d be surprised how many people have a vague goal in mind, but nothing specific. Your goal should be SMART.
S – specific
M – measurable
A – achievable
R – realistic
T – time-bound
“I want to lose 6lb for my beach holiday in June” is a good example. “I want to lose some weight” is not. Focus on your SMART goal with laser guided focus and nothing will get in your way.
Put pen to paper – Results are born from progression. Therefor it is paramount you’re progressing your reps, sets and weights etc. to achieve the desired training effect. I’m yet to meet a person that can remember every weight, rep range, tempo, exercise, set and rest period from the previous session, so it’s vital you’re recording your workouts. Fall in love with this process of recording and progressing and the results will follow.
Breakfast of champions – Carbs release serotonin. A calming neurotransmitter within the body. This could put you in a sleepy mood, I’m sure you’ll agree not an ideal way to start the day regardless of your training goals. Skip carbs at breakfast and instead opt for a high protein/moderate fat meal for sustained blood sugar levels right up to lunch. Cereals, breads and oats are out, eggs, meats and nuts are in!
Supercharge your waters hydration potential – You’re a wet, moving organism. If your tissues are dehydrated they will dry up like desert sand under a blazing sun, become sticky and prevent your body from moving in optimal range. With dehydration comes a decrease in work capacity by up to 30%. Prevent this from happening by consuming 0.033L X bodyweight in KG per day and spiking your drinking water with electrolytes.
Get mobile – If you can improve your recovery rate by 10% through active recovery drills, better sleep and quality nutrition, you can increase your training stress by 10%. This is an improvement in performance of 20%. Talk about speeding up your results! Commit to performing two active recovery drills per day to improve your tissue health and restore joint range. These two drills could be a combination of stretching, SMR/foam rolling and Epsom salt baths. Perform them whenever you get a chance (at home, at work, at the gym etc.) and focus on areas you tend to get tight in. For the majority that involves hamstrings, hip flexors, T-spine and chest.
Create a curfew – Not only does a good quality sleep help you recover from your training schedule, it also helps you recover mentally and physically from everyday life. It’ll also make you feel more healthier in yourself. Lack of sleep results in endocrine disruptions such as:
– Raised levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Whilst some cortisol is a good thing (it can help wake you up in the morning and improve your workout quality). Chronically elevated cortisol from a stressful life and lack of sleep can make burning fat and building muscle pretty much impossible. It also has a tendency to store fat around the mid-section, causing the “spare tyre” look.
– Decreased insulin sensitivity.
Someone with higher insulin sensitivity will require smaller amounts to lower blood sugar levels than someone with lowered insulin sensitivity. Decreased insulin sensitivity is associated with type two diabetes.
– Increased levels of ghrelin, a hunger hormone and decreased levels of leptin, a satiety hormone.
When these two hormones are out of balance it makes controlling your appetite almost impossible. You’ll always feel hungry and never feel full, not great for energy balance.
A good nights sleep is essentially a good habit. Having a bed time curfew will reinforce this. Aim to be in bed by 10.30pm. If this isn’t possible, at least aim for getting your head down by this time at least five nights out of the week.