Getting into great shape isn’t just about cardio workouts, eating more veggies or blasting weights 2 hours a day, 6 days per week. Training to get in shape first starts with honing your lifestyle towards achieving your goal.
Before you begin:
No matter your specific goal and time frame, I first urge you to spend some time in creating a successful lifestyle plan. This doesn’t need to be too exotic but matched specifically to your goals, so ask yourself:
- Can I consistently make it to the gym ‘x’ times per week to complete my training?
- Can I consistently eat ‘x’ number of meals per day?
- Can I consistently assess my progress at ‘x’ time per week?
- Have I set aside a specific time(s) each week to do my shopping and food prep, so I don’t miss a beat?
Nutrition plays a big role in getting into awesome shape, and the greater the results you are training for, the more specific you will need to be with your energy intake.
As far as your habitual programming goes (an extra serving of stew and pudding through winter), determining what habits to change is just as important as your meal items themselves.
But don’t do it blindly! Calculate what an average winter day has been for you (energy wise), determine what your goal requirements will be and make the adjustments as needed.
And most important, set aside times for regular assessments.
Your plan may look golden on paper, but unless you are making measured progress then it is all in vain. If things are not happening fast enough, this will give you the opportunity to take countermeasures to suit.
Resistance training will always play a more significant role than cardio when it comes to getting into shape. That is because resistance training will stimulate new muscle growth, with the potential of an increased metabolic rate. Plus, resistance training gives us the ability to specifically target areas of our body and ‘shape’ our physique.
As for how many days per week you train and what mode/intensity you choose, I really see no reason to change it too much to how you generally train for muscle growth.
Many people, when deciding to get lean, blast themselves with cardio thinking this is the greatest strategy. But did you know, cardio is a variable?
As we first implement your nutrition and then your resistance training, cardio is the last piece of the puzzle. My recommendation would be to use it sparingly as the specific tool it is.
For example, if you have a session or 2 in per week, but you are feeling that it is either negatively affecting your resistance sessions or your recovery is being affected, don’t be afraid to reduce it.
BE ACCOUNTABLE! Probably the biggest consideration of them all, is accountability and being consistent. As you start to assess, you will start to notice “trends” in your progress, and trends let you forecast.
For example, say you have a goal to lose 10kg in 12 weeks (you had a BIG Winter) and 4 weeks in, you have lost 3.5kg. It would be fair to say that you are successfully progressing to your goal, and that can be a great motivator to keep going and to know that things are working well. On the contrary, if you are not happy with your rate of progress you would make the adjustments now while you still have time, not 1 day from your goal and thinking to yourself “what went wrong”?
Don’t wait until tomorrow to get started, get started TODAY!