My 15 Simple Tips to Stay in Shape For Life
Don't believe the rumours! Staying in shape is much easier than you think.
It's a question we are asked over and over again at Ultimate Performance. In fact, the majority of the time it's not even debated, many out there believe that maintaining your dream body is impossible...well stop that negativity, you're wrong.
This time last year UP managed to get me in the best shape of my life in just 12 weeks and I've managed to stay that way.
Have I sacrificed my social life? Nope! Do I live in the gym now? Certainly not. Does my food diary look like it's been written by Peter Rabbit? Don't be daft.
Trust me, it's much simpler than that and I'm going to give you a list of 15 easy rules to stick to that will make staying in shape a walk in the park.
1. Consistency is Key
This will always be the number one rule when it comes to both getting in, and staying in shape. You have to nail this one down.
How many of you reward yourself after you've been 'good' for a few days? Stop it, you're not a dog!
The same goes for training - training three days in a row followed by a week off really won't do much for you.
Failing to abide by this rule is almost always the reason why people fail to maintain their physique so keep at it and you get to keep your body.
2. Stay Balanced
To stick to the number 1 rule, you have to apply rule number 2 - stay balanced.
Going hell for leather, starving yourself and burning out by over-training is only going to end badly and most definitely isn't maintainable, which is the end goal.
The key to maintaining a healthy bod is for your diet and training to be sustainable; you have to be able to keep at it.
Find a system that works for you and 'Bob's your uncle', your body will continue to be your temple.
3. Avoid Fad Diets
This brings me on to my next point, the 'Fad Diet'.
You have to ask yourself, 'Could I live on drinking juice for the rest of my life?'.
Not only is the answer a resounding no, but you also have to admit that in no way is that going to be good for you. Think about it.
Your main goal should never just be about losing weight, you have to think big and make a change that will have a positive impact, long-term and that definitely doesn't involve living off herbal teas or a trolley's worth of cabbage.
4. Keep a Food Diary
Write it down, and keep writing it down until you can genuinely trust yourself to know what it is you're putting in your mouth at mealtimes.
Keeping a food diary doesn't just stop you from eating the wrong thing, or too much, but in my case, it made sure I ate enough.
The more you train, the stronger you want to get, the more 'good' fuel your body needs.
This is particularly useful if you've just finished a food plan. If it wasn't for having a plan to follow I certainly wouldn't have kept the shape I worked hard to build.
5. Listen to Your Body
Your body is the only one you have, so make sure you listen to it.
As you become stronger, faster, leaner and more experienced in training, it soon stops becoming a challenge and more of a way of life and sometimes you can forget that you're not superhuman (although I beg to differ).
This isn't an excuse to have a day off just because 'you don't feel like it' but there are going to be times when you just need to stop and take a few days of rest.
6. Stay Safe
The great thing about having a UP personal trainer is that they will never let you do anything that is going to damage you.
I used to be a reckless trainer; I would never stretch, I would hardly warm up and, for the most part, I can guarantee I wouldn't have known how to exercise in the weights room the correct way.
Form and technique during weight training will not only have a huge impact on your results but it will keep you injury-free too.
You're no good to anyone if you're broken, so don't overdo it and make sure you know what you're doing.
7. Stay Stress-Free
Any kind of stress will have a negative impact on your body, it's a given.
Stress can make you comfort eat, ruin your appetite, dampen your motivation and is a recipe for weight gain.
Looking after your body, staying active and doing things you enjoy will keep your mind and body healthy.
Want to know more? Learn 'Why Stress is Making You Fat'
8. Keep Progressing
Training without making progress will bore the living daylights out of you.
You need to continue to achieve, smash personal bests and even out-training your training partner will give you 'the buzz'.
Keeping a training diary is a great way to stay on top of this.
Then those moments you realise you're stronger than you were just weeks ago, it's those moments that will keep you going back.
9. Have a Goal
It seems silly that I never used to think about this at all, but training without a goal is just...well, I don't want to think about it.
I actually remember my very first session after I had completed my 12-week transformation and I thought, I'll just go and train, I know what I'm doing now.
It was terrible! Honestly, one of the worst sessions I have ever had. I wandered around, got bored of what I was doing and even ended up doing handstands.
The point to this is you need a goal, and if you're looking to maintain your weight, a good goal to have would be to focus on your strength.
Maybe you want to deadlift more, up the weights on your shoulder press or achieve five chin-ups.
Have a goal, plan how you're going to achieve that goal and when and go smash it.
10. Sacrifice a Little, Gain a Lot
I can hand on my heart say that my 12-week transformation at Ultimate Performance was one of the best things I have ever done, for so many reasons.
But it wasn't easy. For 12 weeks I had to cut out all of the good stuff, all of it, and at the time I even wondered why I was bothering.
Now I look back and realise that sacrificing those things for just 84 days (which is nothing in the grand scheme of things) meant that I now have a body I am happy with and that I can maintain with a healthy, balanced diet and good training. It really doesn't take much.
You might think that you couldn't live without wine, pizza or cake but just try it for 12 weeks and see how you feel about it afterwards.
Go on, I dare you.
11. Be Accountable
They say that you should never do something to please others but I believe we are more likely to let ourselves down before anyone else.
Having a good personal trainer who wants you to achieve your goals sometimes more than you do means that on those days where you've had enough, the days that you want nothing more than to eat a whole box of chocolate, those are the days when you need someone to turn to.
12. Stay Educated
What is the difference between the old Sam and the new, healthy Sam? The fact that I know so much more.
UP doesn't just stick you on a diet or tell you to do a certain number of reps and move on.
They tell you the whys and the hows, so you know how to take care of yourself both inside and outside of the gym.
Not only does being educated give you the tools you need to stay fit and healthy, but it gives the confidence when you are training and we all need that.
13. Stay Active
This one might be obvious but when I say this I don't mean you need to be in the gym all of the time.
If you work in an office, get up, stand up, use the stairs.
If you drive to work, park further away and get your steps in.
Go for walks at the weekend, try climbing, start a new sport or go for a run on the beach when you're on holiday.
Why not use your new found health to live a little? Go cliff diving, trek through a jungle, run about in the park with your children.
Being active can be as fun as you can make it, but all of this movement is great for maintaining your body.
This is super important! Good quality sleep is key to everything you do.
Productivity, energy levels and hormones will all be affected when you consistently miss out on a good night's kip.
This will make it difficult to maintain a good diet and training programme and as a result, your body will struggle.
15. Get Yourself a Personal Trainer
You had to see this one coming, right?
A good personal trainer (Ultimate Performance) will take care of all of the above. Every single thing I have mentioned, and more, are all things that your personal trainer will take into account when taking care of you.
Keeping your dream body all year round can be easy if done right and a personal trainer can make sure you do just that.