Healthy habits for losing weight and developing muscle tone

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I had got fat..

I have always considered myself to be fit and healthy. I have played a lot of sports, I walk 15,000 steps a day and I eat well (mostly). So I was quite shocked when, soon after my 31st birthday, I realised I had let myself get kinda chubby.

I weighed in at 83kgs, the heaviest I had been in my life. I needed to take action so I joined the gym.

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After six months, despite going to the gym six times a week, I had not made the progress I was after. So I made some changes.

First I started doing more weights. One of the personal trainers made me a weights program for my upper body and one for my lower body. She tailored my weekly workouts to get me the results I was after.

Then I started intermittent fasting. The first thing I would have when I finished my fast was a protein shake. This filled me up and keep me going even longer.

The weight started dropping off and my muscle tone increased. I had abs! After eight months at the gym I had a body I was proud of. I now loved looking in the mirror instead of shying away.

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Here are the steps I took to lose 10kgs and gain the muscle tone I was after.

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HIIT


HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training. This is when you train at 90-100% of your maximum heart rate for short periods with rest periods in which you don’t fully recover. Usually you can only go for a total of 20-30 minutes. HIIT helps you lose fat, gain muscle and increase your fitness with just 20mins a day three days a week.

I love the tabata regime in which you work at a high intensity for 20 seconds and 10 seconds rest repeated for 4 minutes. Then keep repeating.

I have included some links to different options below, however, you can also go to youtube to get free video's.

High-Intensity Interval Training for Women: Burn More Fat in Less Time with HIIT Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

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Intermittent Fasting


It wasn’t until I started intermittent fasting that I started to see results. There are so many options for fasting so you just have to find the one that works best for you. I only eat between 12pm and 8pm everyday. The food I eat is about 80% healthy and 20% not so healthy. I am quite partial to a glass of pinot noir with a bowl of crisps! From my experience, you can still indulge your cravings as long as you the majority of the food you eat is healthy and you are also fasting.

Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Fitbit


If you haven’t got a fitbit already you need to get one! They monitor everything so you are able to keep track of not only your steps but also your distance moved, calories burnt, fights of stairs climbed, active minutes, heart rate (including resting heart rate) and hours sleeping. It is very motivating, particularly if you love meeting goals. I have also bought a fitbit aria which is the scales that also sync with your fitbit app. This makes it easier to monitor your weight loss and they also measure your body fat.

My favourite fitbit currently out is the fitbit versa but there are lots of other options too.

Fitbit Versa Smart Watch, Black/Black Aluminium

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Protein shakes


Protein shakes are a great way to refuel after a big workout. I use a plant-based, organic cacao powder. The most important thing is to choose one that is low in sugar. Then add fruit, frozen berries are good as they are low in sugar, milk and any other superfoods. I add chia seeds, macca powder, ground linseed and leafy, green vegetables.

There are so many to choose from. I have included some options below for organic, plant based proteins.

KOS Organic Plant Based Protein Powder – Raw Organic Vegan Protein Blend (Chocolate)

5LB 100% Pea Protein Powder from North American Farms - Vegan Pea Protein Isolate - Plant Protein Powder, Easy to Digest - Speeds Muscle Recovery

Group fitness


Join a gym that has group fitness classes. These are so much fun and you can make the most of having a trainer without the extra cost. My favourite classes are spin class (a brilliant cardio workout) and bootcamp/circuit training class. If you are looking for low impact there is pilates and yoga. There are so many options and if you attend regularly you start to develop a sense of family with the other regulars.

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Weights


Don’t go past weights because you think you will get huge and muscular. It takes a huge amount of work to get like that and it won’t happen accidentally! Lifting smaller weights at a larger number of reps will help speed up weight loss and tone your body. Lifting weights also helps prevent osteoporosis and protects your bones. If you belong to a gym, get one of the personal trainers to write a programme for you.

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New gym clothes and shoes


One of the biggest motivators can be getting new gym clothes and shoes. If you look the part then you feel more confident and energised for your workout. My favourite brand is Lululemon. They have these really comfortable, lightweight tops that also look amazing on.

Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew

Patience


I believe that the most important trait you can have here is patience. The change in your body will not happen over night, it is unlikely to happen in the first month or even the second. For me it took 8 months before I really noticed a change.

It can feel demotivating when you don’t see your results instantly but it is worth the wait. Its actually better for your body to change slowly as you form habits to last a lifetime. It means you are more likely to maintain the changes.

Most importantly, enjoy! Working out can be really fun. If you don’t like something, mix it up, find something you like doing. There are so many options out there.

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How to make your first 10K online!

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