3 GUARANTEED WAYS TO ACHIEVE THE BODY YOU WANT
The journey to your ideal body can often be frustrating and emotional - especially in this day and age when there’s so much conflicting information and opinion rammed down our throats. This post explores 3 ways that we at the Arrow Club have used successfully over the last 10 years to help people achieve their goals. Applying yourself to these points will mean you’re closer to your goals regardless of what they are – guaranteed!
Firstly – let’s make it clear that your ideal body shouldn’t be one you have seen on Instagram or in some glossy magazine. Your ideal body is the one you currently live in. You need to manage your expectations in the realm of what is possible and discard what isn’t. For example if you are 5ft 2 with wide hips but you’re yearning to be 6ft tall with long legs - that just isn’t going to happen and never will, so it’s pointless driving your energy towards such goals.
Bettering yourself with regards to fat loss, muscle tone, overall strength and mobility within realistic terms means it is easier to draw up expectations at the start of this new journey and is easier on your mind-set as you won’t be left disappointed.
So, what stops people or slows down the process of achieving a personal goal?
1. YOU DON’T TRACK YOUR CALORIES OR PAY ATTENTION TO THE QUALITY OF FOOD THAT YOU EAT
This is the “be all and end all” of achieving your goals and maintaining them forever after. Losing weight is easy - as you can of course starve yourself, eliminate a whole food group ( carbs ) , skip meals , juice diet the list is endless. All methods have been used before in desperation, people see initial results but we all know what happens when you start to live your best life – diet regain is an issue. Keeping the weight off is the key to a healthy mindset, lifestyle and body shape. We believe that being aware of your consumption will lead to healthier food choices overall and allow flexibility in eating the foods you like. The concept of calories in and calories out is the principle that governs weight loss and weight gain, these principles can’t be ignored so doing so will always lead to confusion when it comes to your goals.
The quality of food that you buy and eat is also very important when it comes to overall health has shown in studies to have effects on your reproductive system, hormones and general well-being. Plastics, pesticides, metals and toxins are present in everyday sources of food and water - so trying your level best to avoid these harmful agents will leave you a lot healthier on the inside and out.
Top tip: Try if possible to always buy grass fed, organic, wild caught fish, wild game meat etc.
We suggest to everyone – regardless of your mindset towards it, try for at least 4 weeks to track your calories. Over that period, set your calories to your goal (deficit for weight loss and surplus for weight gain) and you’ll start to understand food like never before. You will start self-regulating portion sizes according to your own hunger and making smarter choices when it comes to food and drink. You may be eating more or less food and slowly you will understand the portion sizes needed to maintain your body weight/ lose body fat /or put on weight. If your aim is weight loss - being in a deficit for a long time can have adverse effects to your body and metabolism - so don’t forget to have a diet break every 4 to 6 weeks.
2. YOU DON’T TRAIN HARD ENOUGH
This may seem a bit harsh and also very general but hear me out.
The body is a complex thing and its main focus in life is stability, this is what is called homeostasis. Why this is important is that when it comes to training you need to stimulate your body enough to adapt to the stress (exercise) for you to continue to see progression in your goals. Training places strain on your body (which is good) in the attempt to force an adaptation and this can be done in several ways.
Weight training in our opinion is the best way to achieve the desired stimulus in a safe and constructive environment. HIIT classes, spin, yoga, pilates all have merit in a sense but are inadequate for long term progression in terms of aesthetics, overall strength and functionality. A class where you throw around 4kg dumbbells with ankle weights on is NOT weight training. Weight training is a personalised journey that you carry out based on your strengths and weaknesses in all areas (aesthetics, mobility, flexibility, strength, fitness) tailored to you. The training needs to progressive on all fronts (weight, technique, reps, sets etc) to challenge the body. The same movements or classes, with the same weight (give or take), bodyweight and bands or anything gimmicky doesn’t deserve your attention or hard-earned money.
Progressive overload is a principle that needs to be adhered to whilst you train and intensity is also key. We have seen that over the years 90% of people come to the gym and think that by just turning up they going to see results. This is a bad mindset to have because you need to work your backside off to get where you want to be and force your body to want to go there! You need to make your workouts challenging and time your rest periods, and really focus your mental efforts on what you’re trying to achieve.
The way we see it is like this, it’s 2% of your day where you can leave all your drama at the door, or if you are with a PT (speak to someone about it whilst they tell you what to do to maintain a productive session) and focus all your attention on bettering yourself. Be selfish! and take this time to really apply yourself to something that will enable you to have a long and better lifestyle.
3. YOU DON’T REST ENOUGH
Now this seems contradictory but let me put my point across. In this current moment in the average “workout” people are doing are some form of really high impact high intensity workouts eg Barrys bootcamp, F45, HIIT classes, which are good if supplemented into a strength training programme but not the other way around. As discussed before training is a stress on the body but too much stress is a bad thing. What we have found over the years is that statistically more and more people are sleeping less and the quality of that sleep is becoming worse. Couple the lack of sleep with, more stress in your day to day lives and super intense workouts and you have someone struggling to perform at their optimal level.
Sleep quality and overall rest has adverse effects on your hunger hormones, inflammation, insulin sensitivity and so much more - so making rest a priority is as key as training itself. Two rest days are always advised where you don’t put a strain on your Central Nervous System. On these days we suggest foam rolling and using dynamic flexibility stretches to aid in recovery. Managing your volume is also key to not overtraining and picking up an injury just skipping the gym for a week may also be beneficial.
Making sure you sleep enough is also key so here are our top tips for better sleep quality-
Reduce blue lighting as soon as possible after 5pm. Set phone to warm setting if possible and sleep with an eye mask and ear plugs
Reduce the temperature of the room by 2degree Celsius
Try to eat 2 hours before bed