Getting fitter, healthier, leaner or stronger is simple, but takes time and effort. It takes discipline and I’m afraid to say, there is no magic pill, hack or shortcut to make it easier.
There are a few things you can do to make it a little easier on yourself. Here are 10 ways to make getting stronger and leaner easier to do.
Know your why.
Having a clear, strong reason for why you are training and improving how you eat is vital to help push you through those days when you want to sit in your PJs and binge on Netflix. Let’s be honest, we all have days like that and sometimes you just have to put your head down and get in the gym and get the work done. Having a clear goal and reason to do the work, makes it a whole lot easier to do.
Get a training buddy/ accountability partner.
Having someone who you respect and don’t want to let down can be a great motivator. If you have set a deadline or planned a training session with a training partner, then you are much less likely to miss either.
Set a schedule.
Schedule your training sessions and set aside time for your meal planning and shopping, then have the discipline to stick to your schedule. Before long these times become ingrained in your weekly plan and you are less likely to miss any.
If you make those training sessions before or after work so you can do them on your way, even better. Set aside some time the same day or 2 each week to plan the next few days worth of meals and do the necessary shopping. Incidentally, online shopping is a great way to do this, and you’re much less likely to randomly grab bunches of snacks while you stroll the aisles.
Small changes done regularly.
Everyone wants to make grand sweeping changes. But these rarely last and before you know it, you’ve given up on them and are back at square one. I remember one New Year when I was about 16, I was going to do pushups every morning, eat better (this was pretty vague because frankly, I had no idea what that meant!) I was going to study more and sleep better.
I lasted till about the 5th of January.
Too many changes, too far from my normal at that time, destined to fail.
Small changes, practiced regularly and layered over time will always win out.
Try eating more protein at each meal. When that becomes easy, get out and walk for 30 mins every day. Then move your bed time forward by 15 mins. Each one layering on top of the last, only when the last has become habitual.
Have a plan, and stick to it.
Nothing helps to keep you on track quite like having a plan and progressing through it.
If you head into the gym or start to improve your nutrition, you have to have some kind of plan to follow. Otherwise, you end up wandering around the gym aimlessly or fall back into your old eating habits.
Get a good plan (The Strength Project ebook is out soon…Just saying) then follow it. All the way through. Tick off the sessions and you’ll see progress. Nutritionally, pick a method, Paleo, IF, IIFYM whatever, and then stick to it.
Set progress goals and small rewards.
What steps do you need to take so you know you’re on track and are getting closer to your goal?
Setting yourself some progress goals, for example, getting to the gym 3 times a week, eating protein at most of your meals, getting 7+ hours of sleep each night, all give you a way to measure progress and identify areas to work on.
By setting yourself a small reward on completion of a certain number of those process goals, you give yourself something to work towards and help keep you on track.
Remember action creates motivation, not the other way around.
Don’t wait for motivation to strike, you’ll be waiting a long time. Motivation comes from the momentum created from taking repeated actions towards your goal.
By starting small (see point 4) and creating some success and consistency, you build both confidence in your ability to make progress and build momentum to keep things moving forward.
Do something every day to take you closer to your target.
See the above point. Action creates momentum and doing something, anything, each day that moves you forward maintains and builds motivation.
Take a walk for 30 minutes.
Get a good nights sleep.
Eat a little more protein.
Eat some veggies.
Keep it simple.
Temptations – snacks, the snooze button, skipping the gym for a few cheeky beers can derail you easily early on. By removing these, bin the snacks, move your alarm across the room to force you out of bed, schedule a gym session with a friend you won’t want to let down, can all help you avoid these pitfalls.
By giving yourself a clear path towards your goal, you simplify the process and keep you on track.
If you have a crappy day, training sucks and you really can’t be arsed cooking a good meal after a long hard day, you can quit. With one condition: You have to finish the day.
It’s really easy to quit in the heat of the moment. But after a good nights sleep and looking a the new day with a clear mind, you’ll probably find that yesterday was just one of those days, which we all have, and you’re actually ready to get back on it and keep trying.
You only lose if you quit completely.