"I'm going to get in shape this year!"
"I'm finally going to lose those pesky 15 pounds."
"Starting Monday, I'll be a more fit me!"
We have either all heard or said these things at some point in our lives, and if we were the ones saying it we 100% believed that we would actually achieve our fitness goals this time around. But, I think we know how this one plays out, we end up saying the same things year after year after year with little to no progress made to show for our efforts. Why is that?
In this article, I’m going to give you the not-so-secret secrets of fitness that will actually help you lose that weight this year.
Secret 1: Caloric Deficit
In order to lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit. Plain and simple. No way around it. Think about it this way, if you had a ball of play-dough (remember that stuff as a kid? Geez I’m getting old) and you, for some reason, wanted a smaller ball of play-dough, what would you do. Would you add more play-dough to the ball? No, obviously that’d make it a bigger ball. In order to make it smaller, you have to remove play-dough from it. Likewise with your diet, the main reason you’re probably not losing the weight you want is because you’re eating too much. In order to lose weight, you have to burn less calories than your body burns, so take some food off that plate.
How do you find out if you’re in a caloric deficit though? It’s one thing to read it and say it, but how do you know how much of a deficit you need to be in and what that looks like from a visual standpoint? I have two tool recommendations for you to use to figure it out:
BMR stands for “Basal Metabolic Rate”... which just means “the amount of calories your body just burns on its own every day”. Everyone’s BMR is slightly different depending on your current weight, height, and activity level. To learn what your BMR is, I’ve linked an online BMR calculator here that I actually use to help my clients as well.
MyFitnessPal is an amazing free app from Under Armour that allows you to track what foods you eat and then it auto populates with the nutritional contents of the foods you eat. There’s a paid version too if you want to get fancy (which I personally have and recommend since it allows for easier access to track your macros on your home screen plus much more, it’s only $50/year) BUT you don’t need it if you don’t want it. This tool will help you set some goals on what your diet should look like on a calorie and macro scale and allows for you to learn how to track your macros and calories without having to read nutrition labels all day.
Here’s a good video explaining how to use the app: click here.
Secret 2: Be More Active
This one seems like a given and it’s something that EVERYONE knows to do, but does everyone do it? Spoiler alert - nope, not in the slightest.
We’ve all heard the 10,000 step goal right? Well how many people actually reach this goal? The average American only gets to a little over 5000, where being under 5000 is considered being sedentary. Being sedentary is not only just flat out boring, but it also can lead to complications with physical and mental health over time. On the flipside, getting closer to 10,000 steps can help alleviate joint pain, improve physical health, LOSE WEIGHT, and improve mental health as well… JUST FROM WALKING!
So, how do you know if you’re getting enough steps in, some phones come with a built in pedometer so you could always check that, or you could buy a fitness activity monitor online. The most popular one is FitBit, but you really don’t need anything that fancy unless you want to. I personally bought one on Amazon for like $20 and it works perfectly fine for counting my steps.
While this “secret” may be boring in-and-of itself, it really is one of the biggest difference makers when it comes to getting that slight edge on reaching your fitness goals. Walking 10,000 steps a day can burn anywhere between 400-500 extra calories per day. And if you’re already eating at maintenance or already in a caloric deficit, that’s an extra pound per week you could be losing, JUST BY WALKING AROUND! THIS IS THE EASIEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT OVER TIME!
But what if you aren’t getting enough steps in now or find it hard to work up to 10,000 a day all of a sudden? Don’t worry, you don’t need to make a drastic change overnight. What I’d recommend is for one week just track how many steps you currently hit in a day and then try to go up by 1000 steps/day each week thereafter. 1000 may even seem like a lot, but it’s honestly pretty easy to do. Walk around when you’re on the phone, take a quick 10-min walk around your neighborhood every morning, or even walk to work if you’re able to!
Secret 3: Consistency is Key
I understand that by this point in the article, you probably hate me, like a lot. These tips I’m giving you are SUPER basic and you’ve probably heard them millions of times before. Yet as a personal trainer and online fitness coach, I can tell you that through my own experience and the experience of other fitness professionals, these are the 3 main things that keep people from reaching their fitness goals with consistency being the main culprit of them all.
Consistency is doing the same things over and over again. When you think about losing weight, it really isn’t that hard or complex. Eat less and move more, that’s the main gist of it all. Yet the hardest part for most people is eating less and moving more, every single day. Why is that?
As humans, it is by nature that we are drawn to repetition, we are pretty predictable creatures and will always consistently do things that fit with what we enjoy and what we value. Most people do not enjoy eating less and moving more; therefore, they don’t. Most people want to value their fitness goals above that slice of cake, but innately they still have a desire for short-term gratification over long-term satisfaction. They also know that being more active is healthy and will help them achieve their goals, but they would rather have the short-term gratification of binge watching their favorite show on Netflix instead.
So how do you avoid this short-term nature and start becoming more consistent with your healthy actions? 1 Word: Why.
In order for you to do something, you need to have a real and legitimate reason behind it, otherwise you won’t do it. You might not want to go to work, but if you don’t work then you won’t have money to be able to keep yourself alive, so you go to work. The thought of failure and not being able to survive is associated with no work, that’s a deep seeded why. You need to develop a why like this when it comes to fitness.
In order to find what your why is, use the 7 Levels of Why exercise. Instead of explaining it, I’ll show you an example you can build off of:
1: Why do you want to lose weight
So that I look better and feel better
2: Why does that matter?
So that people will think I’m attractive and notice me
3: Why does that matter?
So that I can get a girlfriend and not be rejected
4: Why does that matter?
I’ve always been rejected before and I want to be able to start a family
5: Why does that matter?
Rejection makes me feel worthless, and being able to have a family would help give me meaning
6: Why does that matter?
Because it feels like no one cares about me
7: Why does that matter?
Because I don’t want to feel like an outcast and die alone
Now, this is just an example, but you really could get deep like this when it comes to figuring out WHY exactly you’re working out and losing weight in the first place. Is it so you don’t feel worthless? Is it for social validation? Is it for a personal insecurity? You need to get deep and you need to get real with yourself. This self-awareness is vital skill you will need to learn for life as a whole and it will help you drastically in giving you a reason why you should even strive to hit your fitness goals in the first place.
Those are my top 3 not-so-secret secrets of fitness that will actually help you lose weight this year.
Losing weight really isn’t that complex, it’s actually very simple: eat less, move more, and do it consistently. However, it can be a bit harder to implement especially if this is your first go around. Recommendation: find someone or a group of people you trust that can help root you on. Don’t get a support group of people who don’t care and don’t get a fitness coach who will work you into the ground if you’re not ready for it right off the bat. Find people who have similar goals as you and for added support, find a fitness coach who has been in your shoes before and will help guide you along your journey.