There’s no denying the way we think and feel about our bodies is often influenced by how we perceive others. Many males might envisage themselves as having the strength and muscle mass of Thor, while women might strive to take on a more Miranda Kerr-like physique.
In today’s society of #fitspo bodies and perfectly crafted selfies, it’s easy to see how the aspiration of a ‘perfect body’ can be warped. And when a fitness goal is hinged on achieving the body of someone else, you’re more likely to lose motivation, confidence and experience a sense of failure when it doesn’t happen. It’s like fighting a bush fire with a glass of water; endless effort with no result.
Everyone lives a different life – different styles, careers, commitments, mindsets and body types. There will never be a fair comparison and you will likely be left disappointed. So here’s the bottom line – create the very best version of you, and you will give yourself every chance to find happiness in your own skin.
It won’t happen overnight. You don’t become a professional athlete or the top sales person at your company just because you turn up every day. It comes down to mindset, confidence and the know-how to get the job done. And on the journey towards loving your body, the time and effort you put in to creating your best self will pay rewards in the way you feel – confident, fearless and ready to grab more from life.
So here are some simple steps to get your journey off on the right foot:
STEP 1: BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Try this. Write down everything you ate and how much exercise you’ve done over a seven day period. A great way to monitor this is through apps like MyFitnessPal. The most important thing is not to lie to yourself. Four slices of pizza? Don’t just record one! By doing this, you are only cheating yourself.
STEP 2: START SMALL
Once you’ve got a realistic view of where you currently stand, you can start to implement small changes into your routine that will lead to changing unhealthy habits for good. For 99% of us, going cold turkey leads to failure – so take it slow and introduce small changes one at a time as a more sustainable option.
I like to recommend removing one unhealthy habit each fortnight, and before you know it, you will be well on your way to an improved and healthier lifestyle.
Aim to remove or cut down on the things that will make a big difference in your journey – like sugar, alcohol and certain types of fats. An initial consultation with a nutritionist is always a good first step if it’s an option for you.
STEP 3: TRY A BIT OF EVERYTHING
Creating a plan requires some research to help you set goals and stay on track. When it comes to your training, a good place to start is going to the gym at least once and no more than three times per week. As you start out, your training days should be followed by at least one day off to relax, recover or engage in something a little more low key like walking or meditation/yoga.
Support from a professional is always extremely beneficial, so if it’s an option for you, consult with a Personal Trainer to assess your requirements, set your goals and create a tailored program specifically designed to maximise your progress.
If additional support is not within your reach, there are countless resources at your fingertips. In the gym, look for group training options to keep your routine structured and motivation high. Or jump online and find a workout program to suit your needs, many of which are written by some of the best in the industry.
STEP 4: FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
Finding an activity you love is what keeps you in the game for the long run, and now that you’ve tried a bit of everything, you’ve probably got a good idea of what works for you.
While it’s important to maintain variety in your routine, it can be helpful to line up some specific goals against what you love most to keep your motivation on track and take your training to the next level – like weightlifting, running a marathon or competing on stage.
Now that you’re armed with the basics, all that’s left is to put it into practice. It’s certainly not an easy road, and there will be some hiccups along the way, but stay focused and you will be well on your way.
Most importantly, only compare your before with your after – no-one else’s!